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Widescreen on Radeon 9000 ?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by SunnyUK, Sep 28, 2003.

  1. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Hi,

    I have an ATI Radeon 9000 graphics card and a widescreen TV. I would like to set Windows up to have a 16:9 resolution and throw the old monitor out completely.

    I have used PowerStrip to define a new, custom resolution (864x486; also tried with 1024x576). Whenever I select this resolution, the image on the old 4:3 monitor changes to it (good!), but the image on the TV reverts to 640x480 with the "pan" functionality (so when you move the mouse pointer close to the edge, it pans over a virtual desktop of 864x486) active.

    The display applet claims that the TV is capable of 1024x768, and this res also works perfectly well. So it's not because my TV can't show it.

    Does anyone have any advice?

    Thanks in advance for any help :)
     
  2. Kramer

    Kramer
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    TV out via composite or s-video I assume?

    If so, the output is usually limited to "standard" PC resolutions: 640x480, 800x600 & 1024x768.

    TVTool (a search on Google should locate it) may help.

    :smoke:
     
  3. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Thanks Kramer.

    Yes, it's TV out via composite. Although that's just because I want to pass the signal through my amp which doesn't have s-video - if I were to connect the PC directly to the telly it could be s-video. Would that make a change?

    I checked TVTool. Sadly it only handles nVidia, and the faq states in the very first answer that no support for other vendors like ATI is planned :(

    Anyone got any other suggestion?
     
  4. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Easiest way would probably be to set up the output as 1024 x 768, and get the tv to do the squish so that everything is within the 16:9 screen. Playback DVDs as fullscreen too. You'll have to use the tvs manual 16:9 switching on the remote if you're using composite.

    That way you're sending a signal to the tv just like your DVD player. If you send out a letterboxed image, you'll be using less resolution and have to use the zoom function.

    Gary.
     
  5. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Thanks Gary. But... seeing that the video I'm playing is in 16:9 format, I would like to use all the available screen real estate.

    Guess I should have checked these things *before* going out to buy a new widescreen tv :(
     
  6. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Doing what I said will allow that - if you look at an anamorphic DVD on a 4:3 tv, the people will look tall and skinny. A widescreen tv has to stretch it to 16:9.

    By playing back a DVD 'full screen' from the pc and not already squished, you're giving the tv exactly the same image as an anamorphic DVD, and by letting the tv stretch it will give you the best image quality.

    That's exactly what I do with my HTPC and NEC HT1000 projector in 16:9 mode. It works very well - Windows is 1024 x 768, but the projector makes it widescreen - and so will your tv.

    When you say 'video' do you mean VHS video via the pc?

    Gary.
     
  7. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    When I say 'video', I mean any movie material - DVDs and those of my DVDs I have so far got ripped to Divx (am in the process of building an HTPC with a movie library). Sorry for the confusion.

    Thank you for the help. I think I understand it now. In the ATI drivers (are you also using ATI?), there's an option for "overlay" which springs into action whenever a movieclip is detected. If I set that to "expand to full screen", and at the same in the overlay settings claim that my TV has a 4:3 aspect ratio, the image DOES occupy the entire widescreen TV.

    However... people DO look tall and skinny :)

    I tried measuring with a ruler. Found an image with a large, rectangular box that made it easy.

    On the computer monitor (which plays with black bars on top and bottom), the box measures 28.5 cm x 7.5 cm which gives a ratio of 3.8 to 1.

    On the TV the same box measures 57 cm x 17.5 cm which gives a ratio of 3.25 to 1.

    It's close, but not entirely perfect. Any idea about where the error has crept in? Or is there something I still have misunderstood?
     
  8. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Hmmm, not sure. Was the DVD a 2.35:1 movie? Did you make the tv go into 16:9 mode and squish the image down? That might be all you need to do.

    Getting an image via s-video or composite from a PC means you have no means of telling the tv what to do with the image aspect ratio, so you need to make it squish/stretch the image to the correct ratio.

