Guide to 1080i DVI-HDMI with ATI Radeon
Many users have reported problems getting older ATI Radeon cards (such as 9xxx series) to drive HDTVs at 1080i resolution through DVI-HDMI. The suggestion I see most of the time is to just give it up and buy the ATI Component dongle - or to switch to an NVidia card.
After countless tests with and without PowerStrip and using various ATI Catalyst driver versions, I finally found a pattern and a way to consistently make the ATI drivers do 1080i properly on my own Radeon 9550 through DVI-HDMI to my Toshiba 56HM195 DLP as well as DVI-DVI to my HP 2335 LCD. Standard 1080i as well as custom resolutions that eliminate overscan.
It is NOT just about finding the right PowerStrip modeline (timing parameters) as I first thought. I am convinced that there is a bug in all Catalyst drivers 5.5 and later that prevent them from doing interlaced modes through DVI with older Radeon cards.
Users with newer ATI cards generally seem not to have this particular problem - although they too have other issues with ATI and HDTVs. Maybe some HDTVs are also more tolerant than others. This guide is for those who DO have problems and have been unable to get their ATI cards to deliver a 1080i signal their HDTV can sync to.With or without PowerStrip
As much as I have tried to work around it, I am finding that PowerStrip is necessary with Catalyst drivers 5.5 and later. I am currently using PowerStrip 3.65 in combination with Catalyst 6.5 and Catalyst Control Center (CCC).CAUTION: PowerStrip is a powerful and dangerous tool. You can damage you hardware and your HDTV if you don't know what you are doing. You can also corrupt your display setup badly. If you use this guide, it is your own responsibility! I will not provide tech support if you have problems and I accept no liability!
For troublefree 1080i WITHOUT PowerStrip, use Catalyst 5.4 drivers. They do not support custom resolutions, so overscan cannot be eliminated, but they do 1080i right out of the box. The interlace problems seemed to start only from Catalyst 5.5.
Even with PowerStrip, the newer ATI drivers will ONLY do interlaced resolutions properly if specific steps are followed EXACTLY. If you make even one little mistake, you may not be able to get into 1080i mode no matter how much you try. If that happens, you have to un-install and re-install the ATI drivers (and preferably also PowerStrip) and start over. I suggest using the AtiCimUn utility to get rid of all ATI driver files before re-installing. AtiCimUn.exe is in the same folder as Setup.exe when you unpack the Catalyst download.
Also, even after getting 1080i working, there are still some annoying, but minor issues with the ATI drivers. But that said, 1080i looks absolutely STUNNING on my Toshiba 56HM195 (1080p DLP set, max 1080i through HDMI). Totally crisp one-to-one pixel rendering. I can clearly read even small text 12-14 feet away. Pictures and HD videos look amazing.How to do it (if you know your stuff)
The main trick to get 1080i (standard and custom resolutions) is to add each resolution to the ATI driver with 60Hz progressive refresh rate BEFORE trying to switch to it as interlaced resolution in PowerStrip.
In the case of 1920x1080, you use Catalyst Control Center's "HDTV Support" panel to add 1080p60 to the driver as a predefined HDTV format. In the case of other resolutions, you must use PowerStrip to add the resolution as 60Hz progressive. In both cases must you do this BEFORE actually using PowerStrip to switch to the resolution in interlaced mode. Once a resolution is added with progressive refresh rate to the ATI driver, you can enter interlaced mode in PowerStrip - and it should actually work.
The important thing is NEVER to let the ATI drivers try to do 1080i on their own. They THINK they can do it, but they really can't - and once they've tried, not even PowerStrip can get that resolution working again.
Setting up these resolutions is done easiest and safest on a PC monitor that supports true 1080p, but it is also possible on your 1080i-only HDTV using the steps below.Steps to standard 1080i (1920x1080 with overscan)1. Re-install your ATI Catalyst drivers
If you have already tried to do 1080i with your currently installed ATI drivers, you may not be able to get this working at all because the drivers have stored information in the registry that prevents interlaced from working - even with PowerStrip. There are ways to fix this, but the best way is to un-install the ATI drivers completely and re-install the latest Catalyst version (6.5 at time of this post).
