1.    19 Feb 2015 #1
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 245
    windows 7

    "Tuning" Video for HDTV / HTPC duty

    This has little to do with Windows 10 specifically but much to do with Windows, Graphics Cards, and HDTV's, vs. "Monitors". As many have noticed, HDTV's are usually a better bet than buying "external monitors" for a host of reasons, however not without a gotcha or two.

    I have a handful of pc's and laptops, and 2 well-rated HDTV's, one samsung 21, one Sony 50".
    Every PC/Laptopt/netbook I hookup via HDMI gives me a lot of trouble tuning the video. I've had Intel 4000, 4400, etc onboards, AMD A-series, AMD PCI cards in PC's [5xxx series, 6xxx series, 7xxx series], and several different NVIDIA rigs - the current annoyance being a 640GT low profile in a small desktop used for HTPC [or.. I HOPE to].

    The 'friendliest' in general are integrated laptops: the A-series AMD thingies leading, but that's the "Less awful" of a "Horrible" lot. I use the same HDMI cable I use for the DVD/BDP or Cable box. The displays are magnificent with the latter, and look awful with pc's... With a lot of work I can get the A-series to look pretty ok as long as your main objective is NOT to read any text.

    Have any of you mastered this dark art? I'm baffled. What is the formula? I can get the scale and sync'ing fixed pretty easily: is the visuals that get me. All text always looks "overdriven" for lack of a more precise tech term. the fonts will always have a white halo all around them, with a murky gray behind that. making big adjustments in "desktop color", calibrating text, switching Aero on/off, flipping between strict use of the GPU and less strict - none of this makes for a good quality display, but just shifts from one outstanding problem to another... sorta moves the curve around.

    surely a lot of you gamers go through this...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2.    19 Feb 2015 #2

    We have eliminated the use of set top boxes and use Windows Media Center as our LiveTV, for us we were on Comcast, and the picture quality improved dramatically. We have 7 different TVs (all Samsung, different sizes). We use Windows 7, 8, 8.1 we desktops, laptops, tablets and a variety of graphics cards, all using HDMI cables (nothing special)

    Perhaps, we are not as critical as you, but, you can change font characteristics. It is difficult to judge on the information given.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3.    19 Feb 2015 #3
    Join Date : Aug 2014
    Australia, Adelaide
    Posts : 1,316
    W7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), LM 18 MATE (64 bit), W10IP VM, W10 Home


    Have you checked the settings in your TV?

    Our TV (Panasonic) has various settings, which were all set ridiculously high on all inputs (Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, etc.).

    Running a high "Sharpness" value caused ringing around text (and other items).
    Setting the "Sharpness" to 0 eliminated this issue.
    Last edited by lehnerus2000; 20 Feb 2015 at 08:07. Reason: Additional
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4.    20 Feb 2015 #4
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 245
    windows 7

    Good tip on sharpness. Hey Trust_ .. what about the Sammy Sharpness setting? Between the Sony and the Samsung, the latter is much tougher to get even close to a happy spot. but on any webpages with text both are awful

    To draw the scope down a bit: I have at the moment one dell i3 small chassis model with a NVIDIA 640GT in the slot, on the Samsung UN22D5000NF. I wish I could photo the display but that doesn't work.. First: do I WANT the Nvidia GPU controlling the output values or not ?
    ANd - this confuses me: obviously there are 1920x1080 displays of all sizes from phone size to huge... Something different on NVIDIA vs. AMD - the AMD controls have one scaling control they dub 'overscan' that sets the borders. Nvidia has both an Underscan function and an Overscan function. The NVIDIA instructions indicate that the scaling is truncating the pixel map - i.e. to shrink the desktop display is to render it "less than 1080P" which ain't what I would like to do! What's the scoop on that?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5.    24 Feb 2015 #5
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    North West Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts : 446
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit and VM

    The overscan and underscan is for some TV's usually DLP or CRT models where the image can be larger than the screen. With an LCD or plasma screen it is the function of the screen to set the size of the image and fooling around with the size is not running the display at the native resolution. What you are experiencing is the normal effect of the comparison of a relatively small (say 20") computer monitor with its tiny pixels compared to a large TV (50") with its relatively huge pixels. The PC monitor is designed to be a foot away from the viewer and the TV is designed to be viewed from at least 10 ft, step back and look at a moving video on the TV and it will be fine. TV sets are NOT designed to be computer monitors. Computer monitors of 40" and above are available but they are extremely costly and they do not suffer from what you are seeing as those pixels are tiny.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6.    25 Feb 2015 #6
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 245
    windows 7

    I understand what you're saying but it doesn't address my question.
    The fact is, I get pretty good display, for instance, with the G4-1117dx running Windows 10 [it has amd Radeon 6480 shared vid/mem] on a Bravia 46". is great on video and image, "ok" on text.
    conversely, with a dell desktop and a radeon 6570 card [or was it 6750?... anyway] was very difficult to get things looking even decent on the same display, same hdmi cable/input. colors were difficult. text was horribly difficult. it was one of the best-rated cards for light gaming etc etc. via VGA things are very different [again, on the same display].
    on the Samsung 21" HDTV, one of their top-rated models, almost everything is more difficult via HDMI.
    a different dell desktop with a well-rated NVidia GT640 - everything is difficult.

    so back to the original question: since there are so many moving parts, adjustable parameters, etc, I was wondering about what some of the skilled folks had found in 'tuning' HTPC - what are "best practices" for drawing a baseline, then fine-adjusting. I realize now I need to get in the HTPC / Home Theater forums and learn from those guys
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


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