What TV brands work well with Apple TV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by bilbo--baggins, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. bilbo--baggins macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2006
    I bought a Toshiba 32"LCD TV (720p) when Apple announced the Apple TV, and pre-ordered the Apple TV.

    Unfortunately there seems to be some sort of compatibility issue going on that initially I hoped would be fixed with Apple TV updates but the frustration goes on. Also I've noticed how much newer 1080p TV's have come down in price, so I'm looking to dump the Toshiba and get something new.

    The problems I've had with the Toshiba are:

    1) Very fussy connection - if I switch on the Apple TV before the input is set on the TV then the screen remains black, or sometimes the Apple logo appears, and nothing else happens (requiring a restart of the Apple TV)
    2) Regularly I find that playback of video on the Apple TV gives audio but the screen remains black. The menus and music all play fine, but movies and TV shows just give a black screen (requiring a restart of the Apple TV to fix it).
    3) Changing inputs on the TV between Sky and Apple TV is very slow, having to work through the inputs until reaching the correct one - and when moving from Sky to Apple TV, it then takes several seconds to establish the HDMI connection.
    4) When connected to my MacBook Pro running snow Leopard, overscan leads to the menu bar being cut off, removing overscan leads to a black border around the screen. This is even when selecting outputs such as 720p or 1080i (rather than native Mac resolutions).
    5) The TV is very slow to respond to everything. Press a button on the remote, and often I find my self pressing it again because it seems to have not responded.

    All in all we've been really disappointed with both the TV and (hopefully because of the TV) the Apple TV.

    What brands avoid these problems - and particularly which ones are nice to use, eg. quick and simple to switch between sources.
  2. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I suspect any recent top-tier Japanese brand (Sony, Panasonic) or Korean brand (LG, Samsung) will be better than what you are dealing with. Head down to your local TV show room and check some out. :p
  3. JacobC1983 macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2008
    used mine with a sony xbr6 and a sony kds-60a2000, no problems

    also ran mine through an onkyo tx-sr805

    i think any major brand should be fine, even a new toshiba will probably be ok, sounds like something wrong with your TV

    you should check to see if there is a firmware update for your TV through toshiba, that could fix the problem
  4. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Heh. What you’re experiencing is really not limited to just your specific HDTV. I have a 32” 720p Samsung that I purchased in December of 2006 for $1299 that has similar problems. How old is this set?

    I would have replaced it a long time ago if it wasn’t for the fantastic picture. The newer models (of any brand) apparently fix most of these issues.


    Overscan on a 720p LCD is common because the panel is actually 1366x768 instead of 1280x720.

    LCD OEM manufacturers (which there are very few of in the world) figured out it was cheaper on their part to cut an LCD at 1366x768 instead of the 1280x720.

    So, essentially your 1366x768 LCD HDTV that was marketed to you as 720p/1080i is taking a 720p signal and scanning it up to 1366x768 and taking 1080i and scaling it down to 1366x768 constantly. Scanning is always on.

    1366 is not a multiple of 4 (which for whatever reason computer video cards like resolutions that are). So, you’re never going to get a computer (Mac or PC) to output your HDTV’s native resolution. Even if you do come up with something close, your HDTV likely won’t accept the signal because it’s not exactly 720p or 1080i.

    Now, you would think that you could set your computer to 1280x720 and that would fix the problem, correct? Nope. Your HDTV will perform scaling on that resolution to 1366x768 leaving you with cropped menu bars, etc.

    Since Apple only provides one overscan setting (on/off) and doesn’t ship the OS with an overscan correction/custom resolution tool, you are forced to use programs like DisplayConfigX and SwitchResX to sort of hack a custom resolution that works decently with your TV.

    Good luck with that. It’s a pain in the butt, and you could spend hours upon hours and never come up with the correct timings.

    In the Windows world, ATI and NVIDIA provide built-in overscan correction tools with their drivers that allow you to fake a custom resolution closer to the panel’s native resolution. It’s never exactly 1366x768 and you may end up with slightly distorted text (as the video card driver does all sorts of funny calculations to get around your HDTV’s input limitation), but it looks much better than what Apple manages to give you.

    Your only saving grace with a 720p LCD is if it happens to have a “just scan” or “overscan off” mode that you can access within the menu. Most HDTVs do this automatically when using VGA as an input, but they turn off image processing too which is undesirable. If your HDTV can turn off built-in overscan on its DVI or HDMI connection, you’re golden.

    In short, 720p LCD HDTVs suck for computer connections. Just buy a 1080p so you’re at least dealing with a normal computer resolution. And every major HDTV made today probably now ships with an overscan off feature in its menu.


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