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Q: pc videocard to 16:9 widescreen ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: pc videocard to 16:9 widescreen
Category: Computers > Graphics
Asked by: bhoward-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 28 Jul 2003 11:50 PDT
Expires: 27 Aug 2003 11:50 PDT
Question ID: 236195
I am just looking best way (no matter the cost) to hook my computer up
to 16:9 widescreen (sony). I just planned on buying an ATI GL.X1 with
AGP PRO50. It seems everytime I try to read a articles, a simple
question turns into 17-18 post from 10-11 users that gets very
complicated. Could anyone tell me if this video card is a proper
choice, with a primary purpose of hooking it up to a widescreen TV not
only to play dvds, but mainly to be able to use my TV as a computer
monitor (with the best picture quality availible). Is there a better
way than buying a standard high-end graphics card? Furthermore, will
constant usage harm or shorten the lifespan of my TV after prolonged

Request for Question Clarification by snapanswer-ga on 28 Jul 2003 18:33 PDT
I can tell you that DVI is the best way to connect your computer to
your Sony 16:9 widescreen TV.  Does your TV have a DVI input?

(If you don't know, simply provide the Sony model, and I can try to
find out.)

If it does not have DVI, does it have a VGA input? 
(preferable if the VGA input supports 31+ khz frequencies).

Those are the best connector types.

Also, it would be handy to know if the television has a (native) fixed
resolution.  Again, with the model number, that information can
probably be tracked down.

The next questions are about video cards.  The card you mention is a
card optimized for CAD work.  You may be able to get a less expensive
card that will serve you very well.  The current ATI All-In-Wonder
series even provides a handy RF remote control and built-in PVR
(Digital VCR) software.

Is there a particular feature of the ATI GL.X1 that causes you to
prefer it to ATI's other cards?

Depending upon which card you ultimately buy, it's control panel
should either allow you to set your resolution to one that is
compatible with your TV OR an alternate piece of software can be used
to specify odd resolutions compatible with your TV.

If you can tell me which Sony model you have and your thoughts on
alternative ATI cards, I can provide a specific answer.

Clarification of Question by bhoward-ga on 28 Jul 2003 22:05 PDT
I dont have the book anymore, but i have the model number.  I looked
it up and found some specs on it saying: .. dvi/hdtv interface ...
said nothing about actual dvi inputs.... and i couldnt not find
anything with vga or being able to adjust the resolution.;sid=8izfPdG9wqLfFO6YCDfVNp6t7FotcBErTe0=?CatalogCategoryID=B5wKC0%2eNNlwAAAD2Ul0IL5ig&Dept=tv&TemplateName=item%2fsy_item_b&ProductID=M2IKC0%2eNz0AAAAD2DaIIL5in&ContentItemPage=

about the gl.x1, if there is a card availible, no matter the brand,
that will do the job perfect or as best as could be for cheaper, thats
even better! If you know of another card either by ati, or anyone
else, please tell me what you think.
Subject: Re: pc videocard to 16:9 widescreen
Answered By: snapanswer-ga on 29 Jul 2003 21:46 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
In your question, you indicate that you are tired of long complicated
answers.  I will begin with a short summary before I launch into the
full answer:
I recommend the ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder 9700 Pro connected using a
DVI-D Dual Link Cable with settings adjusted to find the best picture
for your television using an inexpensive software package called
PowerStrip.  Note that televisions are not great at displaying
computer generated text and can suffer from "burn-in" which is not
covered by your warranty.

That's the short answer.  However, this is a complex topic so
additional information seems in order.

For people trying to bring digital convergence to life in their home,
your question is a common one.  Unfortunately, optimizing a setup is
often a complicated trial-and-error procedure.  Television
manufacturers typically do not recommend attaching a PC to your TV. 
Speculation varies as to why this is the case, however, it may simply
be that they do not want to be responsible for supporting any
complicated setup issues.  Others suggest that the television cannot
claim compatibility with a PC in order to stay in compliance with the
EIA-861 HDCP copy-protection standard.  While this type of setup is
done without the support or blessing of the television manufacturer,
there is a growing community of people who have successfully connected
their PC and TV.  This community can be reached at the AVS Forum.

I can make no guarantees about the impact this setup will have on the
lifespan of your television.  Since most people have not been doing
this for any length of time longer than four years, it is difficult to
predict what the overall life expectancy might be.

Many suggest that this setup should impact your television no
differently than any other DVI device attached to your television. 
However, if you primarily display a bright, stationary image, like the
Windows desktop, it is possible for "burn-in" or "image retention" to
occur.  Your Sony manual indicates that image retention is not covered
by your warranty.  (I should note that image retention can also occur
by watching a channel with a network logo for a prolonged period of
time, so this is not a computer-specific problem.  The manual suggests
that using high Brightness and Picture settings on your television
should be avoided since it can accelerate image retention.)  AVS Forum
members suggest keeping your Contrast around 35% and using a neutral
Windows desktop background, like grey.
Sony KP-65WS500 Manual (Image Retention, Page 3)

In general, no one recommends using this type of setup for prolonged
text work, as even the best television will not display text as well
as a cheap monitor.  This is particularly the case for televisions
that have native progressive modes of 540 or fewer (480) lines.
This is discussed in the following message thread.
EnTech Forums:  "Newcomer to PC to HDTV"

Having said all that, let's assume you are going to want to make this
work the  best it can.  Here are some things to know:

1. For your television model, you will probably get the best result
from a 480p mode.  I can find no evidence in the specification that
you linked to or in the manual for your model that your television has
a native 720p display (though it may support 720p content by
downsampling it to 480p).  Therefore, if you set the computer to ouput
in a 720p mode, it is likely you would receive a less clear, fuzzy,
downsampled version.  It appears 480p may be your best bet.

