Master Mitch - TV-Out on Thinkpad T30 with Linux (Debian Sarge)

[Details] [How does it work?] [What do I need?]


What do I need?

Hardware

Software

How does it work?

  1. install atitvout
  2. select the vesa graphics driver in /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 (add Driver "vesa" to Section "Device")
  3. attach SVideo cable and turn on TV set before booting the laptop
  4. under X, use atitvout -f t to switch to TV output
  5. for fluent video streaming, use mplayer’s xvidix output driver (-vo xvidix)

Details

The Thinkpad uses this graphics chipset:

0000:01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon Mobility M7 LW [Radeon Mobility 7500]

The problem with this chipset is that it’s too old and thus not supported by the proprietary ATI driver. For these old chipsets, no future support is planned. So the proprietary driver can’t be used.

XFree86’s free ATI driver (radeon) does not support TV-out. So this driver also can’t be used.

The only driver left is Xfree86’s vesa driver. While this sounds very slow, it’s not that bad. mplayer’s xvidix driver is fast enough while other things (e.g. scrolling in an xterm) are slower. If it is too slow for you, you must work with two different Xserver configurations (one with vesa for TV-out and one with radeon for normal work or 3D acceleration). Personally, vesa is fast enough for me and I don’t use 3D acceleration, so I’m happy with vesa.