1080P LCDs (~40") that are Mac Mini (DVI) compatible? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 167 Old 02-15-2007, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been looking for a LCD monitor for my Mini that can double as a computer monitor and HD device. A Mini (DVI/HDMI), a Denon upscaling DVDPlayer (HDMI) and a second DVD player (component) will be hooked up. No interest in cable or other TV. Future -- some kind of HD DVD player once the format war is over.

I want something that is truly Mac compatible at 1080P (1080x1920) over DVI for computer monitor use. Meaning: no overscan. No underscan (black borders). No undocumented hacks to get it to work.

As an example of what I want to avoid: Sony Bravia KDL-40V2500 which only officially supports computers only over VGA, and needs to be hacked to do 1080P over HDMI from a Mini. Or some other LCD (I forget which) where the owner was quoted: "There is no way to get rid of the black borders (underscan), but the picture is so good I don't notice them anymore".

I have no wish to drop a couple of grand on a device that "almost" works. I want one that is so compatible I'll forget it's not an Apple Cinema Display (and has an excellent picture quality).

Any and all advice appreciated -- thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 167 Old 02-15-2007, 10:43 AM
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I hooked up my PowerMac G4 to a Westinghouse 42" 1080P monitor using DVI to DVI and it had no overscan or underscan and quality was decent. I believe they even have a 47" version now for under $2000.
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post #3 of 167 Old 02-15-2007, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bommai View Post

I hooked up my PowerMac G4 to a Westinghouse 42" 1080P monitor using DVI to DVI and it had no overscan or underscan and quality was decent. I believe they even have a 47" version now for under $2000.

Thanks! What is the 42" model number (47" is too big for my space)? And you say decent -- that doesn't have the sound of an enthusiastic endorsement -- could you elaborate?
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post #4 of 167 Old 02-15-2007, 11:37 AM
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I don't want to hijack this thread, but it might be a good idea to make a list of all current displays that are Mac compatible. If we can do this, I can add it to the FAQ and we can reduce the number of threads like this.

So, if anyone can both help Ted and contribute something of use to everyone, please post it here!
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post #5 of 167 Old 02-15-2007, 11:56 AM
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Ted, check the flat screen forum here. The Westinghouse is a well-rated budget LCD.

IMO, if you are going to be using the monitor for movies, go with a plasma. A bit more $ than an LCD, but a decent plasma will have much better blacks and better overall PQ than any current LCD, IMO. For the new Panny 1080p review, see this: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=804728
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post #6 of 167 Old 02-15-2007, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Further View Post

I don't want to hijack this thread, but it might be a good idea to make a list of all current displays that are Mac compatible. If we can do this, I can add it to the FAQ and we can reduce the number of threads like this.

So, if anyone can both help Ted and contribute something of use to everyone, please post it here!

It sounds like a great idea to me -- no hijacking has occurred!

Ryan: that Panny looks great, but it is too big at 50". And unless I'm missing something I don't think a plasma can really be used as a computer monitor (programming, e-mail, etc.)
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post #7 of 167 Old 02-15-2007, 12:26 PM
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The westy 37w3 is a great 1080p lcd for the price ($1k give or take a couple ben's). I like the 37" for my MacBook via dvi, as it gives me a nice crisp image for doing desktop work. I think that it is the perfect compromise between size, resolution, features (hdmi, 2 dvi, 2 component, vga), and cost. It works without a snag on the Intel Mini and MacBook with the Intel 950gpu. 1:1 pixel perfect, no under or overscan. While maybe not the best lcd, picture-wise, the price/performance/feature ratio can't be beat.
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post #8 of 167 Old 02-15-2007, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov View Post

... unless I'm missing something I don't think a plasma can really be used as a computer monitor (programming, e-mail, etc.)

As long as the native resolution is the same, a plasma's panel usability as a computer monitor should be similar to an LCD. The only issue I can see, is that if you really must have a 42"-er, your choice may be very limited currently, since 1080p is being implemented in 50"+ by most manufacturers.

Hey, if you can at all swing it, get the 50"..., just knock down a wall, or something:-)
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post #9 of 167 Old 02-15-2007, 04:08 PM
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I have the Westinghouse 37w1 in my office that I use for computer screen and TV watching in my office. It works very seemlessly over DVI. I assume the 37w3 and the 42 inch model would work the same. They are basically big computer monitors. They even have a power saving mode like a monitor.

