TV Out

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Not surprisingly, many MythTV users wish to use their systems with their television sets. This page will detail the different television output (TV Out hereafter) options available.


TV Out Options

Graphics Cards

The most elegant option for TV output is a graphics card which supports it natively. This makes external equipment unnecessary, and can (but do not always) provide a superior output quality by eliminating unnecessary format conversions. Some motherboards (and most laptops) come with an on board TV out graphics device, and it is the primary output for devices such as the Microsoft XBox. For other machines which lack this, a new graphics card with the desired output may need to be purchased. The following tables serve to document what the MythTV community knows - please add to them if you can!

Known Working

These are devices which are known to have a TV output which works under Linux.

Manufacturer Card Model Output Types
(Composite, S-Video, SCART, etc)
Video Systems
(NTSC, PAL, etc)
Bus Type
(ISA/PCI/AGP/etc)
Supported in Linux Kernel
(version)
Additional Software Comments Resources Reviewers & Dates
ATI Radeon X1250 HDMI,Component,S-Video,Composite NTSC,PAL Integral (OnBoard) Yes, with manufacturer driver Catalyst Proprietary Driver 8.4 Default resolution is too high for PAL/NTSC, reduce it to 800x600 for a much better picture. N/A --GBee 14:10, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
ATI Radeon 7000 Composite, DVI-I ??? AGP No (?) Gatos tv_output: Xorg CVS patch set Considered a "hack" by the author, not guaranteed to work, but frequently updated. http://megahurts.dk/rune/tv_output.html
TV-Out_and_OpenGL_with_ATI_9000/9100_IGP
http://gatos.sourceforge.net/theater_out.php
DStulken 05:04, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
ATI Radeon 7200 (European Model) ??? ??? ??? No (?) Gatos tv_output: Xorg CVS patch set Considered a "hack" by the author, not guaranteed to work, but frequently updated. http://megahurts.dk/rune/tv_output.html
TV-Out_and_OpenGL_with_ATI_9000/9100_IGP
http://gatos.sourceforge.net/theater_out.php
DStulken 05:04, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
ATI Radeon 9000 ??? ??? ??? No (?) Gatos tv_output: Xorg CVS patch set Considered a "hack" by the author, not guaranteed to work, but frequently updated. http://megahurts.dk/rune/tv_output.html
TV-Out_and_OpenGL_with_ATI_9000/9100_IGP
http://gatos.sourceforge.net/theater_out.php
DStulken 05:04, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
ATI Radeon 9100 ??? ??? ??? No (?) Gatos tv_output: Xorg CVS patch set Considered a "hack" by the author, not guaranteed to work, but frequently updated. http://megahurts.dk/rune/tv_output.html
TV-Out_and_OpenGL_with_ATI_9000/9100_IGP
http://gatos.sourceforge.net/theater_out.php
DStulken 05:04, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
ATI Radeon 9200SE S-Video,Composite NTSC,PAL AGP No (?), Partially (with seperate kernel module) Gatos tv_output: Xorg CVS patch set Considered a "hack" by the author, not guaranteed to work, but frequently updated. The ATI proprietary driver partially works. http://megahurts.dk/rune/tv_output.html
TV-Out_and_OpenGL_with_ATI_9000/9100_IGP
http://gatos.sourceforge.net/theater_out.php
AtiProprietaryDriver
ATI_Gatos
DStulken 05:04, 31 May 2006 (UTC),
Michel 09:54, 20 November 2006 (UTC),
Aloril 07:19, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
ATI Radeon 9250 Composite NTSC,PAL AGP Partially (with seperate kernel module) The ATI proprietary driver partially works. AtiProprietaryDriver Michel 09:56, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
ATI Radeon QD ??? ??? ??? No (?) Gatos tv_output: Xorg CVS patch set Considered a "hack" by the author, not guaranteed to work, but frequently updated. http://megahurts.dk/rune/tv_output.html
TV-Out_and_OpenGL_with_ATI_9000/9100_IGP
http://gatos.sourceforge.net/theater_out.php
DStulken 05:04, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
ATI Radeon Mobility M7 ??? ??? ??? No (?) Gatos tv_output: Xorg CVS patch set Considered a "hack" by the author, not guaranteed to work, but frequently updated. http://megahurts.dk/rune/tv_output.html
TV-Out_and_OpenGL_with_ATI_9000/9100_IGP
