I recently got my Mac mini media center set up and running and it’s pretty nifty but there was one nagging issue I had not yet solved, until now!

I have a Mac mini core duo (early 2006, 1.66 Ghz) hooked up to my Panasonic TH-42PD50U EDTV plasma as a media center. Out of the box, just hooking up all the wires gets you most of the way there but the overscan issue makes it so the picture is larger than the TV screen by enough pixels all the way around to be annoying though still usable. There’s software called DisplayConfigX that lets you set up custom resolutions for situations like this but it’s very complicated and I wasn’t able to make it work myself. Well now the magic of the Internet has allowed me to stumble upon the answer.

To help out any others in need of this same information, here are the settings I ended up using. It’s not a perfect fit for my TV but it’s very close and might be as close as is possible. I may try some other settings later myself but I am more likely to just be lazy and use what other people figured out.

My DisplayConfigX settings:

Horizontal

  • 1224 pixels
  • 136 front porch
  • 80 sync
  • 208 back porch

Vertical

  • 690 pixels
  • 26 front porch
  • 5 sync
  • 29 back porch

Updated Jan 1, 2007 with my most up to date setup!

52 thoughts on “Intel Mac mini, Panasonic plasma, Overscan solution”

  1. Hi,

    You might just be my hero. I have a mac mini and a 42″ ed panasonic plasma that I can only get to work via VGA, using a DVI to HDMI cable only gives me 3 resolutions none of which work. I’m going to give your custom config a go when I get home. Just a couple of quick questions – Do you think it matters that my mini is not an intel version? Does the type of DVI to HDMI cable matter (DVI-I or DVI-D)?

    Thanks

  2. My TV worked ok as soon as I plugged it into the Mac mini.. it just chopped off some pixels all the way around. Turning off the overscan setting on the Mac resulted in a few inches of black all the way around the desktop. I just had to use DisplayConfigX to make it more perfect.

    I don’t think intel versus ppc should make much of a difference. The two different versions of the Mac mini do have different video cards so that could make some difference, but I think the TV itself probably matters most. I don’t really know anything about DVI-I but from my quick google search it looks like it should be fine. The cable I’m using is the cheapest DVI to HDMI cable I could find on Amazon. It was something like $27.

    Oh, also… I’ve updated my own DisplayConfigX settings since I posted this to fit the TV even better. I’m using a resolution of 1224 x 690 now, I think. I keep meaning to take a screenshot of the DisplayConfigX window.

  3. It could definately be a graphics card issue. I really thought it was the TV that pansonic had somehow disabled all but 3 crappy resolutions via HDMI.
    I have the same model TV as you so I guess that isn’t the case.

    Oh well if it doesn’t work I guess it’s the excuse I’ve been looking for to get an Intel mini.

    Thanks for your info,

  4. what are the chances of finding someone with the exact same tv and the exact same problem! i tried your configs, and they worked great! thanks!!

    have you noticed any issues with sleep mode? i switched over to watch tv for awhile, and when i came back, the mini gave me a black screen…

  5. I’m glad to have helped!

    I have my mini set to not sleep since I use it as a house media server as well. I have had some issues with it not showing me the desktop very quickly at times and I’m not sure why. I did turn off the screensaver and that seems to have helped some.

    I’m actually using some slightly different settings now to get the resolution a little closer to a perfect fit. I think it’s 1224×680 or something along those lines. All the numbers have to add up correctly for it to work. I’ve taken some screenshots and I’ll get around to updating this article eventually.

  6. yah, i noticed the desktop slowness as well. i did come across another problem though, after rebooting i got the black screen of death – had to hook it up to another monitor to fix it. so now i’m running without the displayconfigx settings again. πŸ™

  7. I have the same TV and am contemplating the mini plunge. Is the text clear enough on the screen that you can read emails, surf the web, etc? I tried setting my PC up to the TV once and had some real issues with clarity over the HDMI/DVI cable, even after trying all sorts of overscan settings. Maybe I was just setting it up incorrectly…

  8. My couch is about 12 ft away from the tv and it’s not really feasible to read email or web pages without zooming the screen a bit. If I move to more like 8 ft away it’s closer to feasible but I still find it easier to just use a laptop. 😎

    Using a bluetooth keyboard and taking liberal advantage of the shortcuts for zooming in and out makes it possible to browse web pages but it’s still not really a great experience.

