Old laptop on HDTV - resolution issues

fmuellerfmueller Auckland, NZ Icrontian

Hi All,

sorry for not visiting this site in ages. I used to be on here fairly regularly a while back, but then got kinda distracted by moving from Ohio to NZ, which has turned out to be great. :D

Anyhow, I have some computer issues, and I am hoping to find the good advice here that put this site on the map! Still the cheapo I always was, I have a crappy old laptop (Acer 4330) that I wanted to use as HTPC. It's original 160GB HD was chock full and Windows Vista wasn't helping it, slowing the thing down to an unusable pace. I replaced the HD with a 240GB Crucial SSD, and installed the latest version of Ubuntu - my first experience with Linux! Everything went smoothly, and after some playing around with the display options, I got the laptop output nicely on the HDTV. The laptop has no HDMI out, but thankfully the TV (Vizio 47" LCD 1080p) has a VGA input.

So far so good. Now the problem is that when streaming video to the TV, the picture stutters a little and seems poorly synchronized with the audio (which does fine). I am fairly forgiving regarding image quality, but this is just bad enough to make watching a movie more annoying than pleasant. When streaming video to the laptop's built-in screen, the problem does not exist, which excludes a lack in network/download speed. I am assuming that the laptop simply can't upscale the image to the 1920 x 1080 native resolution of the TV in time. It probably does not help that the laptop has a 4:3 format screen, while the TV is 16:9.

Is there anything I can do to get rid of this problem short of using a faster laptop? I have a newer Acer 5742 that does just fine, but I need that machine elsewhere. Is there such a thing as an external video card that I could use with the old laptop to speed up video processing?

Greetings and many thanks




  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US Icrontian

    Does this issue occur at 720p and lower resolutions? I would just like to confirm that it is the laptop that is having an issue driving HD content at that res. What video player are you using as well?

  • ZanthianZanthian Mitey Worrier Icrontian

    VLC player has the ability to sync to audio with manual adjustment if you need.
    During playback you can press f or g to adjust audio delay (adjust step is 50 ms).
    If audio is ahead of image, press f
    if audio is behind image, press g

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Welcome back!

  • fmuellerfmueller Auckland, NZ Icrontian
    edited July 2015

    I like to stream older TV series eg from stream-tv1.net. The problem occurred while streaming way lower than 720p - I believe it was 240p. I am using Firefox as browser and have VLC installed as my preferred video player, but frankly I am not sure what player those sites use when you just click on a video, let alone if you have control over what player they use. I am a great fan of VLC player. After what you said, I might try and grab the URL for streaming off the site and see if I can stream directly to VLC. Worth a try!

    @primesuspect - great to see that the site is doing well and you are hanging in there. Some other sites I used to belong to have been bought up by corporations, which means the community looses control over their site. I am sure you had offers. Thanks for resisting!

  • fmuellerfmueller Auckland, NZ Icrontian
    edited July 2015

    Correction, it was 360p. Also, the site uses flash player, and I have no idea how to get an address for streaming via VLC - if that's even possible.

  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian

    Flash on Linux was pretty bad in the past (meaning CPU intensive). Easy to verify by looking at System Monitor

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US Icrontian

    Would a Chromecast solve your issue? I have read that you are able to "tab cast" with Chrome Canary. You could pull up your stream in Chrome and tab cast it to the TV. Someone who owns the Chromecast may be able to shed more light on my possible solution.

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    Were you using the VGA output on the 5742 for this test? If so, did you configure it to use the same resolution as the 4330? This would allow you to quickly isolate whether the laptop or the TV is the problem. Many TVs skimp on the scaler and video/audio desync is the infamous result. The Ubuntu documentation explains how to add custom resolutions but isn't really geared towards new users. I can help if you have questions.

  • fmuellerfmueller Auckland, NZ Icrontian

    @Tushon might be onto something here. The first thing I played with the laptop were some YouTube videos. Frankly, I was mostly checking out a new-to-me vintage amp (Kenwood KA-501) that I have it hooked up to, and there was a stutter in the audio. I paid no intention to the video, and the whole thing went away when I put a CD in the optical drive instead. I kinda forgot about that, but if Flash & Linux are not a good mix, maybe I should return to some version of Windows for this machine. I'll have to play around with it a bit more tomorrow and bring up the system monitor. It's past midnight in NZ now, so off to bed for me image

    @Sonorous - sounds interesting, will have to google 'Chromecast' ;D

    @drasnor - I guess the comparison was not fair, because I used the HDMI out of the 5742. I used to be almost comfortable with UNIX, but that was way back in 1995 - am I really this old? I tried to create a custom resolution in Ubuntu the other day, and came within a inch of re-installing Vista. I am definitely too old to wrestle with that CLI -Digi

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