I was having a similar problem with a 24" Dell U2410 1900x1200 display connecting to a mid-2011 mac mini. The fonts were fuzzy and colors washed out. I was using HDMI to HDMI.
I changed the input to use the HDMI to DVI dongle on the mini and connected it via a DVI cable to the DVI input on the monitor and it is now working fine. The fonts are crisp and the colors look good. Not sure if this will help you as you say you have used a lot of cable/input combinations but it worked for me.
Also having this issue. Just got the mini today. I have a HP2311x monitor with a 1920x1080 resolution. 3 out of 4 times it will boot and the screen will be fuzzy and extend beyond my monitor to about where the physical outside edges are. If I open the display settings and go from 1080p to 1080p (PAL) and back again, it'll fix it everything will fit the screen and be crisp.
I've also had it go from fitting the screen to extending past the screen in the fuzzy state after the mini went to sleep. I will try the HDMI to DVI.
Both the monitor and the cables work fine with my PC, so I don't think they are the problem.
Just got my 2011 mac mini, hooked up to LG 22" HDTV (22lg31) and am experiencing the exact same issues as you and others. This HDTV was connected to my older mac mini (2006) via dvi-vga and looked great. Not so with the new HDMI-HDMI. Was on the phone with Apple twice; they suggested a new cable; went out and bought new cable.... no difference. Took the mini into local apple store; they hooked it up to 3 different displays (an older HDTV, a thunderbolt display and a 40" sony HDTV), all looked great. The "genius" suggested I zap the PRAM when I get home with the LG connected; didn't make a difference! Picture still is marginal, text is blurry. I turned down the sharpness on the HDTV as others have suggested, better, but not satisfactory. HELP!
"Just an update. Using the supplied HDMI to DVI seems to have fixed the problems. Haven't had a problem at start up or after waking the computer up from sleeping."
No, this didn't fix the problem, it merely ignores it. Both ports are supposed to work properly, and one doesn't and there doesn't seem to be much to do about it. If I have a bad leg, putting most of my weight on my other leg doesn't fix the problem, it just lets me walk...
I'm experiencing the very same issue you had with your monitor. Mine is a different brand (Westinghouse24" L2410NM), but the issue is the same...Basically,I connect my brand new Mac Mini to my 24" monitor, and it results in a fuzzy and grainy image, with washed-out colors, and text so blurry it's difficult to read. I'm sure you are familiar with what I describe.
Did you ever get this resolved? I have the same problem with the same monitor connected to my 13" MBP (Feb'11) via MiniDisplayport to HDMI adapter. My screen looks like pixelated (as if anti-aliasing was off with fonts) and sharpness is turned way up, except I have the monitor set to "0". Audio works fine.
The recent EFI updates and Thunderbolt software updates haven't helped.
I think this all boils down to Apple looking at HDMI output not being used for a "monitor" ( something you will sit in front of and need to be able to read text on all day ) something about the way they are generating the signal is making some TVs "manipulate" the image, which mangles things at the pixel level.
I have seen some reference to changing settings on the TV for sharpness and other "image enhancement" settings, which makes perfect sense. If the TV isn't "massaging" the image it should look just as it should coming out of the computer which is a 1920x1080 60Hz screen image, shift that size by one pixel and it's going to be distorted since that isn't what is being displayed.
After messing with my TV settings for hours, apparently some have a "dot for dot" setting that sounds like it removes ALL processing of an HDMI image that seems to work. I was able to get it pretty good by taking down my sharpness and turning off some other smoothing options, but it's not acceptable to me for use while writing code sitting 3 feet from the screen.
I purchased an Apple "Mini DisplayPort to VGA adaptor" apple part number MB572Z/A and used the VGA input on my TV, which works almost perfectly, I can make out every pixel on the screen.
I'm not sure if the HDMI to VGA would work as well, and I have not tested it.
Part of it I'm thinking is the overscan adjustment in display settings, if you fiddle with that you can see the size of the image changing which means that the display needs to "process" them to make them display at that size, and I think the image quality issues are a side effect of that.
Also if you look at the display information under "about this mac" under "more informatio" under "Graphics/Displays" when using HDMI it has a setting called "Television:" and it's set to Yes.... this means that it knows it's a TV and can be sending out the image in a way that confuses some TVs, but the other implication is that they could actually fix it if they wanted to spend the time to give some more adjustments to increase the chances of it working with a random TV model.
It's interesting that it now knows exactly what adapter I'm using and that there is firmware on it....
VGA is an analog standard and I was wondering if the thunderbolt spec included analog outputs on it, I'm guessing it doesn't and that the adapter has some hardware that is taking the displayport output and making it analog....... but I'm not sure and I haven't taken the time to look at the specs.
