Big Monitor (Updated)

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 15th, 2006, 07:00
Category: Mac mini

I mean REALLY big monitor.

big-monitor.jpg

I just plugged my new Mac mini in to the digital input on the back of my TV. I need to do some tweeking to the settings on the TV to get the picture really crisp, but it’s pretty encouraging that it just works right out of the box. I did have to make one change in the display settings on the computer (turned off overscanning or something). One more thing: Front Row looks SICK on the big screen. Good bye Windows Media Center! (Contributed by: Aaron Smith)
UPDATE: 2006-0315:
Click through for more details on Aaron’s setup…


I mean REALLY big monitor.

big-monitor.jpg

I just plugged my new Mac mini in to the digital input on the back of my TV. I need to do some tweeking to the settings on the TV to get the picture really crisp, but it’s pretty encouraging that it just works right out of the box. I did have to make one change in the display settings on the computer (turned off overscanning or something). One more thing: Front Row looks SICK on the big screen. Good bye Windows Media Center!
UPDATE: 2006-0315:
The TV is a Panasonic PT-53WX54J that we got a Costco about a year ago. The mini is connected via DVI cable directly to the DVI port on the back of the TV.
Overscanning is on by default, and does seem to improve the picture quality, but the actual picture is too large to display completely, so I had to turn it off. Only the top of the dock was visible, and there was no menu bar. The mini defaults to a resolution of 1920×1080 (original picture) which actually doesn’t look that good. The menu bar is basically unreadable, desktop icons and fonts need to be enlarged in the Finder view options (these do not change the size of menu bar fonts, something I have yet to figure out how to do), and even at the highest available settings some things are still difficult to read from the couch. The real problem is that the only other options for resolution settings are 720×480 and 640×480, too horribly large to be useful. So the mini is lacking a middle ground in resolutions. I need to look into the picture zoom settings on the TV, as that may offer a way to improve the Overscanning situation. I currently have to use Universal Access magnification when I need to read anything in detail, something I hope to correct using software soon. For web browsing you can always increase the display font size, but that tends to mess with layout on web pages. There are a couple of different utilities that change some system settings but so far TinkerTool hasn’t produced any good results and Unsanity’s haxies don’t run on Intel yet.
The great thing is that FrontRow looks absolutely amazing. Whatever resolution issues I’ve had with the computer display are solved as soon as you hit the Menu button on the little white remote. The big luscious icons sparkle on the big screen and then menus are easy to read. DVD’s look great and the optical connection into the receiver produces cinematic sound on an Onkyo 7.1 system. It’s a little problematic navigating movies, as there’s no way to organize them. All the movies from iTunes are grouped into one large section organized alphabetically. Things that are organized into playlists in iTunes, like TV shows ripped from DVD, aren’t accessible in an organized manner.
There’s still some work that I need to finish before it’s ready for prime time (no pun) like setting up a Buffalo TeraStation for media storage and programming the Harmony 880 remote with the Apple remote signals, but it’s coming together. It’s a work in progress, but isn’t everything these days?
(Contributed by: Aaron Smith)

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