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Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV System 10.4
Tiger only hintIf you don't check macworld.com on a daily basis, you may not know that I spent the last week writing a very detailed series of articles about the Core Duo mini. I used it in a variety of tasks, from basic word processing through gaming, and basically just wrote about everything I discovered while using it. Overall, I was quite impressed by the newest Intel Mac. There are three parts to the series (linked from the above story), as well as a follow-up to answer some readers' questions.

Some of my testing involved hooking the mini up to our high definition television (HDTV). For those of you with newer HDTV's, this is a simple task, as it apparently just works. But our set, a Pioneer SD-582HD5, is nearly five years old, and lacks any form of computer connectivity other than an RGB input. I spent many hours with Google, talking to friends, and playing with way too much hardware in the family room before I finally got things working acceptably.

So I thought I'd take a few minutes and document what I did here, just in case there are three or four others of you out there, trying to do the same thing (I can't imagine this hint will apply to a large number of readers!). If anyone knows an easier way to do what I just did, I'd love to hear that, too.

(As an aside, if you'd like to see the difference between HD quality and DVD quality, check out this short one-frame comparison movie I made for a Macworld article, using the latest Harry Potter movie and its HD trailer: 836x354, 548KB1673x709, 1.7MB)

Before we begin, keep in mind that you're proceeding at your own risk here :). I don't think it's possible to physically damage an HDTV set with any of this trickery (and I certainly saw a lot of distortion patterns on mine before I got it working) ... but just in case it is, consider yourself forewarned. These steps are also from memory and some rough notes jotted down when in the midst of the process. I think I got it all straightened out in the end, though, but it's possible there are a few minor errors.

Although this is written relative to the mini, this basic process should work just as well for any machine capable of playing back HD video. And again, this is specific to an HDTV with RGB inputs. If you have a new mini and your TV has an HDMI or DVI connection, then it should "just work." Also keep in mind I am far from a video expert, so there are probably technical inaccuracies in the following, but hopefully none that affect the tip's functionality. The tip also assumes you have 10.4; it may be possible using 10.3 as well, but it would require some changes. Finally, this is a very detailed writeup, mainly so that I can easily use it as a reference in the future if need be. I apologize in advance for the verbosity.

Here are some things you'll need to have, or to have done, before you start the actual connection process:
  • The mini, of course.
  • A keyboard, monitor, and mouse you can move into the TV room. The monitor isn't permanent, but I found I needed it--for whatever reason, the mini wasn't connecting to AirPort on startup, which meant I had to see the screen to join our wireless network. If you have no such issues, then the monitor probably isn't needed.
  • A second Mac, preferably a PowerBook.
  • Network connectivity for both Macs.
  • A male-to-male RGB cable.
  • On the mini, install DisplayConfigX. Note that you'll need the $12 registered version in order for this hint to work. You'll have to decide if the price is worth the result, but in my case, it clearly was -- HD video on the big screen looks great. This program is the key to success for the whole venture; without it, I'd still be looking at nothing but an out-of-scan-range image.
  • On the mini, open the Sharing System Preferences panel, and make sure Remote Login (just in case something goes really wrong) is checked. Then also enable Apple Remote Desktop, and click the Access Privileges button. On the next screen, check the box that reads "VNC viewers may control screen with password," and then enter a password. Also check the box next to your user's name in the top left portion of the window, then click OK. This will allow you to remotely control the mini from the other Mac.
  • On the PowerBook, install Chicken of the VNC (CotVNC), which will let you remotely control the mini.
  • Before you unplug everything to move it to the TV room, test the connectivity between the PowerBook and the mini. On the PowerBook, launch CotVNC and enter the IP address and password for the mini. You should be greeted with the mini's screen on your PowerBook. If you don't see it, you're on your own to figure out what's going wrong :).
  • Open the Displays System Preferences panel and set the resolution of the mini to 800x600. This will simply make the VNC connection faster.
  • Shut everything down, and move the whole setup to the TV room, including the PowerBook.
Now the actual connection and configuration begins...
  1. Because of my AirPort connectivity issue at startup, I chose to boot once with the monitor attached, get connected to AirPort, and then sleep the system. If your mini connects automatically, you can skip this step.

  2. Make sure your television is off. Connect the RGB cable between the mini and the television. On our set, this is a switchable input; there's a toggle next to the RGB port that I had to flip over to activate the connection.

  3. From the PowerBook, launch CotVNC and connect to the mini. You should now see the 800x600 screen you set up earlier. From here on, all listed commands, unless specifically called out, are to be executed on the mini via CotVNC.