I just bought the Sony 40" XBR for my kitchen/dining room. It was a bit more expensive than the 2500, but it too worked flawlessly with my mini and my macbook over DVI to HDMI (after one restart). I love my Westinghouse, but I have the two screens side by side right now. The colors, particularly the flesh tones are much better on the Sony -- not even close. You get what you pay for.
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post #10 of 167 Old 02-15-2007, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for all the answers!

What is the exact model number for the Sony XBR? And you get the whole desktop at 1080P over DVI -- no over/underscan?
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post #11 of 167 Old 02-16-2007, 01:39 PM
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KDL-40XBR2

There is an option under the video controls that allows you to use a pixel by pixel mode.
Menu > Screen Settings > Display Area > Full Pixel

Just put the screen in Full Pixel mode, connect DVI to HDMI, restart your Mac and the Sony acts just like a 1920 x 1080 computer monitor.
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post #12 of 167 Old 02-17-2007, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, tommylotto! That Sony XBR does sound very tempting, and I'd be willing to spend the extra grand over the Westy for better PQ and greater reliability (???). I've had my existing set (a widescreen multi-standard Sony CRT) for over 7 years now, and still works as well as the day I got it -- even the remote still works with the original batteries (!!!) so I do have brand loyalty, although I realize the Sony of today may not be that of 1999.

One last totally OT question: has anyone tried playing PAL DVDs to one of these 1080P sets using an upconverting DVD Player (I have a Denon)? Does it work without setting the player in some sort of PAL to NTSC translation mode? Or is the Mini (Apple DVD Player/or VLC) a better bet -- that works fine with my ACD, so it should work with a 1080P. I have a large PAL collection and my CRT is native PAL 100HZ, so I'm afraid of going backwards in PQ in that respect.

What is the refresh rate on LCDs anyway? If I open the "display" panel on my Mac it just lists different resolutions, it doesn't say anything about refresh rates -- as far as Macs are concerned they apply to CRTs only(?)
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post #13 of 167 Old 02-17-2007, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov View Post

One last totally OT question: has anyone tried playing PAL DVDs to one of these 1080P sets using an upconverting DVD Player (I have a Denon)? Does it work without setting the player in some sort of PAL to NTSC translation mode? Or is the Mini (Apple DVD Player/or VLC) a better bet -- that works fine with my ACD, so it should work with a 1080P. I have a large PAL collection and my CRT is native PAL 100HZ, so I'm afraid of going backwards in PQ in that respect.

I have the opposite of you -- quite a few NTSC discs. Isn't the region code more a problem for you? Well, anyway, before Apple updated the OS so that VLC would no longer be region free, I played both NTSC and PAL and saw no difference between them. But I am displaying this on a projector, so perhaps it is not the best judge.
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post #14 of 167 Old 02-17-2007, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Further View Post

I have the opposite of you -- quite a few NTSC discs. Isn't the region code more a problem for you? Well, anyway, before Apple updated the OS so that VLC would no longer be region free, I played both NTSC and PAL and saw no difference between them. But I am displaying this on a projector, so perhaps it is not the best judge.

Yes, region codes are a problem, which is why I would rather play DVDs on my region free Denon 2910 than the Mini. My fear is that the Denon won't work with the 1080P Sony XBR and PAL DVDs. I have it currently setup so it plays NTSC DVDs as NTSC, & PAL DVDs as PAL. I have no idea is it can properly upscale PAL DVDs in that mode. (And its PAL to NTSC translation is not a viable option).

My alternative solution is to set the Mini to region 2, use it for PAL DVDs and use the Denon for NTSC DVDs, and any R4 PAL stuff I'll just have to rip to de-regionalize.
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post #15 of 167 Old 02-17-2007, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov View Post

My alternative solution is to set the Mini to region 2, use it for PAL DVDs and use the Denon for NTSC DVDs, and any R4 PAL stuff I'll just have to rip to de-regionalize.

That could be a good solution for you. There is also a free program called Fair Mount. This program will mount an image of your DVD that is region-free. However, if you don't have a fast machine, it might be a problem because it does not just mount the image and quit -- it feeds the data from the DVD to the image continuously. But, my machine is not especially fast and it worked fine for me.
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post #16 of 167 Old 02-19-2007, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov View Post

As an example of what I want to avoid: Sony Bravia KDL-40V2500 which only officially supports computers only over VGA, and needs to be hacked to do 1080P over HDMI from a Mini.

Is this actually true? I've seen the V2500 hooked up to a PC running at 1080p, perfectly pixel-for-pixel. Admittedly not a Mini, but still. Should be the same, right? And hey - I swear on the Apple site they show a Mini hooked up to a V2500.

