Widescreen format laptop displays distorted on widescreen format monitor

Hey folks, here's a problem I've been having for some time:

When I hook up my toshiba P20 widescreen laptop (native res: 1440 x 900) to an HDTV widescreen 16:9 (1280 x 720px) monitor/TV, the only display mode that looks undistorted is 4:3 mode. And even then it chops off the top, bottom, left and right of my desktop.

If I drop the laptop screen resolution to a 4:3 format like 1024 x 768, then I get the full desktop on the HDTV, but that sucks, because it's not taking advantage of the maximum # pixels on my monitor.

The video card on the P20 is an nVidia GeForce 4, so it should be able to handle just about anything I can throw at it.

Anyone know how I can maximize my display on the widescreen TV / monitor to take advantage of more pixels? Just doing some simple math, the lowest common resolution would be 1152 x 720.

Appreciate the help in advance folks,

Tom Auger | d3
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CallandorConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you want the best (unscaled) picture on your HDTV, send it what it operates in its native resolution, ie, 1280 x 720.  You will need to set up a custom resolution on your laptop, and to do that, get PowerStrip: http://entechtaiwan.net/util/ps.shtm.  I have a front projector with a 1360 x 1024 resolution, and this works well.

The aspect ratio of the two displays simply is not the same; one is 1.77777, the other is 1.60.  There is no possible resolution or format that is going to both be undistorted and also fully utilize both screens with no black bars on either.  It's a pure, simple, physical impossibility.

The best that you can do is to either select a resolution that works well for you (well, but not perfectly), or possibly you can create a custom resolution (this is not supported by software on all systems).  If you create a custom resolution, you might want to pick an aspect ratio that is "in between" 1.60 and 1.77.  This will leave black bars (unused screen area) on not one but both displays, but the unused area will be smaller than a resolution that perfectly fits one of the displays, but is a worse fit on the other display.  Again, however, either or both displays may refuse to work (possibly at all) with a non-standard resolution, and additionally you may not have the software utilities to create such a resolution.
tomaugerdotcomAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your responses, folks.

Callandor: I downloaded PowerStrip, but I haven't yet figured out what needs to be done in order to actually use the utility to change screen resolution. Any tips?

Watzman: I'm aware of the aspect ratio issue which is why, in my original post, I suggested coming up with a non-standard "common denominator" resolution of 1152 x 720, which would create black bars on the left and right outside of the projected display. I'm perfectly happy with that solution. The question is "how do I set up this custom resolution" and "how do I get the display adapter to display using those settings?"

PowerStrip may be the solution, but I don't yet understand what needs to be done in order to get it to work. Any additional information would be really helpful.


You can try some of the pre-configured settings to see what they look like.  This site has great info on how to adjust Powerstrip for custom settings: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=206854
tomaugerdotcomAuthor Commented:
Hi Callandor, I've futzed around with PowerStrip for a few hours, and after reading a bunch of posts on forums etc, I'm getting close to a solution. I'm not there yet (I've got tons of overscan at the moment) but the article you just pointed me to mentions that you can fix overscan by increasing the horizontal front/back porch. I'll give this a try.

Thanks! I'm awarding you the answer because I think I'm 90% there.
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