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Three HDMI Graphics Cards Tested on LCD TV

By: James Bannan | Editorials in HT & Movies | Posted: Oct 31, 2006 5:00 am

Image Quality Testing


Attaching the cards to the TV via the HDMI input produced some interesting results. The Bravia LCD TV supports high-def video up to 1080i, and over the HDMI standard the cards detect this capability as 1920x1080x60 resolution.


However, the TV's native resolution is nowhere near this, at 1366x768 (which is actually very good for an LCD TV). Normally the TV's internal scaler deals with any incoming signal and fits it to the screen. Additionally, the TV is designed to cope with signal overscan, as is the AV component sending the signal. So the high-def signal fits the screen well and is nice and sharp.


Graphics cards on the other hand, can't natively sort out overscanning. That's actually handled by the graphics driver, and not automatically either. We had to manually apply overscan correction to get the computer desktop to fit, but then sending through video content like a DVD, which already has overscan correction inbuilt, a black area was visible on either side of the screen.



1080i desktop - right off the screen



Manual overscan correction


So in other words, the HDMI input is generally fine for sending through media content, although the results can be variable given the card/driver's inability to correct overscanning on the fly.



Tweaking the screen is a manual process


The best desktop images were provided by the RGB/DVI inputs from the card to the RGB input on the TV, which detected the resolution properly and displayed a clear sharp image. The desktop provided by the HDMI input was never as crisp, with slight blurriness around icon edges. Interestingly, the best desktop image was provided by the GeCube X1600 using the DVI-HDMI adaptor, mainly because the signal sent wasn't a true HDMI signal, but a converted DVI signal - much closer to RGB.



An RGB connection desktop - nice and crisp


Media quality on RGB was still very good, in spite of being an analogue signal - visually we couldn't tell the difference between RGB and HDMI on video playback.



HDMI video playback



RGB video playback

Samsung LN-S3251D 32 in. HDTV LCD Television


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