How to get TV-Out working on ATI graphic cards

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This HOWTO should help you enable TV-Out support on your ATI Radeon or ATI Rage based ThinkPad.

This page is not applicable to recent ATI Radeon Mobility chips. See ATI Mobility Radeon X300 for a discussion.

Using Xrandr with Kernel Mode Setting (KMS)

KMS support for radeon chips is still under heavy development. And in particular S-video support was not on the top of the agenda, but it is starting to work with the very latest updates. If you have a distribution that uses KMS by default like Fedora and would like to go back to UMS, boot with the nomodeset kernel option.

Fedora is the only distribution with KMS enabled by default for Radeon chips for now. The only way to get S-video output support, other then disabling KMS, is to use the Fedora 12 kernel- or later. Alternatively this functionality has been merged upstream in the 2.6.33 kernel. With these kernels you should get something like the following when you run xrandr --props

S-video connected 800x600+1400+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 0mm x 0mm
        tv standard:    pal
                supported: ntsc         pal          pal-m        pal-60
                           ntsc-j       scart-pal    pal-cn       secam
        load detection: 1 (0x00000001)  range:  (1,0)
   800x600        59.9*+

To change the TV mode to NTSC;

# xrandr --output S-video --set "tv standard" ntsc

Fedora bugzilla entry: [1]

Using Xrandr with legacy UMS

To use the TVout on Radeon 7500 type following:

$  xrandr --output S-video --set load_detection 1 
$  xrandr --addmode S-video 800x600 
$  xrandr --output S-video --mode 800x600 

And set mode PAL or NTSC with:

$  xrandr --output S-video --set tv_standard ntsc 

If you want to use XVideo overlay on TV, try following command:

$  xvattr -a XV_CRTC -v 1 

ThinkPads/Other laptops this has been successfully tested on