I am building a PVR system that I also plan to use for web surfing from the TV, and have been trying various display cards with TV out. Two that I've tried are:
Chaintech NVidia GF4 MX440
ATi Radeon 7500
Between the two, the R7500 appears to offer better display quality on TV, but is still not what I expect. TV viewing(from my Hauppauge PVR250) is pretty good - not as sharp as live cable TV, but OK. The main issue is my desktop, which is fuzzy / grainy even at 640 x 480, making web pages and icons difficult to read on TV. I've tried all of the software refinement tools, like contrast, brightness and flicker adjustments, but still can't quite get a clear picture.
Is this normal, considering low TV resolution? Or is anyone aware of a card that can offer better TV Out display quality?
My system is a new P4 Celeron 1.8GHz, and I have all of the latest drivers installed for all hardware.
The problem is TV was not designed for displaying computer text and graphics. Also it has something to do with how TV display is refreshed which is quite different from that of a computer monitor. So it's normal, and there's nothing you can do to enhance it.
The last guy was right, and so are you. Your TV has a resolution similar to 640x480, but with the odd numbered lines being scanned at one pass, then the even numbered lines being scanned at the next. This gives you a real resolution of around 320x240! Ouch, add to that the fact that the signal is analog and composite, and you can see where it has roughly half the clarity of a standard VGA (640x480) monitor. What this means as far as the desktop is concerned is that you need to use a larger font. For many TV's, selecting "large fonts" in advanced display properties and using the 640x480 resolution gives you characters that are just large enough to read.
IIRC the actual resolution you see is 352x288, and the ATI card has a custom resoltion available that actually looks a bit better on a TV than 640x480.
<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>