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post #1 of 131 Old 11-16-2006, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Guys and Girls,

Can anyone tell me the where abouts of a good step by step tutorial for SwitchRes X? I have a Intel Mac Mini and a Philips 32PF9731 LCD TV.

I have connected it up via DVI-HDMI and have a problem with the image being cropped when i set the resolution to 1280 x 720. The picture displays beautifully but unfortunately i cannot see the menu bar and the dock is ever so slightly cropped.

I have been looking at SwitchRes X and i think the utility will make the necessary changes but i haven't got a clue where to start from within the App. Its probably not helpful that i have only just bought the Mac and have never used one before.

So any help would be gratefully received.

BigLee
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post #2 of 131 Old 11-26-2006, 11:00 PM
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0. All of this is easier to do if you have a portable Mac, since you can configure the external display while viewing everything on the built-in display. You can do it with only the external display (your big TV, that is), but it's tedious.

1. Get the proper cable to connect your Mac to the display (VGI, DVI, or DVI->HDMI, depending on your display's inputs; if you're using a portable Mac with only mini-DVI you'll need the adapter *and* a cable).

2. Connect the display and turn on the Mac. Launch the SwitchResX Control application (if all you're doing is setting up a custom configuration, you don't need the preference pane and thus don't need APE either).

3. In the SwitchResX Control application, select the display you want to configure in the "Settings of:" menu (if it isn't selected already) and click the "Display" tab. Then click the "Export DDC" button and select a location to save the file.

4. Using the text editor of your choice (TextEdit works, or you may have a preference for something else) open that file you just exported. You should see at least one Monitor Description Block (mine has two, labeled Descriptor #0 and Descriptor #1). This should give you a starting point. Mine looks like this:

Code:
        Descriptor #0 is Timing definition:
        Mode = 1920 x 540 @  60Hz
                H. Active...............1920 pixels
                H. Blanking.............280 pixels
                V. Active...............540 lines
                V. Blanking.............22 lines
                HSync Offset............88 pixels
                HSync Pulse Width.......44 pixels
                VSync Offset............2 lines
                VSync Pulse Width.......5 lines
                Pixel Clock.............74.25MHz
                Horizontal freq.........33.75kHz
                Vertical freq...........60.05Hz
                H Image Size............16mm
                V Image Size............9mm
                H Border................0 pixels
                V Border................0 lines
                        Interlaced
                        Sync: Digital separate with
                                * Positive vertical polarity
                                * Positive horizontal polarity
Note that the Mode is described as 1920 x 540 @ 60Hz, interlaced. It's actually 1920 x 1080, interlaced. I'm not sure why the vertical resolution is half what it should be there, but that's an important detail to note. If yours looks like it's half what it should be, you'll have to double it below. Use your common sense here.

The next step depends on what problem you need to solve. If you have a picture and you just need to adjust its position and/or size, you have the easier task and these instructions can help you. If you don't have a picture at all, the values provided by your display are invalid, and you'll have to do some research to find valid values (I can't help you find them). Search and/or ask on this forum, and also try Google.

5. Click on the "Custom" tab in the SwitchResX Control app. Click the "+" button to create a new resolution. Select "Custom" in the menu at the top (as opposed to "Scaled"). Start by entering the values in the Monitor Description Block you exported and opened in a text editor. The thing to realize as you get started is that all the numbers interact with each other, and as you change one value the application will recalculate the others if they're affected by the change. At a given resolution, the number of horizontal pixels and the number of vertical lines in each box always have to add to the same totals, and you can get those values by adding the "Active" and "Blanking" values in the Monitor Timing Block. To stick with my display, the horizontal pixel values must add up to 2200 (1920 (H. Active) + 280 (H. Blanking)), and the vertical line values must add up to 1124 (2 * (540 (V. Active) + 22 (V. Blanking))). The horizontal and vertical scan rates are calculated using those total values and the pixel clock value.

