We have an HDTV, not a great one, a basic Autumn-2004 Hitachi 42", works great for watching high-def sports, although plain old (non-high-def) TV still looks lousy. Ever since I’ve got it, I’ve wanted to plug it into my laptop, but never could get the video driver to do much more than park a fuzzy 640×480 postage stamp in the middle of the 16×9. We’ve got family visiting for Christmas, and I really, really wanted to have a slide show, like we used to in the old days with the projector and the rickety roll-up screen and everyone sitting around cracking jokes about the pictures. I have a new 15" October-2005-vintage PowerBook, so I sallied forth into the breach and gave switchResX another try and it worked this time! It doesn’t have the world’s most intuitive UI, and I forget the exact tinkering sequence that got me there, but now the Mac sees the the HDTV as an 848x480 outboard screen which isn’t exactly 16×9, but there’s no visible stretching. That resolution isn’t great, but is OK for looking at pictures. One more trick was required to get the slide-show working: use the “Arrange” tab on the Displays preferences to make the outboard HDTV into the primary display by dragging the menu-bar onto it. Then I suspect that any of OS X’s slide-show options (iPhoto, Finder, Graphic Converter) will work; I’m using Graphic Converter. Tonight, the family will be gathering around the big screen to look at 124 pictures telling the story of the year. Seems to me that if you want your computer to serve as a “home media center” or whatever the marketing buzzword is, driving the HDTV is a pretty basic requirement, so Apple needs to either hire the switchResX folks or replicate the functionality. Let me know how Windows & Linux do in this department and I’ll post a pointer.

author · Dad
colophon · rights
picture of the day
December 27, 2005
· Technology (90 fragments)
· · Mac OS X (118 more)
· · Video (26 more)

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