  4. Open Displays in System Preferences, and see what resolutions are listed. More than likely, and the reason you're reading this hint, is that you won't see anything unique in the list. I don't recall what was listed for me, but I think it was your standard set of resolutions between 640x480 up to 1280x1024. If you're lucky, really lucky, you'll see some interlaced and widescreen options listed (that's what those who connect via DVI/HDMI will see), and you'll be done (pick one and it should work). More than likely, though, you'll see nothing useful.

  5. Now you need to find out what resolutions your HDTV supports. Hopefully this information is in your manual, but if it's not, searching Google with the model number of your set and available resolutions should produce some meaningful matches. In my case, our Pioneer supports 480i, 480p, and 1080i.

    A brief aside on the 'i' and 'p' settings for the above resolutions. The 'i' means interlaced, which means the TV draws every other line on one pass, then goes back on pass two and fills in the missing lines. The 'p' means progressive, which draws every line in order. When used for displaying a computer screen, interlaced pictures are horrendously flickery, but when playing video back, you won't notice the interlacing. So for my TV, a 1080i signal would give me the best HD playback, with a usable but flickery computer screen. 480p, on the other hand, would make a beautifully stable, but quite small, computer screen, and lowered quality for HD video. Since I mainly wanted the mini to play back HD clips, I needed to find a way to send a 1080i signal from the mini.

  6. Enter DisplayConfigX. This program lets you tell the Mac to send any sort of video signal you desire to the attached monitor. It does this by installing customized resolution settings directly into the Displays preferences panel, through a special display Overrides directory. When you register, you can create your own settings from scratch, as well as use some predefined higher-quality settings that might work right out of the box. As noted earlier, you'll need the registered version to make this tip work.

  7. Click on the Resolutions tab, then click the + sign at the lower left to add a new resolution. In the new window that opens, select a resolution that matches one your HDTV offers. In my case, I chose HDTV 1080i. Click the Done button, and you'll see the new resolution at the bottom of the list. Repeat this process for any other resolutions your television offers. (I added 'SDTV-480p' and 'NTSC-480i' to the list.) You can also, if you wish, uncheck any entries in the Resolutions tab that your TV does not offer; this will deactivate those resolutions. I suggest leaving 800x600, or whatever resolution you were currently using, in the list.

  8. Now click on the Install tab, then click the Install button. This will copy your newly-defined resolutions into the Displays Preferences Panel. At this point, take note of the Uninstall button, and the directions underneath, just in case things go horribly wrong.

  9. To see the new values in the Displays panel, you must restart (you can try pressing the Detect Displays button, but I never had any luck with it). After the restart, reconnect via CotVNC on the PowerBook, and open the Displays panel.

  10. Turn on your HDTV; there probably won't be a picture yet, instead you'll just see distortion patterns. On the PowerBook, select one of the HD resolutions you just installed. Your HDTV should now switch over to the new resolution, giving you a picture--and most importantly, the ability to click the confirmation button to retain the new settings. If you're using a high resolution such as 1080i, you may find (as I did) that CotVNC can't refresh quickly enough to show the confirmation button, hence the need to use the mini's mouse to confirm via the HDTV image.
Whew, at this point, you're almost done. What you'll probably find now is that you can't see some/all of the menubar and/or Dock, or perhaps the left and right sides of the screen. This is due to something called overscan, wherein your TV is actually drawing those images off the top and bottom of the display. To fix the problem, you'll need to re-launch DisplayConfigX, and invest a few minutes of your time, along with a few reboots.

In DisplayConfigX, select the resolution you're using (1080i in my case) from the Resolutions tab. With it selected, click the plus sign again. This will bring up the New Resolution screen, with the selected values already completed. Now click the pop-up at the top of the window, and change it to Timing. Every field on the screen is now editable, and you'll want to change the Front porch (top or left border) and Back porch (bottom or right border) settings for the Vertical and/or Horizontal columns as appropriate. To make the menubar and Dock visible, for instance, you need to increase the Front and Back Porch values in the Vertical column. In doing this, you also need to change the Active entry, such that the figure in Total doesn't change. Total is simply Active + Front Porch + Sync + Back Porch. I'll use my settings as an example, and hopefully that will make this bit clearer.