You can try a 720p setting if you choose.  I simply suggest that you
get 480p working first.

2.  Which DVI Cable?  DVI-D Dual Link to DVI-D Dual Link
Judging by the picture in the manual, your television has a DVI-D Dual
Link (HDCP) interface.  The DVI output on an ATI Radeon video card
should also support DVI-D Dual Link (the video card technically has a
DVI-I interface, meaning it can support analog and digital, you want
digital).  This cable is available in various lengths from Pacific
Custom Cable if you have trouble finding it elsewhere.  (If you end up
purchasing one of the video cards I recommend, you have the option to
try the built-in component connection before going to the additional
expense of purchasing a DVI cable.  It is up to you.)

$18 Pacific Custom Cable DVIDL-2    2 Meter DVI-D Dual Link Cable

3.  Use PowerStrip software to tweak your settings.  PowerStrip is the
de facto standard for adjusting your video card beyond typical video
card settings to help you achieve the best picture possible.
EnTech PowerStrip

There is no easy way to optimize your setup.  However, these timing
settings will come in handy:
AVS Forum - Home Theater Computers:  "Custom Resolution Guide for
1080i HDTV-HTPC-POWERSTRIP-RADEON" by Wayne Harrelson (Karnis) Updated

4.  Which video card to use?  I am recommending the ATI All-In-Wonder
9700 Pro.
Yes, it is true that ATI has recently released the ATI All-In-Wonder
9800 Pro, which is faster.  But, the AIW 9700 has plenty of punch and
thanks to the release of the 9800, can be purchased at a discount. 
Both cards support DirectX 9 Pixel Shading.  The difference between
the cards is the processing power, though, you are unlikely to
encounter a detectable difference in the resolutions and frequencies
you will be running with your setup.
The ATI All-In-Wonder 9700 Pro is currently priced around $340.
The ATI All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro is currently priced around $380.

I am recommending the All-In-Wonder series because their software
bundles are well-suited to use with television and because the 9700
and 9800 versions include an RF remote control which you may find
useful.  Also, they have built-in support for connecting to Component
inputs, if for any reason DVI is not to your satisfaction.  They
include a television tuner, as well, though it is for standard analog
cable and broadcast signals and does not receive digital HDTV signals.
 (Since you were originally considering a card without a tuner, I
presume this is not a major issue for you.)

Check PriceWatch for the latest prices:

Both are substantially less expensive than the card you were
originally considering.

Links from the Answer above:
AVS Home Theater PC Forum:

Sony KP-65WS500 Manual (Image Retention, Page 3)

AVS Forum - Home Theater Computers:  "Custom Resolution Guide for
1080i HDTV-HTPC-POWERSTRIP-RADEON" by Wayne Harrelson (Karnis) Updated

EnTech Forums:  "Newcomer to PC to HDTV"

AVS Forum - Home Theater Computers:  "Which DVI Cable?"

$18 Pacific Custom Cable DVIDL-2    2 Meter DVI-D Dual Link Cable

EnTech PowerStrip

PriceWatch for the latest prices

Additional Reference Materials 
AVS Forum - Home Theater Computers:  "ati dongle or transcoder for
better pq on HD"

Digital Connection:  "Cliff Notes - Custom Resolutions and Timings" by
Wayne Harrelson

Ram Electronics PowerStrip Guide

Keohi HDTV:  "Definitive Superguide to Custom Resolutions on HDTV" by
Mark Rehjon

Search Strategy:  Look for information at the AVS Forum pertaining to
this setup.

Search Terms:
AVS Forum sony radeon
(AVS Forum search)

powerstrip settings sony


I hope you have found this information useful and easy to understand. 
If you have any questions about this information, please do not
hesitate to post a clarification request prior to rating the answer.
bhoward-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
"Speechless" ..... you have answered more than all of my questions.

Subject: Re: pc videocard to 16:9 widescreen
From: snapanswer-ga on 30 Jul 2003 08:38 PDT
Thank you for the rating.  I am happy that you are satisfied with the

A final note:  Everything I have read about setting this up is that it
is not automatic.  The initial setup will take some time in the
beginning.  Apparently, the DVI interface Sony is using in your set
does not accept standard PC resolutions and frequencies.  Instead, it
accepts HDTV resolutions and frequencies.  That is why it is so
critical that you use PowerStrip... and is also why it is nice that
the All-In-Wonder 9700 Pro has built-component connection support if
you decide you are unhappy with DVI support with your Sony.

Enjoy your new setup.

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