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Maximizing TV Playback

To progress further, you will need to have a Display Adaptor card with TV-Output capabilities.

In my personal (and slightly biased) opinion, NVIDIA cards using the BT869/BT868/CX25871 chipset for TV output offer a superior image quality. And this has nothing to do with the actual card, but rather a program called TV Tool (which will be further discussed later on in more details).

Some other recommended cards are the Matrox G400 cards and of course, ATI cards (more on ATI cards later on).

To achieve the best image quality with your display adaptor, you need to reach a 1:1 mode, where each screen pixel corresponds to a TV pixel (Single RGB stripe).

The main problem with TV output signals coming from these cards is that the signal is usually massively underscanned (shrinked) so that the entire desktop appears on the TV (usually with a 1 inch black border surrounding it). The problem with this setup is, that a 800x600 screen scaled down to a TV's resolution causes flickering (sort of like scaling artifacts on a TV). To combat this, the cards apply a screen filtering code, which blurs the image. This of course, isn't really an optimal solution as we want a sharp and vivid image.

The reasoning behind this, is that without filtering, text will shimmer on an interlaced display (TV Set). However, we don't really care about displaying text. The idea here is to watch video, not browse the web.

Certain cards (Some Asus and ATI models for example) offer an overscan feature which should remove this downscaling. On ATI cards this is a undocumented feature, which you can only enable using ATI-Specific tweaking tools (such as Radeon Tweaker).

Our main goal here is to disable the filtering completely, and reach the mode where there is no scaling being done on the desktop image. This requires stretching and overscanning the TV Image, at the expense of the desktop area (not all the desktop will appear on-screen).

The reasoning behind this will become apparent later on.