How should I connect my laptop to the television?

There are probably geeky communities in which I could ask this, but I hope some of the Curbly technogeniuses might have some ideas:

So, I just got a new Mac Book Pro, and I'd like to hook it up to my LCD television. (To get better use out of it, since we rarely watch TV [it was a Christmas gift]). I'd like to use the larger viewing area for Photoshopping and hopefully some video editing in the future...and of course, Curbly posting!


How should I connect my laptop to the television?

The TV has a "PC" in and the laptop has a DVI output. I used Apple's included adapter to hook the computer to the TV with an older VGA cable from my G4 tower, but the results are weird. My TV will only accept a 1024x768 (60hz), and that skews the image in a more-or-less unacceptable way, since my laptop is in widescreen ratio (1440 x 900).

So, my cursory research suggests a couple options: (I'll be sitting around 10 feet away)

1. I could buy a DVI to HDMI adapter and plug it into an extra long HDMI cable. $$, not wireless

2. Buy a DVI to HDMI cable (which only seem to come in shorter lengths), and sit closer. $$, not wireless

3. I could buy a short DVI to HDMI cable, and get a wireless keyboard and mouse (presumably bluetooth), and set the computer near the TV. Most desirable, and wireless, but $$$. (The keyboard and mouse are around $70 each, and the cable would be at least $30.) Also, then I'd have an excuse to build a lap-surface for computing via the couch.

Which seems like the best idea? Am I missing options? 


(Image from Apple.com) 

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miahz on Feb 22, 2008:

Pretty much all TVs overscan.

Runeshai on Feb 21, 2008:

I'm not sure if you were asking me or not, but I'll give my input anyway, heh. I've only connected a PC system to two CRT monitors, so I don't have experience with a Mac and an external monitor (not hooking one up, anyway, though I have worked with them before). Connecting the monitors was easy enough, but that's different, since they're made for the video card on a computer. I'd imagine a TV's a bit different, but I'm not really sure (gee, a lot of help that was).

lucasjw on Feb 21, 2008:

Ditto on what miahz said, as that's what I've done. I am curious, though, have you found that the image on your HDTV is cut off on any of the edges? I have found that the top and bottom 20 pixels (roughly) get cut off, so I don't see the top and bottom edges on the HDTV. It may be just my TV (Vizio) so I wanted to see what your experience has been (regular CRT or LCD monitors connected to my MacBook Pro don't do this).

Runeshai on Feb 21, 2008:

That's pretty sweet.  I saw that somewhere recently, it looks pretty awesome.  I spend tons of time in front of the computer each day too, but I'm pretty happy with my MacBook for now, heh.  It's plenty portable.  But I can see how something portable like that would be nice for doing video editing for long stretches of time, since you're typically obligated to keep going to meet a deadline, but the office gets uncomfortable after a while.  Congrats, looks pretty sweet.  I'm also admiring the MacBook Air recently, which looks pretty incredible.

bruno on Feb 21, 2008:

I bought the new Apple keyboard last fall (not wireless), and it's amazing ... so thin and beautfully designed. I spend upwards of eight hours a day around my computer, so it's worth it to me to have accessories that are pleasing to use and look at. Here's a pic:


Runeshai on Feb 21, 2008:

You don't have to get a wireless-enabled Mac keyboard, you can use any keyboard with a Mac computer, it's just weird to be pushing the Windows key when you're looking for the Command key.  I guess, though, the price you're referring to is due to the wireless capability and not the fact that it comes from Apple (though they are typically pretty expensive).  But now, after reading the comments above, I guess you've already got it figured out.  For some reason I'd pictured you wanting to be somewhere far away from the computer (other side of the room, for example) but still using the computer with the bigger screen... thus the wireless keyboard and mouse.  But never mind... you've got it.  And yea, having two screens rocks pretty sweetly, it's a tiny bit awkward, but not that much.  I do video editing and visual effects and I was working with two screens for a while before I moved, and it was a fun thing to play around with.  That and the Wacom tablet had me buzzing with excitement.  (If you do a lot of Photoshop stuff, particularly drawing, I'd recommend using a Wacom tablet.  It's weird to get used to, but it's supposed to be more natural feeling that drawing with a mouse... I'm so used to the mouse that the tablet's still weird for me.  But it's fun to play around with).

miahz on Feb 21, 2008:

Yeah, if you're talking about Photoshop and video editing, then what you want is more screen real estate, not just another view of what's on your laptop display.  If your LCD supports higher resolutions (HD) using the HDMI connection, a cable might be worth it if you end up with more resolution.  If 1024x768 is its native resolution, stick with what you got.

Chris Gardner on Feb 21, 2008:


Wow. It took me a few minutes to realize I needed to move the mouse off the laptop screen to get it to appear on my TV, but it totally worked.

This might take a bit of getting used to, though I guess now I can spend the cable-money on the wireless keyboard and mouse.

Is this the best way to do what I want?

miahz on Feb 21, 2008:

Don't buy anything.  Just set up the DVI/VGA adapter output as a second display (instead of mirroring your laptop display) and set the resolution to what your TV needs.  Check the Display System Preferences.

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