NVIDIA TV-out and Video Tearing

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This article tries to address the problem of video tearing on the TV via NVIDIA video card. The scenario typically involves the VGA (D-sub or DVI) connection to the monitor (LCD or CRT) with the S-Video handling the TV output.

This approach has been confirmed to work with Geforce 5900XT, Geforce 7300GT, and Geforce 7600GS. (All three have onboard TV-encoders on the GPU.)

Possible Issues

Be aware that you may run into possible issues with Beryl 0.20, if the wrong Option in xorg.conf is used. (You will encounter unusual graphical issues).

There is a known issue with HD mode of Nvidia cards and PAL standard. As in it does not work! :(

Step 1: Clone desktop to TV (CRT).

In this example we have connected the TV-OUT of the video card to the S-Video IN of our TV (CRT solution). The driver version we are using is 1.0-9755 with Xorg 7.2. Typically, you can let the Nvidia driver handle detecting TV-Out (S-Video). However, there are times where the driver will not detect things correctly, and you may have to manually override it via xorg.conf, (by specifically setting the values). CRT-0 is the computer monitor, and TV-0 is obviously the TV.

Note: PAL-B is seen below as this is the standard for Australian TVs. (See [1] in the #REFERENCES section for other regions around the world).

Open /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, scroll down until you find the "Device" section.

It will be something like:

Section "Device"
    Identifier   "Card0"
    Driver       "nvidia"
    VendorName   "ALL"
    BoardName    "ALL"

Add the following:

    Option "TwinView"
    Option "TwinViewOrientation" "Clone"
    Option "MetaModes"           "CRT-0: 1024x768,  TV-0: 1024x768"
    Option "HorizSync"           "CRT-0: 30-81;  TV-0: 30-50"
    Option "VertRefresh"         "CRT-0: 56-76;  TV-0: 60"
    Option "ConnectedMonitor"    "CRT-0, TV-0"
    Option "TVStandard"          "PAL-B"
    Option "TVOutFormat"         "SVIDEO" 

So it becomes:

Section "Device"
    Identifier   "Card0"
    Driver       "nvidia"
    VendorName   "ALL"
    BoardName    "ALL"
    Option       "TwinView"
    Option       "TwinViewOrientation" "Clone"
    Option       "MetaModes"           "CRT-0: 1024x768,  TV-0: 1024x768"
    Option       "HorizSync"           "CRT-0: 30-81;  TV-0: 30-50"
    Option       "VertRefresh"         "CRT-0: 56-76;  TV-0: 60"
    Option       "ConnectedMonitor"    "CRT-0, TV-0"
    Option       "TVStandard"          "PAL-B"
    Option       "TVOutFormat"         "SVIDEO" 

Save changes, log out of the system, and restart X-Server by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace. This should bring you back to the login screen. You will notice a clone of the screen will appear on your TV.

For more options and details, please see [2] and [3] in the #REFERENCES section.

Step 2: Using the correct settings for NVIDIA X Server Settings

Go to NVIDIA X Server Settings.

(In KDE, this is done by K-menu (icon) > System > NVIDIA X Server Settings).

In the section X Screen 0, there is an entry called X Server XVideo Settings, click on that.

Now you will see three entries:

  1. Video Texture Adaptor
    Enable > Sync to VBlank (Make sure this is checked with a tick)
  2. Video Blitter Adaptor
    Enable > Sync to VBlank (Make sure this is checked with a tick)
  3. Sync to this display device
    Select > TV-0 (TV-0)

Then click on Quit to save changes.

Step 3: Using the correct settings for MPlayer

Now in MPlayer, right-click and select Preferences. Select the Video tab. Select xv in the Available Drivers: section.

Also enable (checkmark appears in box): Enable double buffering, Enable direct rendering, and Enable frame dropping.

Select OK, close MPlayer and then restart MPlayer to enable changes. Do a test with movie or video clip that contains lots of fast action scenes (eg: Anime). There should be little or no tearing when playing video through MPlayer on your TV.

If you still have issues with tearing, consider adjusting the values for "VertRefresh" first. As a last resort, you can also adjust the modeline in xorg.conf. See [4] and [5] in #REFERENCES section for details.

Step 4: Gnome Video Playback with Totem (Videos)

You can enable vsync on your driver's options if you like.

Edit /etc/enviroment and add the lines:


Then reboot your system.


[1] Wikibooks:nVidia/TV-OUT

[2] https://us.download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/1.0-9755/README/appendix-g.html

[3] https://us.download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/1.0-9755/README/appendix-h.html

[4] https://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Working_with_Modelines

[5] https://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Modeline_Database

[6] https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=1017705#p1017705