Okay, it actually looks like a lower model. But that's neither here nor there. Anyone have a V2500 working with a Mini?
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post #17 of 167 Old 02-19-2007, 03:02 PM
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Eh, Ted, I hate to do this to you...:-) Normally I would not advise on waiting for new technology, but you've lived with your tube happily until now, and may be able to live with it for a few months more, so I'll chime in:

The flat panel world is about to change. 1080p SEDs are about to be introduced by Toshiba, in Q2. Others are about to follow shortly. The prices are supposed to be at Plasma/LCD levels.

If you can wait a few months, it might be a wise decision (I was about to make the jump to a 65" plasma, but decided to wait until the end of the year, since I can live with my current set up, and think that the change within the next few months will be significant.)

I have LCDs, and personally would not use one for more than casual movie watching. They are great for computer work, but for movie viewing, I'd much rather have a lower resolution plasma, than a 1080p LCD: the difference is kind of like comparing offset printing to digital printing (there is just something off about the latter.)

SED promises to address some of the glaring shortcomings of LCD, while keeping the price down and giving it some of the 3D feel of plasma. The early reports are positive.

If you can wait a few months, it may be you best bet.
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post #18 of 167 Old 02-19-2007, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango Charlie View Post

Is this actually true? I've seen the V2500 hooked up to a PC running at 1080p, perfectly pixel-for-pixel. Admittedly not a Mini, but still. Should be the same, right? And hey - I swear on the Apple site they show a Mini hooked up to a V2500.

Okay, it actually looks like a lower model. But that's neither here nor there. Anyone have a V2500 working with a Mini?

According to the Amazon reviews, it has to be hacked to run 1080P over DVI from a Mini. That doesn't mean it can't be done, it just means that is not supported and requires an above and beyond effort to work. That may not be a problem for many people here. In my case, since I am buying an LCD specifically to work with a Mini and possibly a future MacPro, I want something that is plug & play. Such LCDs obviously exist and I want one of them.
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post #19 of 167 Old 02-19-2007, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ryan1 View Post

Eh, Ted, I hate to do this to you...:-) Normally I would not advise on waiting for new technology, but you've lived with your tube happily until now, and may be able to live with it for a few months more, so I'll chime in...

Ryan, I can happily live with my tube for another year -- the thing is I'm not getting this to replace the tube, I'm getting it to replace my dying Apple Cinema Display, and that can't wait another 6 months. I have to get *something*. Maybe Apple will come out with new ACDs by the end of the month, and one of them will be very tempting. But if not, the Sony XBR2 is looking good. It doesn't need to be better than my tube, just better than the dying LCD.
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post #20 of 167 Old 02-25-2007, 04:39 AM
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Im posting this from a wireless keyboard on a 50 inch plasma screen. So, yes, you can use a plasma as computer monitor. Make sure you research on this site the LCD problems some are having with certain brands, banding and fogging of the screen befor you jump in.
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post #21 of 167 Old 03-01-2007, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov View Post

According to the Amazon reviews, it has to be hacked to run 1080P over DVI from a Mini. That doesn't mean it can't be done, it just means that is not supported and requires an above and beyond effort to work. That may not be a problem for many people here. In my case, since I am buying an LCD specifically to work with a Mini and possibly a future MacPro, I want something that is plug & play. Such LCDs obviously exist and I want one of them.

I've hooked up my 46V2500 to both a MacBook Pro and Intel Mac Mini via DVI -> HDMI and for both machines the TV performed flawlessly, displaying 1080p at 1:1 pixel mapping. I didn't have to do any 'hacking' of any sort with DisplayConfigX or SwitchResX. Since the 40V2500 and 46V2500 are identical except for their size, the 40 would work with a Mac Mini too.

EDIT: The Mini could only do 1080i, not 1080p. The MBP could output 1080p.
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post #22 of 167 Old 03-01-2007, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Lau View Post

I've hooked up my 46V2500 to both a MacBook Pro and Intel Mac Mini via DVI -> HDMI and for both machines the TV performed flawlessly, displaying 1080p at 1:1 pixel mapping. I didn't have to do any 'hacking' of any sort with DisplayConfigX or SwitchResX. Since the 40V2500 and 46V2500 are identical except for their size, the 40 would work with a Mac Mini too.

Dan, I could hug you. This is the news I've been looking to hear. Coincidentally, today I saw the 40V2500 dropped to an all-time new low price at local B&M stores. It's purchase time! W00T!

Perhaps the difficulties occur with the G4 Mac Minis?
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post #23 of 167 Old 03-02-2007, 12:50 AM
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Slight correction to my my post above - the MacBook Pro did 1080p with the V2500, but the Mac Mini could only do 1080i, both @60Hz. I couldn't tell the difference between the two.