    I use the Mac mini as a DVD player and VLC player mostly. I wish somebody would write some more ‘TV-friendly’ applications to do simple things like read RSS feeds from across the room. It doesn’t seem like it’d be too tough, but I guess it’s a pretty niche market. I’m a programmer but not the Mac desktop kind.

  9. Hi there,
    I purchased DisplayConfigX but have never gotten a usable setting for it…. ie, Just black screens.

    I am using an IntelDuo macMini and a Panasonic Viera PV60A (native 1024×768).

    i would love to be able to get this to work with no overscan etc… Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Matt

  10. i have a panasonic ED plasma. native resolution 852 x 480. i bought a dvi input board for my plasma. paid a fortune for the dvi board. the mac mini recognizes it but it chops off the bottom part of the screen. i have played around with the v hold. switch between Full – Zoom – and Normal but that’s no help.

    if i increase the resolution, i can see the bottom of the screen but it looks like crap on the screen.

    any help would be greatly appreciated. i have a some leftover ram for a powerbook and an imac i can give as a reward…

  11. So my question is…

    Why do we have to use displayconfigx to configure the Mac Mini output, when the AppleTV will display just fine, and it is running OSX.

  12. You can also use any Mac with a TV without setting custom display resolutions but you lose a bit of every edge of the display. Macs running ‘normal’ OSX don’t account for the fact that televisions chop off part of the edges of the picture (the overscan part that you’re not supposed to care about) and the graphical shell on the AppleTV does take it into account. I don’t actually know exactly which part of the AppleTV takes it into account but it is a ‘made for TV’ device like any DVD player or whatever else so it handles the overscan issue somehow. I think it’s pretty stupid that OS X can’t figure it out itself, but I guess it’s just not been a priority to make Macs talk properly to TVs.

    Front Row on a regular Mac is actually quite usable without adjusting any of the screen settings but if you want to use the Mac as a desktop Mac on your TV you’ll have a better experience with some resolution customizing.

  13. This is great. I bought DisplayConfigX, and just followed your settings, and it works like a charm (with a Mac Book Pro). Thanks a lot! No more heartbreak from overscanning… it’s EDTV and each pixel is precious. Do you also have a setting for 848*480? Or better, your link to the AVSForum post seems no longer valid… could you upload that? Anyway, thanks again.

  14. I don’t bother with a ‘pixel perfect’ setting that matches the TV. I just let the Mac mini send out its 720p (ish) signal and let the TV downscale it however it likes. It works great for my needs. If I wanted to avoid the upscale/downscale dance I’d probably buy a tv with native 720p resolution.

    I’m not sure about that AVSForum post… hopefully it’ll come back on its own. 😎

  15. I have a Panasonic 42inch Plasma (th-42px60u) connected to my 1.66ghz mac mini through a DVI->HDMI cable. I am getting the same over/underscanning problems. Do you think the above settings (at the top of the page) will help me? If so, do you think you can run through the instructions to input them into DisplayConfigX please. I’ve been away from macs for about 5-6 years and am having to reteach myself…with the aid of knowing mac folks like yourself.

  16. I am thinking about trying DisplayConfigX with my MacBookPro and Panasonic plasma TH-42PX75U (DVI to HDMI), but it seems everyone who has had luck with DisplayConfigX has already had some sort of image show up on their HDTV and they used the app to fix overscan issues. Me, I don’t get any image when I connect my Mac to the plasma. Nada. The Mac screen turns blue for a second as if it is detecting an external monitor, but then goes back to normal, and all resolutions under display prefs stay the same. Can DisplayConfigX help me… a total black screener (on the plasma)?

  17. Hi there,

    i am having similar overscan issues with my new sanyo 42 inch lcd display and an intel macmini. i plugged your numbers into display configX and restarted the machine with bated breath… to no avail… just a black screen… i have been tinkering with this off and on for about a week…

    i was just wondering if there was any type of equation or formula you used to get your magic numbers or was it all jsut trial and error?

