Sapphire HD4870 X2 LCD HDTV Display issues via HDMI

Posted on 2008-11-04
Last Modified: 2013-11-08
Hi, this is my first post/question so forgive me if im not doing this right? :S

I have a new Sony BRAVIA W4000 series 32" HDTV, supporting 1080p24, and a Sapphire ATi HD4870 X2 PCI-Express Graphics Card, with the latest Catalyst Control Center (v08.9) drivers and software installed. When connected via VGA i cannot go above 1024x768 resolution (4:3 obviously), so VGA is not much good. I also have a DVI-HDMI cable (1.5m, gold plated connectors) and a DVI-HDMI Adapter (which came with the graphics card) and a standard HDMI cable (gold ends) too. So i can connect in a variety of ways;

1/  Card DVI output > VGA Adapter > VGA Cable > TV via VGA
2/  Card DVI output > DVI-HDMI Cable > TV via HDMI
3/  Card DVI output > DVI-HDMI Adapter >  HDMI Cable > TV via HDMI

1/ gives me a perfect crystal clear image, but only up to 1024x768 or maybe 1280x1024 (cant remember which) but anyway, this obviously leaves loads of black space to the left and right of the display being 4:3 and not what im after.
2/ and 3/ give from what i can see the exact same display - and its worse than VGA and what i had on my old now dead, 19" TFT. I upgraded the graphics card and my old monitor to the above items because i wanted a larger desktop area and more space for more applications/windows etc. Having read ALOT of threads on here i now see that that was a mistake getting the HDTV and should have got a 30" TFT instead, but too late for that now sadly.

So My question is: How can i achieve optimal display quality with the hardware i have in place, and which of the connection methods above should i be using?

I am not too fussed about audio through HDMI - though my graphics card does support it, but i have a 5.1 system attached to onboard sound at the moment, so the HDMI audio is not an issue at present.

At the moment my main complaints are;
- slightly blurry image
- some text is near unreadable depending on colour (ie: red on black, see attached)
- image is not crystal clear, its worse than VGA and worse than i had with my old set up

I do alot of web/graphical work design wise and so need a crystal clear image and having shelled out alot on this top of the range graphics card and HDTV im very disappointed with the results thus far as im worse off in terms of PQ. I also use the system for gaming oncein a while, and watching the odd movie (Blu-ray drive to be added soon)

So im hoping somone can share some expert advice and tips to fine tune this setup and make the image crystal clear and precise. I have played with the Catalyst Control Center software to no avail at present, along with TV settings etc (the TV settings i believe are fine, but i may be wrong) so i am hoping its something im doing wrong with the CCC software.

I really hope someone can help, and if you need any more info please just ask!

Many Thanks

Additional Info:
Graphics Card:

PC Specs:
Intel Pentium D, 3.46GHz Extreme Edition
Intel D975X BX Mainboard
2GB OCZ DDR2-533 Memory
400GB Western Digital SATA HDD
ATi SAPPHIRE HD4870 X2 PCI-E Graphics Card
1100 watt PSU

Question by:phillyt

    Expert Comment

    HDMI should run happily up to 1920 x 1080, and thus should be your connection of choice.
    The VGA resolution will most certainly be much lower.
    Try following this guide and see if it helps, I'm sure you've set it up properly but can't hurt to be thorough.

    Author Comment

    Hi Dominic,

    Thank you for your reply - but that guide covers the basics whcih of course i have followed and had done anyway.

    My problem is that the Picture Quality shown on the TV is not crisp and crystal clear, certainly not as clear as when connected via VGA. The image i attached to the question shows how red text displays on a black background (screenshot from the AMD/ATi website). It is this sort of display issue and general fuzzness around the edges of fonts (of all colours) that I am not happy with. It makes any sort of graphical work or anything from a normal computer screen viewing distance look awful.

    I have tried DVI > HDMI cable, and DVI-HDMI Adapter with a HDMI cable and both are the same and worse than standard DVI-VGA Adapter > VGA cable.

    The PQ is no where near as crisp or clear as VGA. Surely this cannot be right?
    Still hoping someone can shed some light :(
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    You need to set up your computer for 1920 x 1080 that's the native resolution of the display.
    A couple of issues, VGA will provide for a better pictue as it will use the display capabilities, the image wont be as crisp as with a monitor due the spacing between pixels, is bigger on a TV than in a monitor.
    As I'm not familiar with vista and this may not work. get an INf file for the TV with the resolutions so you can select the one you need, Or under screen propierties uncheck "hide resolutions" and then you may chose the one you need.

