1920x1080 vs 2560x1440 - iMac to TV 1080p - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-26-2012, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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iMac to HD TV 1080p via Mini Display Port to HDMI...
Which iMac would fit perfectly for mirror displays with a 1080p TV?


- The 21.5" iMac has exactly the same resolution as a the 1080p TV (1920x1080), meaning that on both displays the image will be native, without overscan or stretch (black bars).

- The 27" iMac though, has a bigger resolution, (2560x1440), meaning that on the iMac, you will get black bars, to stretch to the same resolution as the TV has, 1080p (1920x1080).


I get this on my 13.3" MacBook that has a 1280x800 resolution:

- When I connect it to the TV via MiniDVI to HDMI, I have to select 1344x756 and use overscan, to get a full image on the TV, even if on the MacBook I get small black bars above and below the screen, and I get an usable resolution of 1280x756.

- If I select 1080p, then the MacBook will use it's full resolution of 1280x800, BUT the TV will have black bars left and right.


I was planing to wait for the next generation of iMac with retina display, and use it as a HTPC and connect it to my TV, but I guess that if I want to let the TV connected all the time with mirror display, and get the full resolution on the iMac and TV, the actual 21.5" iMac it's the only solution.

Even a 21.5" iMac with retina display will work bad for it's screen dimensions, that would be a lot bigger than the TV resolution, so it will have to adjust to that resolution by lowering the screen size with black bars on the iMac.


Am I right?
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-16-2012, 09:57 AM
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The best solution would be to use the latest generation Apple TV and Mountain Lion when its released on July 25th. The Apple TV will greatly simplify your resolution issues assuming you are only worried about streaming video. Mirroring provided in Mountain Lion will also make it easier to use OSX on the TV in general.
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-16-2012, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shortcut3d View Post

The best solution would be to use the latest generation Apple TV and Mountain Lion when its released on July 25th. The Apple TV will greatly simplify your resolution issues assuming you are only worried about streaming video. Mirroring provided in Mountain Lion will also make it easier to use OSX on the TV in general.

Thanks for the tip, but Mountain Lion will stream to ATV only iTunes content...I am interested in watching TV shows from Safari also, and MKV from the NAS.

I won't be converting all my movie collection to mp4, to be able to stream to ATV, and Safari will not be available for ATV...only iTunes content.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-16-2012, 12:11 PM
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but Mountain Lion will stream to ATV only iTunes content

where did you read this? You'll be able to mirror (stream) just about anything that's on your Mac, that includes Safari content or mkvs that you happen to be playing on your desktop. It's similar to what we're doing right now with iPads "display mirroring" to Apple TVs.
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I won't be converting all my movie collection to mp4, to be able to stream to ATV

Neither will I, right now if I want to watch an mkv or avi on an Apple TV I just use Air Video on the iPad then airplay it over. You can Airplay all sorts of non-iTunes content to an Apple TV.

I actually don't understand your other initial problem...who says you have to mirror your displays? Don't mirror, and your Mac can drive your HDTV independently at its native res. Test this right now...close the lid on your Macbook and it'll do 1080p on your HDTV just fine, then just control the Macbook remotely. But, I do agree with shortcut3d, if you aren't that technical and either can't afford to (or don't want to) dedicate a Mac for your living room HDTV, the next best thing is just put an aTV3 there as long as you have a Mac somewhere in the house that supports Mountain Lion Airplay mirroring. Your life will be much simpler.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-16-2012, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

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but Mountain Lion will stream to ATV only iTunes content
where did you read this? You'll be able to mirror (stream) just about anything that's on your Mac, that includes Safari content or mkvs that you happen to be playing on your desktop. It's similar to what we're doing right now with iPads "display mirroring" to Apple TVs.
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I won't be converting all my movie collection to mp4, to be able to stream to ATV
Neither will I, right now if I want to watch an mkv or avi on an Apple TV I just use Air Video on the iPad then airplay it over. You can Airplay all sorts of non-iTunes content to an Apple TV.
I actually don't understand your other initial problem...who says you have to mirror your displays? Don't mirror, and your Mac can drive your HDTV independently at its native res. Test this right now...close the lid on your Macbook and it'll do 1080p on your HDTV just fine, then just control the Macbook remotely. But, I do agree with shortcut3d, if you aren't that technical and either can't afford to (or don't want to) dedicate a Mac for your living room HDTV, the next best thing is just put an aTV3 there as long as you have a Mac somewhere in the house that supports Mountain Lion Airplay mirroring. Your life will be much simpler.