This is a very important concept to understand. With a constant pixel clock value and constant totals of Active + Blanking in both axes, the scan rates should also remain constant. If you have changed your active, porch, or sync width values and the scan rates don't add up, you won't get any picture. To use my display as an example again:

Code:
Pixel Clock 74.25 Mhz, Interlaced

            Horizontal      Vertical
Active:     1920 pixels     1080 lines
Frt. porch: 88 pixels       4 lines
Sync width: 44 pixels       10 lines
Back porch: 148 pixels      30 lines
Scan rate:  33.75 kHz       60.05 Hz
Note that 1920 + 88 + 44 + 148 = 2200, and 1080 + 4 + 10 + 30 = 1124.

6a. Adjust the values to fit your display (heh). This is the trial-and-error portion of the task, and is also slightly counterintuitive. You can get an idea of the adjustments you need to make if you use DisplayConfigX to display an "Image Size Test" (in the "Test Screen" tab). It'd make life easier if that were built into SwitchResX, but anyway:

If you need to shrink the visible area, decrease the Active value and increase the front or back porch values by the same amount. If you need to increase it, do the opposite. It helps to work incrementally (say, by multiples of 8) and save and test your work as you go along. Note that you may not actually need to restart the computer: I found that I could just unplug the HDMI cable from the back of my display and plug it back in, and the new settings would take effect. Remember to click "OK" (and not "Cancel") in the Timing Parameters window, then "Apply" in the main window, before you do this, or before you reboot. Otherwise your changes will be lost.

The porch values are counterintuitive. The horizontal "front porch" is the right edge of the screen (not the left as you might expect); the vertical "front porch" is the bottom edge of the screen. To move the image to the right, decrease the horizontal front porch and increase the horizontal back porch; to move it to the left increase the front porch and decrease the back porch. To move the image up, increase the vertical front porch and decrease the back porch, to move it down, decrease the front porch and increase the back porch. Again, it helps to save and restart or disconnect/reconnect the display to test these adjustments. The "Quick change" buttons in the bottom right-hand corner of the Timing Parameters window will adjust the porches for you, but note that in older versions the buttons were reversed (down means up and left means right, if you catch my drift). That's been fixed in version 3.7.6, apparently.

Also, remember as you adjust porch values that you shouldn't ever need to change the sync width.

6b. You know how I said you might not need to restart the computer? That's not actually 100% true for some displays. When I boot my computer with the display connected, the image is shifted to one side. If I subsequently change resolutions in software or disconnect and reconnect the display, the image will shift back. I got around this problem by first coming up with a configuration that was properly aligned after such a switch. After I had that I rebooted and estimated how far the image was shifted to one side. I then adjusted the porch values, saved, rebooted, and tested again. I now have two configurations, one for "fresh boot" that's adjusted for that sideways shift, and one I can use if I've changed the resolution for some reason. After all that, my default settings are now:

Code:
Pixel Clock 74.25 Mhz, Interlaced

            Horizontal      Vertical
Active:     1834 pixels     1024 lines
Frt. porch: 120 pixels      40 lines
Sync width: 44 pixels       10 lines
Back porch: 202 pixels      50 lines
Scan rate:  33.75 kHz       60.05 Hz
Again, 1834 + 120 + 44 + 202 = 2200, and 1024 + 40 + 10 + 50 = 1124. The Pixel Clock and both scan rates are the same as I found in the DDC.

Note also that if you have the same sideways shift problem, your two resolutions can't be identical (the system won't know which one to select). I made mine different by two pixels of horizontal resolution, which turns out to be rounded off in practice anyway (so one's 1832 x 1024, and the other's 1834 x 1024, with porch values adjusted accordingly, but they both look the same).

At this point you should be able to align your desktop to your display by iterating through these steps, applying your changes, and either disconnecting and reconnecting the display or rebooting.

7. If ever you go horribly wrong and go from having a misaligned picture to having no picture at all, you'll have to delete the override installed by SwitchResX. Boot the computer into Safe Mode, launch the SwitchResX Control app again, and click the "Factory settings" button, then the "Apply" button, and reboot.

And as a preemptive strike: no, I probably don't own your display and don't know the numbers for it offhand, and my consulting rate is $45/hr (really!).

