VGA-output woes with old laptop connected to HDTV
January 23, 2009 11:11 AM   Subscribe

I've connected a VGA-cable from my old Packard Bell Easynote (Windows XP) laptop to my Samsung HDTV but it doesn't display anything and the tv detects no input from the computer at all.

I've tested the cable and tv with my Eee netbook and it works perfectly.

The PB laptop has a few hotkeys for switching screens but all they do is disable the laptop screen and nothing happens.
In Windows it only has 1 screen installed in Device Manager and Display Manager, which is the laptop LCD instead of having 2 screens like on my netbook and other computers. I suspect the problem is here.

I went to the Packard Bell website and got a list of all available drivers/utilities and reinstalled without any change. I think there is some sort of ACPI utility missing which would enable the hotkey function. However all the other hotkeys work just im not so sure. I no longer have any driver/restore cd's from the manufacturer so i can't reset the computer (cause i faintly remember it used to work back then)

I tried to install some Linux distros via LiveCD to see if the VGA-port would work there, but so far i've been unsuccessful since the cd-drive is malfunctioning and the BIOS is too old to boot from USB-drives. I've also checked the BIOS to see if the VGA-port is somehow disabled, but everything seems fine there.

So what are my options? I hope someone has a solution :)
posted by kampken to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
See if Packard Bell has diagnostics tools for that particular laptop. I'm wondering if the VGA port even works.
posted by valadil at 11:14 AM on January 23, 2009

What's the resolution of the HDTV? 1080p(1920x1080) or 720p(1366x768)? I tried a couple of years back to hook a desktop with an nVidia video card in it to a 720p TV with less than stellar results. Perhaps your Packard Bell is trying to determine what's on the other end of the cable and failing to come up with a good answer so it does nothing? Have you tried hooking it up to a standard monitor as well to see what happens there?

In Windows it only has 1 screen installed in Device Manager and Display Manager, which is the laptop LCD instead of having 2 screens like on my netbook and other computers. I suspect the problem is here.

Not always, I've seen more than a few laptops that only have 1 screen listed and the hotkey just toggles between laptop, external display and laptop/external display as choices.
posted by barc0001 at 11:34 AM on January 23, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers.

The HDTV is 1080. I just tried to hook up the laptop my computer monitor and it worked perfectly! The hotkey too..and there is still only 1 screen in Device Manager. So the VGA-port works at least..was starting to have doubts about that too :)

But still no picture on the HDTV..i wonder why the laptop doesn't simply broadcast a picture instead of wondering what's on the other end. It's annoying :( But that's probably what's wrong..
posted by kampken at 12:00 PM on January 23, 2009

Try all the resolutions your laptop supports. Your TV is only going to accept a signal that is the right resolution.
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:11 PM on January 23, 2009

In a sort-of-but-not-really-similar situation (Toshiba laptop -> S-Video -> non-HD TV), I found that I had to specifically go into the control panel for my video card to get signal to the TV.
posted by COBRA! at 12:12 PM on January 23, 2009

Response by poster: I just tried all the different resolutions, no luck. Also tried fiddling wth the video options but it's already set to send a signal to an external monitor, so that should be in order.
posted by kampken at 6:08 AM on January 25, 2009

If that's the case, I'd have to conclude that the video card in the laptop just won't do the resolution of the TV with the current drivers. See if you can find a driver update that will support a 1080p resolution. The reason the laptop's not throwing just whatever it can do out to the TV is because it's not sure how the device will handle it. Some handle it poorly. I don't think in this day and age it'll cause any permanent problems, but it wasn't that many years ago you could feed a monitor some really bad settings and cause it to fry itself. Watched my brother in law do that exact thing one fine afternoon.
posted by barc0001 at 12:42 PM on January 25, 2009

Response by poster: Alright that makes sense, I'll try looking around for drivers.
Thanks for the help :)
posted by kampken at 5:00 PM on January 25, 2009

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