    If people are looking tall and skinny, then try manualy putting the tv into 16:9 mode. If that doesn't work, set the pc so that it knows your display is 16:9 and see if that works better. Then try the tvs 16:9 mode.

    I'm using ATI and a Radeon card too, but I'm outputting via DVI and not composite.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  9. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Yes. It was a 2.35:1 movie. I know there's an added issue about the aspect ratio of pixels (they're not square) on a DVD, but I was specifically comparing the computer monitor to the TV with the same file being played.

    But... hmmm... yes, I can see how it would go wrong when the TV automatically tries to fill the full width of the TV screen.

    I had the TV in 16:9 mode when I made the measurements. I tried the other options ("panasonic automatic" which cut a bit of the top and bottom of the movie, thereby exaggerating the error, 14:9 and 4:3, zoom1, zoom2 and zoom3). All of them looked wrong.

    I can see how it helps that you've got a DVI output - so the PC at least knows what it's sending to, right?

    I'll try to compare a 16:9 movie played in my standalone DVD player to the ripped version of the same movie played on the computer.

    I may be back with more questions - but so far you've given me far better results than I had yesterday, so I am very grateful :)
     
  10. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Thats great!

    It's a bit difficult when you can't see what's going on, so I'm pleased that you're managing to get somewhere with it. :)

    Gary.
     
  11. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Everything you said was when it's a movie in 16:9 format. I managed to get the standalone DVD and the ripped movie on the 'puter synchronised so I could just flick forth and back and compare the image.

    So this is a sure way to handle 16:9. Now what about movies that have an aspect ratio of 2.35:1?

    Surely if I do the same thing, the TV will be kind and polite and use all the available space on a 16:9 screen instead of inserting black bars to make the aspect ratio correct.

    Is there a way of handling that as well?
     
  12. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    With 2.35:1 movies - Cinemascope format, you will get black bars top and bottom of the image.

    That gives you a choice - watch it as 'the director intended' which is what many of us do (black bars), or use some software on the pc to zoom the image in so that it fills the 16:9 tv, but loses some of the image form the sides. Although you get full screen, it can also highlight any deficiencies of the DVD such as mpeg blocking, but on a tv you should be OK I would think. Just make sure you set the black and white levels correctly using Avia or the THX optimode form a THX disk like Star Wars.

    Zoomplayer is a shell which uses your current software DVD player image and sound rendering, but gives you a lot more flexibility:

    http://www.inmatrix.com/files/zoomplayer_download.shtml

    There's a lot you can do with it, and it can make things a lot easier once you've got the hang of it. You'll be able to easily get the image to fill your tv the way you want it too.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  13. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Thanks a lot, Gary! This is great!

    I'll download Zoomplayer and have a go at it.

    Thanks for all the patience and the good explanations :)
     
  14. Beastie Boy

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    SunnyUK, you've proably got this sorted by now but I'll give you my two penneth worth anyway.
    I assume from your descriptions that you have Theatre Mode enabled on the overlay tab of the ATI driver panel. At the bottom of this tab is an option for 4:3 or 16:9 televisions. Is the correct one selected?
    Using Theatre Mode, I can get movies of any resolution to display correctly on my 4:3 TV, regardless of the software player used.

    Cheers, Beastie.
     
  15. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    BeastieBoy,

    Yes, I was using the Theatre Mode part of the Overlay tab.

    However, this had the drawback that as soon as a movie clip started to play, the movie instantly switched to full screen mode on the telly.

    Since then I realised that the only widescreen mode supported by the Radeon 9000 is 848x480. I configured that mode in PowerStrip and switched the res to that. And suddenly everything looks just right :)

    Thanks for the help :)
     
  16. MikeTV

    MikeTV
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    I always look at circles - clocks, graphics, etc. If the aspect ratio is wrong, you always notice them being oval instead of circular. I don't know why, but it works.
     
  17. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    I agree, circles are easier to gauge by the eye than rectangles. But a great large block makes for easy measuring :)
     

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