[oclug] Video Output to TV
wisq-oclug at wisq.net
Wed Feb 16 18:31:09 EST 2005
On Wed, Feb 16, 2005 at 06:03:59PM -0500, madadam at rogers.com wrote:
> > p.s. Yes, playing console games through my computer is how I
> > managed to ditch Microsoft Windows, PC games, and the PC
> > game 'hardware upgrade tax'. The bonus is, now all my games
> > automatically support both fullscreen and windowed mode. ;)
> That's a really neat idea. Is there any documentation on how to do
> this, and what kind of hardware you'd need? PC gaming is one of the
> only things I miss about running old M$.
I personally use the ATI All-In-Wonder... probably a 7500, I forget.
Bought it several years ago; standard Future Shop fare.
I don't know how well it does 3D acceleration, nor do I really care
on that machine. You pay a fair premium for the All-In-Wonder
stuff, so I bought an older-generation card to compensate.
Unfortunately, it overrode my onboard nVidia, and may or may not run
as fast, but I saved my native Linux gaming for a faster box with a
real GeForce anyway.
The software is Gatos 'avview'. The 'drm' kernel module is a standard
part of 2.6, so I haven't had to build it in a year or more.
Meanwhile, XFree86 drivers are provided precompiled (thank god, no X
compiling) for each X version, and you just untar them over top of
your existing X install. (Me, I backed up the files it was going to
This config works great for live, zero-latency TV watching and gaming.
The lack of latency comes from the fact that the card behaves like a
hardware video decompressor -- avview chooses an overlay colour, makes
its viewer window that colour, and tells the card 'display in this
Inside this zone, the card replaces all pixels of that colour with
video input (using hardware size scaling if required). So it's super
fast, and yet windows placed overtop are still visible because they're
There's a catch -- it's not so great for capture. In fact, it can
barely capture at all. Compatibility just isn't there, as far as
I know, and the avview capture facility is limited at best,
unusable at worst. I usually only do single-frame snapshots.
There's a driver ('km') to support a kernel video4linux layer, but it
requires avview to be running, needs avview to select the channel and
not v4l, has traditionally been buggy and rarely worked right for me,
and doesn't support faster 'mmap' mode (meaning apps like mplayer and
mencoder can't use it whatsoever).
So in short -- All-In-Wonder is only really a good title for Windows
(assuming it can even do all this stuff). This isn't a good capture
card, but it's what I use for gaming.
Eventually, when I get a nice high-definition TV, I may move over to
that. I've got the laptop and wireless, so I don't need to do games
on the computer screen to remain connected. At that point, it'll just
come down to ergonomics.
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