Here are the default settings for 1080i in DisplayConfigX:


When I worked on my overscan settings, after a few iterations (more on that below), here is what I came out with:


As you can see, I had to move the Front Porch from 24 to 62, and the Back Porch from 20 to 122. Since these values increased by a total of 140, that amount had to come out of Active, dropping it from 1080 to 940. These are large overscan values, and there's apparently a service mode hack for our Pioneer that will reduce the overscan. I plan to test that this week sometime, as if I can lower the overscan, I can reduce the porch sizes, giving back more resolution for the picture itself.

So how do you find your ideal porch values? Lots of testing and rebooting, in my case. (You can try to use the Test Screen tab in DisplayConfigX to measure how many lines are missing, but I found it too hard to read on the 1080i screen.) The basic process is: duplicate the basic setup, and tweak the porch values a bit. Click OK to add the resolution, then click the Install tab and then the Install button to put the new resolution in the system. Reboot the mini to enable the new resolution, open the Displays System Preferences panel, and select the new resolution.

Now test the Dock and menubar and see how much of them are visible. If you got things spot-on, congrats, you're done! If, like me, you missed badly the first time, return to DisplayConfigX and repeat the process -- duplicate the resolution you just tested, increase the porch values again (remembering to decrease the Active value by the same amount), save the resolution, install the resolution, reboot, select the resolution, and test. I did three iterations of this before I got the settings basically correct for our set.

Once you've got the Dock and the menubar, you're done. You can try playing some HD videos, and they should look great. Of course, if you haven't bought a 'minijack to Toslink' audio cable, you'll be listening to the crummy Intel mini's speaker, but you're on your own for that one.

If you ever move the mini to another monitor, you (probably) don't need to worry about losing your display settings. DisplayConfigX stores your custom settings as the values for an unknown monitor. I moved the mini back and forth several times, and never lost my custom setups. You could, however, lose your settings if you connect another unkown monitor, as it seems that OS X keeps only one set of settings for any unknown monitor. Note that I do not know this for a fact, but I believe I read it somewhere on the DisplayConfigX website.

I hope this helps the (more than likely) very few of you out there who are interested in connecting your mini (or other HD-capable system) to an older RGB-only HDTV.
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Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: bakalite on Mar 19, '06 09:13:19AM

Great Hint!

I'm sure it will help many people, even if it doesn't apply directly.

One of the problems is making things simple enough so the family can use it easily. I found Matinee and DisplayConfigX very useful so far.

Has anyone figured out how to play back a movie that was encoded with black bars on the top and bottom? When I play these back the picture is just a small window in the middle of my screen, no way to make it bigger.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: wm on Mar 19, '06 07:14:10PM

If you're playing the movie in DVD Player on Tiger, go to the Window menu and choose Video Zoom. Make sure that On and Lock Aspect Ratio are checked, and then drag one of the sliders to enlarge the image.

I understand that there's no way to do this in the current version of Front Row, though.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: shockwavedave on Mar 19, '06 09:27:10AM

And I was just thinking how nice it would be to replace my DVD player with a mac mini someday. Will it output the DVD in progressive scan? I don't think I would need the high def function, since I will get that through my cable provider, but more so to replace my prog scan dvd player (which outputs at 480p I believe) and to bring my ever growing iTunes library into the living room



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Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: glusk on Mar 19, '06 10:17:54AM

Thanks for the tip, Rob. I wasn't aware that the mini would spew out interlaced signals.

You can, however, damage some displays with incorrect settings in DisplayConfigX. DLP or LCD displays should be fine, but some CRT (tube) displays will try to scan at the rate you send it and may fail with damaging results. Many newer CRT displays will detect that it cannot handle the scan rate and display an out-of-range message.

Your method of using VNC to change setups is a great idea. It's an easy way to change settings while your display isn't working.

I have my Cube set with DisplayConfigX to output 720p to an older CRT projector. DVDs look great and HD content even better. May have to upgrade to a Mini to get Front Row. Now if only the graphics card would send out Y,Pb,Pr colorspace instead of RGB...



[ Reply to This | # ]
Overscan tips worth it even for new HDTV owners
Authored by: tjarrett on Mar 19, '06 06:51:41PM

We have a brand new Samsung LCD HDTV in our guest bedroom with HDMI input that we drive from my old G4 Powerbook, also via HDMI. Even with this direct signal path we get the overscan problem you describe. Sounds like I need to investigate DisplayConfigX. Thanks for the hint within the hint!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: lonewolf2222 on Mar 20, '06 01:05:36AM

How do you connect the DVI output of the mini to the RGB (component video
I presume?) input on the HDTV?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: robg on Mar 20, '06 06:46:06AM

The mini comes with a DVI to VGA adapter; just connect that to the RGB on the HDTV...