Also, if you have already played with PowerStrip and have some custom resolutions added, I suggest you un-install that as well. In theory, deleting PSTRIP.INI should be enough, but I found it wasn't always. Don't re-install PowerStrip until step 5 in this guide.
It is often a lot easier to do this step on an LCD or CRT monitor BEFORE connecting the PC to the HDTV.2. Set "Use centered timings" in CCC
After you have re-installed the ATI drivers and re-started Windows, open CCC (Catalyst Control Center) and enter the Advanced mode.
Under "Digital Panel Properties-Attributes-Image Scaling" select "Use centered timings" and click Apply.3. Add 720p and 1080p modes in CCC -- but don't switch yet
In CCC under "Digital Panel Properties-HDTV Support-HDTV modes supported by this display" select "Add 720p60 formats to the Display Manager" and "Add 1080p60 formats to the Display Manager". This only makes these modes available for selection, but does not actually switch to them.Switching to 1080p could cause problems or even damage your HDTV.
Do NOT select "Add 1080i30 formats to the Display Manager" - we don't want the ATI drivers to attempt 1080i on their own.
Select Yes if you get a warning when you try to add these modes. Click Apply (NOT "Apply Format") and notice that the added modes now appear below under "Predefined and Custom HDTV formats".4. Create a working 720p profile and hotkey in CCC
While still in CCC under "Digital Panel Properties-HDTV Support" under "Predefined and Custom HDTV formats" select "720p60 standard" and click "Apply Format". This will switch to 720p mode.
All ATI driver versions should be able to do 720p without problems (except some overscan) and I am not going to elaborate on 720p. If you DON'T get a working 720p picture, your problems are beyond this guide. Just wait 15 seconds, and the drivers will revert to the previous mode. Sorry
If there is too much overscan, you could choose "720p60 optimized" instead or you can customize a 720p resolution by clicking "Add" while "720p60 standard" is selected.
Once you have a working 720p mode, create a profile with a hotkey so that you can always switch back to 720p if you ever loose the picture on the HDTV. Use CCC "Profiles-Profiles Manager" and make sure you check "Display manager" under "This profile includes". I have profiles for 720p (Ctrl-Alt-7) 540p (Ctrl-Alt-5) and 480p (Ctrl-Alt4).
Test your profile and make sure you can return to 720p using the hotkey. You will need it!5. Install PowerStrip while in 720p mode
Install PowerStrip while in 720p mode and re-start Windows as prompted. The first time PowerStrip is loaded, it will save the current resolution as a default. Until 1080i is stable, you want that default to be 720p. Once you have 1080i working, you can force PowerStrip to re-scan and save 1080i as your default.
In PowerStrip Quick setup, make sure you enable "Auto-load with Windows". Otherwise you may accidentally switch to 1080p mode when PowerStrip is not there to force 1080i mode. Worst case, this could damage you HDTV.
If you have been using a PC monitor other than your HDTV up until this point and if that monitor does NOT support 1920x1080 at 30Hz interlaced, then now is the time to shut down your PC and connect it to the HDTV instead. On the other hand, if your monitor DOES support 1080i (or even 1080p) the following steps are best continued on the PC monitor until you have 1080i working.6. Enter 1080i interlaced mode under PowerStrip Custom resolutions
Now that 1080p is added to the ATI driver (i.e. 1920x1080 with 60Hz progressive mode refresh rate) 1920x1080 can be created as a custom resolution in PowerStrip using 30Hz interlaced mode. As long as PowerStrip controls the 1920x1080 resolution, it will force the proper 1080i mode - even though the ATI driver thinks it is in 1080p mode.
While still in 720p mode, enter PowerStrip Custom resolutions: Right click the PowerStrip tray icon and select "Display profiles-Configure-Advanced timing options-Custom resolutions".CAUTION: I have to warn again that one wrong click in here could render your display setup useless - or worst case even damage your HDTV.
