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Old 06-21-2006, 11:49 AM   #1
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Using TV as an extra monitor

I've been happy with my single monitor for awhile, but a bunch of my friends have dual-display setups and I'm getting a bit jealous. However, I don't want to spend a lot of cash on that sort of thing, but I do have a fairly good TV that could do in a pinch if my graphics card will let me. lspci tells me I have a "VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV34 [GeForce FX 5200] (rev a1)". It has a video-out that I could use. What would I need to do in order to use my TV as a second monitor? I'd like to let the configuration allow me to not use my TV all the time -- I've got to have my video game time, after all.
Old 06-21-2006, 01:12 PM   #2
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I have something like this with a Geforce4000mx you can do it several ways:

1) Twinview - makes the two one wide display (so it splits stuff up and doesn't work well with fullscreen games.

2) Xinerama - nice windows look good you can drag between the 2 but fullscreen games sometimes don't work well.

3) Each is a separate screen - this is what I use now I can't drag windows from one to the other but, my monitor works like a normal single headed display when I want to use my tv and whenever I want to run something on the tv I just launch it like:

DISPLAY=:0.1 gta-vc
and vice city pops up on the tv fullscreen. I set up menu entires and such to do this automatically for all my games and mplayer. so I just click a .mpg file in the file browser and it comes up on the tv; my computer is still fully useable with the one monitor just like if the tv is off or doing something else. I get full opengl on both and screensavers look great running on both the monitor and tv.

Are you using the nvidia driver? can you post you xorg.conf please? will the tv be connected with S-Video or composite(RCA)?
Old 06-22-2006, 02:28 AM   #3
Registered: Jul 2005
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I have an old 27" ntsc tv with composite video (yellow) connector. I only use it to watch video from Browsing with it is not worth the time.

If your tv has an s-video input connector, then all you need a cable (s-video to s-video) from the pc to the tv. Then you have to edit your xorg.conf. Mine is shown below the relevant part starting from option "TwinView". There are other options to set-up the the monitor. I've seen some on this site. Just do a search for them.

If your tv only has the composite video plug, then you will have to build a cable (s-video to composite).

Section "Monitor"

### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
Identifier "Monitor0"
VendorName "Monitor Vendor"
ModelName "Acer AL1912"
DisplaySize 370 300
HorizSync 24.0 - 80.0
VertRefresh 49.0 - 75.0
Option "dpms"

Section "Device"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "nvidia"
VendorName "Videocard vendor"
BoardName "nVidia Corporation NV34 [GeForce FX 5500]"

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "Videocard0"
Monitor "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 16
Option "NvAGP" "3"
Option "RenderAccel" "on"
Option "XvmcUsesTextures" "on"
Option "TwinView"
Option "SecondMonitorHorizSync" "30-50"
Option "SecondMonitorVertRefresh" "60"
Option "MetaModes" "1024x768, 1024x768; 800x600, 800x600; 640x480, 640x480;"
Option "TVStandard" "NTSC-M"
Option "TVOutFormat" "SVIDEO"
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 16
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
Old 06-22-2006, 09:43 AM   #4
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Hmmm. If browsing with it isn't worth it, then I'll probably pass. If I'm watching a video, it's usually a DVD, and I've got a game console for that. Thanks for the help, though. I will keep these in mind should I want to do so.
Old 06-22-2006, 02:35 PM   #5
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I browse on the tv sometimes. it isn't as crisp as the monitor though. but it is much crisper with the s-video cable then with a composite cable. plus most crt tvs bend the image at the corners. sometimes making it even harder to read. I can read mine fine but, my brothers is composite with an older 19" tv and is very difficult to read. so how clear it is depends on your tv.


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