External monitor with Macbook Pro

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I am new to the Mac and have a problem outputting to an external monitor. I am using the DVI to VGA converter and if I connect to a LCD monitor or LCD TV using VGA I just get a dark dcreen with faint Mac wallpaper on it. Is there a keystroke combination that has to be entered to get the correct output or am I missing something here?
 
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Your Mac's Specs
15.4" 2.4 MBP with 4GB RAM
Are your displays set to "Mirror?" go to System Preferences > Displays> Arrangement, and make sure "Mirror Display" is selected if you want to see what you see on your monitor on your tv. Otherwise, your TV will act as an extention to your monitor, and you can drag windows/apps/ect. into it and use it as extra space.
 
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I have set the display to Mirror" and I am getting the output in the TV but it is very dark and unwatchable. No amount of adjustment to the TV makes it bearable. Is this possibly due to the DVI to VGA converter? When I bought the TV I immediately connected it to my PC using the TV's VGA input and the picture was perfect. It is only the MAC that produces a bad picture.
 
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London
Your Mac's Specs
Mac Mini Core i7 2012 | White 2009 MacBook 2 Ghz | 733 Mhz G4 Quicksilver
You can calibrate each screen individually in System preferences

System preferences > Displays > Color tab

But first make sure the cable is firmly in
 
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Right, display is set to mirror and I can see a very dim repeat of the Mac screen. If I chose calibrate, the first thing I am asked to do is turn the monitors contrast up to max. This makes a tiny difference to the very dark screen. I can just about make out the circular shape that I am supposed to be looking at. It next tells me to increase the brightness unil the gray shape within the black circular shape is just visible. Increasing the brightness has no effect on the monitor at all (neither did it on the LCD TV I tried). So, the picture on the external monitor is well defined (as far as I can tell) but so dark it is impossible to use. Is this likely to be a problem with the DVI output from the Mac or the DVI-VGA converter?
 
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I am having the same problem with my HDMI cable that is attached to my mini DV output. The screen is so dark I can hardly see the picture.
 

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