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Mac Mini to Sharp Aquos HDTV by DVI to HDMI: Issues w/ Display

Posted on 2008-10-01
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Last Modified: 2013-11-24
My Mac Mini worked fine for 6 months connected to my 46" Sharp Aquos HDTV via a DVI (out from Mac Mini) to HDMI (into tv) adapter and a HDMI cord to one of the  tv's two HDMI inputs.  Resolution and picture were perfect...

Coincidence or not, after power went out due to a lightening storm, the display stopped working.  I get either no display at all or a red tinted fuzzy display of my desktop image.  I tried a bunch of different things:

1) I tried connecting the cable box HDMI output into the HDMI input where the computer went in and it didn't work so I assumed the whole issue was wit hthe tv so I had Sharp replace the input board on the tv.  But now the cable HDMI output works fine in both tv HDMI inputs...  but the computer still doesn't work with either tv input.

2) I replaced the DVI to HDMI adapter (monster cable) - didn't work.

3) I tried jiggling the DVI to HDMI adapter connection into the Mac Mini.  This actually allowed me to get a more consistent red/fuzzy display (versus no display) that allowed me to click through the Mac Mini's resolution settings.

4) I tried every resolution option the Mac Mini has and none worked.  They made the size of the display bigger or smaller but the same red/fuzzy screen remained.  I know at least the Mac Mini recognizes the Sharp tv because the name "Sharp" is listed in the display option settings.

5) I tried my Mac Mini on neighbor's Pioneer HDTV and everything worked perfectly with my same HDMI cords as well as different HDMI cord and DVI to HDMI adapter.

6) Tried my computer on another neighbor's Sharp Aquos tv via HDMI and I get the same red fuzzy screen on his tv as my Sharp.

7) Tried Mac Mini on another neighbor's Panasonic plasma by HDMI and got a completely unrecognizable display.

8) I ran out of neighbors

#5 made me think it was the tv but #6 makes me think it's some internal display issue in the Mac Mini that makes the display funky to Sharp HDTV's in particular.

I'm not sure what to do now.  Anybody experience this before?

As mentionied, the Mac Mini worked beautifully right "out of the box" with the same Sharp Aquos for several months and one day stopped working - so I know it can work.

Thanks for any suggestions (the simplier the better since I'm not tech saavy).
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Question by:NikoDino
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tigfour earned 500 total points
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It sounds to me as though the DVI port on the MM is damaged due to the lightning. I would take it to the Apple Store (assuming you have one near) just so they can test it out for you. If it is under Apple Care they will replace it for you at no charge.

Unfortunately on the MM, the display port is dedicated, so replacing it will mean a complete replacement of the logic board which should cost somewhere around $350 from Apple. If the Apple Store proves to be too expensive you could look on eBay or Google some refurbed/used MM logic boards.

Best.
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by:strung
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If you still have the hardware diagnostic CD which came with your computer, you might try running it.
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by:Callandor
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For completeness, test another source on the HDMI port of the Aquos, but anytime lightning storms are involved, there can be surges induced in any cable and the connector circuitry can be knocked out.
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by:NikoDino
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tigfour - You might be right but hate to go there without knowing for sure.  I plan to sign up for the AppleCare service Protection extension ($159 for 2 additional years) before my 1 year date of purchase anniversary (November 2007) so if it does come to that, I'll be covered.

strung - I tried this last night.  It came up clean.  

Callandor - Iteresting that at the same time the computer stopped working (as a result of the lightening?) the HDMI input of the Sharp that the Mac used also stopped working with both the Mac and HD cable box - using the same and different HDMI cords).  I was sure that once Sharp replaced the input (under 1 year warranty) that the Mac would work again.  It didn't, but the HD cable box does.  This made me think maybe it is the Mac and not the Sharp that has the issue.

I've also tried the following since my original post:

1) Rebooted PRAM - didn't resolve anything.

2) I bought Apple's DVI to component/S video adapter.  This works but the display obviously isn't as clear as it was wit hthe DVI to HDMI adapter and cord to HDMI input.  It's just not the same without the clarity - especially when you know what could be.

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by:strung
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If DVI to Component works, presumably the DVI port is okay. Maybe the DVI to HDMI adapter is busted.
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by:strung
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Also, make sure the Mac is set to the native resolution of the TV.
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by:strung
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Also make sure you turn the TV on before you boot the Mac.
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by:NikoDino
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strung:

Thanks.  Can you give me more background on the "native resolution" suggestion?  I've tried every resolution option that the Mac offers and none make a difference with the red screen or no image at all.  How do I know if there's a specific resolution that the Sharp requires?  Keep in mind though that I didn't have to mess around with resolution when I first set-up the Mac to the Sharp... it worked right out of the box.  But maybe the lightening messed with the settings?
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by:Callandor
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The Aquos is a 1080p television, so 1920x1080 is its native resolution.  Set your Mac to this if it isn't already.

>5) I tried my Mac Mini on neighbor's Pioneer HDTV and everything worked perfectly with my same HDMI cords as well as different HDMI cord and DVI to HDMI adapter.

This makes me think that your Mac is ok and it just needs to be set correctly.
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by:NikoDino
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Callandor and strung:

Correct that the tv is a 1080i.  I'm not home now, but will double-checl the resolution tonight and make sure it's 1920X1080.  Note, that the Mac also works completely fine on a regular computer monitor using the Mac provided DVI to VGA adapter.

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by:Callandor
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If you still experience the red color, I suspect strung is right and the DVI-HDMI adapter is damaged and you need to try another one.
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by:NikoDino
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Setting the resolution at 1920X1080 had no effect on the red screen color.  I've also since tried a Samsung HDTV and got the same red screen.

I'm back to thinking it's a hardware issue with the Mac Mini since I've tried different adapters, different HDMI cords, different DVI to HDMI adapters, different HDMI inputs, different tvs (another Sharp Aquos, Panasonic, Samsung), etc.  

The two bazarre inconsistencies are it working on the Pioneer HDTV and using Apple's component adapter (no red screen but fuzzy resolution).  

I bought the Apple Care extended warranty and will likely ask Apple to try a different HDTV in order to experience my frustration.  Hopefully they can solve the issue.

Any ideas are still welcome but I think I've reached the end of the line.
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by:newbs2215
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more or less the same problem, i can only set the mac mini to 1280 x 1024, when i connect the mac to the tv i see the mac screen for an instant then the tv comes up out of range, i am trying to connect dvi to rgb

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