HTPC incompatible with LCD TV?

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by eezer, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. eezer

    eezer
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    170
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +2
    the guy in the shop i bought most of the components for my HTPC from seems to think so.

    this is going to be a bit of a rant...

    i have been having problems with my HTPC for the past month; mainly that windows for some unknown reason is letterboxed on my 1080p tv and it never seems to want to reboot - if i try to it just crashes.

    so i took it to the shop on Thursday and tried to explain to the guy what the problems were but he didn't seem very interested and tried to brush me off with comments like, "Oh, you just need to change the resolution settings". like i hadn't tried that!!

    but i left it with them and told him whatever needed done to fix it, to just go ahead and do it. i left him with my HTPC, the HDMI lead i use to connect it to the tv and my copy of W7. i told him to try reinstalling windows to see if it fixed it, but that i couldn't do it because every time i try to reboot, which windows likes to do during a reinstall, it would just crash.

    i phoned today and was told it was fixed and that he had found the problem in the bios. it was seemingly not looking for the hdmi connection.

    i went in to collect it and asked about the reinstall. "Oh, i never did it. it's working fine though"

    when i got back home i connected it up and switched it on and right enough it booted fine. but... windows it still letterboxed. so i had a little scream and put in my windows disc, went into control panel and went to reinstall windows.

    after a while windows wanted to reboot. i clicked ok and it switched off. it hasnt come back on since. that's an hour ago.

    so i called him back up and told him.

    "Ah well, yes. HDMI connections are software based so they won't work if you try to reinstall windows".

    "So how do i get it back on? I don't have a monitor to connect it to, just my TV and if the HDMI won't work... The reason I went to reinstall is because it's still letterboxed. I'm trying to rule out the motherboard (i have a Biostar H55HD with built in HDMI, y'see)!"

    "Well you could buy a separate graphics card and see if that works. You don't have a Samsung TV do you?"

    "Yes..."

    "We get a lot of people with problems like that. Samsungs aren't very compatible with HTPCs".




    what the hell?!!? why would one make of TV be any less compatible than another when it's just a signal over HDMI? i'm sure he's just trying to get me to part with more and more money.

    have any of you had any problems like this? if you have, how did you overcome them?
     
  2. andy1249

    andy1249
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    Messages:
    8,606
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,654
    Ive had the same issue with a number of HTPC builds , the only viable way around it is to set up Windows using a normal PC monitor , then hook it up to the TV and set up the graphics for your TV.

    Installing Windows while connected to a TV can be very very problematic. It all depends on what signals exactly , your TV is willing to accept over HDMI. These are part of the firmware for the TV , and the number of resolutions a TV will accept is way less that the number a PC monitor will accept.

    While installing Windows , and until the correct graphics driver is installed ( the generic Windows one is never the best option ) the setup will switch through a number of default resolutions , if any of these resolutions is not compatible with your TV , then you run into problems.

    So , best workaround , install windows while connected to a monitor , only when all Windows and all the relevant drivers are installed should you connect to the TV and setup the HDTV output.

    The last thing you do will almost certainly be to adjust for overscan , thats something TV's have that PC monitors dont , and results in some kind of letterboxing.
    The best way to fix it is to set the TV to 1:1 mode if it has such a mode.
    If not you adjust for overscan in the graphics card utility.

    A bit late now of course , but it sounds like you were almost there and just had to sort out the overscan , but as you started to re-install windows , your back to square one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  3. eezer

    eezer
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    170
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +2
    yeah, i'm going to have to see if i can borrow a monitor. but the not-rebooting problem and letterboxing of windows happened when the HTPC seemed to be working ok... or at least it had been up until then.
     
  4. spyder viewer

    spyder viewer
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Messages:
    5,846
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    Ratings:
    +1,285
    You've surely got a vga output on your pc: use that and select vga or pc on your tv. HDMI ops are enabled at boot but you may need to set the bios to use the right graphics processor at sytem start-up.

    Tell us which graphics card and mobo you've got.
     
  5. psykix

    psykix
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    Messages:
    310
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Wirral
    Ratings:
    +37
    You need to set the Samsung TV to "Just Scan" in the settings, not 16:9 which is the default. Make sure also, that you have the HDMI input that you are using labelled as PC in the settings also. No idea why it matters, but it does seem to..

    I use my HTPC with a Samsung 52" LCD - on a reboot the Just Scan setting often reverts back, but I don't reboot too often..
     
  6. psykix

    psykix
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    Messages:
    310
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Wirral
    Ratings:
    +37
    By the way, HDMI works without drivers - else how would you see POST etc?

    Drive me mad PC shops like that - talk out of their rear ends!!

    EDIT: Try pulling the power cable and plugging back in, that can often help with motherboard issues, else try a CMOS reset on your motherboard.
     
