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Old 08-02-2004, 07:56 PM   #1
bladewing
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Angry NVidia tv-out: Bash vs X


I've been searching through every message board I could find with no resolution found to this, so here goes:

I recently built a new Windows machine (yes, I know, but I didn't want to have to configure any windows emulators in order to run all the programs for work) and it's left my old PC without a monitor. Being the goofy guy I am, I figured I'd just turn it into a sort of multimedia box and filehosting server, hooked up to my home theater system for speakers and the tv for a monitor. So, I start downloading ISO's for current linux distributions, start collecting part numbers, and start installations to get rid of WinXP. All's fine and well with this weekend project, until configurations start up...

The problem at hand is this: I can boot to bash, I can boot to X, but I can't boot to X and still see bash. Before that sounds completely insane, I'll elaborate. If booting up to text, everything displays normally (albeit a bit small and hard to read if a higher resolution). I can switch terminals (tty's), and all display correctly. If, however, I start X (either manually or booting straight into it) then all other terminals become garbled. I can tell it's supposed to be text, because you can actually make out part of the prompt if you look at it from further back, but it's entirely composed of circles, boxes, and dots. I wish I could somehow capture that output on this other machine to illustrate. X displays fine (mostly) when I switch back to it, but all other terminals are SNAFU. The only way I've found to reclaim them is a reboot. I didn't seem to have this problem with vesa drivers and a default monitor instead of its current config, but the flicker was driving me nuts.

Hardware involved in this particular frustration is an NVidia Gforce 4 MX 440 video card being hooked up to a Sony WEGA (KV-20FV300) 20-inch TV via an SVideo cable. I've downloaded the most recent unified driver for linux from nvidia and installed it under the Mandrake 10 install (fresh). Configuration was somewhat quirky in that I discovered it best not to actually include any modelines for the monitor (TV) and let X test for a resolution among those made available in the screen section. :^/ I was unable to find documentation anywhere over the "real" refresh rates on this TV. I gave up on the configuration tool quite a while ago and started editing by hand. Giving a wider horizontal range to test eventually yielded something that didn't give me a headache.

Relevant sections of the XF86Config-4 file (retyped, since a different computer) are as follows:
------------------------
Section "Module"
Load "dbe"
Load "v41"
Load "extmod"
Load "type1"
Load "freetype"
Load "glx"
EndSection
------------------------
Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Sony TV"
Modelname " PAL TV"
VendorName "Sony"
HorizSync "30-72"
VertRefresh "60"
EndSection
-------------------------
Section "Device"
Identifier "Gforce4 MX 440"
Driver "nvidia"
EndSection
-------------------------
Section "Screen"
Identifier "ScreenTV"
Device "Gforce4 MX 440"
Monitor "Sony TV"
DefaultColorDepth 24
Option "TVStandard" "NTSC-M"
Option "TVOutFormat" "SVIDEO"
Option "ConnectedMonitor" "TV"
Option "NoLogo" "true"
Option "HWCursor" "true"
Subsection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubSection
EndSection
---------------------------

Anyone have some ideas on what I need to be looking into to get both interfaces working?

Last edited by bladewing; 08-02-2004 at 08:04 PM.
 
Old 08-02-2004, 08:28 PM   #2
bladewing
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Add-on to the above, since I forgot to include Kernel version and a few other useful items. This is a Mandrake 10 install: 2.6.3-7mdk kernel. I didn't find a verbose way to get the system to report it, but according to documention on-disk, the XFree86 version is 4.3.0. The nvidia card reports itself as "VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV17 [GeForce4 MX 440] rev a3".
 
Old 08-02-2004, 11:53 PM   #3
Electro
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In your boot loader append (LILO) or kernel (GRUB) path take out vga unless you really need 640 X 480 or 800 X 600. I suggest you do not use a TV monitor to do text because the quality is serveral times worst than a computer monitor. Use both a computer monitor and a TV monitor instead of just a TV monitor.

The options below should be in the Device section instead of the Screen section.

Code:
Option "TVStandard" "NTSC-M"
Option "TVOutFormat" "SVIDEO"
Option "ConnectedMonitor" "TV"
Option "NoLogo" "true"
Option "HWCursor" "true"
 
Old 08-03-2004, 07:13 AM   #4
bladewing
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I suppose I should have pointed out that the resolution being used actually ends up at 800x600. 640x480 is also an option when trying to change the resolution through X, but half the dialog boxes are taller than that, making it difficult to read/navigate them. Using a resolution any higher than 800x600 makes the GUI nagivation on a TV more guesswork than accessibility.

Thanks for the note on Display/Screen notations... I've seen them used in both places during my search for a relevant XF86Config file, so was under the impression they were interchangable. I've now edited those as recommended, but to no effect.

Since the last post I've also updated my kernel to 2.6.7, having run into some issues with source code while configuring my WMP54G (rev 2). There was an effect with that - now the bash text is composed of horizontal bars instead of circles and boxes. No other change was apparent on this issue, other than having to reinstall drivers.
 
Old 08-03-2004, 05:43 PM   #5
Electro
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Quote:
I suppose I should have pointed out that the resolution being used actually ends up at 800x600. 640x480 is also an option when trying to change the resolution through X...
I forgot that the nVidia driver version 6106 can not output 1024x768 to the TV.

I had my console displaying lines through the text and VMware displayed DOS console at a weird setting. I first thought it was incorrect ModeLines entries,but this was not my problem. I then took out vga settings in the boot loader configs. This correct my problem. If you still want framebuffer so you can view bash on a TV with out X Window Server, you can try disable pretty bash. You can try to use Knoppix and see how it works with framebuffer.

If you have a computer monitor, you can set it up at a very high resolution. Then hit CTL+ALT++ or CTL+ALT+- to zoom into different resolutions. Mplayer and many other multimedia programs will still work in fullscreen if you do not move the mouse because it will pan the screen.
 
  


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