Tuesday, December 25, 2007

mythtv and 720p HD screen

This morning a nice Sharp 32" Aquos 720p screen was found near the fireplace. What a surprise. I hooked it up with analog VGA, since I don't have a DVI-HDMI cable here. The TV doesn't come up in wide screen format automatically (somewhat to my surprise).

Things I did to make mythtv work with this setup:

  • enable "de-interlace video" in mythfrontend setup (otherwise videos recorded from broadcast TV are unwatchable due to interlacing artifacts).
  • in xorg.conf turn off the special settings I added for analog TV out (don't need that anymore)
  • in xorg.conf add the 720p metamodes settings as described in the mythtv wiki

Well, the latter seems to have no effect, I guess my Nvidia driver is too old. I set the modes to 1280x720, and still the TV would only use 1024x768. After some headscratching and navigating the TV menus I found an option to adjust the input signal. It offered me to force the input to 1360x768. Done. Looks pretty darn good now.

After reading the manual (who reads manuals anyways?) I found out that apparently, the analog signal for 1360x768 and 1024x768 can't be differentiated automatically. Go figure...

Also, in order for mythtv to use the available screen real estate when playing SD videos, one needs to change the aspect ratio using the W key (or set it permanently in the player settings). I found that 'Fill' gives me the best picture with the least amount of distortion. Of course this will chop off some at the top and bottom of the picture, and heads/faces are slightly cropped. Particularly visible with shows like '24' which include lots of head shots.

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