This is not meant to be a PowerStrip course. My focus here is really how to make the ATI drivers actually do interlaced mode properly. Elaborate descriptions of PowerStrip custom resolutions can be found on Karnis original guide here:Karnis Custom Resolution Guide for 1080i HDTV-HTPC-POWERSTRIP-RADEON
But just briefly:
Different HDTVs use different variants of 1080i mode, referred to as timings (or sometimes T&R). You have to find the right timings for your HDTV. PowerStrip includes many Predefined timings for various resolutions (displayed by selecting the Predefined radio button). Also, your TV reports recommended resolutions and timings (displayed by selecting the E-EDID radio button).
By selecting a resolution from the list (either Predefined, User defined or E-EDID) its timing values will be displayed under "New resolution". "Active pixels" is the resolution as seen by Windows (e.g. 1920x1080 or 1280x720). All the other fields under "New resolution" define the timing parameters of how this resolution is actually sent from the graphics card to the HDTV.
The "Add new resolution" button adds the values under "New resolution" to the "User defined" list and attempts to switch to the resolution. Once a resolution is confirmed and saved here, PowerStrip will take control of that resolution whenever it is selected anywhere in Windows and force the refresh rate and other timings accordingly.
Using the icons at the bottom right, a resolution can be copied or pasted to and from the Windows clipboard as lines of text (called a modeline) which is used to save specific resolutions and timings and exchange them with other users. Hold the mouse cursor over each icon to display its tooltip.
Right now we are only interested in 1920x1080i resolutions. I suggest trying resolutions in the following order:
A) A 1920x1080i mode should be listed under E-EDID which I suggest trying first. It should work in theory - but doesn't always, as was the case with my Toshiba 56HM195. If no 1920x1080i mode is listed here, your HDTV may simply not support 1080i through DVI/HDMI.
B) If you have a working modeline for your HDTV from another user on this forum or elsewhere, copy that to the Windows clipboard and paste it using the pasteboard icon. For example my Toshiba accepts the following modeline (which is a little different from the E-EDID one that didn't work).
PowerStrip timing parameters:
C) Try the Predefined 1920x1080i resolutions. In particular, I would recommend the following for recent models of fixed resolution HDTVs (LCD, DLP, LCoS etc):
1920x1080i 60Hz (EIA/CEA-861B) - for NTCS TVs
1920x1080i 50Hz (EIA/CEA-861B) - for PAL TVs
There are other Predefined 1920x1080i resolutions that may or may not work with your HDTV - CRT HDTVs in particular are generally more tolerant with timings.
Click the "Add new resolution button" to try each of these resolutions. If the screen goes blank or becomes unreadable, just press ESC or wait a few seconds without pressing any keys and PowerStrip should revert to the previous resolution. Otherwise hit your hotkey to switch to the 720p profile created earlier.You could also hit Ctrl-S to switch to PowerStrip's default mode, but this can cause some ATI driver versions to crash Windows - which is the reason I recommended creating a 720p profile with CCC.
Once you (hopefully) have a stable picture in 1080i, click Yes to keep it then Close to exit "Custom resolutions". This will get you back to "Advanced timing options" where you can use the left set of arrows to shift the image up/down/left/right. If you want to make the picture smaller due to overscan, you should create a custom resolution as described later in this guide rather than using the right set of arrows in here.
Click OK to leave "Advanced timing options" and OK again to close "Display profiles". Your 1080i custom timings have been saved and will now be enforced by PowerStrip whenever 1920x1080 is selected anywhere in Windows.NOTE: If you are setting this up on a PC monitor that supports 1080p as well as 1080i, you may occasionally find that PowerStrip tries to enter interlaced mode but is really still in progressive mode. You can see in "Advanced timing options" that the Interlaced check box is clear. You will also notice that the refresh rate is most likely 60Hz and not 30Hz. This can be tricky and happens mostly with Catalyst 5.x drivers. The solution is usually to exit to "Display profiles" (hit OK or Cancel in "Advanced timing options") and uncheck the lock icon to revert control of the resolution to Windows and the ATI drivers. Click Apply to save this. Now go back into "Custom resolutions" and select or paste the interlaced timings again. Don't select from "User defined" as it will contain the incorrect 1080p timings.7. Create a 1080i profile and hotkey in CCC
Now that you have a working 1080i mode, create a profile with a hotkey to activate it. Use CCC "Profiles-Profiles Manager" and make sure you check "Display manager" under "This profile includes". I use Ctrl-Alt-1 for 1080i.