Tango - just make sure you get the TV from a place with a good return policy. I have no problems with mine but others have complained of cloudiness on dark scenes. There's lots of info in the LCD Flat Panel Display section of AVS Forum.
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post #24 of 167 Old 03-02-2007, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Lau View Post

Slight correction to my my post above - the MacBook Pro did 1080p with the V2500, but the Mac Mini could only do 1080i, both @60Hz. I couldn't tell the difference between the two.

Which is exactly why I won't be touching this model with a barge pole. I don't want something that's 1080i to use as a computer monitor!

Buzzyboy and Ryan, I appreciate your heartfelt plasma preference, but as Ryan said there are no 40" 1080P plasma's and I'm not about start knocking down walls to accommodate a 50". Indeed the main reason I haven't pulled the trigger yet is my concern that even a 40" might be unreasonably large to use as a monitor, though I'm sure I'll get over it

So far suitable models from this thread are:
Westinghouse 42" 1080P (less expensive)
Sony KDL-40XBR2 (better picture quality, better remote, probably better customer support in case of need).

Other recommendations for plug & play with a Mini 40" 1080P LCDs welcome. Thanks, guys!
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post #25 of 167 Old 03-02-2007, 09:25 AM
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I have no problems with mine but others have complained of cloudiness on dark scenes. There's lots of info in the LCD Flat Panel Display section of AVS Forum.

Yeah, I've been following that. Though it sounds like the problems go away with time, or with a couple litle tricks. We'll see. I've yet to see a *demo* model with a problem.

Shame about the 1080i... would be nice to have a plug & play solution. I wonder if the new 40v3000 would solve the problem, whenever it comes out. Probably a ways off...

I want to steer clear of the XBR2 because of the bright, glowing Sony logo that's on when it's running, and also I personally feel the glass bezel looks silly. And it seems more expensive than its worth.
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post #26 of 167 Old 03-02-2007, 03:20 PM
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I wouldn't get too hung up on resolution. It is way down the line in the factors relating to perceived picture quality. Unless you really going to use it as a computer monitor (as in sitting a foot and a half in front of it, I'd worry more about the other factors.

But if you really want mostly a large, good computer monitor, then take a look at the 30" Apple, which can be found for less than $1,600 (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPL...hhpM%2AYWiOJuw)

As to resolutions, see this: http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5137915-1.html and take a look at post #3 here http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=813755
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post #27 of 167 Old 03-02-2007, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan1 View Post

...
But if you really want mostly a large, good computer monitor, then take a look at the 30" Apple, which can be found for less than $1,600 (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPL...hhpM%2AYWiOJuw)

I agree, it is one of the ones I'm seriously considering, but please keep in mind: the 30" ACD has a much higher resolution and does not work with Minis or Macbooks. You need a MacPro or MacBookPro to drive it.
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post #28 of 167 Old 03-02-2007, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov View Post

Which is exactly why I won't be touching this model with a barge pole. I don't want something that's 1080i to use as a computer monitor!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov View Post

Shame about the 1080i... would be nice to have a plug & play solution. I wonder if the new 40v3000 would solve the problem, whenever it comes out. Probably a ways off...

I think the fact that my MacBook Pro does display 1920 x 1080p on the the V2500 indicates that the Mac Mini doing 1920 x 1080i is a limitation of the Mini and not the V2500. The Intel GMA 950 is capable of 1080p output, so I suspect the 1080i maximum on the Mini is the result of its limited 64MB shared graphics memory.
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post #29 of 167 Old 03-03-2007, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Lau View Post

I think the fact that my MacBook Pro does display 1920 x 1080p on the the V2500 indicates that the Mac Mini doing 1920 x 1080i is a limitation of the Mini and not the V2500. The Intel GMA 950 is capable of 1080p output, so I suspect the 1080i maximum on the Mini is the result of its limited 64MB shared graphics memory.

The Intel mac Mini can handle 1080p just fine. Sometimes the Mini reports in the display preferences that it is outputting 1080i, but the display reports it is getting 1080p. Somebody flipped a bit in the software, and there is nothing wrong with the Mini's 1080p output.
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post #30 of 167 Old 03-03-2007, 05:12 AM
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My Mac mini (G4) works just fine with a Westinghouse 42w2 42" LCD monitor. The Westinghouse has 2 x DVI inputs, 1 x HDMI and 2 x component. No overscan, perfect pixel mapping. It's a thing of beauty
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