I hope you are right, but from what I read, you can't airplay everything, just from iTunes. I am not sure though.

If you are right, then you are right, ATV would be the best solution, even though I had a 720p ATV with XBMC, and it was a pain in the rear to watch a 1080p mkv...so many lags VIA ethernet (via wi-fi was imposible).

I hope the new ATV willbe different.

Thanks for the info.

Right now I am waiting for the iMac update...what are the chances to see a retina iMac this year?

I would go for a Mini, but the price just doesn't worth comparing it to the iMac.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 05:31 AM
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I hope you are right, but from what I read, you can't airplay everything, just from iTunes.

That's why I asked you for a link, I wanted to see who was giving you bad advice...
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The best solution would be to use the latest generation Apple TV and Mountain Lion when its released on July 25th. The Apple TV will greatly simplify your resolution issues assuming you are only worried about streaming video. Mirroring provided in Mountain Lion will also make it easier to use OSX on the TV in general.

shortcut3d is giving you some good advice here, if you'll have a Mac in the house that can run Mountain Lion and supports Airplay mirroring, the aTV3 instantly becomes a very attractive add-on.
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even though I had a 720p ATV with XBMC, and it was a pain in the rear to watch a 1080p mkv

probably because the aTV1 and 2 didn't actually support 1080p, as in, they weren't inherently powerful enough to handle it. Best to buy the right tool for the task: I have an aTV1 with a Broadcom Crystal HD card that can easily play back full-size MakeMKV bluray rips, and output 1080p to a 1080p display, unlike any other version of aTV. Back when I had an aTV2 I tested it with some smaller 1080p files and like you got mixed results, didn't see much point in that, though, since it would still only output as 720p.)

Besides the hacked aTV1, we also have an aTV3, it's quite nice right now for Airplay from an iPad and Netflix streaming, well worth the $85 refurb price solely as an iOS accessory.
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Right now I am waiting for the iMac update...what are the chances to see a retina iMac this year...I would go for a Mini, but the price just doesn't worth comparing it to the iMac.

Everyone expects the iMac and Mini line to be updated very soon. Depending on your priorities, a Mini can be a better value proposition than an iMac: it's quiet and very green, even the low end model is plenty powerful enough to handle full size MakeMKV blu-ray rips, the mini retains its resale value insanely well, it is much easier to upgrade yourself, there's room inside for two hard drives, which means you can shop for an SSD on your own and pop it in there rather than paying Apple for one and it has HDMI built-in which (usually) makes it easier and less expensive to connect to an HDTV. If you shop well, roughly for the price of a 2011 iMac you can get a 2011 Mini, an iPad 2/3 and an aTV3, which isn't a bad value proposition.

Have you successfully gotten your Macbook to do 1920x1080 with the lid closed while connected to your HDTV? If you need help, let me know, I used a Macbook just this way for several years.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 06:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you.

Yes, curently I am using a MacBook conected to the TV, but I can't get 1920x1080 resolution...I can select 1080p from the display sttings, but I get left and right black bars on the TV, so I set it to 1344x756 to get a full screen.

That's because the MacBook has 1200x800 resolution and a 16x10 format, and the TV has a 16x9 format.

I guess it will happen the same with a 27" iMac, but with a 21.5" iMac will work just fine because has the exact same resolution as the TV, and when I use Mirror displays, the TV will have the same resolution and format.

I doubt that a 21.5" iMac has the same price as a Mini+iPad 3+AppleTV. You know that I would still have to buy a wireless keyboard and mouse if I get a Mini.

Actually, after I realised that with mountain lion I can stream everything to the Apple TV, the iMac it's the better solution now, because I would use the iMac in another room, and stream to the TV from the livingroom via the Apple TV.

