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Displaying a good PAL image on TV-out? Possible with an All-In-Wonder?

Discussion in 'ATI' started by Gilden Man, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. Gilden Man

    Gilden Man Guest

    I have a Matrox G400 which had excellent quality TV-out for watching
    avi's, etc.
    I do occasionally play games and have noticed the G400 struggling on
    anything decent.
    Thus this prompted me to test a Hercules 9800SE AIW. As this is supposed
    to be a multimedia card with both TV in & out via the Rage Theater 200
    chip I expected good things. The gaming is exceptionally fast, especially
    when softmodded to a 9800 Pro.
    However, when viewing an avi the picture looks stretched horizontally.
    Using all the adjustments available I can do nothing to correct this
    problem to my satisfaction. It seems that adjusting the vertical size of
    the picture (which would fix this) does nothing. I can reduce the
    horizontal width of the TV picture to correct the aspect ratio, but then I
    am left with black gaps on both the left and right of the image.
    I used to have a Matrox G400 which had excellent quality TV-out.
    However, it had two problems; 1) lost the left and right edges of the
    picture 2) very jerky playing NTSC clips. Both of these could be fixed
    with the DivXG400 filter (http://www.tac.ee/~prr/videoutils/divxg400.html).
    The latter problem requiring manual intervention for each change of format
    which was tedious.
    The DivXG400 fix above was a Directshow filter which effectively changed
    the aspect ratio of the frame. Does any other filter exist which would
    allow me to correct the poor frame format this AIW is generating? I've
    tried the DivXG400 filter with the AIW, but this does not provide the
    vertical frame size alteration that's needed.
    Am I missing something here or is it just not possible to get correct
    output on a PAL TV? Maybe it's also not possible on NTSC, but I'm assuming
    that must be correct or how can they seriously call this a multimedia
    card? I'm thinking they mightn't've bothered getting it right on PAL.
    Many thanks.
    Gilden Man, Dec 9, 2003
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  2. Gilden Man

    Rob Hemmings Guest

    I've not tried mine yet as it's in an 'entertainment' PC and I've
    dumped my TV. However, I'll try it on another TV and let you
    know the outcome in a day or two.
    One thing occurs to me though - perhaps your TV is incorrectly
    auto-switching to another display mode (eg 'widescreen'). If your
    set has this capability, it'd be worth manually overriding it and trying
    other modes (the TV in my lounge has about 8 different modes.)
    Rob Hemmings, Dec 9, 2003
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  3. Gilden Man

    Dave Higton Guest

    FWIW, I've never been happy with the TV-out on either of my ATI cards
    (Radeon 8500LE and Rage Fury Pro). I never seem to be able to stretch the
    vertical aspect of the picture across the whole of the screen. As soon as
    the pic reaches a certain point, it just disappears behind a black
    border. I also tend to assume they just never bothered to make them work
    properly for PAL displays.

    Dave Higton, Dec 9, 2003
  4. Gilden Man

    erratic Guest

    I have pretty good PAL tv-out with Theater Mode and overscan enabled.
    I'm using Catalyst 3.9. I only use tv-out for watching DivX/XviD movies.
    I have noticed that for good PAL tv-out the resolution needs to be
    800x600. 640x480 is really bad. Unfortunately, if your avi file has a
    lower resolution than 640x480 (which is the case for nearly all DivX
    movies) Theater Mode will automatically default to 640x480. That's fine
    for NTSC tv-out but not for PAL.

    Solution: use ffdshow-alpha to resize the movie on the fly (during
    playback) to 800x??? (??? depends on the aspect ratio of the movie).
    Then Theater Mode automatically uses 800x600 for PAL tv-out and it looks
    fine. With overscan enabled in the tv-out properties I don't get any
    black borders on my tv as long as I resize the movie to the full 800x600
    resolution. Of course, most movies are widescreen, so I still get black
    bars in that case, but this is what I do if I don't want any black bars:

    I have a 16:9 tv so I crop the movie left and right (also on the fly
    with ffdshow) to a 16:9 aspect ratio. Then I resize it (again with
    ffdshow) to 800x600 which makes it anamorphic 16:9 (full screen but
    looking squashed on a 4:3 tv). Then I manually select widescreen mode on
    my tv and I get a full screen 16:9 picture (no black borders at all and
    the correct aspect ratio).

    In the Clone Mode Options you can check 'Full screen' and '16:9
    (Widescreen)' but I haven't bothered because in my case ffdshow
    does that kind of resizing already.

