Archive for September, 2011

Using a Samsung LCD TV as a Computer Monitor (HDMI/DVI)

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

I’ve used my Samsung LCD television as a computer monitor for a few years now, and it works great.  My TV has 2 HDMI inputs, and the second one, “HDMI2″ has some special magic to make it behave nicely when used as a computer monitor with an HDMI cable or a DVI to HDMI adapter.  The important thing is to set the input name to “PC” in the Source List.

Recently, I wanted to connect my laptop to my TV too, and that’s where I ran into a problem.  When I plugged the laptop into the “HDMI1″ input it looked awful (as expected – the TV defaults just don’t fit well with computer use), but changing the input name to “PC” did not fix the problem!  Whatever magic the “PC” name does with the “HDMI2″ input doesn’t seem to apply to “HDMI1″.  I’ve documented the correct configuration here – hopefully it will be of some use to other people too.

  1. Set the picture size to “Just Scan”.  On my TV, this was under Picture Options.  This should fix any issues with cut-off edges.  Note that depending on your video card drivers, you may have to also change the “overscan” setting – how to do that is driver-specific, so search online for directions.
  2. Lower the Sharpness setting to zero.  This one was the big one for me.
  3. I also changed the input name to “PC”, but as far as I can tell that had no effect.

Some pictures showing what each step looks like are below.  The biggest effect (in real life, even if it’s not apparent in these photos) came from setting the sharpness to zero.  The TV’s sharpening was causing the problems – at a large scale (2-3 pixels), this created the halo around the orange “Firefox” menu, and at a smaller scale it effectively undid ClearType, Microsoft’s implementation of sub-pixel anti-aliasing (the main purpose of which is to improve appearance on LCDs!).  Also note the appearance of the small Firefox logos in the first four images below.