Why does my monitor connected via HDMI only support a resolution up to 1600 x 900?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by macvaerk, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. macvaerk Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    #1
    Here's my problem: I have a MacBook Air (11.6") and a Philips 234EL monitor whose native resolution is 1920 x 1080.

    However, when I connect the monitor to the laptop with an Apple HDMI cable and a Moshi Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, the maximum resolution I can get is 1600 x 900.

    The problem seems to be that Mac OS sees the display as a television, not as a computer screen.

    I've tried with another monitor (Asus VH226H) and another Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter (Sandberg). Same results: Max resolution = 1600 x 900.

    The reason I prefer HDMI is that it carries both video and audio, meaning one less cable (my monitor has sound).

    Does anyone know how to fix this?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #2
    When you use the Display System Preference, does it allow you to choose 1080p ... seeing as that's a TV resolution. Are you specifically looking for 1920x1080?
     
  3. macvaerk thread starter Guest

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    Dec 22, 2010
    #3
    Yes, it does.

    Yes. That's the screen's native resolution. 1600 x 900 isn't big enough for me.
     
  4. Kenndac macrumors 6502

    Kenndac

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    Jun 28, 2003
    #4
  5. macvaerk thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    #5
    Thanks - it works!

    Now my only problem is getting the volume controls on my keyboard to work. They can't seem to control the monitor sound level. Is there a fix for that?
     
  6. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #6
    Pretty much no; the whole concept of pure-digital audio output (which is what both HDMI audio and coax/optical digital do) is that it's just sending a raw stream of audio data for the receiver to interpret. As a result, when outputting a pure digital audio signal the MacOS always assumes that volume control will be handled at the other end; an additional level of processing plus a substantial reduction in audio quality would be necessary to let the Mac control it (you'd either get audible hiss from having the TV turned up too loud or end up having a relatively low max volume because the TV was turned down and you ended up with the Mac pinned at max anyway).

    Bottom line is, use the TV's remote to control the volume--even if you could rig it so the Mac controlled the volume, the sound quality will be much better doing it the right way.
     
  7. macvaerk thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    #7
    Okay, thanks. Since it's a monitor, not a TV, I don't have a remote for it, so controlling the volume from my keyboard would be the ideal solution. Since this is not possible with HDMI, would it work if I used an ordinary sound cable for sound and a VGA cable for video? (I don't know the real name of a sound cable, but I'm referring to the kind of cable you'd connect to the small audio out port on the left side of the MacBook Air).
     
  8. Kenndac macrumors 6502

    Kenndac

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2003
    #8
    Using analog audio would allow you to adjust the volume using your Mac (and the keyboard), yes. However, VGA would give a significant loss of image quality - and I'm not even sure if it can do 1080p?

    Are you sure there's no volume control on your monitor?
     
  9. Kenndac macrumors 6502

    Kenndac

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2003
    #9
    Oh, I just remembered:

    I have a similar setup to you — a Mac mini connected to a TV through HDMI. My TV (Philips) allows me to use HDMI for the video and analog audio for the audio - maybe your monitor has a similar option? It works great for me since my older Mac mini doesn't do audio through HDMI.
     
  10. macvaerk thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    #10
    Is there any image quality loss if I use DVI? (My monitor supports both DVI, HDMI and VGA). Will the keyboard's volume controls work with DVI?

    There is is volume control on my monitor, it just requires a few extra button presses before you can turn the volume up and down, and that's annoying.
     
  11. Kenndac macrumors 6502

    Kenndac

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2003
    #11
    DVI doesn't carry audio, so you'll still have to use an analog audio cable. You won't see any video quality loss, though.
     
  12. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #12
    As Kenndac said, none whatsoever--pure digital, and for all practical purposes HDMI is just DVI with a different connector and an embedded audio signal (you can adapt one to the other with the right cable).

    So, given that your monitor has a DVI input and an analog audio input, that's going to be the way to go--either with a DVI-HDMI cable and the adapter you already have, or just get the MDP-DVI adapter for your Air and use a DVI cable, then run analog audio. One extra cable to run and a bit bulkier, but it'll work perfectly.

    Incidentally, with this setup don't forget to turn the volume on your monitor all the way up--that will give you the most range on volume control on your Mac, even if it's not quite ideal from a sound quality standpoint. Ideal would be to turn the Mac's volume all the way up, then turn the TV up until it's as loud as you think you're ever going to want to listen to it, then from there adjust the volume with the Mac's control, but the down side of that is that if you ever hit a YouTube video or something that's really quiet, you won't be able to max out the volume without fiddling with the monitor's control.
     

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