Having said all that I am having some odd problems, the pixels are clear over most of the screen width, but in some parts a little fuzzy, I can adjust this on my TV to make them clear in most areas, but I seem to have a cloudy zone that I can't get rid of. But I can deal with that.
I'm also having a random screen wobble that comes and goes, everything will just shift a bit to the left and right through a cyclical pattern for about 15 seconds, then settle out, I suspect this is some type of variance in the analog timing for the VGA signal, could be the adaptor..... I'm going to work on that with Appls support and see if I can swap it out and get some improvement there.
Hope this helps somebody, and hopefully Apple will warn people that the HDMI may not give them "monitor" level quality, but would be fine for using it to display movies and such on a TV in pretty much all cases, maybe that is the design goal.
Message was edited by: kevinKl4 - fixed a typo
Summary: Connect both the HDMI and a miniDVI to VGA adaptor to the same monitor, choose Mirroring, and see if that fixes things.
Maybe this will help...I was going nuts like everyone else dealing with this issue over HDMI on my MacMini i5 2.3GHz connecting to a Vizio M320vt that I just bought...before this, I was using a VGA/USB switch to connect the Mini and a DualG5 to the same Samsung monitor...however, when I tried connecting to the Vizio RGB/VGA using the same set up, I couldn't see the 1920 X 1080 as an option on either Mac, and when using a 1280 X 768 setting on the Mini that worked just fine, switching to the DualG5 just wasn't cutting it and I'd end up with only the Mini connecting properly and the DualG5 being reported as "invalid format".
After trying all the suggestions here and elsewhere for our HDMI problems, just by chance, I reconnected the miniDVI to VGA so that both the VGA AND HDMI (as 1080p) were connected to the Vizio at the same time and I turned on Mirroring...having both connected at the same time seems to have fixed my problems...now I can see the crappy HDMI 1920 X 1080 output of the MacMini, but now I can see (and choose) a perfect 1920 X 1080 RGB/VGA output of the MacMini AND the DualG5 can see and choose the 1920 X 1080 output too! Weird...but wonderful!
Had the same issues.
I simply could NOT work out why the image was so grainy and fonts pixelated. Turns out that the sharpen default on my Samsung 22" full HD LED LCD was set to factory default of 50%. Changed it to 5% and GORGEOUS!!!!!!!
My Samsung is model is series 5 UA22D5010. It is white and clear perspex. My Mac setting is 1080p NTSC 60 HHZ with underscan to fit menu bar. All is simply superb now. Hope this small tip helps!
My computer is i5 Mac Mini 2011 model. HDMI output.
I just messed around with my HDTV monitor 24" and my MacMini AGAIN... After reading many suggestions, I checked the connections being used from the tv to MacMini. I discovered I had BOTH the HDMI cables AND the Apple Mini DVI to VGA cables connected... No wonder the display which defaulted to the HDMI, was so lousy, very blurry, etc. SO.. I shut everything down, removed the HDMI cables, then the sequence of turning everything on is critical (I believe): First turn on monitor, then turn on MacMini (which had previously been SHUT DOWN). This gives the Mac the ability to recognize the resolution and settings. Now it is 93.87% improved!!! lol
Don't just look at the Mini. Take a look at the menu in your TV / Monitor. Usually (this goes for Samsung Monitors) it'll have some setting 'PC/AV Mode', which by default (on Samsung panels at least) is set to AV for HDMI connections... meaning that stuff like PAL/NTSC (and other things) suddenly influence the screen size, causing all sorts of problems, like overscan / underscan issues. You'll recognize when it's in TV mode, because the screen is then way to bright to be used as a personal computer when using a HDMI cable, and it's fine when you were using a DVI cable just a moment ago...
For Samsung monitor users: Set the screen mode to PC (OSD 'menu' -> setup & reset -> PC/AV Mode) and your problems will be solved. For TV users: many modern TV's that support 1080p 1:1 ('perfect') pixel mapping also have a per connection (HDMI1, HDM2, etc.) setting like this in their respective menus (my Sony Bravia does at least). The Mac Mini works fine on both, only because of this setting. Just my two cents.
For Philips HDTV users.my parents had a relatively old LCD Philips HDTV. Older LCDs will only give pseudo-sharp image when sharpness is set to -0- even if it is 1, it gets really bad, not crisp at all. But the limit on the LCD versions are still not the most crisp. I have the same model, same screen size of TV at home but it is only the LED version, there is no problem on that one, I get the Windows-like-crisp image. It is not about the mac mini I suppose as most BootCampers get crisp display on Windows, there may be a fix on the HDMI issue on 10.7.3 maybe as many other users are not able to get sound via HDMI this time. I was about to sell mine but at least for Philips LED versions there is no problem. With the LCD i used four different cables, so switching between different cables is just a waste of money if you have such plans for a solution.