Copyright Fedward. All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed.
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post #3 of 131 Old 11-26-2006, 11:59 PM
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Awesome post Fedward. Way to go.
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post #4 of 131 Old 11-27-2006, 06:42 AM
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Nice tutorial, fedward. I'm looking forward to trying it out. And only $45/hr? That's cheap! You in the Milwaukee, WI area?
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post #5 of 131 Old 11-28-2006, 12:42 PM
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Thanks for the tutorial.
I'm curious if this can work for non-interlaced resolutions?
(1280 x 720 as a starting point)
When I experiment with this, the custom resolutions aren't available after a restart.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
--Sheldon.

--sdm

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post #6 of 131 Old 11-28-2006, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldonmclean View Post

I'm curious if this can work for non-interlaced resolutions?
(1280 x 720)
When I experiment with this, the custom resolutions aren't available after a restart.

It will work for any interlaced or non-interlaced resolution supported by your display. It just so happens that the primary resolution for mine is 1080i (the second descriptor on mine is for 720p).

I'm guessing that your custom resolutions are out of range for your display. It really helps to start with a known-working configuration, such as the values you'd get if you export the DDC. If you're just guessing on values you're likely to guess wrong.

Copyright Fedward. All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed.
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post #7 of 131 Old 11-28-2006, 05:00 PM
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Thanks fedward.
I figured out that I need to have 'overscan' on, then shrink the active area.
(I had 'overscan off' and was trying to enlarge the active area and it would only go so far)

My next problem is that the front and back porch numbers for the left and right side seem to have no effect!
That is to say, it doesn't matter what numbers are there, the picture always is too far left or when I was doing the interlaced version, too far right.

Any thoughts about that?

Thanks,
--sdm.

--sdm

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post #8 of 131 Old 11-29-2006, 07:32 AM
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It would sure be nice to get an equivalent "intro/tutorial" to DisplayConfigX.

Doug
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post #9 of 131 Old 11-30-2006, 10:09 PM
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Thanks Fedward!!! The tutorial was solid.

I was having trouble with both SwitchResX and DisplayConfigX,
and then I followed your instructions, and now I am displaying
my Mac Mini desktop perfectly framed in my Sony 50A2000 SXRD.

I would like to add some pointers for anybody who is trying to
get SwitchResX to work with an overscanning SXRD.

I had read elsewhere that the best pixel dimensions for an
50A2000 to place the desktop perfectly within the frame is
1840 x 1020, and I can report that is accurate!

Make sure you print out the DDC Block report from SwitchResX
so you can refer to the values as you change them. (BTW -
my vertical resolution was reported correctly - not halved.)
I took the difference between my full 1920 horizontal display
area and my target 1840 display area, which was 80 pixels,
subtracted this from my active display area, and split the
difference between both my front and back vertical porch,
adding 40 to each. Then I did the same for my horizontal -
splitting the difference of 60 lines between my vertical front
and back porches - adding 30 lines to each, and subtracting
60 lines from the vertical display area.

I tried to do this manually at first, and then gave the automatic
adjustment arrows in the lower right corner a whack - and they
worked perfectly. The porches can be increased or decreased,
while the display area is kept in perfect proportion to them.
Also, in the version of SwitchResX I am using, the arrows were
not backwards, they worked properly if you remember that
the front porches are at bottom and at right (TVs scan from
the bottom to the top).

I tried also just unplugging the HDMI cable from my Mini, as
suggested, but it had no effect, so I restarted. Now here is
where I got confused the first few times - the Sony came back
up 1920x1080 - as if SwitchResX didn't commit the changes.
By chance, I opened the Display Control Panel in OSX
System Preferences, and lo and behold the new 1840x1020
option was listed there among the rest. I clicked it and that
was when the change was finally committed, and I was seeing
my menubar and full dock for the first time!

I noticed that my display area was still a smidge low, and so
I opened SRX, and this time used the translation arrows in the
upper right to raise the display area several lines (remember -
there are more than a thousand of them - so any changes less
than a few lines may not be that noticable.

During this time, I would sometimes use the OSX System Display
Control Panel to jump back to 1920 x 1080, and then snap it
back to the new 1840x1020 setting before it would "snap" to
the new settings.

