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Summary:

Apple had finally released OS X 10.5.7, so I downloaded the combo updater in preparation to install on my three Macs. After installing the update on my MacBook Pro and my wife’s iMac without any issues, I ran the combo updater on my Mac mini that’s […]

Apple had finally released OS X 10.5.7, so I downloaded the combo updater in preparation to install on my three Macs. After installing the update on my MacBook Pro and my wife’s iMac without any issues, I ran the combo updater on my Mac mini that’s hooked up to my TV.

My TV’s native resolution is 1360×768 and ever since I got the Mac mini, this has worked flawlessly and with an extremely crisp picture when using a DVI-HDMI cable. So it was to my dismay when, after installing OS X 10.5.7 and the mini rebooted, the resolution displayed was completely wrong. “Ah, it must have reset, I’ll go change it back,” I thought to myself. So I went to the Display preference pane in System Preferences and looked for 1360×768, but it wasn’t there. I blinked and looked again; it still wasn’t there.

I tried all the other various resolutions, such as with the over-scan option turned on and then again with it turned off. Nothing looked right or displayed properly, and I was aghast. My wife would be wanting to watch the latest episode of “Master Chef” being recorded by EyeTV later in the evening and she wouldn’t be happy to hear that I had done something to the setup that was working excellently before I “fixed something that wasn’t broken and broke it.”

So I started searching and found that this is a common issue caused by the 10.5.7 upgrade. Quite simply, it seems that the DVI supported resolution detection is now broken. Apple is apparently aware of the issue and its developers are looking into it — but there’s no word on an ETA for a fix. If you have a Mac that you regularly hook up to your TV via DVI-HDMI, it would be advisable to stay on 10.5.6 for now.

In the meantime, if the horse has already bolted before you shut the stable doors and you’ve already upgraded, there are two workarounds that you can do to restore your TV’s native resolution.

1. Go back to VGA
If your TV has a standard PC VGA input, you can use a DVI-VGA adapter instead of DVI-HDMI. This will make the correct resolution available again in the Display preference pane. Of course this goes backwards in technology to an analog signal, but it will still look better than the wrong resolution. This is what I’ve done for now — my wife can’t see the difference between VGA and HDMI anyway, so she’s happy.

2. Use ScreenResX to get your resolution back
A useful utility called ScreenResX can be installed. This lets you customize and tweak which resolutions are available in the Display preferences (even creating custom resolutions as required). ScreenResX is available as a 10-day trial and the good news here is that once you’ve created the new resolution and made it available in the Display preferences, you can uninstall ScreenResX.

To keep up-to-date on this issue, keep an eye on this discussion thread on the Apple support forums. This also lists various ScreenResX settings people have used to get their resolution back, so is a useful reference point to assist with this. Hopefully Apple will fix this issue soon, as it does great damage to its “It just works” motto.

  1. Glad I didn’t update the mini! Two other computers yes, but I was lazy with the mini. Will hold off now.

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  2. Okay…So I’m curious. We ONLY use our Mac Mini (intel Core Duo 1.6) for our TV (Satellite via eyeTV). I have it hooled up DVI-VGA, and the resolution is rthe same oas yours under 10.5.6…all good (I’ll hold off on the update on that machine, as you suggest).

    My question is…should I shell out the clams for a DVI-HDMI cable? Is it worth it in terms of video quality? If you use that setup, and wouldn’t mind trying it the other way (VGA), or if you’ve tried it before… how would you rate the improvement in visual appearance?

    Thanks for this useful post! It’s gonna save me from my wife’s frustrations, too!

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  3. Omigosh…How funny. I just found the cable on Amazon starting at, like, 80 cents… I guess I can experiment on my own!

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  4. [...] Staff | Friday, May 15, 2009 | 8:56 AM PT | 0 comments How to fix OS X 10.5.7 DVI-HDMI screen resolution issues (TheAppleBlog) Download torrents on your iPhone without a BitTorrent app (NewTeeVee) Take your web [...]

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  5. The important lesson learned here is that when you are dealing with a home theater setup I chose not to update my computer at all once I’ve reached a good working state. That is of course unless an upgrade will cause some extra sort of functionality that I don’t have with the installed revision.

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  6. Did the same here on my Mini attached to a little LCD TV–same res 1360×768, gone. Fixed it with DisplayConfigX as ScreenResX didn’t readily work for me.

    If you’re in the state where you may need to know how, I hooked the same TV up to my MacBook in 1360×768 mode and got the working timing parameters from DisplayConfigX.

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  7. I had exactly this problem, and while experimenting to find a resolution that would look ok (since the 1360×768 was gone), I chose a resolution that only blinks my screen on and off. I cannot change this resolution, and therefore can’t see my desktop to solve the problem! I have tried rebooting in safe mode, but I can’t see anything.

    So now what? I have to go buy another monitor? or DIV to VGA cable? thanks for ruining my weekend Apple.

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  8. After a few hours of trying to fix this, my mac mini is rendered useless. The LG TV I use (via DIV to HDMI) won’t even give me a picture after the apple start up screen. It gives me a flicker now and then, but not enough to be able to try to install ScreenResX to apply the fix. I don’t have a DVI to VGA adaptor to try out.

    I took it to the nearest mac store to borrow a VGA monitor to install ScreenResX and create my old resolutoin (I created a new 1360 x 768 setting which I set, and brought my mini home and back plugged into the TV again) – but I just get the same result.

    So it seems like the mini is picking up the DVI to HDMI and automatically applying some resolution that won’t display on my TV?

    I guess the only thing to do is to fork out for a DVI to VGA adaptor and try it through VGA. And I’m sure I will waste another week trying to get the cost of that refunded by Apple support!

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  9. pot calling the kettle Saturday, May 16, 2009
    A useful utility called ScreenResX can be installed. This lets you customize and tweak which resolutions are available in the Display preferences (even creating custom resolutions as required). ScreenResX is available as a 10-day trial and the good news here is that once you’ve created the new resolution and made it available in the Display preferences, you can uninstall ScreenResX.
    

    Cheap fecker, the software saved your bacon and you still won’t pay for it, shameful shit…

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  10. [...] and if you found that it produced issues with external monitor resolutions, Andrew Bednarz over at The Apple Blog has some resolutions to your [...]

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