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Discussion Starter #1
My current mobile HTPC setup is:


1. A $300 low-end latop


2. An HD Homerun tuner


3. A Mohu Leaf antenna


4. A 1080P projector.


5. A nice pair of Sennheisser headphones



I can watch movies on the laptop connected to the projector, but image doesn't match well. I read somewhere that if the monitor is 1080P then the resolution of the laptop should be 1080P also. Does the video card play a role here? In other words if I have a laptop with a resolution of 720P but the video card is capable of 1080P can I still get 1080P output to an external monitor? I someone educate me on this? Anyway I need a small laptop that can output 1080P to my 1080P projector. Thank you.
 

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Please post the spec's for the laptop. I assume it has Windows Media Center and a current version of windows if you are using the prime with it.


CPU

GPU

RAM speed and quantity


You are correct in thinking the resolution of the LCD screen on the laptop may not be the limiting thing for what it can output, which you haven't mentioned either, BTW. Is it via HDMI or VGA?


What is the source of the movies? What container? mkv? avi? m2ts? Blu-ray or DVD disc?


We need more info!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidt1  /t/1419778/looking-for-a-laptop-for-my-htpc/0_50#post_22209057


I read somewhere that if the monitor is 1080P then the resolution of the laptop should be 1080P also. Does the video card play a role here? In other words if I have a laptop with a resolution of 720P but the video card is capable of 1080P can I still get 1080P output to an external monitor?

What you read was wrong, just as you asked in your second question and Sammy2 mentioned it only depends on the video card. Few laptops have 1080p or better screen resolution, and for my definition of the word "cheap" none of the cheap-laptops have this screen resolution, but most all budget laptops can do 1080p out of their HDMI port.


Does your 1080p projector have HDMI input? I'm not familiar with them, and it's hard to find without a manufacturer


At the end of the day, with all the info, the recommendation might change, but I'd highly recommend this Acer laptop to anyone looking for cheap http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834215397


Multi-touch works great on these, and they wake from sleep quickly. I'm a huge fan of Acer for budget laptops
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi,


The laptop is a Lenovo X-120 with 4GB of ram.


Movies are recorded TV shows in 720P and 1080P. Connection to projector is HDMI. The laptop has no problems playing these movies on the projector. It's just that when the laptop is connected to the projector the image doesn't appear on the projector screen the it way does on the laptop. I know there are 17'' laptops that are advertised on having 1080P resolution. I need something much smaller from 11'' - 13'' that can output 1080P on my projector. Thanks again.


Mr. Slayer,


Thanks for the laptop link. That looks like a nice laptop with good reviews.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidt1  /t/1419778/looking-for-a-laptop-for-my-htpc/0_50#post_22210357


Hi,

The laptop is a Lenovo X-120 with 4GB of ram.

It's just that when the laptop is connected to the projector the image doesn't appear on the projector screen the it way does on the laptop

There could be a couple things causing that problem.


The easiest fix is to hit Win+P and change to "Extend Only"


Why are you trying to watch the same thing on the laptop screen when it's being projected?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidt1  /t/1419778/looking-for-a-laptop-for-my-htpc#post_22210357


...The laptop is a Lenovo X-120 with 4GB of ram.

....
If you have the Lenovo Presentation Director loaded, then just press Fn+F7 and it will give choices on which screen to use.
 

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Is the projector HDCP compliant?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidt1  /t/1419778/looking-for-a-laptop-for-my-htpc/0_50#post_22210357


It's just that when the laptop is connected to the projector the image doesn't appear on the projector screen the it way does on the laptop

What is different? Is it better/worse?


When displaying to the projector, it might not default to a preferred resolution. In the days of XP, you would right click the desktop and select properties when both screens were running, and you could quickly modify the resolution of each screen. Now it will be buried in the graphics menus of our graphics card.


I believe your thinkpad x120 is already using a capable Radeon HD 6310M as part of it's AMD E350 platform.


Make sure your resolution settings are correct for HDMI out from the laptop, and further explanation of what you don't like about the picture would be helpful
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you so much for the help. I have some pictures and more info to hopefully clarify things.


The laptop automatically sets the correct resolution for a 1080P external display. There is only one monitor, the projector. The laptop is blank.



On the laptop, this screen would fit perfectly. On the projector, is stretches out beyond the screen size.



Movies have a jagged edge around the faces of the characters when they move. This also happens when played on the laptop.



Pictures appear a little blurry and grainy.





Movies and pictures look fine when played through my Dvico Tvix. It's not the projector. I use both WMP and VLC, and the resuls are exactly the same. So it's not the media player. It has to be the laptop. Would a newer and more powerful laptop work better? Thanks.
 

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I have a feeling it's something with the projector rather then the laptop.



The resolution of the screen installed on the laptop does not limit what the video adapter will output. In otherwords even if you had a 1366x768 screen on the laptop, it does not mean that that resolution is the most you are going to be able to output via HDMI or DSUB etc. Now in certain dual screen configurations, you will be limited to the lower res of the 2 on both, but there is more then one way to skin that cat. Since you posted a screenshot of windows outputting 1080p in the driver settings, that leads me even more to believe your issue lies with the projector.


As far as the projector goes....since you are using a cheap laptop, are you sure it's even a 1080p projector, as in that's the resolution it outputs? Nearly all of them will accept 1080p input, but the ones that legitimately output 1080p are pretty expensive compared to cheaper ones that actually output 720p or even 1024x768 or something. If it in fact isnt a propper 1080p projector, it could just be poor scaling by the projector, both with the overscan and poor image.