Anyway - that's how it worked for me. I only was able to figure
this out with the help of the posts on this forum. Maybe somebody
will find my experience helpful.

Now - could somebody recommend the eyeTV Hybrid, Mini, or 500?
I gotta start capturing OTA HDTV!! WoooHoooo!!!!

McB
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post #10 of 131 Old 12-01-2006, 09:26 AM
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I love my EyeTV500s.

John

I swear I'll burn those downloaded Replay files to DVD!
(Someday.)
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post #11 of 131 Old 12-02-2006, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for taking the time to write the tutorial. I have solved my issues, but i think lots of people will find it really useful.
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post #12 of 131 Old 12-04-2006, 05:28 PM
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Can anyone help? ...
I've got SwichresX and DisplayConfigX (registered) and have been working on my underscan/overscan troubles.
I figured out how everything works (that I need to anyways) in both programs.
I can change my active size and move the image up or down with the vertical front/back porches.

Now here is the problem:

Horizontal front/back porch values do nothing/zero/zilch/nada for me using either program.
I cannot move my image left or right!

My Mini is a intel core dou
My TV is a Hitachi 55" LCD rear projection.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks,
--sdm.

--sdm

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post #13 of 131 Old 12-05-2006, 07:43 AM
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Two thoughts, neither of which may help...

What connection are you using? I've seen some posts that claim that DVI/VGA works better than DVI/HDMI with respect to these custom setups.

Does the TV itself have any adjustments for size/centering? My plasma does, but only for the VGA input, and that's the one I'm using (because the HDMI is used by my DVD player).

Doug
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post #14 of 131 Old 12-05-2006, 09:18 AM
 
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sweet
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post #15 of 131 Old 12-05-2006, 10:02 AM
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Hi Doug,

I'm using a DVI to HDMI cable. The TV has two HDMI, S-Video and a Coax inputs, but theres no VGA input.
I was looking for a sizing/postioning function on the tv, and it seems to only have a vertical adjustment (strange).

Thanks for the suggestions.
Any more?

--sdm.

--sdm

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post #16 of 131 Old 12-05-2006, 10:10 AM
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That IS a little strange. Sorry, I'm about out of ideas to try... With my DVI/VGA (or DVI/RGB, to use the TV's terminology) cable it appeared that 1366x768 was a few pixels off both horizontally and vertically, but much better than either the non-overscanned black bars or overscanned cropped menu bar and dock, and the TV let me adjust it a few pixels. I haven't gone back to see if SwitchResX could've done that, nor have I reconnected my DVI/HDMI to try that, since it's difficult to get to the HDMI jack on the TV given my TV setup.

Doug
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post #17 of 131 Old 12-06-2006, 09:14 PM
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Can anyone assist me with mine? Samsung HP-S4253.....

Monitor Description blocks:
---------------------------
Descriptor #0 is Timing definition:
Mode = 1280 x 720 @ 60Hz
H. Active...............1280 pixels
H. Blanking.............370 pixels
V. Active...............720 lines
V. Blanking.............30 lines
HSync Offset............110 pixels
HSync Pulse Width.......40 pixels
VSync Offset............5 lines
VSync Pulse Width.......5 lines
Pixel Clock.............74.25MHz
Horizontal freq.........45.00kHz
Vertical freq...........60.00Hz
H Image Size............1102mm
V Image Size............620mm
H Border................0 pixels
V Border................0 lines
Non-Interlaced
Sync: Digital separate with
* Positive vertical polarity
* Positive horizontal polarity

Descriptor #1 is Timing definition:
Mode = 1920 x 540 @ 60Hz
H. Active...............1920 pixels
H. Blanking.............280 pixels
V. Active...............540 lines
V. Blanking.............22 lines
HSync Offset............88 pixels
HSync Pulse Width.......44 pixels
VSync Offset............2 lines
VSync Pulse Width.......5 lines
Pixel Clock.............74.25MHz
Horizontal freq.........33.75kHz
Vertical freq...........60.05Hz
H Image Size............1102mm
V Image Size............620mm
H Border................0 pixels
V Border................0 lines
Interlaced
Sync: Digital separate with
* Positive vertical polarity
* Positive horizontal polarity

Descriptor #2 is Monitor limits:
Horizontal frequency range.......30-48 kHz
Vertical frequency range.........55-65 Hz
Maximum bandwidth unspecified
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post #18 of 131 Old 12-10-2006, 09:26 AM
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I have a Panny PT-44LCX65 and I am able to use DisplayConfigX to move the picture up/down and left/right so now that it is centered on the screen. However, overscan is still a huge problem.

