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Every now and again I'd like to hook my MacBook (Aluminum/Unibody, last-generation 13") up to my HDTV. Typically this would be to run iTunes with the visualizer for a party, or to watch a movie, and on some rare occasions for training friends on web development.

I use Apple's mini-DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter for this. Every genuine monitor I've plugged into this adapter has detected perfectly (a Dell 19" at work, 1280x1024; my old Acer 19", 1440x900; my current Samsung 22", 1680x1050). However, when hooked into my 720p HDTV, the Mac recognizes it as 1024x768, and doesn't detect any other available resolutions.

Is there a way to force the Mac to use the native resolution (I believe 1366x768 or something similar)? Or am I stuck with this?

It's a Vizio 27" 720p. I don't recall the model number offhand; it's a few years old and I bought it as a floor sample (IE, no manuals).

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you're certain that the TV supports the resolution, Try SwitchResX:

http://www.madrau.com/SRX3/html/SRX/DL.shtml

However, I've noticed a lot of HDTVs that incorrectly report their resolutions via the VGA hookup (even some pretty nice Bravias). A better long term solution is to grab a mini display port to HDMI adaptor, which will give you a pure digital connection between the laptop and the monitor. They're cheap at monoprice:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10428&cs_id=1042802&p_id=5311&seq=1&format=2

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Do you have another computer available to test the screen? If you try connecting a PC laptop to the screen, what resolutions does that support? It may be the case that the screen only supports 1024x768 over VGA.

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Yes. Windows-based machines (a very old Dell D620 laptop and my current box with an nVidia GeForce 8400) correctly detect the TV at its native (1366x768 or what-have-you) resolution. Only the Mac seems to have this issue. –  John Rudy Jul 22 '09 at 17:58
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