Mac Mini DVI-HDMI on LCD HDTV

I recently purchased a Mac Mini to be my home media computer. I plan to blog more about that later. For now, the only tricky thing about using a Mini has been using my TV for a monitor.

There’s a lot of noise on the web (or Google at least) when trying to search for a solution to using a Mini’s DVI output on LCD TV’s. Typically they recommend using DisplayConfigX  or SwitchResX to tweak your display modelines, timing, resolution, and just generally dive deeper than I like  into display configuration. My solution was MUCH simpler.

My television is a Samsung 46″ LCD (LN46A539P1F). It has 3 HDMI inputs, but one is specifically intended to be used for PCI DVI input converted to HDMI.  It also provides a VGA DSUB input which works perfectly with a Mac Mini’s miniDVI->VGA apapter, but the point here is to get direct digital signal without converting to analog.

The Mac Mini has a miniDVI output and is packaged with a miniDVI->DVI adapter, so to get a signal into the TV, you’ll need a DVI->HDMI or miniDVI->HDMI adapter. I bought both from Monoprice as they are very inexpensive and either works fine.

Once you have the apdapter on and the HDMI cable connected to the TV, the Mac will recognize that it is displaying on an HDTV and will recommend 720p (1280×720 resoution) or 1080p (1920×1080 resolution). However, you will now most likely see that your output is either too small on the screen (has a few inches of black border around the picture)  or is too big (extends beyond the screen). If it’s too big, you have Overscan enabled in your Displays preference pane. If not, you should enable Overscan.

Now, on your TV, go to the Menu:

  • Choose “Picture” (should be first option)
  • Choose “Picture Options” (near the bottom of list)
  • Choose “Size” (will have options like 4:3, 16:9, and Just Scan)
  • Choose “Just Scan”
  • Close Menu

Bam! Your display should now be just right!

3 thoughts on “Mac Mini DVI-HDMI on LCD HDTV

  1. Mine is a Samsung too and it worked like a charm. Thanks a lot. Do you mind sharing your other pictue settings (recommended to get the best picture like Digital NR, HDMI Black Level, Movie Plus…). Again, thanks a lot.

    1. Rodz-
      Glad the info was helpful. I’m not a big A/V guy and haven’t tweaked any of those other settings. I was just trying to get the screen to fit properly. 🙂 If you discover some of that info, I’d certainly like to try it out though. Thanks!

  2. I have a Mac mini with the mini display port…got a mini display to HDMI adaptor. Plug into LG 32″ LCD…IN THE HDMI/DVI port.
    No need for messing with over / underscan…if you do this its not 1:1 pixel mapping & won’t be as good as it could be.
    Use the HDMI/DVI port name it PC & your screen will fit perfectly.
    Anything else and your output will be incorrectly mapped.

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