Everytime I try to change the resolution however, from the native 1280x720, I get a black screen on the TV. Good thing I have a Macbook so it makes this process easier for me and I can experiment.

Does anyone have any idea why I can move the picture but not change its resolution? Here are the info from SwitchResX:

Code:
Monitor Description blocks:
--------------------------- 
        Descriptor #0 is Timing definition:
        Mode = 1280 x 720 @  60Hz
                H. Active...............1280 pixels
                H. Blanking.............370 pixels
                V. Active...............720 lines
                V. Blanking.............30 lines
                HSync Offset............110 pixels
                HSync Pulse Width.......40 pixels
                VSync Offset............5 lines
                VSync Pulse Width.......5 lines
                Pixel Clock.............74.25MHz
                Horizontal freq.........45.00kHz
                Vertical freq...........60.00Hz
                H Image Size............1102mm
                V Image Size............620mm
                H Border................0 pixels
                V Border................0 lines
                        Non-Interlaced
                        Sync: Digital separate with
                                * Positive vertical polarity
                                * Positive horizontal polarity

        Descriptor #1 is Timing definition:
        Mode = 1920 x 540 @  60Hz
                H. Active...............1920 pixels
                H. Blanking.............280 pixels
                V. Active...............540 lines
                V. Blanking.............22 lines
                HSync Offset............88 pixels
                HSync Pulse Width.......44 pixels
                VSync Offset............2 lines
                VSync Pulse Width.......5 lines
                Pixel Clock.............74.25MHz
                Horizontal freq.........33.75kHz
                Vertical freq...........60.05Hz
                H Image Size............1102mm
                V Image Size............620mm
                H Border................0 pixels
                V Border................0 lines
                        Interlaced
                        Sync: Digital separate with
                                * Positive vertical polarity
                                * Positive horizontal polarity

        Descriptor #2 is Monitor name:
                        PANASONIC-MMD
        Descriptor #3 is Monitor limits:
                Horizontal frequency range.......15-46 kHz
                Vertical frequency range.........59-61 Hz
                Maximum bandwidth unspecified
Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated! Cheers
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post #19 of 131 Old 01-08-2007, 08:41 PM
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This is all great and informative, but my cheezy plasma doesn't respond with this info. Any advice on where to start? I can't find any detailed specs anywhere. Don't say a new plasma, I'm in debt as it is.
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post #20 of 131 Old 01-08-2007, 09:55 PM
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Ha..I answered my own question by downloading SRX instead of DCX, the quick change buttons make it so easy!!
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post #21 of 131 Old 01-14-2007, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrems View Post

I was having trouble with both SwitchResX and DisplayConfigX,
and then I followed your instructions, and now I am displaying
my Mac Mini desktop perfectly framed in my Sony 50A2000 SXRD.

mcbrems, do you have an Intel Mac mini or the original PPC version? I have a PPC Mac mini and haven't yet been successful with 1080i on my SXRD 60XBR1 (which doesn't do 1080p). I'm going to try out your tips though - thanks!

Quote:


Now - could somebody recommend the eyeTV Hybrid, Mini, or 500?
I gotta start capturing OTA HDTV!! WoooHoooo!!!!

I picked up the eyeTV hybrid (European version) and it works well, although I've had the software "restart" a couple of times when flicking through channels fast, luckily not while I've been recording.
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post #22 of 131 Old 01-18-2007, 11:18 PM
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Fedward - thanks so much. This totally fixed my problems. This was really a great tutorial.