http://gatos.sourceforge.net/theater_out.php
DStulken 05:04, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
NVIDIA GeForce2 MX S-Video NTSC,PAL AGP Yes (with separate kernel module) "nvidia-kernel" kernel module and "nvidia-glx" driver Works with version 1.0-8776. Be aware for hardware revisions with a strange 6-pin S-Video connector, your cables won't fit! NVidiaProprietaryDriver Michel 10:14, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
NVIDIA GeForce4 MX (onboard) Composite, S-Video ??? ??? Yes (with separate kernel module) "nvidia-kernel" kernel module and "nvidia-glx" driver Onboard video on Biostar M7NCG 400 motherboard, probably others as well. Works fine, but note that NTSC video timings are not to spec! Cheap TVs and NTSC-only display devices will probably work fine, but devices which can auto-sense PAL video will likely be confused, resulting in a glitchy video (or at best, black & white only). http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/nvidia-guide.xml DStulken 19:46, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
NVIDIA GeForce4 MX440 S-Video (Composite with converter cable) NTSC,PAL AGP Yes (with separate kernel module) "nvidia-kernel" kernel module and "nvidia-glx" driver Works with version 1.0-8776. NVidiaProprietaryDriver Michel 09:49, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
NVIDIA FX5200 S-Video (Composite with converter cable) NTSC,PAL AGP Yes (with separate kernel module) "nvidia-kernel" kernel module and "nvidia-glx" driver Works with version 1.0-8776. NVidiaProprietaryDriver Michel 09:41, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
NVIDIA FX5700LE S-Video (Composite with converter cable) and DVI-I to HDMI NTSC,PAL AGP Yes (with separate kernel module) "nvidia-kernel" kernel module and "nvidia-glx" driver or "nvidia-drivers" Works with version 1.0-8776 through 100.14.11 NVidiaProprietaryDriver MarcT 8:13pm, 9 September 2007 (EST)
NVIDIA 6200A DVI, S-Video, Composite (using S-Video to composite converter) PAL(tested), NTSC(probably) PCI Yes (using Nvidia proprietary driver) Nvidia proprietary driver Works well with some versions of Nvidia driver. Nvidia-settings utility (7865?) sometimes gets confused between VGA port and DVI/TV ports, and applies brightness/colour settings to the wrong display. Utility also writes wrong settings out to nvidia configuration file- solved by creating a copy of the file, setting permissions to no writes by anyone (chmod a-w filename), and hand editing the file, save using forced write, then run nvidia-settings. Indulis 04 Sep 2006
NVIDIA TNT2 S-Video, Composite (using S-Video to composite converter) PAL(tested), NTSC(probably) PCI NO Nvidia proprietary driver 7184 Configure X wi use TV out and or nvtv tool to adjust the overscan(make the pickture fit the to tv screen) http://sourceforge.net/projects/nv-tv-out/
http://www.nvidia.com/object/linux_display_ia32_1.0-7184.html
http://sourceforge.net/forum/forum.php?thread_id=1076090&forum_id=105850,
http://nvidia.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/nvidia.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=177&p_created=1101837165&p_topview=1
racker79 27 April 2007
NVIDIA 9500GT S-Video, Component 480p PAL(likely), NTSC(tested) PCIe x16 NO Nvidia proprietary driver 256.44 Configure X to use TV component video and adjust the overscan using nvidia-settings UKDude 01 Sep 2010
SiS (Silicon Integrated Systems) 301 (onboard) ??? ??? ??? ??? "sisctrl" utility Onboard video on ECS P6STP-FN motherboard, probably others as well. Said to work, but output quality not great. http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/ECS-P6STP-FN-TV-Win2K-Linux-ftopict154521.html, http://www.freshports.org/x11/sisctrl/, http://www.winischhofer.at/linuxsispart1.shtml DStulken 05:20, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
ATI Radeon X300SE (RV370 - Dell Optiplex GX280) SCART RGB-Sync PAL PCI Yes (2.6.15) Xorg ati or radeon driver Using a home made VGA and Audio to SCART-RGB cable RGB_Scart Bill 23:01, 03 Sept 2006 (UTC)

Status Unknown

These are devices which have a TV output, but have not been tested or verified to work with Linux. Most are very old and support is unlikely to ever been added to the kernel if they don't already work.

