View Full Version : HOWTO use tv out with old cards (such as TNT1/2 and Geforce256DDR)

December 25th, 2006, 10:38 PM

EDIT : Important note

I also made my TV-out worked with the nvtv tool. (better, cause I get clone, but in 640*480)


This method is about "how making TVout works" when your card only support 1 display at a time (NO clone, NO dual display).

This HOW-TO has been tested for the following card :
- Geforce 256 DDR
- <add your card here>

And should work for :
- TNT2
and basically, all cards having TV-OUT and a driver supporting tvout feature.

What we gonna do

In this method, we gonna create 2 files :

* xorg.conf.notv : It's the normal xorg
* xorg.conf.tv : It's the xorg for the TV

And we gonna make a script to switch between tv-out and normal display.

1rst : Making TV-out works

Now add these lines to your xorg.conf :

sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf


Section "Device"
Identifier "Device1"
Driver "nvidia"
Option "TVOutFormat" "SVIDEO"
Option "TVStandard" "PAL-B"
Option "ConnectedMonitor" "TV"

Most important point here is the option "ConnectedMonitor"


Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Television" #TV
HorizSync 30-50
VertRefresh 60

Vertrefresh to 50 if old PAL-TV, maybe 100 for recent tv that support 100Hz, but not sure.


Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen1"
Device "Device1"
Monitor "Television"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "640x480"

Most important here is "Device" same as in device section, and "Monitor" same as...Monitor section ! (Sure you guess it ;) )

You can change depth and résolution if you want.

Last but not least : Server Layout

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Basic Layout"
Screen "Screen1"
InputDevice "Generic Keyboard"
InputDevice "Configured Mouse"

Important here is "Screen", same as in the screen section.

Remember the previous value of this one, cause you will have to "sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf" and change the screen value to the default value after testing.


Script to switch

From this point, you should have get a display on your TV.

So create 2 different files in your home directory

* xorg.conf.notv : xorg with screen
* xorg.conf.tv : xorg working with TV

Copy them to /etc/X11/ :

sudo cp xorg.conf.notv /etc/X11
sudo cp xorg.conf.tv /etc/X11

You now just need a script that we gonna call "nvidia" (still in your home), in where you will add these lines :


case $1 in
tv ) cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf.tv /etc/X11/xorg.conf ;;
notv ) cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf.notv /etc/X11/xorg.conf ;;
* ) echo
echo "Usage"
echo " tv - use TV"
echo " notv - use CRT"

okay now you have to make the script executable, via nauthilus/thunar or with command :

chmod 755 nvidia

and place it in in a executable folder such as :

sudo cp nvidia /usr/local/bin

Using the script

To choose TV, type in a console :

nvidia tv

Then restart X : CTRL+ALT+BSPACE. Type "startx" if X does not restart.

If all is correct, X should startx on your TV.

To return to the normal display type in a console :

nvidia notv

Then restart X.

little trick, if you type nvidia :

$ nvidia
tv - use TV
notv - use CRT

This is made because of the echo lines contains inside the script.

Credits :

HOWTO by me.

Thanks to all french user that are workings such hard to maintain the french wiki (http://doc.ubuntu-fr.org) ;)

If you have any suggestion/question, post here.

You are free to copy, redistribute, correct, improve this document, even if you don't quote me in credits.

April 28th, 2007, 09:18 PM
Suggested Improvements:
(Tested on Dapper 6.06.1)

1) When using TV-out that requires switching of xorg.conf, one could use "switchconf":

- get switchconf: "sudo apt-get install switchconf"
- create 2 directories:
mkdir /etc/switchconf/normal /etc/switchconf/tvout

- copy the xorg.conf files in the corresponding subdirectories of these 2 folders. You should end up with something like this:

(You can use this to toggle between more configurations, or you could add more config files to switch (see "switchconf" docs for more). I found it cleaner than doing a brute copy)

- Use "switchconf tvout" or "switchconf normal" to toggle between the modes.
(Unfortunately, switching of xorg.conf files requires (a) restart of X-Server and (b) sudo)

- Restart your X-server by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Backspace.

2) (my favorite) A small script using "nvtv" to toggle tvout:
NOTE: This does not require any modification to your existing xorg.conf, you don't have to sudo anything - and you don't have to restart your X-server.

# Description: Toggles TV-Out mode (nvidia cards, only).
# Author: ^Rooker
# Date: 2007-Apr-28
# Based on info from: http://wiki.ubuntuusers.de/NVtv

case "$1" in
on) echo "Turning TV out $1..."
xrandr -s 800x600 # switch X server to 800x600
nvtv -r 800,600 -s Huge -X -t # Turn tv-out (-t) on for 800x600 (-r), X-mode (-X) and overscan "Huge" (-s)

off) echo "Turning TV out $1..."
nvtv -m # Turn tv-mode off
sleep 1 # Wait a second.
xrandr -s 0 # return to default X resolution

*) echo "Syntax: $0 [on|off]"

Short explanation:
- "xrandr -s 800x600" switches the X-server resolution on the fly to 800x600 (for PAL). For NTSC it should be 640x480 (I guess?).
- nvtv parameter "-s Huge" cuts quite a bit off the edge of the image on the TV. Some might prefer "-s Normal" for less cropping.