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: JimMueller on Mar 20, '06 08:23:56AM

Are the RGB connections on this sort of HDTV three separeate coax lines like on the old Radius and SuperMac professional monitors, or is it a standard 15 pin VGA connector?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: robg on Mar 20, '06 09:34:39AM

Standard 15-pin VGA-type...

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: shoobe01 on Mar 20, '06 01:04:20PM

You really need to edit the original post and say this, then. RGB is a colorspace, not a single, specific connector type. At all. The connection you seem to be talking about is DB15HD, VGA.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: robg on Mar 20, '06 08:05:20PM

On the back of my television, it's labeled "RGB input." That's all I know....

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: lonewolf2222 on Mar 21, '06 12:02:06AM

So that means it's a VGA not component video. Which means that you are
not getting true HD resolution. Don't your TV have component inputs
besides VGA? I'm interested to know how one would connect the Mac
mini DVI port to component video input of an HDTV. I browsed around and
it seems like you need some expensive conversion hardware to do this.
I was wondering if anyone knows of a good and cheap DVI-to-component
cable which will do the job. Or there is no such thing?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: daran on Mar 21, '06 03:08:59AM

> So that means it's a VGA not component video
Nah. It means it is analog input with RGB+sync signals used. It's called VGA due to using the same pinning, not refering for a particular resolution as there is no hard resolution limitation on these. 1080i is well within reach, as would be 1080p which no HDTV set I'm aware of supports. So you'd need a DVI-to-RGB adapter (passive, inexpensive, sometimes called DVI-to-VGA adpater) or better still use a DVI-input on your TV (only few have this).



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: bommai on Mar 20, '06 11:17:55AM

Remember RGB is not the same as component video. You CANNOT connect RGB to component directly sinice they use different color spaces. You need a transcoder such as the Audio Authority 9A60.

You can find detailed instructions at http://www.jwardell.com/info/minihtpc.html

This transcoder is expensive ($115) and that is why I am sitting on the fence about buying a Mac mini. I have a Toshiba RPTV that has only component video input.

Some ATI cards have the circuitry to output component video through their pins but require windows specific drivers. Unfortunately, they never support Macs well.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: dkwong on Mar 20, '06 11:24:55AM

I have a similar TV to yours (it's a Pioneer SD-532HD5) and also have serious overscan issues. Can you point me to the service mode settings you mentioned that I can change to rectify this? Thanks.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: CarlosD on Mar 20, '06 01:44:21PM

A few additions to the hint since I just recently completed this journey myself with a Mitsubishi projection TV and a MacBook Pro. I anticipate that all would work as well with a Mac Mini. Also of note: I was able to get DisplayConfigX to output properly on an old iBook G3 900MHz (960x540p)!

Key Video Facts

  1. On my Mitsu, the RGBHV cable worked only when I reversed the H and V connections. (Boy did that one take a while to see!)
  2. There are two key elements to getting the right resolution settings – vertical line count and horizontal scan. Everything else is just tweaking within these parameters to get a certain number of pixels to show and proper positioning. About horizontal scan rate:
    • 480p and 960i should use Horiz Scan Rate as close to 31.5 Khz as possible
    • 540p and 1080i should use Horiz Scan Rate as close to 33.75 Khz as possible
    • 720p and 1440i should use Horiz Scan Rate as close to 45.0 Khz as possible

    About vertical line count (pixels + porches):

    • 480p - Vertical Total must equal 525 lines (on 480p capable HDTVs)
    • 540p - Vertical Total must equal 563 lines (on 1080i capable HDTVs)
    • 720p - Vertical Total must equal 750 lines (on 720p capable HDTVs)
    • 960i - Vertical Total must equal 525 lines (on 480p capable HDTVs)
    • 1080i - Vertical Total must equal 563 lines (on 1080i capable HDTVs)
    • 1440i - Vertical Total must equal 751 lines (on 720p capable HDTVs)
Audio

A previous poster included a link to the optical mini to TOSlink adapter at http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?&DID=7&Partnumber=180-968&AID=1457483&PID=1885783 . If you are impatient, and have other Macs, you might consider running to your local BestBuy and get the Turtle Beach Audio Advantage. It is a USB based audio card (USB to optical out) which includes the mini adaptor. It costs about $25.

This device supports Mac OS X, so your older Mac may now do optical out, including Dolby Surround 5.1 from your DVDs! (I still have to test this, but that's what the box indicates.)