This way I can watch everithing in 2 rooms with the iMac compared to the Mini that would work only in the room where the TV is.

Thank you for the tips.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 01:04 PM
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Yes, curently I am using a MacBook conected to the TV, but I can't get 1920x1080 resolution...I can select 1080p from the display sttings, but I get left and right black bars on the TV, so I set it to 1344x756 to get a full screen...That's because the MacBook has 1200x800 resolution and a 16x10 format, and the TV has a 16x9 format.

Again, no, that's not correct, it doesn't matter what the resolution of the Macbook built-in display is, mine is 1280x800 just like yours and I have no trouble driving a 1080p native HDTV display at 1920x1080. Neither should you. You shouldn't need to set your Macbook to 1344x756, when you do that with a 1080p HDTV you're compromising the final quality of the image on the HDTV. If you care to try: plug your Macbook into power, connect to your HDTV and wait until you see the desktop on it, then close the lid putting it to sleep, wake the Macbook from sleep with the Apple remote (or a USB mouse plugged in) and see what happens, it should self-select 1080p, if it doesn't, then open the lid of your Macbook, its display will stay off, but you can use the trackpad to go up to the display menu icon drop down and select 1080p manually. Why you'd want to do this is to focus all your RAM and graphics capability on driving one display, the HDTV.
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I doubt that a 21.5" iMac has the same price as a Mini+iPad 3+AppleTV.

I usually see the entry 21.5" iMac for $999 as a refurb from Apple, the low end 2011 Mini refurb is $519, the 16GB iPad 2 refurb is $319 and the the refurb aTV3 is $85. That adds up to $923. Put the extra toward RAM, a second hard drive, a mouse and KB, whatever. (Frankly, the iPad 2 is a steal at $319 and will stay relevant for a very long time. The retina display on the 3 is sweet, but we're talking bargain shopping here.)

My main consideration in suggesting this is to get an iPad in your hands, I find it invaluable.
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after I realised that with mountain lion I can stream everything to the Apple TV, the iMac it's the better solution now, because I would use the iMac in another room, and stream to the TV from the livingroom via the Apple TV

The 2011 iMac is very nice, even now at 14 months old it's a good machine, and there's no doubt an Ivy Bridge refresh will be even nicer. We have a 24" iMac that's a few years old and still love it.

But, you'll still have to be able to control the iMac to tell it what to do, that isn't hard, you could screen share in with your Macbook, but it is something to consider: convenient, seamless control is worth striving for in the home theater, and the simpler that is, the better. We most often turn to the little Apple remotes to control our aTV3 and 2011 Mini running XBMC, and we always have one iPad in the living room to Airplay, act as a remote control and to screen share.
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

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If you care to try: plug your Macbook into power, connect to your HDTV and wait until you see the desktop on it, then close the lid putting it to sleep, wake the Macbook from sleep with the Apple remote (or a USB mouse plugged in) and see what happens, it should self-select 1080p, if it doesn't, then open the lid of your Macbook, its display will stay off, but you can use the trackpad to go up to the display menu icon drop down and select 1080p manually. Why you'd want to do this is to focus all your RAM and graphics capability on driving one display, the HDTV.

i tried...I get 1080p but I get black bars on the TV, left and right. Panasonic 50VT20 plasma.
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I usually see the entry 21.5" iMac for $999 as a refurb from Apple, the low end 2011 Mini refurb is $519, the 16GB iPad 2 refurb is $319 and the the refurb aTV3 is $85. That adds up to $923. Put the extra toward RAM, a second hard drive, a mouse and KB, whatever. (Frankly, the iPad 2 is a steal at $319 and will stay relevant for a very long time. The retina display on the 3 is sweet, but we're talking bargain shopping here.)
My main consideration in suggesting this is to get an iPad in your hands, I find it invaluable.

