Enabling SVIDEO from my Dell 8600 laptop

On my Inspiron 8600 Laptop I have a SVIDEO output on the back which I thought would be nice to use for playing back videos etc., on my tv. Although my TV also has SVGA input support, the cable for that is way to short to work nicely for me. Anyway after a lot of googling and testing back and forth I managed to put together this xorg.conf file which does what I want, giving me a separate X screen on the svideo port. Tried playing some movies onto it yesterday and it worked very nicely. In addition to duplicating everything for two screens the magic was in the BusID option and the tvstandard, tvoutformat and connectedmonitor options.

Getting this going though was a very manual process with editing the xorg.conf file, reading the NVIDIA driver README and googling to find answers to some specific questions. (None of the Linux on Dell Inspiron sites seemed to have actually tried testing/using the SVIDEO output port).

I assume part of making this nice that X could do with some HAL/dbus magic in order to be able to handle this in a more automated fashion.
Not sure in the end if xorg or GNOME will be able to offer something to setup these things in a nice GUI’ed way or if we are depending on the hardware vendors to do this due to it being relativly hardware vendor specific? NVidia already have a little GTK+ based setup tool bundled which maybe they could extend (currently it only seems to allow you to adjust stuff not add anything). Anyone know if there are any efforts by anyone in this area currently?

Reminds me of my USB soundcard issues from some time ago. While there is rudimentary support in the drivers, we still have so way to go before its ready for joe average user. And when we do get to the point of trying to make it joe average friendly we will probably find, like they discovered with Network Manager, that the drivers needs a lot of fixes before being ready to work properly in such a scenario. At least for the sound card scenario we should have infrastructure for it in the next release of GNOME thanks to Jürg Billeter‘s work. Hopefully the USB soundcard drivers makers follows suit and improves their linux support.

4 thoughts on “Enabling SVIDEO from my Dell 8600 laptop”

  1. Hey thanks for the info.
    I see you are not using TwinView for the job, I have a laptop with GeForce6600Go and SVIDEO out connected to SVIDEO in on my TV(just like you) but I’m having problems with TwinView, I just want to duplicate my screen on TV, but instead I get blank screen on my laptop and picture on TV, I didn’t find a way to have both picture on laptop and on tv.

    I’ll try your xorg.conf to see if it helps.

  2. You could also have not changed your xorg.conf, and compiled your Totem with libnvtv support. Then go to preferences and select you TV type: voila, video on your TV.

  3. It totally works with your xorg.conf. Thank you.

    I see you have these messages in xorg.conf too, what does that mean ?
    “### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:”

    And othe other thing, I can’t get to init 3 console after starting X with this settings, I get blank screen. It’s probably because I have screen resolution in my text mode set to vga=0x318…

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