Artifacts

I get an odd jitter when playing 24fps (23.xxx) Quicktime on 30fps (29.97) 1080i settings. I am guessing this is due to the lack of pulldown in the video, but gives a clear indication of why pulldown is done! The 540p (non-interlaced) setting avoids this problem.

Links

Some above info is from:

http://www.keohi.com/keohihdtv/experttips/markrejhon/htpc_superguide.html

This one is also very helpful:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=206854

---

Carlos D
===
my music
http://music.altamar.dynalias.org/


[ Reply to This | # ]

irrational exhuberance
Authored by: CarlosD on Mar 20, '06 06:14:34PM

Quick audio update:

I just tried the Turtle Beach adapter to see if it would give me 5.1 out and it will not. Oh well. At least it will give me digital (optical) stereo out until the last mile and will not require me to change cables when I swap the iBook for the MacBook Pro.

---

Carlos D
===
my music
http://music.altamar.dynalias.org/



[ Reply to This | # ]
irrational exhuberance
Authored by: daran on Mar 21, '06 03:22:57AM

AFAIK 5.1 digital audio uses a compression scheme. Even most audio cards for the PC can not drive 5.1 over a digital link, unless it is supplied in compressed form, as it is coming from (eg) DVDs. Since macosx doesn't feed audio in compressed form directly, this can not work. Nor would it on most PCs.

PS: correct me if I'm wrong;-)



[ Reply to This | # ]
irrational exuberance
Authored by: CarlosD on Mar 21, '06 09:02:21AM

You are right, in part and you are wrong, in part. ;)

5.1 digital audio (aka Dolby Digital, AC3, a52, et al.) is compressed. However, Mac OS X can deliver the stream straight from the DVD out to the digital optical output. If your machine has optical out (PowerMac G5s or Intels), you will see an Audio Output option in the DVD Player's Disc Setup preference. Select "Digital Output - Built-in Audio" and the 5.1 stream is sent unmodified.

The Windows drivers for the USB card I have allows the digital stream to be fed from DVD -> USB -> Optical Out (for XP and 2000). Unfortunately Mac OS X's DVD Player only does the direct digital out trick with Built-in Optical out, not USB.

I am now looking into whether VLC will allow me to route the 5.1 stream through USB. Wish me luck!

p.s. Yes, I can spell exuberance! :D

---

Carlos D
===
my music
http://music.altamar.dynalias.org/



[ Reply to This | # ]
VGA->Component Video - Breakout Box or Adapter?
Authored by: mxcantor on Mar 20, '06 07:52:30PM

Could someone answer this definitively, I've seen conflicting posts. To connect the mini to component video, can I just get a VGA->component video adapter or do I need to purchase one of those transcoder/breakout boxes?

Thanks,
Max



[ Reply to This | # ]
VGA->Component Video - Breakout Box or Adapter?
Authored by: daran on Mar 21, '06 03:31:18AM

There is some confusion around the term "component". Technically it means that the different color components of the image are transfered using separate wires. Now for TVs this often translates to Y,Pb,Pr which is *not* supported directly on any Mac. So for this type of input you'd need a converter.

That said, many (most?) TVs have an RGB input, which also uses separate components (sometimes refered to as VGA style). For this you only need a passive adapter (cheap and no signal conversion so may have better quality). At least in Europe this tends to be supported using SCART-RGB input, even on rather cheap TVs.

Some high end TVs also have DVI input, which is the digital equivalent of RGB and by any means use it if you have it;-)



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VGA->Component Video - Breakout Box or Adapter?
Authored by: mxcantor on Mar 21, '06 04:51:54AM

Unfortuantely, I got my plasma just before they started putting DVI on all of them (good deal though - $1700 for 32 in 2004).. anyway, looking at my TV, the back has inputs that are labelled R G B H V. Now, I've seen a VGA to 5 component adapter and a VGA to 3 component adapter. Any idea what the H/V signals are for? are they necessary for 1080i?



[ Reply to This | # ]
VGA->Component Video - Breakout Box or Adapter?
Authored by: CarlosD on Mar 21, '06 09:16:15AM

The cheap VGA->Component adapters you see ($20-40, say) are specifically for certain ATI cards which have special circuitry to do RGB->YPbPr component colorspace translation. The more expensive transcoders ($150-300+) do this translation outside of the box, but I have yet to see one that is explicitly super flexible in terms of resolutions supported.

If your inputs include H and V, you should get the 5 connector cable. The H and V are for horizontal and vertical sync signals which your set may need. When searching, I saw plenty of expensive cables ($100 range), but I got one at http://www.digitalconnection.com for $25-ish. It is thick, very well shielded, and works well.