I have an iPad 2 64GB...next year I will get a new one, with retina. Now I am waiting to see if the new iMac will have retina, anc choose between the iMac and Mini. If I will get the iMac I will get a superb display and more performance, for just 80€ more, because with the Mini I would still have to buy a wi-fi keyboard, a trackpad, and a DVD Superdrive.
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The 2011 iMac is very nice, even now at 14 months old it's a good machine, and there's no doubt an Ivy Bridge refresh will be even nicer. We have a 24" iMac that's a few years old and still love it.
But, you'll still have to be able to control the iMac to tell it what to do, that isn't hard, you could screen share in with your Macbook, but it is something to consider: convenient, seamless control is worth striving for in the home theater, and the simpler that is, the better. We most often turn to the little Apple remotes to control our aTV3 and 2011 Mini running XBMC, and we always have one iPad in the living room to Airplay, act as a remote control and to screen share.

I plan to do the same: run XBMC on the iMac, that will be controlled via wi-fi with the iPad or iPhone with RowMote or Hipporemote, and watch it on the iMac display, or on the TV, with mirroring to the AppleTV.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-18-2012, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

If you care to try: plug your Macbook into power, connect to your HDTV and wait until you see the desktop on it, then close the lid putting it to sleep, wake the Macbook from sleep with the Apple remote (or a USB mouse plugged in) and see what happens, it should self-select 1080p, if it doesn't, then open the lid of your Macbook, its display will stay off, but you can use the trackpad to go up to the display menu icon drop down and select 1080p manually. Why you'd want to do this is to focus all your RAM and graphics capability on driving one display, the HDTV.

Update:

I tried to open the MacBook from sleep using HippoRemote for iPhone, and you were right...if I do this WITH the lid closed, it works perfectly 1080p smile.gif

Before, it looks like I was trying only with the lid open...I never thought that like this would work.

The problem is that ONLY 720p movies are playing flawless. All 1080p movies have big lag. My MacBook black early 2008 should be the cause for that? It's a 2.4 ghz core 2 duo 2GB ram.

If I will get an iMac 2011 or 2012, I will have no problem, or the cause could be the MKV that was not properly encoded?

The movies are stored on a Time Capsule connected to the MacBook via cat 6 gigabyte.

Even if I copy the movies to the MacBook's HDD, I get the lag, so I hope the MacBook it's the problem, and not my "fake NAS" Time Capsule.
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post #11 of 11 Old 07-18-2012, 03:13 PM
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The problem is that ONLY 720p movies are playing flawless. All 1080p movies have big lag. My MacBook black early 2008 should be the cause for that? It's a 2.4 ghz core 2 duo 2GB ram

I still have the Macbook just prior to yours, a 2.0 C2D Santa Rosa Macbook, w/ 6GB of RAM and very fast drives inside it could play most of my 1080p content w/ an assist from XBMC--it couldn't handle all of my MakeMKV blu-ray rips full-size, maybe 60% were fine, back when I was using the MB in the home theater I just ran the troublesome ones through Handbrake to end up with a 5-6GB file (using presets that are roughly what the Handbrake aTV3 preset is now.) It was able to play those fine. So, max your RAM, really, 2GB? My 15" Powerbook had 2GB of RAM in 2003, and try putting a faster drive inside and I suspect you'd see better results. But, the fact is, those machines weren't able to do a perfect job with full-size blu-rays, no matter how you tried to eek out that little bit of extra performance. You need something circa 2009-2010 for pretty solid 1080p playback. In your case, even though you have a decent CPU, you're RAM-starved, and the X3100 in your MB shares from main RAM, so no excuse not to upgrade to 4 or 6 GB of RAM--that might be all you need to do. I'm still keeping my 2007 Macbook around because with an SSD inside it's like a new machine.
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Even if I copy the movies to the MacBook's HDD, I get the lag, so I hope the MacBook it's the problem, and not my "fake NAS" Time Capsule.

Right, if you're having trouble with a movie, make sure you test that movie by playing it locally, i.e. when stored on your boot drive, so you can compare that to when it plays back from the Time Capsule--that'll help you rule out a network problem.
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or the cause could be the MKV that was not properly encoded?

well, best only to deal with MKVs that you've ripped and transcoded yourself, then you only have yourself to blame.

Once you go to 4GB of RAM minimum, you may have to experiment with the OS version and XBMC version to see which gives you the best overall performance. Until you get an aTV3 and iMac that is...
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