  7. eezer

    eezer
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    170
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +2
    psykix why would i use Just Scan (which the tv doesn't have anyway but i know what you mean) when i can use the 1:1 1080p resolution? that aside, the problem does not lie with the tv. i know this as i have plugged various hdmi enabled items into the same socket using the same cable and they are all perfect. the problem is either with windows or the hdmi socket on the motherboard.

    but i agree with you about the shop's attitude.

    removing the power cable doesn't make any difference. the few times i have managed to get it to switch on this past week windows is always letterboxed. and every time i switch it off it takes a couple of days to come back on.

    spyder viewer i managed to borrow a monitor and tried plugging that into the vga socket but it told me it wasn't getting a signal either.

    the mobo is a biostar h55hd and which has built in hdmi output. graphics i think run through the intel processor? it's an Intel G6950
     
  8. psykix

    psykix
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    Messages:
    310
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Wirral
    Ratings:
    +37
    I disagree with you on this - my Samsung is perfect with everything plugged into the HDMI socket (PS3, Bluray player, camcorder) except the HTPC which I had to adjust settings on the TV for.. Not saying that this is definitely the reason in your case, I'm just saying your logic is flawed!

    Does anyone have a graphics card with HDMI you can borrow to eliminate the motherboard from the list of culprits?

    My graphics card (GTX460) displays video via HDMI just fine even with no OS installed.

    I'm wondering if your onboard graphics is either faulty or misconfigured in some way in the BIOS..
     
  9. psykix

    psykix
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    Messages:
    310
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Wirral
    Ratings:
    +37
    I have just had a look at the manual for your motherboard, and HDMI is not supported in DOS or BIOS.

    I'd be inclined to get a cheap HDMI capable graphics card (maybe one of the ATI's that support bitstreaming) rather than use the onboard - that should solve your problems too :)
     
  10. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    Messages:
    6,595
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Ratings:
    +920
    AIUI Just Scan is a way of disabling your TV's overscan (which will be on by default - though is also usually inhibited if your TV is told it is being fed by a PC if it has that option)

    On most TVs, even if they are 1920x1080 panels and are being fed by 1920x1080 HDMI inputs they DON'T 1:1 pixel match by default. Instead they crop and zoom a bit to simulate the overscan that you got with CRTs.

    This is because many broadcast sources (particularly, but not exclusively, SD ones) have ragged left and right edges, and stuff you might find distracting at the top and bottom of frame. This is particularly the case on live/studio productions where you can often see bits of kit switched in and out as lines/half-lines appear and disappear (or are different to the rest of the picture) at the top and bottom of frame, or where you see each camera output is a slightly different width (blanking errors), or graphic captions don't reach the edges of frame etc...

    However - on HTPCs running Windows, you really need to be able to see the edges of frame, and you get much better picture quality if you don't scale the image and can pixel match (particularly on non-video stuff like Windows text) On some TVs this is called JUST SCAN, on others 1:1 TRUE PIXEL etc.
     
  11. eezer

    eezer
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    170
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +2
    well, my tv is set to 1:1. on my set it's called Screen Fit. another reason i know it's not the tv is that the htpc was working perfectly until i accidentally switched the tv off without switching the pc off (i need it on to see where i'm putting the mouse obviously). when i switched the tv back on windows had gone all letterboxy.

    i took it back to the shop today and told them to do whatever it takes to get it working properly. so far they have not phoned me to tell me if i need any new parts. i'm assuming the existing parts are covered by warranty given that they're all less than 6 months old.
     
  12. mitch1

    mitch1
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Messages:
    160
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    I have a tv in the same series as yours. Do you have the h55 chipset on the mb? I had this letter box thing happen recently too. Also sound was taking 10seconds to come through hdmi Think it was caused by win update. I updated the gfx driver from Intel site and all was good.
     
  13. Stiggy

    Stiggy
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    6,726
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Sandy Heath
    Ratings:
    +1,043
    Um, they already told you it's not a hardware problem.

    Yes, some TVs do react differently to others over HDMI. The handshaking can be a problem; my PC and Panasonic plasma sometimes get things mixed up and I have to reboot the PC. Lots of people have problems with audio.

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned EDID override yet.
     
  14. eezer

    eezer
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    170
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +2
    spoke to the engineer at the shop today and he told me they replaced the motherboard and re-installed W7, so i guess it was a hardware fault after all?

    mitch yeah, it's the H55 chipset on that motherboard.

    stiggy what's an EDID override?
     
  15. mitch1

    mitch1
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Messages:
    160
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    If you get the same thing after u plug it in and Windows updates itself go for.the driver update.
     
  16. eezer

    eezer
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    170
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +2
    i got it back today. the shop has installed an Asus EAH5450 (ATI Radeon HD 5450) video card with HDMI as they reckon it'll be better than relying on the output built in to the motherboard. once home i installed the driver for it (why the shop didn't do it is beyond me, they installed the thing after all) and am now getting a lovely full-screen picture on my tv.

    but

    i have gone into Control Panel > Hardware & Sound > Sounds > and selected the [already defaulted] hdmi output. i click on Configure to set it to output multi-channel audio but find that there's only 2 channel available.

    anyone have any idea how to get my multichannel back?
     

Share This Page

Loading...