How to get TV-Out working on ATI graphic cards
This HOWTO should help you enable TV-Out support on your ATI Radeon or ATI Rage based ThinkPad.
Using the GATOS driver
At the GATOS webpage one can find the ati.2 driver, a drm-module for the kernel and some additional software. When combined this suffice to get the TV-Out of ATI Radeon (Mobility) chips activated. Yet the information and the software there seem to be a bit out of date.
Another approach is by using the atitvout tool provided (but no longer maintained) by Lennart Poettering.
The provided archive contains a source release which can be compiled and installed by
# make && make install within the extracted directory. The atitvout tool will then be installed to /usr/local/sbin/atitvout.
The tool uses the VESA Bios Extensions (VBE) which are initialized only once during power on. So if you want to use the TV-out, be sure to get the corresponding video device such as a tv connected before powering your ThinkPad. Under some circumstances the tool fails to communicate properly with the VBE Bios. By issuing
$ atitvout -f t you activate the SVideo output port. The command
$ atitvout -f l you change the graphics output back to the LCD.
The atitvout doesn't seem to work on higher resolutions. To send a Xserver to a connected video device, it is possible to start a second Xserver e.g. with
$ startx -- :1 -xf86config XF86Config-4_reduced-resolution. For resolutions up to 1024x768 the switching should work fine.
While this works very well for ordinary X applications, playing video files, say with mplayer or xine might result in wrong aspect ratio or otherwise distorted output.
Switch to a text console (preferably a non framebufferd one) and issue an
$ atitvout -f t. Then start
$ mplayer -vo svga and the filename and other options needed. After enjoying the show, switch back with
$ atitvout -f l.
ThinkPads/Other laptops this has been successfully tested on
- Compaq Evo N800v