Good luck!

---

Carlos D
===
my music
http://music.altamar.dynalias.org/



[ Reply to This | # ]
VGA->Component Video - Breakout Box or Adapter?
Authored by: davec on Mar 21, '06 12:08:40PM
I use this with my Intel Mac Mini to go from VGA to Component:

VGA to Component Video Converter

Works like a charm.

[ Reply to This | # ]
VGA->Component Video - Breakout Box or Adapter?
Authored by: daled on Apr 24, '06 03:55:25PM

I tried to connect my Intel mini to my Toshiba HD projection TV via the Audio Authority 9A60 box, and only got a blank, black screen. Did you have to follow the method posted by robg, but interfacing Apple's DVI/VGA adapter and the AA 9A60 box between the mini and the TV?



[ Reply to This | # ]
VGA->Component Video - Breakout Box or Adapter?
Authored by: ronozer on Mar 23, '06 01:18:50PM

YES, you must use a breakout box to go from DVI to VGA to Component Video (blue Green Red RCA cables). Audio Authority has one I am using, it cost $129 and does use an AC adapter so you need power. With this box I can pretty much only do 960p, 1080i and 480p on DisplayconfigX from my mini....And I still need to adjust the damn porches some more!



[ Reply to This | # ]
VGA->Component Video - Breakout Box or Adapter?
Authored by: robwrongshoes on Jul 11, '06 10:53:09AM

Here's what I was told by a tech who has done several of these. Specifically, this was his response when I told him I was thinking the best solution was to buy a convertor box like the AA 9A 60 and then optimizing the picture using SwitchResX:

"While it is technically possible, this conversion is not recommended. You will never achieve resolution approaching hd. In fact, with capture conversion you will actually loose resolution. Simplify your project by adding an hd tuner from your local cable company or sat provider. Most of the newer boxes feature a passthrough dvi or HDMI connection. Once you've done this, you can then connect your mac through the cable box. Your TV should still be able to connect to the box using traditional component inputs. Enough data will flow through to produce a real hd image."

So anyway, based on what he told me, I called my cable provider and they said they can trade out my old Motorola HD cable box (no HDMI or DVI passthrough inputs) for a new Motorola box that does feature DVI inputs. The icing on the cake-- it's a DVR. Yes, the DVR service is going to be $10 more a month, but I was going to have to pay around $120 for a new AA 9A 60 and another $10 for SwitchResX, so I'm ahead of the game for year one in terms of price, plus I avoid having to make resolution adjustments and I finally get DVR service (much to my wife's chagrine).

Anyway, I'll let you know in two days when they come out with my new box if it worked as planned. If not, I'll be bummed, but at least we'll have explored a potentially good alternative.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: satishd on Jul 03, '06 06:54:19PM

AMAZING! After 3-4 months of struggling this post hit the bulls eye. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR IT. Now I can watch in 1080i resolution with my mac mini and my RGB enabled pioneer 505hd. Great stuff. Thanks again .

Will EAGERLY await the overscan hack for the pioneer - hope you can mail me when you find out satishd AT yahoo



[ Reply to This | # ]
Connect a mini to an older RGB-only HDTV
Authored by: rmcinnes on Nov 29, '06 01:25:39AM

For reference: I reviewed your notes, and found them very handy on both topics...
a) Windows XP Remote Desktop access to Apple Mac Mini.
b) Getting Mac Mini connected to my Sony Wega TV

a) Downloaded and installed UltraVNC 1.0.2, and ran the Viewer (I have no need for the Server).
http://ultravnc.sourceforge.net/, down load is free.
Log into the IP address of the Apple Mac Mini, using the name and password set in Systems Preferences/Sharing/Apple Remote Desktop.

Resolution set to 800x600 (interlaced), 60 Hz (NTSC) which creates less flicker on the Sony Wega TV in DRC-MF: DRC1250 mode [double number of lines and dots] than PAL
1024x768 also works fine with UltraVNC 1.0.2, but text is too small to be viewed on the Sony TV.

I was unable to included a sample screen capture from UltraVNC 1.0.2, running on my Sony VAIO.

b) The Apple DVI to S-Video adaptor ($25.00) worked just fine for me. The picture is a little short of the full screen all around 5mm, and the left hand egde has a small 5 mm full height S bend in it. I would like to get figure out why and fix it.
I have been looking for a DVI to Component Video Conversion, but find it is expensive and feel it will probably not improve performance. Any thoughts would be apreciated...



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