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Help w powerstrip + transcoder + SDTV

544 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  beun
Hi All,

I have read the guide here regarding Powerstrip. However, most of it applies to HDTVs. I am working with an SDTV and am not having any luck getting this to work!

Getting a lil fristrated now, though S Video works, I want to get Component working to compare the two pictures.

Here is the environment:

1. ATI Radeon 9600 Pro

2. 1 x 15" Monitor as VGA1

3. 1 x Toshiba 32" 4:3 SDTV (Cimema Series Toshiba) as VGA2

4. Crescendo System TC2000 Transcoder

5. Catalyst 3.10 Drivers

6. Powerstrip 3.47

I can get 640 x 480 out to the TV, so I know everything is working. I was able to do this was this "640 x 480i (Arcade)" resolution definition in Powerstrip.

However, I should be able to get at least 1024 x 768 to the TV afaik (I was able to do this with S Video without any problems).

However I can't get any higher resolutions than 480i working through the transcoder and um .. I am completely lost as to what and how to tweak Powerstrip. I am also a lil concerned about damaging the TV set (though I don't know if that is possible).

Thanks in advance for any help available!

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I suspect you will need a scan converter, not a transcoder, unless your PC resolution is set to 480i.
It appears as though I can set different resolutions per VGA out with the 9600 card.

So I was assuming .. since the TV previously displayed an S Video image just fine, then it should be able to display some sort of higher resolution - independent of the other monitor.

I was thinking that I should be able to at least get 1024x768, as the TV was capable of displaying that via the S Video connection.

When your TV is only 480i than unfortunately that is the only resolution your TV will accept. S-video by definition is a 480i standard and you could try if you can see a difference in its picture whether you set the desktop to 640x480, 800x600 or 1024x768. My gut feeling is that there is no difference since the output timing of S-video is fixed to 480i irrespective of the desktop.

When you compare the transcoder output to the S-video output, which one looks better?

The S-video output of your video card is scaling whatever desktop setting you have to a 480i output.

You could probably get 720x480i to work with some fiddling in Powerstrip. Just keep the horizontal scan rate the same as for the 640x480 settings.
When you compare the transcoder output to the S-video output, which one looks better?
Well I would definitely say that the Component looks better, but that's a tough call because it's at 640 x 480.

What I don't get .. if S-Video can drive the TV at 1027x768, then why can't I get Trhascoder + Powerstrip to do same?
Actually, S-video doesn't drive the TV at 1024x768, it only does 640x480i. As jvincent already mentioned, the S-video output is always scaled down to 640x480i.
OK understood .. it seems as though the S Video is running at higher resolution because the entire desktop is displayed and al of the menus in myHTPC and toher applicaitons are visible.

However, using the transcoder I get the dreaded virtual desktop thing .. which led me to believe it was in deed at a lower resolution.

Is there any way to eliminate the virtual desktop?

I will also experiment some more with Powerstrip and see if I can come up with anything.

Thanks for the help. I know I want to upgrade the TV, but really stoked on a good quality $3000 plasma, which means next Christmas heh.

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If you run your video card at 640x480i there should be no virtual desktop (when you move the mouse to the side does the desktop move?). What you are seeing is probably overscan. How much are you missing?
Thanks very much for the help. However... well... getting close to giving up here!

Maybe there is soemthing I don't understand (very likely).

If I use S Video I can get 1024 x 768. Whether this is being scaled to 480i or not .. I dunno. I do know that with S Video I get all the menus in my application the same wya they are on my PC monitor.

If I use the transcoder and component, I get 640 x 480 max. I have messed about with Powerstrip and can't get any other resolution to stabilise.

I don't think what I am getting is overscan, if I am it's a heck of a lot of overscan .. it really seems like a 1024 desktop being displayed in a 640 resolution. When I move my mouse to the side of the screen, the screen scrolls. I *think* that's virtual desktop.

I anticipated this would be slightly problematic (using a transcoder to connect to an SDTV via component) but I've spent about 20 hours on it now and I am no further ahead. Was hoping to get the best picture quality possible, but I "bounded" my HTPC project by committing to have it in the living room by end of January, so... I think I may give up on the transcoder soon.

Anyone wanna buy a hardly used Crescendo Transcoder? It seems a great product, but I don't think it's right for my application.

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When you display a 1024x768 desktop on your TV via the Radeon's S-video or composite video outputs, the NTSC encoder has a scaler which automatically scales everything down to 480 lines interlaced. (It isn't clear what horizontal dimensions it scales down to but it probably is either 640, 704, or 720 pixels.) This scaling is not done for the VGA output, so if you want to drive a 480p or 480i component output, you will be limited to a desktop with 480 lines. You can probably bump up the width quite a bit, but your desktop will look odd as everything will be narrow, 640 will produce the most natural results. Understand?

(Yes, the scrolling desktop is a virtual desktop)

I don't understand why you get a virtual desktop when you set the VGA output to produce 480i. This should not happen. Besides that, if you bought your transcoder less than 30 days ago I will take it back and give you a full refund.

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