CRT TV connection dilemma

Discussion in 'Displays' started by lubbe75, November 12, 2008.

  1. lubbe75

    lubbe75 Portal Pro

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    I have just completed (more or less) my first HTPC project... a micro-atx box, mobo with built in ATI graphics processor, and a 3x Phenom CPU. The computer seems fine, but I can't connect it to my ancient 32" Sanyo CRT TV :(

    The mobo is a GIGABYTE MA78GM-S2H with a built-in ATI Radeon HD 3200. It has VGA, DVI-d and HDMI outputs. My TV has SCART (including RGB) and s-video inputs.

    I used to have a mac mini, and it was connected to the TV via a DVI->s-video adapter. The plan now was to use the same adapter in Windows XP, thinking that DVI is always DVI... but it doesn't work. This converter is Macified somehow. Now, I have a few options. Please help me choose one of them...

    1. The most obvious solution is to buy a non-ancient TV with HD capability and HDMI. After all, that's why I replaced the old mac mini with a new computer... to be able to play HD content. Believe me, I will... but not right now. It's hard to convince my other half why I should throw out a fully functional 32" TV just to get a sharper picture. I'm still working on it but I don't see a solution just yet :mad:

    2. Use a VGA to SCART (RGB) cable and Powerstrip. This should be possible. I have the cable and I have done some experiments with Powerstrip... but with no success. It is very difficult to get this working, and even when it does, it will not be straight forward to switch between display modes. It might be possible to get it working, but from what I understand it will never be nice.

    3. Buy a new VGA to s-video converter (something that is a bit more general than the Apple thingy). This would probably work, but I just realised that it may actually cost more than number 4...



    4. Buy a cheap (fanless?) ATI graphics card with s-vido output. This might be the logical thing to do, but I hesitate... I bought that specific mobo with built-in GPU so that I could avoid a dedicated graphics card, with the extra heat it generates.

    Now what would you do in my situation? I have more or less ruled out options 1 and 2 for now, and I am reluctantly leaning towards option 4. Do you have any recommendations there? It would mean that the built-in ATI circuits become completely unutilised, wouldn't it? If that's the case then I must make sure that the graphics card is competent enough to handle all kind of HD video decoding, so I guess I might not be able to go for the cheapest one, or can I?

    Please... help!
     
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  3. eetaylog

    eetaylog Portal Pro

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    i had exactly the same problem when i first built my htpc as i still had a crt. i ended up using the s-video to scart converter that came with my playstation2. the screen used to flicker for a second when first booting up, but was absolutely fine.

    failing that, get yourself a flatscreen like you suggested!
     
  4. moesfeld

    moesfeld Portal Pro

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    With a 16:9 crt you will allso stumble upon some resolution problems with ati (at least I did) as you need an 16:9 resolution (i.e. 1024x576) to get all the aspect ratios right on 16:9 skins. The distortions are only minor but noticeable nvidia however will display 1024x567 fine but with overscan-correction your covers in filmstrip-view might still be a bit off (in xface for example).
    The vga to scart sollution wil result in a sharp picture but it is hard to find the right timings and the 16:9 resolution issue will still be there.
     
  5. lubbe75

    lubbe75 Portal Pro

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    Hmm... thanks for the info. Perhaps I should buy a cheap graphics card with s-video and just try. Suppose I still go for an ATI card with Hybrid Graphics (since the mobo also supports Hybrid Graphics)... can I then use the s-video output on the "cheap" card and still use the power (hardware playback of various HD video formats) of the mobo?
     
  6. dakota_ii

    dakota_ii Portal Pro

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    lubbe75,

    I have a similar problem (with CRT TV and better half ;-) ) for my bedroom client.

    But my TV only has a scart input. My Notebook has also only DVI out, S-video out and TV out (yellow).

    I tried a DVI to VGA Adapter together with a vga to scart cable = no picture at all.
    I tried an Adapter for s-video to scart = only black and white picture
    I tried a cinch cable with TV Video in to Scart = no picture at all

    I possible do something wrong with the TV cinch connection as it should be the easiest to setup...?

    As this is the bedroom I could buy a tft monitor with dvi/vga in.

    Marcus
     
  7. eetaylog

    eetaylog Portal Pro

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    dakota_ii - im surprised you got no picture at all with a VGA-scart. are you sure youve got the sync. settings right on uyour pc/tv, ie ntsc or PAL depending on where you live.

    lubbe75 - i would at least try VGA --> s-video--> scart before buying a graphics card. this is the method i used, and the results were fine. i did get a slight clipping at the top of the screen, but nothing that editing the screen position didnt sort out.
     
  8. lubbe75

    lubbe75 Portal Pro

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    I have tried the VGA->SCART option. I spent hours trying different settings in Powerstrip but I never even got close to something interesting. I have seen many types of lines, dots and flickering though :rolleyes: Anyway, I'm ready to give up on that option.
     
  9. lubbe75

    lubbe75 Portal Pro

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    moesfeld, you are right about the resolution problem. I went ahead and bought an Radeon HD 2400 Pro with s-video output. I can still return it back to the store if I am not happy, and maybe I will.

    I can get 1024 x 768, but that is not a 16:9 format. The only possible 16:9 format I can get is 854 x 480 (something like that, don't remember the exact numbers). This is a very low resolution (especially since I know that the TV can handle 1024x768) and I can't even fit the Catalyst settings window on that screen.

    So what should I do? If I choose to keep the 2400 card, can I do something else to get a good resolution, or something that appears to be a good 16:9 resolution?

    If I choose to return the card, what should I get instead? What is the cheapest Nvidia card that can handle playback of HD media (blu-ray, 1080p, 1080i)?
     
  10. moesfeld

    moesfeld Portal Pro

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    I just ordered this little thing. I´m hoping to get an 1280x720 Resolution on my 16:9 CRT TV (Maybe over the "resolution in resolution" feature in Powerstrip sending an 1280x720 into an 1280x1024 resolution and zooming in with my tv)

    I will tell you how it went once i get the item.

    P.s.
    I couldn´t find this item on trandera.com maybe they don´t have the international feature. Maybe you need to by it via ebay.com
     
  11. lubbe75

    lubbe75 Portal Pro

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    Hi. I got tired of all the connection problems. In the end I took the plunge and upgraded my ancient CRT for a new LCD TV. It costed a lot more than a cheap graphics card but I think it is worth it. It's perfect :) Thanks for your support anyway.
     
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