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Q: All about PC->HDTV. I found answers here in parts...but nothing comprehensive. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: All about PC->HDTV. I found answers here in parts...but nothing comprehensive.
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: ocdocd-ga
List Price: $40.00
Posted: 30 Nov 2005 15:42 PST
Expires: 30 Dec 2005 15:42 PST
Question ID: 599723
1) What is the difference between: 
(i.e. quality/compatibility/resolution) 

2) Do the above ports have anything to do with the TV type (as in
Plasma, LDC, CRT) Like some are just available on LCD or whatnot.

3) Are the old Apple Powerbooks with VGA output compatible with VGA
input on current TVs? What control panel/TV settings are required?

4) Are the new Apple Powerbooks with DVI output compatible with
HDMI-HDCP TVs? Is an adapter required? How much are those?

5) Is the resolution on the TV the same for all HDTVs - small, large,
DVI, S-Video, etc...

6) Is there a decent CRT TV with DVI input?  

In a nutshell, I have an old Apple Powerbook G4 400 with S-Video and
VGA output connectors. I plugged the S-Video into both CRT and LCD TVs
with no problem but the quality sucked in both cases. At one store I
was told to use VGA input, but I could not find a VGA input on a CRT
(why?) and I was unable to get an image to appear on an LCD TV with
VGA (why?) despite the LCD monitor registering in the Mac Control Panel.

Likewise, I might get a new Powerbook with DVI output but nothing at
all seems to have DVI, just VGA or HDMI.

I just want to know the best value for the old Mac with VGA and the
new Mac with DVI when considering cable/conversion cost and TV cost
and quality.  For example, there is a nice Panasonic CRT FlatScreen
HDTV 30" with HDMI for just $700...

Oh - and I know to logoff before connecting the TVs. 

Bonus: What is ADC?

Clarification of Question by ocdocd-ga on 30 Nov 2005 18:24 PST
P.S. Went to Circuit City this evening and actually spoke to a tech.  
He seemed to think that HDMI is not better than VGA far as hooking up
a computer to a TV is concerned.   Likewise, he thinks the reason the
Laptop did not work with VGA before was the input was not really VGA. 
 So it would seem the LCD with VGA or the CRT with S-Video are the two
final choices...since the HDMI cable alone is like a $100 and I would
need to convert from DVI.   But I still am not sure how all this
matters far as cable is concerned when the COAX cable is the same as
the one in the house 20 years ago???  Are all these fancy cables just
to connect one device from another while cable itself is the same
round plug?

Request for Question Clarification by denco-ga on 01 Dec 2005 10:25 PST
Howdy ocdocd-ga,

Do you already have an LCD TV, and if so, what is the make and model?

ADC stands for "Apple Display Connector" and it is a proprietory method
of connecting certain Apple computers to an LCD monitor.

"Current generation Apple computers such as the Power Macintosh G4 and
the G4 Cube come with a new video connector called ADC (Apple Display

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: All about PC->HDTV. I found answers here in parts...but nothing comprehensive.
Answered By: wonko-ga on 02 Dec 2005 13:22 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
1) and 2) DVI and HDMI are the same thing as far as video quality. 
HDMI carries audio as well, whereas DVI does not.  Both are digital
video.  HDMI alone seems to be more common on new CRT HDTV's than DVI,
but DVI is available on some models.  Many LCD and plasma displays
have both.
VGA is also good, but is analog video.  I have not seen it on a CRT
HDTV, but it is common on LCD and plasma displays.
S-Video is very common, but is much worse resolution.  It is not
suitable for use as a computer monitor, although it can be used for
watching movies played on a PC.
Composite video is the worst.

3) Because of differences between computer display timing and
resolution and the standards for HDTV, most CRT HDTV's will not work
with a PC unless a converter is used and the computer is capable of
generating customized displays and timings.  Many CRT HDTV
manufacturers recommend against using their televisions with a PC. 
Many LCD and plasma displays, on the other hand, are designed for use
with PCs.  In order to get the computer to interact properly with the
display, you need to select a resolution that matches one that the TV
is capable of displaying.  This may require additional software, and
your older PowerBook may not be capable of displaying a compatible
resolution. "You need to look up the native or accepted input
resolutions for the XBR, then set the Mini to one of them or download
SwitchResX or DisplayConfigX to set the proper res if it is not
already available."  "Mac Mini on a HDTV CRT(How do you do it?)" AVS
Forum (2005)

"There's the DVI->VGA adapter or VGA port on the video card for use. 