    So it's possible to have borderless PAL tv-out with a Radeon card and
    Catalyst 3.9 but you have to enable Overscan in the tv-out settings
    (TV Properties -> Adjustments) and the resolution of your video has
    to be 800x600. Well, it works for me anyway. YMMV.

    erratic, Dec 9, 2003
  5. Gilden Man

    Gilden Man Guest

    Sir, you're a scholar. I have Catalyst 3.9 and have had Gordian Knot with
    it's CodecPack installed for sometime. That includes
    ffdshow-alpha-2003-05-23. I didn't know what it could do, until now.
    That's exactly the kind of filter I was hinting at in my post. Of course
    I didn't realise that the 640x480 would have such faults, where the
    800x600 is working as expected. Is the 1024x768 PAL mode going to be any
    better? I guess that's a no, or you'd be using it already? :)
    So far that has allowed me to view everything in the correct aspect
    ratio. That's even for subtitled movies when DirectVobSub is autoloading
    and expanding the image to 4:3 so it can put the subtitles in the black
    border below the picture.
    Although, I just told ffdshow-alpha to rezise everything to 800x600. You
    seem to be suggesting I should alter that for each movie?
    The quality even looks good. Seems to be the level of my G400, as I
    remember it.
    I still have a plain 4:3 TV with no fancy modes :( It's good to know that
    if I do get a 16:9 TV, that this card will display a good widescreen
    picture (with the help of ffdshow-alpha :).
    Does the Catalyst 16:9 button actually do anything? It makes no change to
    the picture at all for me. I know I've got a 4:3 TV, but this button on
    the G400 drivers used to change the aspect ratio accordingly.
    I've tried overscan, but I'm not sure I see the benefit. Ok I can fill the
    screen, but I also lose some of the image?
    Now the final part is trying to stop the audible interference this card
    creates on my Midiman Audiophile 2496. It's rather annoying wearing
    headphones now. Various low level white noise which varies according to
    whatever is displayed. Open a white window and hear an increase in noise.
    Scroll an Explorer window and hear a short noise reminiscent of a chamois
    leather on a window.
    Don't suppose you have another bright idea for that one? :)
    Gilden Man, Dec 10, 2003
  6. Gilden Man

    Gilden Man Guest

    The beauty of my TV is it's simplicity. It's an 11 year old 4:3 which
    doesn't have all these fancy modes. It has S-video in and just the one
    mode, 4:3 :)
    Gilden Man, Dec 10, 2003
  7. Gilden Man

    Gilden Man Guest

    They do seem rather old cards though? I imagine the Theater chipsets,
    especially the 2nd generation Theater 200 should have far superior quality
    TV components?
    I was having a problem with performing any alteration at all to the
    vertical aspect of image. People looked "too fat" so the only method I had
    to fix this was to reduce the horizontal aspect of the image, as
    increasing the vertical did nothing.
    Well I thought so too. But another poster has enlightened me to the fact
    that the 640x480 PAL mode is garbage, but the 800x600 PAL mode, at least,
    seems fine.
    Gilden Man, Dec 10, 2003
  8. Gilden Man

    erratic Guest

    800x600 is 4:3. If you resize a widescreen movie (640x272 for example)
    to 600x800 the aspect ratio will be wrong.
    The 16:9 button should make your video 'anamorphic' so it will look
    correct on a 16:9 tv in widescreen mode, but I've never really used it,
    because ffdshow does that for me.
    Yes, I prefer to lose a little bit of the image instead of having the
    movie surrounded by black bars, but on the TV Properties tab you can use
    the Screen Position and Screen Size arrows (instead of Overscan) to get
    it exactly right, I suppose.
    erratic, Dec 10, 2003
  9. Gilden Man

    Vellu Guest

    Atleast for me it does absolutely nothing. I'm using R9600 with 28" 16:9 TV
    in Theater Mode, and the image on the TV-screen is ALWAYS 4:3 despite the
    setting in clone mode options. This is not a big problem since my TV has
    "letterbox" zoom wich cuts from top and bottom to get from 4:3 image to
    16:9. This way I can indeed get full screen 16:9, but unfortunately lose
    vertical resolution (doesn't bother me that much since I cannot see any
    difference in image quality). Also the area being cut is always only black
    (unless I'm viewing a 4:3 aspect videofile, but then I wouldn't be able to
    use full widescreen anyway) so I'm not losing any image information in the
    process. Hopefully ATI will someday make drivers that fully support
    widescreen TV's.
    Vellu, Dec 11, 2003
  10. Gilden Man

    nj Guest

    If you set ffdshow to resize to 800x600 and then select the keep original
    aspect ratio in the aspect ratio section it will produce 800x600 output but
    will retain the source AR. It adds black bars top and bottom to pad the
    height to 600.
    nj, Dec 11, 2003
  11. Gilden Man