Test switching between 720p and 1080i using hotkeys. You may find that your HDTV sometimes is unable to pick up the 1080i signal from the ATI card - particularly immediately after starting Windows or when the input source on the HDTV has been switched away from the DVI or HDMI port connected to the PC. When this happens, just switch to 720p with the hotkey, and once you have a picture switch to 1080i with the other hotkey.Custom 1080i resolutions to eliminate overscan
Once the standard 1080i resolution has been made to work, custom resolutions can be created to eliminate overscan. A custom 1080i resolution uses the same total timings as the standard resolution so that the HDTV sees it as 1080i, but it has fewer "Active pixels" and is seen by Windows as a lower resolution.
For example, I have a custom resolution of 1848x1040 - which my Toshiba HDTV sees as 1080i, but the active picture area is smaller so that I can see the entire desktop and taskbar. It extends only a couple of pixels beyond the edge of the TV screen on all sides.
For playing full-screen video, you actually want some overscan to hide black edges of the source material. 1080i OTA recordings are often 1934x1088 resolution with some black edges and you may want to use the standard 1080i resolution when playing them. But for games and other Windows applications you want to eliminate the overscan.
Catalyst Control Center has a feature to create custom HDTV resolutions that eliminate overscan. But it works only with 720p and 1080i modes, not 1080p. Since the ATI driver thinks that our 1080i mode is really 1080p, CCC cannot be used to make custom resolutions for a 1080i mode controlled by PowerStrip.
Instead you have to use the "Design a resolution-in-a-resolution" function under PowerStrip "Custom resolutions" to create a smaller resolution with the same total timings as 1080i. When you click "Add new resolution" it will be written to the registry, after which Windows needs to be re-started for the ATI driver to see the resolution.
HOWEVER, remember that because of the interlace bug in the ATI drivers, any interlaced resolution must be added to the driver with a progressive 60Hz refresh rate BEFORE switching to interlaced mode in PowerStrip. This presents a chicken-and-egg-problem since you really need to be in 1080i mode to view the picture and determine the amount of overscan to eliminate on your HDTV. Yet you MUST save the new resolution as progressive the first time. Here is how:Steps to custom 1080i (eliminate overscan)1. Determine visible "Active pixel" area in 1080i
Connect the Radeon to your HDTV through DVI and switch to 1080i mode. As always, make sure PowerStrip is running before switching to 1080i mode.
Enter PowerStrip "Custom resolutions": Right click the PowerStrip tray and select "Display profiles-Configure-Advanced timing options-Custom resolutions".
Click the icon "Design a resolution-in-a-resolution" and determine the number of "Active pixels" by resizing the black window so that it extends just a couple pixels beyond the screen borders. You may want to use a calculator and make sure the resolution has a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Now make a note of the resolution (e.g. 1848x1040 works well for my Toshiba 56HM195) and click Cancel. DO NOT save this resolution yet by clicking "Add new resolution". Just make a note of the resolution when you have sized the black window.
If you were to save this 1080i based resolution now (by clicking "Add new resolution") the ATI driver would see the new resolution as an interlaced resolution - but we don't want the ATI driver to even think of interlaced resolutions.If you accidentally save it at this point, this particular resolution will be "lost" to you as interlaced resolution -- unless you uninstall and re-install the ATI drivers completely.2. Enter new custom resolution based on 1080p
Still in "Custom resolutions" under Predefined, find and click "1920x1080p 60Hz (EIA/CEA-861B)" BUT DO NOT ADD IT. Alternatively you can paste the following modeline, but again DO NOT ADD IT:
PowerStrip timing parameters:
Check "Lock total geometry".
