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Help with running HDTV as second Monitor w/audio over HDMI

I have a Dell XPS 420 with a dual DVI video card:
TP073 nVidia Geforce84, PCI-e X16, 512M, with Dual DVI and HDTV out via dongle, HMGA15

I've recently upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate (32Bit)

I'd like to use my Sony Bravia KDL-46XBR3 as second monitor, as a clone of the primary monitor, a Dell 24" widescreen. http://www.docs.sony.com/release/KDL40-46XBR2.pdf

My current configuration uses a VGA adapter on one of the DVI plugs to the D-SUB input on the TV for Video and a splitter on the audio cable to send the audio over.

After the upgrade to Windows 7 (from Vista Home) I no longer have access to the resolution setting that allowed both monitors to operate where there were no bars on either screen. I believe the resolution that works best is 1440x900. But I can't get that as an option in my resolution settings. (Reading the list of supported resolutions in the TV manual 1440x900 is not listed, yet that did provide the best setting for both screens)

Is there a way to have independent resolution settings for a cloned screen config? Would something like UltraMon be the ticket? http://www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon

Now, no matter what resolution I chose, I cannot get an adequate display on both screens at once -- either one or the other (or both) will have significant banding (Black bars - either top/bottom or on the sides or both).

And I'm also dis-satisfied with the headphone splitter on the audio cable solution as well.

So I thought maybe a new video card with HDMI out to the TV would be better.

What do I need to do to include the audio onto the HDMI out of the video card? Will it affect the regular audio output from the sound card? I'd like to have both my PC speakers and the TV audio fuctional, but not at the same time.

What would be a good video card with DVI and HDMI to replace in my system? $200 price point.

Thanks
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MoonsOfJupiter
Asked:
MoonsOfJupiter
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3 Solutions
 
ccreamer_22Commented:
if you want something proven and reliable go for this:

VisionTek 900244 Radeon HD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129113
179.99


if you want to go with something cheaper you could go with this:

Palit NE28400SFHD56 GeForce 8400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814261043
32.99
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MoonsOfJupiterAuthor Commented:
Cool. thanks. I will check these out.

:O:
wd
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MoonsOfJupiterAuthor Commented:
So if I get something like this I get the 7.1 channel audio on the HDMI?

http://www.hisdigital.com/us/product2-447.shtml

Thanks.

:O:
wd
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MoonsOfJupiterAuthor Commented:
ooh. I like this one;

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129145

Is it possible to get a list of supported resolutions/ I've looked at ATI and VisionTek's website and all they want to tell me is what the max res is.

:O:
wd
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CallandorCommented:
Your Dell 24" likely has a native resolution of 1920x1200 http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/monitors/2407WFP/en/about.htm#Specifications, which is a 16:10 aspect ratio.  HDTVs have 16:9 aspect ratios, such as 1920x1080, so you can't make them match if you are cloning a display to both.  When you use the VGA connector, you have more flexibility in the resolutions that will be accepted by the HDTV (it should have options as to whether it should stretch to fit, or use different aspect ratios).  When you use the HDMI connector, you are limited to HDTV resolutions.  You should use the best native resolution of your HDTV, as it would be a waste not to, and this means 1920x1080 - live with the bars on the Dell monitor, movies will be displayed correctly on it with the bars.  You can try PowerStrip to set up custom resolutions.

Check this thread on getting 7.1 over HDMI; it is not always simple: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1113116
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MoonsOfJupiterAuthor Commented:
Yes, its a 2407WFP. Thanks for the link to avsforum -- lots of good stuff there.

:O:
wd
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QEMS2Commented:
I would upgrade your graphics card, go for something like this:
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Graphics+Cards/PCI-E/ATI+Radeon+5000+Series+PCI-E/Arianet+ATI+Radeon+HD+5770+1024MB+GDDR5+PCI-Express+Graphics+Card+?productId=39034

It is atis new direct x 11 range and supports 3 displays anyway, one of them is hdmi output (through dvi adaptor), beuing an ati card it will support audio over hdmi directly for you aswell.

regarding the screen resolution:
get as good a resolution that you can (windows 7 can be a bit quirky doing this i have found).
I went through windows to set dual display up as it would not on my ati software. as soon as this was enabled i kept getting bars ect on my hdtv but in the ati software there is (in display manager for the second display) a tick box you can check that will span it over the full screen of your hdtv.

When set up it is all working fine just maybe some fine tweaking on the res ect.

With this range of card it supports eyefinity (3 displays) but that allows you to configure them independently also so you can have different resolutions on each screen if you want also.

If you want a cheaper card there are a few options in this range and as long as you dont want to play any high end games it will be fine for you.
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MoonsOfJupiterAuthor Commented:
Am probably looking a changing PC monitor to 1920X 1080 HDTV style monitor like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824176125&nm_mc=TEMC-RMA-Approvel&cm_mmc=TEMC-RMA-Approvel-_-Content-_-text-_-

And then a new video card, maybe with dual HDMI out.

:O:
wd
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MoonsOfJupiterAuthor Commented:
Bought the SAMSUNG P2770HD for a Monitor. But I think I need a HDMI connection to the Sony to get the resolution I need, rather than the VGA cable.
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CallandorCommented:
A VGA connector can be used to set up any HD resolution.
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MoonsOfJupiterAuthor Commented:
Well the Samsung was not a hit. While a wonderfull TV, it was not acceptible as monitor and has been returned. Will try Dell 2709 as the bigger screen is preferred, but am giving up on using Sony as second monitor for now. Thanks for all your help.
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CallandorCommented:
Probably a mismatch of the desktop resolution and the TV's native resolution - most TV's are 16:9, while monitors are 16:10, and if you don't map the pixels exactly, you get a bad picture.
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