Saturday, July 29, 2006

HOWTO display component video from a Mac Mini.

I got an Intel Mac Mini to use as a media PC but wanted it to fit into my current Home Theater setup. This would mean that I would like to EITHER connect the Mini using s-video to the Television and to my Projector OR try a different option.

I went the road less traveled ...

Here are the players:
Now, since the house wiring is completed - I am not about to get a DVI connection wired from the Mini to the 4805 anyway - have you seen the price of those cables? So my option was either Component Video OR S-Video.

S-Video Sucked.

OK - so my option is now Component Video.

But Key Digital makes a really cool product the ClearColor3 that will transcode the VGA RGB signal to a Component YPbPr signal AND has a VGA pass through. So my Projector will get a Component input and the TV will get the VGA - Coolness.

Since the Mini can get the VGA resolution from the Polaroid TV, I ended up not needing any special software for the Mini (for the Projector resolution) - it just worked.

Note: The 4805 projector can display (per the specs): 854x480, 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768. Since the mini can NOT display (at least I am not able to get this to work using either SwitchResX or DisplayConfigX to work displaying 854x480), then just set the Mini for either 640x480 or 800x600 and that works just fine. The important thing to note is that the display at these two resolutions is noticeably better than connecting the Mini to the 4805 using the DVI->S-Video adapter available from the Apple Store.

Setting up the ClearColor3 input sync - this is where the *real problem started* - you MUST turn Switch 1 OFF (down) (SCART composite sync on H), and switch 2 ON (up) (Composite Sync out on YPrPb).

NOTE: If Switch 1 is ON - you will get a Red display.

Set the Mini to output a 800x600 60Hz signal (640x480 at 60Hz works as well - there is no noticeable difference in the projected display, just the monitor change icon is available at 640x480 and not at 800x600). If you use the 640x480 setting you do lose several pixels off the right hand side of the displayed image.

If you are using 640x480 at 60Hz - the projector should just work, no need to change color space at all. If using 800x600 at 60Hz you have to change color space (image will be Green). This is trivial on the Infocus 4805 - select the Menu->Picture->Advanced->Color Space and change from Auto to either REC709 or REC601 (one is HD Color Space the other is SD Color Space).

This is the connection information:

Intel Mac Mini - DVI-> ClearColor3 -> (VGA)Polaroid FLM-2632
->(Component) Infocus 4805

I don't think this has any relevance, but in the process of getting this to work correctly I flashed the 4805 with the latest version of Firmware.

  • 60Hz is your friend
  • Switch 1 OFF, Switch 2 ON --- VERY IMPORTANT!!!!
  • 800x600 at 60Hz works great.
    • Change color space on the Infocus 4805 to REC601 or REC709.
  • If you don't want to mess with color space and don't mind clipping a smidge off your image then:
    • 640x480 at 60Hz also works great.