    Gilden Man Guest

    As another poster has mentioned, I just let it and the defaults and it
    maintained the aspect ratio while making it 800x600. Maybe you old timers
    are used to that option not being there, or it not being defaulted for
    you. Me, I've come into this software late, so I've not had to deal with
    as many foibles as you :)
    You'll probably find it does nothing. The G400 button provided the
    appropriate unwatchable distortion on my 4:3 TV, that looked like it'd be
    correct on a 16:9 TV. But, the Catalyst button does nothing.
    We like different things then. I'd prefer to see the whole image. A little
    black doesn't bother me. Horses for courses, eh? :)
    Gilden Man, Dec 11, 2003
  12. Gilden Man

    erratic Guest

    Unfortunately the 'keep original aspect ratio' setting doesn't work on
    my system. I've even reinstalled ffdshow, but to no avail. 'Set aspect
    ratio manually' does work, but for some reason 'keep original aspect
    ratio' doesn't add black bars, it works exactly like 'no aspect ratio
    correction' on my system. Don't know why.
    erratic, Dec 11, 2003
  13. Gilden Man

    erratic Guest

    I just tried it and you're right, it doesn't seem to do anything.
    erratic, Dec 11, 2003
  14. Gilden Man

    erratic Guest

    The drivers should also support WSS (widescreen signalling) so your
    TV switches to 16:9 automatically, just like when you're playing an
    anamorphic DVD.
    erratic, Dec 11, 2003
  15. Gilden Man

    Vellu Guest

    That would be nice too, but I'm not sure if that is possible with simple
    composite or s-video connection...
    Vellu, Dec 11, 2003
  16. Gilden Man

    Mike T Guest

    I have the Matrox G450. ATI AIW8500DV and a Nvidia Ti4200. I have measured
    the TV out performance with NTSC on all three with Pro test equipment. The
    Matrox is FAR better than the Nvidia which is far better than the ATI.
    Neither the ATI or Nvidia will play full screen on TV out with standard
    drivers, I have not tried TVTools or Power Strip yet. The ATI has about 80%
    loss at 5MHz and the Nvidia is about 60%, the Matrox is only about 10% loss
    at 5MHz, so it has the sharpest display when playing video files or DVD
    disks. The ATI also has artifacts when playing DVD and video files to the
    TV out, jagged diagonal lines in the playback, the Nvidia does not do this
    and the Matrox is very clean with excellent video playback to the TV out.
    So you have to decide do you want faster gaming play or the best TV out.

    Mike T Video designer, 40 years
    Mike T, Dec 11, 2003
  17. Gilden Man

    Gilden Man Guest

    My AIW9800SE has no problem filling the entire screen in Overscan mode. I
    prefer to keep it off as the black border around the picture is pretty
    small and you can see the entire image that way.
    Thanks for the comparison, Mike. However, the ATI card you describe there
    is not really comparable to a AIW 9800SE. I appreciate you can only test
    the cards you have, but surely the years between the realease of these
    cards and especially the addition of the new Rage Theater 200 TV processor
    must make the AIW8500 results of little relevance to an AIW9800SE?
    Did the 8500 have the previous incarnation of the Rage Theater chip
    on-board or was it even pre that?
    However, we must also remember that we are talking about PAL here. My
    G400 was pretty awful without the DivXG400 filter to correct the PAL image
    problems. That padded the left and right of the image with black bars so
    you didn't lose some of the picture and also prevented the unwatchable
    event of an NTSC avi.
    All in all, once I'd recieved the advice from erratic, that the PAL
    640x480 mode is shite, this card seems great in the PAL 800x600 mode.
    Visually it looks the same as the G400 to me, but much more flexible.
    So with this card you get better TV functions than the G400, with very
    fast gaming. My only problem now is working out how to stop the audible
    interference with my Audiophile 2496.
    Gilden Man, Dec 12, 2003
  18. Gilden Man

    erratic Guest

    This is probably a bug in the latest 'unofficial' build
    (ffdshow-20031128.exe). It was reported by 'dimzon' in Doom9's forum.
    I quote:

    | Bug found at resize feature!

    | Seems like FFDShow does'nt keep original aspect ratio!
    | When I use 20030523 bild it work's fine!
    | I have 720*304 video
    | I set resize to 800*600 (my VideoCard does'nt work properly when width not mod 32)
    | Under 20030523 i got nice LETTERBOXED (black zones ot top and bottom) image with
    | width scaled to 800 and video height is scaled proportionaly original aspect ratio
    | (no aspect ratio changed)

    | Under last athos bild i got scaled to 800*600 image with aspect ratio changed
    | to 4:3 (no letterboxing)

    | sorry for my poor english
    erratic, Dec 13, 2003
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