Other causes could be 1080p content on non-hdcp projector...and other issues common to displaying computer output on any television, such as overscan being present by design of the used picture mode instead of 1:1 pixel mapping mode, some televisions are just plain finicky about pc output being fed to them via hdmi (although should be much less common for projectors since PC output is often their main purpose), things like that.



Edit---just realized you meant it does display propperly when you set the projector as a sole monitor. If you are simply trying to run dual display with native res on both, thats not a hardware issue. That can be worked out via software/work arounds. Also, even in this case, the overscan present on your projector is a product of your projector as well. If you dont have different picture modes available on it, such as one that allows 1:1 pixel mapping, there are a couple different ways to take care of this via software as well. I think all 3 main video brands, def amd and nvidia, and pretty sure intel these days as well, all have over/underscan settings in the driver...where basicly you can slide the bar up or down till yuor image fits perfectly in the confines of your screen. If not, you can use something like powerstrip to create a custom resolution that will basicly output the resolution the projecter can show on the screen without chopping the edges.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidt1  /t/1419778/looking-for-a-laptop-for-my-htpc#post_22212099


Thank you so much for the help. I have some pictures and more info to hopefully clarify things.

The laptop automatically sets the correct resolution for a 1080P external display. There is only one monitor, the projector. The laptop is blank.


On the laptop, this screen would fit perfectly. On the projector, is stretches out beyond the screen size.


Movies have a jagged edge around the faces of the characters when they move. This also happens when played on the laptop.


Pictures appear a little blurry and grainy.


Movies and pictures look fine when played through my Dvico Tvix. It's not the projector. I use both WMP and VLC, and the resuls are exactly the same. So it's not the media player. It has to be the laptop. Would a newer and more powerful laptop work better? Thanks.

To answer your question about image quality, the first area where I would start researching is with the video card in your laptop - I bet it's inadequate for HTPC purposes. I'd like to point your attention to this "HTPC GPU Shootout" article from Anandtech(specifically, Page 4 where HQV scores are provided). Anandtech also goes to show the differences in visual quality in the subsequent pages of that article.


I know the article is a year old and that it only focuses on Desktop GPU's (e.g. Intel HD3000 vs GeForce GT430 vs Sapphire 6570). However, the same concepts apply to 2012-video cards, and frankly, many laptops sold today still use Intel's HD3000.
 

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Discussion Starter #12

Quote:
Originally Posted by C17chief  /t/1419778/looking-for-a-laptop-for-my-htpc#post_22212162


I have a feeling it's something with the projector rather then the laptop.

The resolution of the screen installed on the laptop does not limit what the video adapter will output. In otherwords even if you had a 1366x768 screen on the laptop, it does not mean that that resolution is the most you are going to be able to output via HDMI or DSUB etc. Now in certain dual screen configurations, you will be limited to the lower res of the 2 on both, but there is more then one way to skin that cat. Since you posted a screenshot of windows outputting 1080p in the driver settings, that leads me even more to believe your issue lies with the projector.

As far as the projector goes....since you are using a cheap laptop, are you sure it's even a 1080p projector, as in that's the resolution it outputs? Nearly all of them will accept 1080p input, but the ones that legitimately output 1080p are pretty expensive compared to cheaper ones that actually output 720p or even 1024x768 or something. If it in fact isnt a propper 1080p projector, it could just be poor scaling by the projector, both with the overscan and poor image.

Other causes could be 1080p content on non-hdcp projector...and other issues common to displaying computer output on any television, such as overscan being present by design of the used picture mode instead of 1:1 pixel mapping mode, some televisions are just plain finicky about pc output being fed to them via hdmi (although should be much less common for projectors since PC output is often their main purpose), things like that.

Edit---just realized you meant it does display propperly when you set the projector as a sole monitor. If you are simply trying to run dual display with native res on both, thats not a hardware issue. That can be worked out via software/work arounds. Also, even in this case, the overscan present on your projector is a product of your projector as well. If you dont have different picture modes available on it, such as one that allows 1:1 pixel mapping, there are a couple different ways to take care of this via software as well. I think all 3 main video brands, def amd and nvidia, and pretty sure intel these days as well, all have over/underscan settings in the driver...where basicly you can slide the bar up or down till yuor image fits perfectly in the confines of your screen. If not, you can use something like powerstrip to create a custom resolution that will basicly output the resolution the projecter can show on the screen without chopping the edges.

I am pretty sure it's not the projector because:


1. I played the same videos on the laptop alone and get the same jagged edges around subjects.


2. I played the same videos on my TVix DRV and the problems went away.
 

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Discussion Starter #13

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comp625  /t/1419778/looking-for-a-laptop-for-my-htpc#post_22212498


To answer your question about image quality, the first area where I would start researching is with the video card in your laptop - I bet it's inadequate for HTPC purposes. I'd like to point your attention to this "HTPC GPU Shootout" article from Anandtech(specifically, Page 4 where HQV scores are provided). Anandtech also goes to show the differences in visual quality in the subsequent pages of that article.

I know the article is a year old and that it only focuses on Desktop GPU's (e.g. Intel HD3000 vs GeForce GT430 vs Sapphire 6570). However, the same concepts apply to 2012-video cards, and frankly, many laptops sold today still use Intel's HD3000.

Thank you for the link. I guess a capable video card is needed even for just playing back video clips?
 
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