OSX Tiger and HDTV
April 7, 2005 8:40 AM   Subscribe

I recently bought a Mac Mini for the living room. It's hooked up to my TV through DVI, but every resolution is overscanned (at best the top toolbar and part of the dock are off-screen). Would the upcoming Tiger release make any difference?

I've downloaded SwitchResX and DisplayConfigX, but (in all honesty) the idea of screwing up my TV for a little extra functionality scares me. I've got the machine hooked up to the stereo and am running iTunes through VNC with no problems. Everything else I want to do with the box is server-related, so I don't need a monitor for it. I'd just like to be able to watch DVDs and TV torrents through it. I'm basically asking because the Amazon link says Tiger supports the "High Definition H.264 video codec"; I have no idea if that will make a bit of difference.
posted by yerfatma to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The available displays settings did change quite a bit over the course of upgrades from Jaguar to Panther, so it's quite probable that there will be more improvements in Tiger, too.

When I hook up my TV to my (Panther-running) PowerBook, I can turn overscan on or off in the Displays preferences (it's in one of the tabs; I forget the exact wording but there are things like "Best for Video" in there, too). Just thought I'd mention it in case it's possible that you simply missed the settings box. I'm not using a DVI connection, though.
posted by bcwinters at 9:19 AM on April 7, 2005

i have a bit of experience with this...

usually its the TV itself that's overscanning. this is very common in the TV world - the broadcasts themselves almost always have junk pixels at the edges and of course the closed-captioning data for analog broadcasts is at the top of the screen. so TV manufacturers overscan by some amount to compensate for this.

it might be possible to tweak the display timings that the mac is producing to overcome this a bit, but generally a TV has a very narrow range of timings that it will lock on to.

you might try fiddling with the TV menus to see if you can turn this off (my big LCD TV is capable of this). otherwise the overscan adjustment might be in a service menu... tread carefully.

tiger's support for the H.264 codec doesnt really have anything to do with this; that's the advanced mpeg4 video codec that's being used for HD-DVD/Blu-Ray. all it means is that tiger will be able to play such dvds and other content encoded with this codec.

check out www.tigerdave.com - he has some test patterns there which you can display with an image viewer to get a feel for how much overscan you currently have.
posted by joeblough at 10:15 AM on April 7, 2005

I'll hook my Tiger-running PowerBook to my TV when I get home and see what options are presented to compensate for an overscanning output device. In general there are few new and interesting user-visible options in Tiger apart from the stuff you've heard hyped, so if it wasn't there in Panther it's probably not there in Tiger. I've never experienced this problem doing VGA connections to it, but I haven't tried the DVI port yet (since I'll have to unplug the DVD player...).

Your best bet, of course, is to turn off your TV's overscan.
posted by majick at 3:40 PM on April 7, 2005

I have _no_ idea where I came across this, and so can't come up with a definitive link, but a couple months ago I came across a Mini-as-PVR discussion where this was brought up. Word from someone in the Tiger Beta camp was that Tiger _will_ support some form of "overscan" setting.

I found this via a Google for '[tiger mini pvr overscan][1]':

> [Zeno Crivelli][2]: Tiger will have a new "Overscan" checkbox in the Display preferences pane, I actually tested it on a beta-build, but for the moment it doesn't seem to work...

So, it looks like in theory, Tiger has the ability to fix it -- if they've got the bugs worked out.

[1]: http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=tiger+mini+pvr+overscan&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
[2]: http://apple.weblogsinc.com/entry/1234000107034032/#c145702
posted by djwudi at 8:58 PM on April 7, 2005

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