  18. It’s tricky… I did start with some values I found online (which no longer seem to be there) and modified them until it worked like I wanted.

    I started by reading the information here (and the two below that one)
    http://www.3dexpress.de/#HDTV

    It’s kinda complicated but it should help you make sure you always have good values. Different TVs will work with different values and my TV gave me a black screen for a lot of my attempted values until I found one that worked. From the working one I was able to modify it until it was optimal.

  19. can someone help me with a UK Panasonic TH42PX70? I have searched and tried every combo that is on the web and all i get is a black screen. Please please please?? I am going bananas? For the complete idiot in me, can you give me all the settings as if you are trying to explain it to a 6 year old. I am pretty computer literate, but this is just stumping me..

  20. Hi, just found this thread. Thanks for all the help so far. I’m attempting hooking my 15″ MB Pro to my new Panasonic 50″ TH-50PZ85U. I’m experiencing the same underscan (overscan) issues. I’ve downloaded DisplayConfigX but I was unable to modify the settings because of some auto detect feature. Is there something basic i’m doing wrong? And yes, I’m using a DVI->HDMI adapter. I get the three resolution choices and I’ve turned overscan off so I can see all of the screen. Just trying to get rid of that black box outline.

  21. Please guys I need some help here, I’ve read all the thread and didn’t find this, I’ve connected a MacBook to a 42″ panasonic plasma, and the only thing I’m able to see is the wallpaper (or whatever is the name) of the starry night from the Mac, but no icons, no IT, nada. What am I doing wrong? Thanks

  22. @GK That sounds to me just like the plasma screen is being used as a secondary display. If you want to see the same thing that’s on your macbook screen you’ll want to turn on display mirroring in the Display area of System Preferences.

  23. I am posting this here because I was grasping at straws for a couple days trying to hook my new mac mini up to the Panasonic Viera G10 HDTV. I set the mac mini on the default 1920×1080 but had annoying cut off of the picture due to overscan. I tried DisplayConfigX with various settings to no avail. Finally figured out that the problem was the TV itself was compensating with overscan on the default setting. Go to Picture – setup – Go to advanced settings and set HD Size to ‘2’. This will eliminate the TV overscan and give you a perfectly sized picture for your plasma HDTV! There, I just saved you $12 on DisplayConfigX and hours of frustration. πŸ™‚

  24. Awesome hint Steve. I just snagged a 50″ G10 today and was starting to get a bit frustrated. Your tip worked like a charm!
    On a side note, just wondering how many here are using Plex? seems to do a better job with HD playback than VLC on my last gen mini.

  25. Glad the tip worked. Give Boxee a try, I like it a bit better than Plex. If you haven’t done it already, order some extra memory and max the Mac Mini out to 4GB. That gets rid of most HD playback issues.

  26. Tried DisplayConfigX and SwitchResX, neither felt satisfactory, it felt “unnatural”. But I tried Steve’s tip on my Sony Bravia (in my tv’s menu the setting was called Display Area, changed it from “Normal” to “Full Pixel”), and my Mac Mini was set to 1920×1080 w/ Overscan turned On, and it is absolutely perfect! Thanks Steve for finding the correct solution to my resolution woes!

  27. FIX: Panasonic PX50 X10 Y

    …Hi

    I’ve had a lot of problems fixing this overscan issue.
    Turn out that after spending hours with DisplayConfigX, I found a setting in my Panasonic PX50 X10 Y to disable overscan.
    Now it works like a charm in both 720p & 1080.

    Might be worthwhile checking this out…

  28. Steve you are great…very great. I am italian and i don’t write good english. I have PAnasonic G10 42″, i have resolved the problem of black box border with your indication. For my friend italian: premere menΓΉ, impostazione,altre impostazioni, overscan immagine su OFF. Poi sul MAC mini preferenze monitor, opzioni, attivare OVERSCAN. E come per magia se ne va il bordo nero!!
    Thank you Steve!!!