Manufacturer Card Model Output Types
(Composite, S-Video, SCART, etc)
Video Systems
(NTSC, PAL, etc)
Bus Type
(ISA/PCI/AGP/etc)
Supported in Linux Kernel
(version)
Additional Software Comments Resources Reviewers & Dates
ATI Rage 128 Pro Composite, S-Video(?) ? AGP ? ? This card displays TV-Out with boot-screen. Did not test any graphics. http://www.ati.com/ --Michel 16:05, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Hercules Stingray 128/3D Model S3318 TV Composite, S-Video(?) ? PCI ? ? Did not test TV-Out. However, Xorg works on a monitor using xserver-xorg-apm. ? --Michel 21:43, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Known NOT Working

These are devices which are known to have a TV output which does not work under Linux. Since device status can change with new development, devices in this list should be re-checked periodically.

Manufacturer Card Model Output Types
(Composite, S-Video, SCART, etc)
Video Systems
(NTSC, PAL, etc)
Bus Type
(ISA/PCI/AGP/etc)
Supported in Linux Kernel
(version)
Additional Software Comments Resources Reviewers & Dates
NVidia Riva TNT (also known as AGP-V3400) S-Video,Composite ??? AGP Yes TV-out works great in console mode, but you need X for mythtv, and current NVidia proprietary driver doesn't support this beast. NVidiaProprietaryDriver Michel 11:20, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
NVidia Riva TNT2 S-Video ??? AGP Yes TV-out works great in console mode, but you need X for mythtv, and current NVidia proprietary driver doesn't support this beast. NVidiaProprietaryDriver Michel 10:06, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
SiS (Silicon Integrated Systems) 962L Composite ??? ??? No "sisctrl" utility Onboard video on my Asus P4S533-MX Socket 478 motherboard, probably others as well. Card works great but TV-out is unsupported (not even an option) http://www.freshports.org/x11/sisctrl/, http://www.winischhofer.at/linuxsispart1.shtml DStulken 05:16, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Scan Converters

In some cases, limitations prevent a dedicated graphics card from being added to a system. (Such is the case with many laptops, embedded systems, or machines with warranty terms preventing hardware changes.) In other cases, users need to integrate their system into a more elaborate setup (school classroom, etc), or require additional features or greater output flexibility than can be provided by on board TV outputs. For these situations, a device known as a scan converter can be used to convert a PC's VGA or RGB output into a signal compatible with your television set. Users chose this option for a variety of reasons - low cost units can be a simple & hassle-free way to get the output they need (without changing internal hardware or software configurations), and expensive units can produce much higher quality (and more standards compliant) video output than most graphics cards produce internally. This section attempts to summarize these scan converter units.

Scan Converter Devices

Hardware Decoders

In addition to standard graphics cards and external scan converters, a third option exists- hardware decoder cards. These are cards whos primary purpose is not to be the general purpose graphics card- rather they are specially designed to provide video decompression & display capabilities. These devices are very popular among MythTV users, as they can substantially lower the processing requirements for video playback. Often, they are sold as combination cards with video capture and hardware decoding/display on the same card. Due to their popularity, and the fact that these cards are almost all known to work, this section will simply provide a place to link to other wiki pages with information about these cards.

SCART RGB Cable

Some graphics cards are able to directly produce "RGB Sync" (Composite Sync) which is compatible with some TVs with SCART inputs. Refer to RGB_Scart page for more details.

Content from MythTV documentation

This section temporarily contains a copy of the information provided in the MythTV documentation found at http://mythtv.org/docs/mythtv-HOWTO-3.html#ss3.1 Please do not update this section, as the updates will not make it back to the real document! This information is only duplicated here for searching convenience, and will be removed once the information is transferred to the other sections in this page.


Video Display Card

MythTV will work with just about any video card. However, it is highly recommended that you use a card which supports XVideo (XV) extensions. If your card does not support XV, color conversion and scaling will be performed by your CPU rather than the video card. This is very CPU and memory intensive and will often result in dropped frames and a corresponding degradation of quality. Check the X documentation for details if you are uncertain about your preferred card. You may also run xvinfo; look for your video card to be listed as one of the adapters.

If you want to use MythTV with a standard television, you will need a physical connection from your video card to your TV set, which can either be a TV-out port on the card itself or an external adapter that converts the VGA signal to an appropriate video signal. "Appropriate" depends on a number of factors, such as video standard (NTSC vs. PAL) type of input connection (Composite vs. SVideo), etc.

Note that with some video cards and X drivers, XVideo extensions are only supported on the VGA output, and not on the TV output.