    Author Comment

    Hi Xema,

    My resolution is set at 1920x1080. This still leaves a slight border around the edge, which i have fixed by tweaking the overscan slider in the ATi CCC software, but regardless of the overscan slider's position the display quality is still not perfect. I have tried all positions on the slider. I kno the TVs native res is 1920x1080 and so everything I have played with and tweaked has been whilst the graphics card/PC is set to display at 1920x1080.

    I understand what you have said about distance between pixels on a TV compared to a monitor but i hope that is not the case and the result i am left with now is not the 'best' available. As whist the display I am currently receiveing is not awful it is worse than VGA which i do not understand and cannot comprehend.

    Settings on the TV itself only relate to the usual brightness/colour/contrast sort of settings that you would expect to find on a TV. The TV's "zoom" feature is also not the issue here and is set correctly.

    I have attached a screenshot of the system and circled a few defects which are the sort or type of defect i do not get when connected via VGA. Surely the quality of this image is not what is to be expected from a HDMI connection!?

    Xema - where can i find the .inf file you speak of, what does it contain and what does it do?

    The Bravia manual states the resolutions the TV supports, but obviously 1080p/1920x1080 is what i am using and what it is set at. I cannot find any "hide resolutions" box/option, but is this still relevent if i have the TV/PC set at 1920x1080 anyway?

    The screenshot attached;

    - Windows Vista 'start' button looks pixelatd at the top.
    - IE7 icon top left looks blurred
    - Outlook 2007 icon top right corner looks blurred
    - Google result in RED, the font is not all one colour its blurred around the "B" in bravia, and appears in wierd shades.
    - The word "Bravia" in a google result is a prime example of the blurrey text (shading on the bottom of the top 'Bravia' word and shading at the top of the lower 'Bravia')
    - "Add to knowledgebase" text is blurred and not clear
    - IE7 window title text is blurred and not clear also

    Anyone have any further ideas? :(

    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    If you are using 1920x1080 you don't need the inf file or to play with "hide resolutions.
    I'm using a 37" LCD HDTV as my monitor at home, the image is blurred and I know it won't get any better, the reason is that if you have 1920 as the horizontal resolution on a 32" screen it means that the distance between pixels is 32"/1920 =0.0166666"
    Now with a 19" monitor doing 1280 you'll get 0.01484375 meaning that the actual pixels are closer giving a sharper image.
    A simple thing to overcome the blurring effect is to separate your self from the screen.
    You may want to look this question that I posted
    My conclusion was that it was better to use the VGA input into the TV than the HDMI and that I will never get a sharp image

    Author Comment

    Thanks Zema,

    That was actually one of the threads i read before posting my own querstion here (and the most helpful of threads out of all those that i read!)

    If what you say is true i am gutted to find this out. I will switch back to VGA and 'try' to get it to display full screen but last time i tried this i could not get above or beyond 1280*1024 (square) which annoyed the hell out of me considering i spent 800 quid on this 32" bravia to primarily be used as a Monitor.

    Ill report back once ive had a play, but thank you very much for your efforts so far.
    LVL 17

    Accepted Solution

    BAD news, your TV can only show1360 x 768 @ 60Hz
    Check the PC input reference section on your manual.
    SELECT that configuration on your PC or 1280 x 768

    Author Comment

    Aaaah, i see where you've taken those figures/resolutions from now :S

    So does that mean that anything ABOVE that resolution (ie:1080p/1920*1080) is going to decrease the 'quality' of the display?

    Having set the TV/PC at 1360*768 via HDMI i can see the improvement. So aas much as i really want to argue and prove you wrong, i can clearly see form the results that you are right. Which annoys me! Not because i am wrong but because i cant believe this 800 quid TV only displays at that low res! Im thinking two smaller TFT screens would have been a better idea now.

    One final Q - If i was to set the resolution to 1920*1080 using a DVI-VGA cable what Hz/Refresh rate would this require? When i try it the screen is juddery and i cant seem to calm it down. Cos if i can get a larger res using VGA ill just do that.
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    You bought a TV, so you get TV resolution, I'm home ready to play age of empires III on my 37" TV running in VGA at 1366 x 768, the native resolution of the display.
    When you are dealing with moving objects, like any tv program, the lack of sharpness doesn't matter. Im planning on connecting my 19" monitor to use it when ever I want to use Photshop.
    As for your last question on the next page of your manual there's a table for the HDMI settings but again I'll use the VGA input with 1360 x 768 @ 60Hz, not the HDMI.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you so much.

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