With VGA output you use a VGA Transcoder to go from VGA-> Component.
From there you use Switchres X or Display Config X to change from what
will likely be a booting resolution of 640x480 to a resolution for
your TV. ATI Display's 4.5.1 is probably advised as well." "HDTV
adapter?" AVS Forum (2005)

You also need to set the TV so that it is displaying the input from
the VGA port.  If the Powerbook is like a Windows notebook in this
regard, you also need to toggle a particular key to tell the computer
to output its display to its VGA port rather than to the built-in
display.  As you will see from the links, each TV has its own
peculiarities which makes it impossible for me to give you generic
instructions.  For this reason, I strongly advise you to not purchase
a display unless you can get it working in the store to your
satisfaction.  I also think you will get better results from an LCD or
plasma HDTV than from a CRT HDTV.  Because of burn in problems, an LCD
is preferable unless you are just planning to use it to watch movies. 
You might also want to consider just getting a large computer monitor
instead if the HDTV capability is not important to you.

4) I found a DVI to HDMI converter cable for $14.95.  There are still
potentially issues with connecting to a CRT HDTV because of resolution
and timing incompatibilities.

5) There are many different resolutions depending upon the TV, the
connection type, and how the computer and TV are configured.  The
problem you face with HDTV CRTs is that the HDTV specification for
720p does not match the common computer resolution of 1024 x 768. 
LCDs and plasma displays have native resolutions that match typical
computer resolutions, such as 1366 x 768 for a widescreen display. 
The only connectors that will produce a usable resolution with a
computer are HDMI/DVI, VGA, and component, although component will
require a converter.  LCDs and plasma displays tend to come with a
least one of DVI and VGA, so conversion is not necessary.

A CRT with S-video will be awful for anything other than watching
movies on your PC.  You should be able to find an LCD display with VGA
that will work with your existing Powerbook, particularly since they
come in both standard and widescreen formats.  Check to see what
display resolutions your computer is capable of producing and look for
a LCD display that has a native resolution that matches the one you
prefer or is higher.

This is a very complicated topic, and I hope my explanation has helped
you to better understand your options.  I encourage you to review the
following resources to further enhance your understanding.

Here is one example of someone who got a PowerBook with a DVI port to
work with an HD display (a Samsung rear projection television):

"While I was waiting for the mac mini to arrive, I did some tests with
my Powerbook. Plugging it into an NTSC TV was a real disappointment.
The mac desktop looked horrible. So it wasn't long after that that I
bought a Samsung HL-P5063W. It had an HDMI input, for an eventual HD
TiVo of some sort, a DVI input for the mac, and a bunch of analog
inputs. Its native resolution is 720p (1280x720, 60 Hz), and the mac
desktop looks great at that resolution. More importantly, the TV is
capable of shrinking the desktop so that all of it fits on the screen
(TV sets have overscan, meaning that the picture is actually larger
than the visible area. That means the edges aren't visible. In the
case of the mac desktop, about half the dock and the whole menu bar
don't show up)."  "EyeTV 500 + Mac Mini" OS X Hax (January 26, 2005)



"DVI to HDMI Cables" (2005)

"HELP!!! vga vs component vs s-video vs dvi vs hdmi" eCoustics (2005)

"DVI vs. HDMI vs. Component Video -- Which is Better?" eCoustics
(February 14, 2005)

"HDTV-Resolution... And TV Picture Quality" HDTVInfoPort (2005)

"How to connect a PC to an HD-Ready Digital TV?"  Digital Connection

"Connecting your Computer to your HDTV" RAM Electronics Industries

"Plasma/Flat TV Resolution Options" Plasma TV Buying Guide

"What is the difference between all these video types (connectors)?
Does it matter?" GrandTec USA (September 22, 2005)

"All About DVI" by Anthony Van Winkle, DataPro International Inc.

"How to connect your Home Theater" RAM Electronics Industries Inc.

"6600GT to Toshiba CRT HDTV via DVI-HDMI Cable, pitcure is grainy"
eCoustics (2005)

"Monitors Buying Guide" CNet Networks Inc. (2005)

Search terms: HDMI DVI; CRT HDTV computer; connect PC to HDTV; HDTV
resolution; S-video HDMI DVI; Connect Apple Powerbook to HDTV;

Request for Answer Clarification by ocdocd-ga on 04 Dec 2005 21:17 PST
Mostly just Yes/No...

