12 Replies Latest reply: Dec 3, 2012 9:51 AM by Susan Hull
Susan Hull Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

I've tried two 24" TVs/monitors as second displays with my imac9,1. Both are sold as dual purpose--either TV or computer display--and both are HD resolution @ 1080. In both cases the perceived resolution is poor. I'd decribe it as grainy, with poor contrast, in spite of extensive adjusting and calibration of the software available with each and physical monitor settings. As televisions, both deliver a great picture, but as monitors, they are terrible.

 

I don't need fancy graphics or cinema, but I do need good resolution for documents--letters and numbers--that I hope would come near what the iMac delivers. I'm not knowledgeable about display technology, and I sure would appreciate some recommendations.

 

Thanks for any help you can give me.


iMac (24-inch Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • 1. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,040 points)

    First ... have you set the second display as "extended", to allow independently adjusting the external?

  • 2. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    Susan Hull Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Thanks for your reply.

     

    I haven't run across such a setting. Just checked sys prefs>displays, and there's no 'extended' option there. Where should I be looking?

  • 3. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,040 points)

    "Arrangement" ... uncheck "Mirror Displays".

     

    Note the white bar on one of the two displays as you select "above", "left", right", ... that white bar makes one or the other the "primary screen, with menu bars".

  • 4. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    Susan Hull Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Thanks. Mirror Displays was already unchecked. The white bar is over the iMac display.

     

    This may have no bearing, but I do use them for separate purposes--iMac displays my Mac apps that are open all day (browser, Office apps, other), and on the second display I run Windows in Parallels (I trade stocks, and my main trading platform is Windows only).

  • 5. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,040 points)

    How does Parallels look on your primary display?

     

    Parallels does "estimate" Windows image and maybe that "best guess" is not so great on large monitors.

     

    Have you tried with another non-Cinema second monitor, if you have one?

  • 6. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    Susan Hull Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Parallels on iMac is sharper, or "cleaner" may be a better word. Mac display is just easier on the eyes overall. With the trading platform straddling the two monitors, the edges of the fonts are what stands out, along with the warmer color profile overall.

     

    I've tried to calibrate the Windows font-smoothing software several times, but I don 't seem much change, if any. Second display is set at its warmest (physical settings) and w iMac color profile in prefs--warmest of all the options, but still quite cool to my eye.

     

    I didn't know that about Parallels. Useful to know. Thanks.

     

    Haven't tried another monitor except a different flat-screen TV. I'm using the better one (Hanspree) now. May help to borrow somebody's single-purpose monitor for an hour to see if it makes a difference.

     

    One question: As you know,1920 x 1200 monitors are harder to get now. Do you think that makes enough difference in resolution to justify the additional cost? The extra 120 pixels doesn't seem like much, but I do stare at these monitors all day long, and I know eyestrain is an issue with the Hanspree.

     

    Thanks for your help with this.

  • 7. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,040 points)

    TVs do not lways make the best computer displays.  I checked the specs of several and found that with most graphics cards they could not reproduce full HD, probably because the burden IS on the computer's card and not on the TV/monitor's card.  I ended up getting an LCD monitor that had a TV tuner and TV-style inputs, and it is very sharp image.

     

    As to "additional cost worth it", you said you stare at these things all day.  I work from home and bought a Tempurpedic office chair from Stapes because it is just sooooooooooo comfortable for sitting long periods -- cost $250 on sale from $300.

  • 8. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    Susan Hull Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    If a standalone monitor will deliver the resolution, I'm very happy to spend more. Just don't want to throw a bunch of money at one and find it doesn't make a difference. Wish the TV/monitor units I've tried were clearer in their claims of being decent monitors, when they're just not.

     

    Thanks for your help, Steve.

  • 9. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,040 points)

    BestBuy has a lenient returnpolicy.  Try LED monitors until you find one you like.

     

    As to TVs being good monitors ... I doubt they ever will, as long as they dedicate themselves to "fast football-action-response-time.  And they also space pixels for viewing at 15+ ft instead of monitor-use distance 4 ft.  All very fuzzy about making a prefect-image device that lets a 15-ft-distant image be crystal clear.

     

    Also, this looks interesting for a 27 in LED that also does TV, if you need an LED monitor that does TV to minimize cost by combining: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=23826 44&CatId=1046

  • 10. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    Susan Hull Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Wow. This is all great information. I had no idea these differences existed, and almost certainly the differences are at the heart of my problems.

     

    Don't need a TV. Just had them, so tried as a second monitor, thinking a pixel was a pixel was a pixel. Sounds like a monitor made as a monitor will likely be much better and solve the problem. I will definitely shop around. Thank you SO much, Steve.

  • 11. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,040 points)

    Glad to help.

  • 12. Re: Can't get good resolution on second monitors
    Susan Hull Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    PS: Love your avatar/icon. Had one of those in 1984. Sure never imagined then the kinds of conversations we'd be having about Macs now!