6 Replies Latest reply: Jun 21, 2011 10:46 AM by squierjosh
squierjosh Level 1 (10 points)

I've got a G4 Mac MIni and a 42" plasma tv with the goofy 1024x768 resolution. I've hooked up the Mini to the tv with a DVI to HDMI cable. Works great and everything is crystal clear. One problem: The odd native resolution of the tv. It has a 4:3 ratio but obviously the tv is 16:9 shape, so it uses rectangular pixels. Everything is stretched horizontally. This isn't a problem watching movies in VLC, because it has built-in tools for dealing with this. But everything else is weird.

 

So, my question is...is there a way to send a different signal to the tv so it can display a 16:9 resolution? I mean, if a DVD player is sending widescreen signal, the tv recognizes it and converts it on the fly and everything is crystal clear. Why can't I do that with my Mini? Or can I? Whenever I select a different resolution in System Prefs, the signal is lost. Unfortunately, my plasma doesn't have a VGA input to try.


Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.5.8), 1GB RAM DVI-HDMI cable 42" Insigna
  • Euchre Level 4 (1,275 points)

    DVDs are lower resolution than 1024x768, so some upscaling is not hard to do and keep things looking decent. Also, DVDs being a standard definition format, although high quality standard definition, are still nominally a 640x480 resolution - which is a 4:3 aspect ratio. This is why it would fit fine. Nothing can change the fact that your TV is natively 4:3, and no adjustment to a 16:9 signal input is going to make your pixels break into more horizontally than are there.

  • squierjosh Level 1 (10 points)

    Then how does the tv adjust the 16:9 signal from over-the-air broadcasts? It's 16:9 and displayed on a 4:3 monitor beautifully. No stretching, no blurring.

  • Euchre Level 4 (1,275 points)

    Going from 16:9 to 4:3 is not stretching, its compressing. The TV signal doesn't 'ask' what the resolution of the TV is, you just get what you're sent. The computer on the other hand does check with the device to see what the resolution of the display is, and only wants to send what the display is set up to handle. Because it reports a 4:3 resolution, the computer only wants to send that - despite the fact the TV is displaying it in a 16:9 shape. Normal displays computers are designed to work with use symmetrical pixels (square or round), not the rectangular ones your display uses.

  • squierjosh Level 1 (10 points)

    Ok, I see the difference now. You'd think there would be a way to bypass that though. It's not a big deal, since when I watch videos in VLC, it actually has a feature to compress the video to 4:3, so then it looks like a normal 16:9 resolution, not stretched. Glad I learnd something today!

  • Euchre Level 4 (1,275 points)

    You could try forcing a 16:9 resolution with SwitchResX or something similar. Because the signal is then going to have to be converted again to 4:3, then stretched back out to a 16:9 shape using said 4:3 re-interpreted signal, it may not look as good as you hope. You can try though. Hard saying how well the TV will work with it until you do.

  • squierjosh Level 1 (10 points)

    Actually, I tried plugging the HDMI-to-DVI cable into the regular HDMI port, rather than the HDMI/DVI port on the tv and the mini let's me use 1280x720 resolution, but yeah, it doesn't look too good. My tv does let me adjust for a 4:3 ratio, but it just adds grey space to the sides. I can live with it the way it is. Just something to think about for my next tv purchase.