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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Oct 28, 2008
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    Displaying Macbook on LCD TV
    I want to display my Macbook on my LCD TV, purely to watch videos. I've looked for answers around online but posts seem to get specific and I don't know how applicable they are to my equipment.

    I run a 13" Macbook (OS X 10.5.5) and my TV is a Panasonic Viera LCD. There's a connection port marked "PC" to the back of it which looks like it fits a DVI connection. It also has 2 HDMI ports.

    Can anyone explain to me what I need? Any help greatly appreciated.

  2. #2


    Member Since
    Jan 16, 2008
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    314
    Excellent question. It wouldn't be DVI on your TV, it would be VGA. I know because I just checked the TV models for Panasonic Vieras. Do you have a new Aluminum Macbook or the last gen black/white ones?

    If you have an Aluminum one, you'll need a mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter but if you have the black/white ones you'll need a mini-DVI to VGA adapter. You will also need a VGA cable (whatever length works best for you) which connects from your TV to the Macbook VGA adapter. You can probably find one at any electronics/computer store like Circuit City and Best Buy for sure. That's all you need really. The Macbook should notice the connection right away.

    For Laptop to TV audio: get an RCA stereo cable which connects your headphone port to the Red and White standalone ports at the back of your TV. This will send the movie's sound to your TV instead of it being played from your laptop.

  3. #3

    walkum13's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 23, 2008
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    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 2.4 ghz/Iphone 4/Ipod 4th Gen/More Coming I'm sure, too bad for my wallet ;)
    I just bought this:

    DVI-D Dual Link Male to HDMI Female Adaptor HDTV Plasma - eBay (item 320313747884 end time Oct-28-08 16:42:54 PDT)

    to hook up with the Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter.

    I was going to buy the VGA but then I found out that the max output was 640 x 480 vs. the DVI/HDMI which was 1920 x 1080. Either way you will need an audio cable for sound and since they're the same price why not buy the one with higher resolution??

    Edit: I bought the adapter since I move my laptop and sometimes watch it on my friends TVs. Everyone has a plain HDMI cable but most don't have a DVI to HDMI cable. If you're primarily going to be using it only on your TV then buy a DVI to HDMI cable. Those are around 10-20 bucks on Amazon.

  4. #4


    Member Since
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    TV VGA doesn't do up to 1024 x 768? Are you sure? Well if that's the case then get the DVI to HDMI cable from Best Buy or whatever and the mini-DVI/mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter from Apple. As previously stated the HDMI won't transfer audio because it's only sending a video signal. Get the audio cables as well and you're set.

  5. #5

    walkum13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by livinitup1 View Post
    TV VGA doesn't do up to 1024 x 768? Are you sure?
    Not really. I know VGA supports only to 640 x 480 but that was "1987 VGA."
    There is SVGA, XGA, SXGA, UXGA and so on and so forth. XGA can do 1024 x 768 but VGA cannot. I've been trying to find out in 2008VGA = XGA but I can't seem to find it. All I find is VGA.

    What you are saying makes sense to me: it is stupid that they wouldn't update the tech especially if it's that old. That being said, I'd still go with the HDMI set up since it will ultimately result in a higher resolution on your screen.

    Edit: HAHA!! I found it, livinitup, you are right via Wikipedia "VGA was officially superseded by IBM's XGA standard" and now it's called Super VGA rofl. But still, it only does (1024 x 768)....apparently QXGA does (2048 x 1536) wish they went with that

  6. #6

    ADKhikerVW's Avatar
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    Aug 18, 2007
    Location
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    Specs:
    15" Unibody MBP (2009), White MB (2009), iMac G4
    I have used vga with resolutions of at least 1680x1050, 1600x1200, etc..

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Oct 28, 2008
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    I got impatient and went for the mini DVI to DVI converter and DVI to HDMI cable. Got them this morning and it works fine, except I don't have audio. Going to purchase an RCA lead and see if it'll work that way.

    Another question, although the picture quality on my TV is fine, the top toolbar gets cut off and there are two thick black lines to the left and right of the screen. Is there any way I can fix this, preferably on the TV so I don't have to change my macbook resolution every time I want to use it?

    Also, am I right in assuming that HDMI will be giving me better picture quality than VGA? There is a VGA port on my TV, as someone stated, but I thought this would give me better picture quality. I'm starting to wish I'd just gone with VGA because the instructions for that in the book are much clearer and much easier to modify the display. There is nothing for HDMI and it actually states "PC use is not assumed".

  8. #8

    B&O's Avatar
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    You will not get sound from your DVI port as it is a Digital Video Input. VGA is better for PC as it allows a wide range of resolution.

    There are a few threads around that have explained this and I have written a few myself.

    My TV runs VGA at 1080p. With a normal audio cable for sound.

    As for you resolution, open the resolution settings window while it is connected to the TV (not on Mirror mode) and then you can select the resolution of both screens independently.
    MacBook Pro 2.66Ghz i7. Mac Mini 2.26Ghz C2D
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  9. #9


    Member Since
    Oct 28, 2008
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    I've just messed around with resolutions on my macbook and on the TV, and they don't help the problem at all. All the TV options squash the picture further towards the center and everything on the macbook just stretches it, further pushing more of the picture off the page.

    Thanks for clearing up the audio thing.

  10. #10

    B&O's Avatar
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    Is you TV 720p?

    My old Sony 720p did that but my 1080p doesn't.
    MacBook Pro 2.66Ghz i7. Mac Mini 2.26Ghz C2D
    iPhone 3G 16GB iPad 3G 64GB
    Check out my flickr

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Oct 28, 2008
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    It says 1080p when I plug in the Macbook.

    Just wondering if I were to buy a dvi to vga cable, would I lose any quality or would I be better to buy a mini dvi to vga, then a vga to vga? This is if the present setup doesn't work out.

  12. #12

    walkum13's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 23, 2008
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    MacBook Pro 2.4 ghz/Iphone 4/Ipod 4th Gen/More Coming I'm sure, too bad for my wallet ;)
    Quote Originally Posted by pestolady View Post
    Another question, although the picture quality on my TV is fine, the top toolbar gets cut off and there are two thick black lines to the left and right of the screen. Is there any way I can fix this, preferably on the TV so I don't have to change my macbook resolution every time I want to use it?
    What kind of TV do you have? Usually the newer TVs come with a smart stretch option and that works perfectly

    If you decide to go with the VGA option, see if you can return your mini-dvi to Dvi and get the mini-dvi to VGA instead. Apple's usually good about that kinda stuff.

  13. #13


    Member Since
    Oct 28, 2008
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    It's a Panasonic TH-42PZ80BA. It's brand new so I'll look into the smart stretch thing.

    Unfortunately I didn't buy the adapter from Apple's store

  14. #14


    Member Since
    Oct 28, 2008
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    I researched the smart stretch function and it seems on Panasonics it's called "auto" in the display menu, which I've tried and doesn't help. If anything it makes it worse (more compressed in the middle, whilst the toolbar still remains out of the picture).

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