Thanks!
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post #23 of 131 Old 01-30-2007, 10:39 PM
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Thanks so much for this guide. I finally got my Philips 37PF7320A working using your info. It took a couple hours of guess/check/record/repeat. The settings for my Mac Mini (Intel) are attached.
LL
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post #24 of 131 Old 02-01-2007, 12:53 PM
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Hey guys. I have been using my TV as a monitor with Windows XP for quite a while. I used a program called Powerstrip and entered the settings in this thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=670840 so that the picture would fill the entire screen.

I have entered the exact same settings into Switchres X, but it is not filling the screen. I think that this is because it is rounding the pixel clock, but I am not sure. The pixel clock should be 79.393, but it is set to 79.39 after I save the custom resolution. Does anyone know how I can override the program to set the pixel clock at 79.393 instead of 79.39? Is there a different program that might work better for what I am doing?

Thanks!
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post #25 of 131 Old 02-11-2007, 09:56 AM
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I just spent the last hour and a half configuring SwitchRes X on a PPC Mac Mini with my 26" Samsung TXP2670WHX so I figured I would share my numbers. I'm new to this sort of stuff so it might not be the best possible configuration, but it's centered and fills the screen on my particular TV. At the very least it should get you into the ballpark.

Pixel Clock: 74.11 MHz
Non-Interlaced

Horizontal:
Active - 1136 pixels
Front Porch - 145 pixels
Sync Width - 40 pixels
Back Porch - 333 pixels
Scan Rate - 44.807 kHz
Positive Sync - checked

Vertical:
Active - 656 lines
Front Porch - 39 lines
Sync Width - 10 lines
Back Porch - 42 lines
Scan Rate - 59.982 Hz
Positive Sync - checked
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post #26 of 131 Old 02-11-2007, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by stim View Post

I have entered the exact same settings into Switchres X, but it is not filling the screen. I think that this is because it is rounding the pixel clock, but I am not sure. The pixel clock should be 79.393, but it is set to 79.39 after I save the custom resolution. Does anyone know how I can override the program to set the pixel clock at 79.393 instead of 79.39? Is there a different program that might work better for what I am doing?

Thanks!

Did you install OS X on the same computer/video card, or are you now trying this on a Mac? If they are different computers it might just be an issue that the video cards are different?

If I were you I'd just go start from scratch using the guide that was posted here. It's pretty good and should send you in the right direction.
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post #27 of 131 Old 03-12-2007, 01:19 AM
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Resolution 1366x768 NATIVE RESOLUTION i.e.

I am running the 1920x1080 mode now, but the menus on the bottom (dock) care halved though the screen seemed to be filled up.

However, if i turn off the overscan or uncheck it, it's better, i can see the dock but it leaves black thick bars on both sides.

Please help me to display the mini on full widescreen.

Thank you
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post #28 of 131 Old 04-18-2007, 01:32 PM
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Has anyone managed to output 1080p/24 from their mac?
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post #29 of 131 Old 04-19-2007, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kriskent View Post

Resolution 1366x768 NATIVE RESOLUTION i.e.

I am running the 1920x1080 mode now, but the menus on the bottom (dock) care halved though the screen seemed to be filled up.

However, if i turn off the overscan or uncheck it, it's better, i can see the dock but it leaves black thick bars on both sides.

Please help me to display the mini on full widescreen.

Thank you


Hi, you seem to be having the same problems I had, but I'm using a pioneer 5070HD. The only way I could get rid of the overscan crap and the huge borders was to give up on DVI -> HDMI, and hook up via VGA with a DVI -> VGA adapter.

The apple then detected the display differently and gave me different modes to play with, i.e. treated it like a monitor rather than a TV. I now get a full screen with no lost edges.
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post #30 of 131 Old 04-20-2007, 07:27 AM
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listy and kriskent,

SwitchResX, which is the topic of this thread, should be able to help you solve your problems. I had the same problem. Bars on left and right, or bars on top and bottom, or black all the way around. Then I downloaded SwitchResX, followed the tutorial posted at the beginning by fedward, and bam! Now my display fills up my screen, edge to edge to edge to edge. It wasn't real easy to comprehend for a commoner like myself, but it ended up being pretty easy to do, following the tutorial.

Thanks fedward!
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