Now type in the custom resolution values you noted before under Active pixels (e.g. 1848x1040). Don't worry about the Horizontal and Vertical timings or the Pixel clock or other settings. This mode will never be used, the purpose is only to add a 1080p based progressive custom resolution for the ATI driver to see.3. Save new 1080p based resolution and restart - do not switch to it
After entering the "Active pixels" for your custom resolution, you can now click "Add new resolution". PowerStrip will show a popup saying that the resolution has been added and Windows must be restarted. Click the Restart button to have PowerStrip restart Windows.NOTE: If PowerStrip DOES NOT suggest to restart Windows it is because you entered a resolution that happened to already exist in the ATI driver. This is sometimes OK, but it's safer to create a completely new custom resolution. DO NOT click OK when PowerStrip asks if you want to switch to the new resolution. Click Cancel instead and go back to step (1) and use the black window to find a resolution that is a little larger or smaller.
If your HDTV has problems picking up the 1080i signal after you restart Windows, just switch to 720p with the hotkey, and once you have a picture switch to 1080i with the other hotkey.4. Create new custom resolution based on 1080i
After Windows has restarted and PowerStrip has loaded, the ATI driver should now be aware of the new resolution. Do not switch to this resolution yet. Instead switch to 1080i (if not already there) and go back into PowerStrip "Custom resolutions": Right click the PowerStrip tray icon and select "Display profiles-Configure-Advanced timing options-Custom resolutions".
Under "User defined" find your 1920x1080i resolution (NOT the new custom resolution) and click it, but DO NOT click "Add new resolution" yet.
Check "Lock total geometry" - this is VERY important!
In the "Active pixels" fields type in the custom resolution values you noted earlier (e.g. 1848x1040). This time it's the real deal, and you can click the "Add new resolution" button. PowerStrip will check that the ATI driver accepts the new resolution and ask if you want to switch to it. Click OK and watch your custom resolution fill the HDTV screen without overscan!If you do NOT have a stable picture (or any picture at all) just press ESC or wait a few seconds without pressing any keys and PowerStrip should revert to the previous resolution. Otherwise hit your hotkey to activate the 720p profile created earlier.
The most likely reason for this is that the ATI driver already had a record of this resolution and has previusly tried to switch to it in interlaced mode - which, as I described, will prevent this resolution from ever working. Or you did not follow this guide EXACTLY. You can try exit to "Display profiles" (hit Close to exit "Custom resolutions" then hit Cancel to exit "Advanced timing options") and uncheck the lock icon to revert control of the resolution to Windows and the ATI drivers. Click Apply to save this. Now go back into "Custom resolutions" and try this entire step (4) again. If this still does not work, I know of no other way than to un-install and re-install the ATI drivers and start over on this guide.
Assuming you have a stable picture, click Yes to keep it then Close to exit "Custom resolutions". This will get you back to "Advanced timing options" where you can use the left set of arrows to shift the image up/down/left/right.
Click OK to leave "Advanced timing options" and OK again to close "Display profiles". Your custom resolution and timings have been saved and will now be enforced by PowerStrip whenever the new resolution is selected anywhere in Windows.5. Create a profile and hotkey for the custom resolution in CCC
As with 720p and 1080i I suggest you create a profile and hotkey in CCC to make it easy to switch to the new resolution. Use CCC "Profiles-Profiles Manager" and make sure you check "Display manager" under "This profile includes".
Test switching between 720p, 1080i and your new custom resolution using hotkeys. As with 1080i, you may find that your HDTV sometimes is unable to pick up the interlaced signal from the ATI card - particularly immediately after starting Windows or when the input source on the HDTV has been switched away from the DVI or HDMI port connected to the PC. When this happens, just switch to 720p with the hotkey, and once you have a picture switch to the custom resolution with the other hotkey.
Of course this particular issue with the ATI drivers is becoming less critical as more users buy new ATI cards or switch to Nvidia - which I hear is much more HDTV friendly. But for now, I am able to run applications, games and play HD video at the ultimate resolution and quality supported by my TV - at it looks great!
Hope it works for you as well. Of course I welcome any comments on success - or failure - to make this work with your setup.