11 Replies Latest reply: May 30, 2006 12:19 PM by Ayabara
Ayabara Level 1 (0 points)
I'm having a lot of trouble making my htpc setup work, and I desperately need some help. I really like the mini, but if I can't get this working I'm gonna sell it.

I have tried connecting with a VGA-DVI adapter, and with DVI-HDMI, but neither has worked as it should.

DVI-HDMI: After turning off overscan I got a 1280*720 image that was offset towards the top left of my screen. I thought that the TV should recognize 720p and scale it up to my tv's native resolution like it did when I tested 720p from a friends Denon DVD-player, but it didn't. I tried experimenting with the timings using displayconfigx, but still no luck. I managed to get a picture that covered the whole screen, but with overscan, and after dcx was installed, the option to remove overscan was gone. The home page says that to shrink the image I should increase porches and decrease active area, but won't this give me an image with a lower resolution that 1280*720? What can be the difference between 720p from the Denon and from the Mini that makes my TV not understand it? Is the overscan coming from my TV or from the Mac?

VGA: When I connect this way the whole screen is filled when I see the boot screen (apple logo on white background), but suddenly the tv goes blank and says "out of range". I tried to use dcx here too. I chose a "conservative" 1280*1024 setting with timing parameters from my tv's manual, but the same thing happened. No matter what resolution I choose, the TV always complaints that the signal is out of range. When I tried to connect my Dell laptop to my tv it worked at once. Even if I removed all available resolutions except the one I setup in dcx, the same thing happened.

I'm getting really really frustrated with these problems, and I hope someone can point me in the direction of a solution.

Take care.

Intel Mini, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • BSteely Level 5 (7,635 points)
    I'm not sure I can help you, but I can offer some comments on what might be happening.

    You mention that you were able to get the screen filled using DCX but the image was overscanned. That may be the best you will be able to do over DVI. I am guessing that when the Denon is connected to the TV, there is also overscan. So to answer one of your questions, it is the TV that is overscanning. You just aren't aware of it with the Denon because there aren't things on DVDs that tell you for sure where the picture edges begin.

    I am mystified as to why the mini won't drive the TV over VGA. You mention that your Dell laptop will. What is the resolution and refresh when the Dell is working? I can't help but think that if you get the mini to the exact same operating point, the TV would have to work. This may require that you use the Dell (or some other computer) to make a VNC connection to the mini so that you can control the mini's Display Preferences (from the other computer) even while it is giving a blue screen on the TV. If the Dell is working to your satisfaction over this port, I am sure you can get the mini to as well.
  • dunawaydk Level 1 (10 points)
    I've had my Mini hooked up to a Samsung LR-R238W 23" LCD TV (http://www.samsung.com/Products/TV/LCDTV/LNR238WXXAA.asp) using both the DVI and VGA connections at the 1366x768 resolution with great success. The only issue I had was that I needed to turn off the overscan setting in order to not have the Menu Bar located off-screen.
  • dunawaydk Level 1 (10 points)
    I should also point out that I am using fairly expensive cabling.

    For VGA connections, I purchased the Belkin PureAV™ Super VGA Home Theater Cable - http://catalog.belkin.com/PureAVdetail.process?Merchant_Id=&ProductId=174190

    For DVI-to-HDMI, I purchased the MONSTER® ULTRA SERIES THX® 800 HDMI TO DVI VIDEO (Red Jacket) from Best Buy. They also carry the 600 Series (Blue Jacket) which is less expensive.

    My Mac Mini moves between a 42" Panasonic Plasma TV, the 23" Samsung LCD TV, and a Viewsonic 20" Widescreen LCD Monitor.

    I've used the Belkin cable to connect to all three with great success, as well as using the DVI-to-HDMI cable to connect to both of the TVs.
  • Ayabara Level 1 (0 points)
    If the picture from the denon player is overscanned too, it can't be by much. If that was the case, wouldn't you notice pretty quickly that some of the important info in the picture was missing? If not the filmmakers would have to keep overscan issues in mind when shooting the film

    I think the Dell used 800*600 or 1280*1024 @ 60Hz, but I don't remember for sure. I agree that the mini should work at the same operating point, but I haven't found it yet... The VNC tactic sounds like a good idea. I'll have to read up on this though, since I'm both a mac and a vnc noob
  • Ayabara Level 1 (0 points)
    The 1280*720 image I currently have is of a very good quality. Could better cables really make the TV "understand the format better"? For VGA I could believe this, but I used the same VGA cable when the Dell worked. DVI-HDMI being digital, I would think that since I see no noise, the cable is good enough?
  • dunawaydk Level 1 (10 points)
    With my Samsung, the User Manual specifically called out the only supported computer resolution was 1366x768. It didn't reference hooking the computer up via the HDMI port, only the VGA port. Since I tried it first via HDMI, that's when I had to find the overscan option and disable it in order to be able to find the Menu bar.

    What is the picture situation when the Mini is set to output 1366x768@60Hz?

    I'm wondering if you're in the same boat I am when hooked up to the Samsung LCD TV - only supports one config.
  • Ayabara Level 1 (0 points)
    1366x768@60Hz via VGA you mean? I haven't tried it yet, but the manual lists a number of resolutions that are allowed using VGA. HDMI supports only 480p, 720p and 1080i.
  • dunawaydk Level 1 (10 points)
    Either - when I connected the PC to the Samsung 23" LCD TV via VGA or the HDMI connection, the only usable/working configuration I got was to set it to 1366x768@60Hz with overscan disabled (which matched what the manual stated).

    I return to WA this evening from CA - I'll reconnect via HDMI and provide additional feedback. I'll also attach my Toshiba M3 Laptop using both VGA and HDMI and let you know what the results are...
  • Ayabara Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks a lot for helping!

    Had some progress last night. Used the vnc server approach to fiddle with displayconfigx, and managed to get a (really) decent picture.

    The setting I have is 1360*768@75Hz, but it don't seem to be as wide as 1360 on the screen. I have tried to setup 1366*768, but it haven't worked yet. I think I may have to dig up some complete setting with porch and syncwidhts and stuff...
  • Josh Newman Level 1 (100 points)
    Just to let you know, when DVD transfers are made filmmakers are very aware of overscan issues and accomodate for it.

    All TVs cut off the image to some degree, and films and tv programmes are shot with this in mind.

    Have you managed to get the HDMI connection working? Before buying a mac mini I have to find out if it will drive my friend's LG monitor...
  • Ayabara Level 1 (0 points)
    Using hdmi, the native 1280*720 image is all I have managed to display.

    After I used the vnc approach, however, I have gotten a decent picture using vga. 1360*768 or something like that.