  29. brilliant solved my problem with my April ’09 mac mini and TX-P37X10. Set macmini res to 1280 x 720 and switch overscan off on the Panasonic tv, and you’re done!

  30. Was pleasantly surprised to find someone trying to hook up a 1.66 intel duo mac mini to Panasonic plasma … both my machines … except I have a 46inch and am having all sorts of problems trying to config screen, with similar size issue and missing top menu … and do I have over scan on or off . The mini identifies the screen, but no rez seems to fit … help appreciated, and hopefully some one out there has the same config . Many thanks.

  31. I have a panasonic 50 inch plasma and I fixed the issue by simply changing the TVs menu option:

    Menu -> Picture ->Advanced Picture -> HD Size -> Size 2

    Size 1 seems to overscan and Size 2 does’t… it’s perfect. No need for extra software.

  32. Hi Jason, which Panasonic plasma do you have?
    I’d like to buy the Viera P50V10 and use it with my apple mini, but before I want to be sure they’re fully compatible.
    Best regards

  33. Hello,

    Could somebody explain the procedure to use DisplayConfigX to apply those settings?

    Thanks in advance!

    Mike

  34. A friend of mine just bought a P50V10 and reports that his Mac mini does not do a 1:1 pixel mapping. He has to use overscan to fill the screen and gets bleed over.

    Heading to his house tonight to play with SwtichResX to see if we can do some custom settings.

  35. Sorry, previous post should’ve been for the new P50V20 (not the V10).

    I have heard from a forum poster that the P58V10 (58″ version, obviously) does do 1:1 perfectly. I haven’t confirmed with my own eyes, just reporting.

  36. Every panasonic TV 2008-2010 does 1:1 perfectly with mac. I have a pz81 and a V10 50 inch. Simply you need to disable overscan in menu settings.

  37. Thanks Steve that overscan TV setting worked a treat. I have a

    PANASONIC 37″ LCD

    Go To > Menu > Setup > Picture Overscan : Off … then turn overscan on in Mac Display settings

  38. This thread didn’t solve my problem completely, but it did lead to the solution. I have a Panasonic TH-42PV500A 42″ Plasma. I think it is the same as the TH-4vPV500U. It was made about 2005 and doesn’t have any menu overscan settings for the HDMI input.

    The settings in the OP above were still a bit too big with the “overscan” option enabled in the OSX display preferences. While playing around with SwitchResX ( http://www.madrau.com/indexSRX4.html ), I found that these worked:

    Pixel Clock: 60.46

    Horizontal
    – 1224 pixels
    – 136 front porch
    – 80 sync
    – 208 back porch

    Vertical
    – 680 lines
    – 26 front porch
    – 5 sync
    – 39 back porch

    So it just takes 10 lines off the height and adds it to the back porch. Hope this helps someone else.

  39. I’m trying to get my late 2009 mini working with a Panasonic TC-42C2 HDTV. This monitor is supposed to run 720p but no matter what setting I try I can’t get rid of this dang overscan issue. Could someone please help?

    Thanks in advance.

  40. I own a Panasonic Viera 50 inch plasma P50G10A and have the same resolution / overscan issue and found a very simple fix!!

    With overscan being used I couldn’t see the menu bar, without it, I had a significant black space around all edges. Rather than using Display Config X, I simply set my resolution to 1344 x 756 or 1600 x 900 and then turned overscan ON.

    Then, go to your TV menu settings, select “Setup”, then “Other Settings”. In this menu there is an option called “Picture Overscan”. Select “off” and you get a PERFECT PICTURE.

  41. the last comment by matt helped me out as well — my panasonic didn’t have that exact same menu item, but elsewhere I found similar controls and fixed my overscan problem on a new Mac mini. used to work perfectly so I’m not sure why it became necessary for me to resolve, but glad I found this article and the commenter’s note. thanks, interwebs!

  42. Wow, this page is still really useful five years later. I used switchresx on my mac mini running Lion and these settings to get my 42″ Panasonic plasma tv resolution to the right size.

    DisplayConfigX no longer works under lion because it is PowerPC code.

    Thank you!

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