- Does 720p translate into pixels?  (question 5) y/n
- Seems ironic that analogue TVs are lack VGA while digital LCDs are
not?? (question 2)
- If VGA is what normal computer monitors use, how does HDMI look
better? (question 1)
- Why is S-Video good for video but not otherwise?  Does the eye not
notice poor quality when there is movement?  Both VGA and S-Video are
analogue? (question 1) y/n
- Is the HDMI input what I would use for cable TV so that I would need
to unplug cable to use the computer?  Assuming I have HDTV cable and
DVD setup  ....  y/n
- Wouldn't a large computer monitor use VGA just like the TVs?   I'm
not sure why you would recommend this over an LCD TV (question 3) y/n
- Isn't the COAX cable coming in the building 20 years how
does that fit into the equation?
- The DVI->HDMI cable you mentioned was $12 for 6 feet but $70 for 10
feet!  Is there something I should know?  y/n
- Is not HDTV a standard resolution that all HDTVs match no matter how
large or small?  y/n

Just is funny to me.  My old Mac 7500 from 1995 had RCA ports and I
could watch TV on the thing.


P.S. Just in case, I have the newest Mac G4 Powerbook with DVI output.
  My computer puts out 1440x960 which I'm pretty sure is higher than
HDTV, so I would think no matter what, the resolution will be lower.

Clarification of Answer by wonko-ga on 05 Dec 2005 13:21 PST
Here are the answers to your follow-up questions:

720p equates to a resolution of 1280x720.

Not really.  CRT televisions are built with different capabilities
than CRT monitors.  Most CRT televisions, even HDTV televisions, will
have problems acting as computer monitors.  Therefore, manufacturers
have no reason to put a VGA input on them since they do not intend for
them to be used with a VGA source like a computer.

VGA is analog, whereas HDMI/DVI are all digital (video only for DVI). 
As a result, there is less degradation of the signal when it is
transmitted over the cable.  In practice, the differences are alleged
to be virtually indistinguishable assuming a VGA cable of reasonable
quality is used.

S-video is much lower resolution than a typical computer display.  As
a result, while it is fine for watching video (it is better than
standard television), it cannot adequately display the fine details
associated with most computer operations, such as text and small

Potentially, although there are HDMI/DVI switch boxes to allow you to
change between multiple HDMI/DVI sources.  Different manufacturers
offer different combinations of sources and outputs.

You could use a large CRT computer monitor.  However, LCD TVs and
plasma displays are available in much larger sizes than are CRTs.  It
depends upon the size of screen you need.  Also, large CRT monitors
are very bulky and heavy, but they are cheaper for the same screen
size and have the advantage of better contrast and viewing angles than
do current LCD TVs.

Coaxial cable can carry a wide range of signals of varying
resolutions.  The quality you get depends upon the source and display
connected to it.

I would have to assume the longer cable has different specifications
or is made by a different manufacturer.  I am not aware of any obvious
reason for such a huge change in price simply based upon length.

There are multiple standards that can be properly called HDTV.  These
are 720p and 1080i.  However, some LCD TVs are also capable of
producing 1080p.  The vast majority of LCD TVs are only capable of
720p, whereas 1080i is much more common in CRT HDTVs.

Regarding your comment about your old Mac: the issue is whether you
are just wanting to watch video on the large display, or if you are
wanting to perform a wide range of computer operations, including Web
surfing and word processing, using the large display.  For example, my
Windows PC has an s-video port that allows me to play DVDs on it and
view them on my TV with good results.  However, the desktop is of such
a low resolution that it is barely navigable, and I could not begin to
use it for word processing because I could not distinguish the text on
the screen.  The resolution is simply too low since there are very few
pixels comprising each letter.

There are lots of details that are missing in S-video and DVDs.  You
get much more detail in a movie theater from film.  This is the whole
motivation for developing high-resolution standards inherent in HDTV
and HD DVDs so that more of this detail is viewable.

I hope this clarification has assisted you.


ocdocd-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Felt I got good value for the money.  $40 seems like a lot, but the
question was complicated and the researcher followed up when I
requested clarification.

Subject: Re: All about PC->HDTV. I found answers here in parts...but nothing comprehensi
From: feldersoft-ga on 30 Nov 2005 20:17 PST
I can't answer most of your questions, but I can answer this one:

You can get an DVI->HDMI cable for a lot less than $100:

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