Cards with TV out

The next section deals with a number of cards that are known to have TV-out ports. The list is unlikely to be complete, so if you know of others, please post a message to the mythtv-users mailing list so the information can be included in future versions of the HOWTO. The list is organized by manufacturer.

Reports here are based on what users of the cards have posted on the mythtv-users mailing list, so if you need configuration details, please search the archives at http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/ using the card name in your search string.

ATI

ATI makes many cards with TV-out capability, but only offers Linux drivers for Radeon 8500 and above cards. See the Drivers and Software section of http://www.ati.com for the driver and additional information.

The enhanced ati.2 X driver created by the GATOS http://gatos.sourceforge.net project offers some support for TV-out on other ATI cards, but only in its "experimental" version, available through CVS. There have been reports from people who say they have made this driver work with one or another ATI card. For example, Bruce Markey mailto:bjm@lvcm.com writes (on the mythtv-users mailing list): "I got this to work. You can quote me on that. I've used TV-out on several models of ATI cards both All-In-Wonder and regular cards with TV-out." See the "Adventurous Setup" section of http://gatos.sourceforge.net/watching_tv.php for details. Also see http://www.retinalburn.net/linux/tvout.html for more information.

Matrox

NOTE: If updated information for the Matrox cards is not provided prior to MythTV v0.20 I will assume that there is no interest and will remove this section.

The standard Matrox driver included with XFree86 does not support TV-out.

Older Matrox cards can be used with a proprietary X driver provided by Matrox, and it does simultaneously support TV out and XVideo on some cards. See http://www.matrox.com/mga/support/drivers/files/lnx_21.cfm for details.

Newer Matrox cards can be run with a set of kernel patches (for kernel 2.4.19) and a customized X driver, but this arrangement does not support XVideo on TV-out. See http://www.bglug.ca/matrox_tvout/g450_tvout_howto.html for details.

Specific cards:

  • Matrox G400 AGP. Uses external adapter to provide Composite and SVideo ports. Reported to work with the proprietary Matrox X driver.
  • Matrox Millennium 450GX AGP. Uses external adapter to provide Composite and SVideo ports. TV-out implementation does NOT support XVideo.
  • Matrox Millennium 550GX AGP. Uses external adapter to provide Composite and S-Video ports. TV-out implementation does NOT support XVideo.

NVIDIA

Some NVIDIA cards with TV-out can be run using the standard nv driver in X, combined with the userspace application nvtv to control the TV-out port. See http://sourceforge.net/projects/nv-tv-out/ for details. Recent versions of the NVIDIA driver have better support for overscan and other features useful with TV-Out, so the nvtv application may not be required.

Some NVIDIA cards can be run with a proprietary NVIDIA X driver made available by NVIDIA. See http://www.nvidia.com/object/unix.html for more information.

NOTE: It's strongly recommended that you use the proprietary NVIDIA drivers; they have excellent support for XvMC and ship with a good configuration utility. XvMC provides MPEG-2 hardware acceleration, which is important if you want to display HDTV.

Savage

The standard savage X driver supports TV out on some Savage cards. Unfortunately, XVideo support for the Savage 2000 card (a very common and inexpensive Savage card with TV out) is broken. See http://www.probo.com/timr/savage40.html for details.

Specific cards:

  • Savage 2000 AGP. Has Composite and SVideo ports. Does not support XVideo.
  • S3 Savage IX 8MB AGP. Has SVideo output. Reported to work.

Other Options

Some devices with on-board TV-out capability, such as Xboxes converted to Linux and some laptops can be used as MythTV frontends to display on a television screen. Please consult the mythtv-users mailing list for messages that report the details of these special arrangements.

External Adapters

External adapters convert standard VGA output to a form suitable for display on a television. The output format varies by region, since different countries have different TV standards. People on the mythtv-users list have mentioned these adapters:

  • AITech Web Cable Plus, powered by external transformer or takes power from PS/2 keyboard connector, support resolutions up to 1024x768, outputs composite and SVideo, provides position adjustment.
  • Averkey lite, powered by a USB port, has Composite, SVideo, YPbPr outputs; pan, brightness, overscan/underscan controls; supports up to 1024x768 outputs; and supports PAL and NTSC.
  • ADS TV Elite XGA
  • AverKey iMicro (comments are generally favorable)
  • AITech Web Cable (comments are generally unfavorable, different than the "Plus" version above)
  • TVIEW Gold (mentioned once, favorably)


Internal Links

External Links