Extra Fox – A blog by Christopher Taylor

Connecting a PC to a Sony Bravia HD Display

Posted in Uncategorized by extrafox on February 6, 2009

I have had a media PC for a couple of years that I have used with a regular 26″ LCD monitor. So, when I got my Sony HDTV (model KDL-46V25L1) I thought that it would be incredibly simple to connect my PC up to my new HDTV. In fact, it was simple, but the results were disappointing and should be an embarrassment to Sony. However, with some determination, I was able to take advantage of the full resolution of my Sony display. Hopefully, these steps will help you if you find yourself in the same position.

My Sony monitor comes installed with a DSUB/RGB/VGA connector and two HDMI connectors. Sony’s instructions for connecting a PC to the monitor is to use the DSUB connection. This seems pretty obvious, but it turns out that the DSUB connector only supports resolutions up to 1400×1050. There are two problems with this. One, this is much lower than the full 1900×1080 native resolution of the monitor. Two, this is a 4:3 aspect ratio. So, the best you can hope for using the DSUB connector is a fuzzy, distorted, upscaled image.

LESSON: Don’t use the DSUB connector

The next obvious direction would be to use the HDMI inputs to the monitor. You will see below that this, in fact, will work, however, there are complications. First, Sony explicitly states in the WDL-46V25L1 Operating Instruction manual, on page 14

Do not connect a PC to the TV’s HDMI input. Use the PC IN (RGB IN) input instead when connecting a PC.

Unfortunately, they give no reason for why. I can’t imagine that this would do any damage to either your PC or your TV. My best guess is that they tell you this so that they don’t have to attempt the difficult explanation for how to properly configure your monitor to display the PC input correctly.

LESSON: Sony’s instructions sound like FUD, but, follow the rest of my instructions at your own risk.

So, without further ado, here’s what you need to do to get your PC to use the full HD resolution on your Sony Bravia HD display.

1. Make sure the video card on your PC has a DVI connector and supports 1900×1080 resolution.
2. Get a DVI to HDMI cable (male to male). You could also use a DVI cable and a DVI to HDMI adapter. I recommend the cable because it takes up less room behind your TV and should fit more snugly.
3. Connect your PC’s DVI port to one of your TV’s HDMI ports. You may need to restart your computer.
4. Make sure your display resolution is set at 1900×1080

What you will probably notice at this point is that the edges of your computer display is not visible on the TV. This is the reason I think Sony doesn’t want people connecting DVI to HDMI. However, you should know that a DVI signal is compatible with HDMI, so there is no reason to worry here. You just need to do some configuration on your TV.

Using your TV’s remote…
5. Hit the “MENU” button, then choose “Settings”
6. Using the arrows, move to the “Screen” settings tab
7. Find the “Display Area” setting and make sure it’s value is “Full Pixel”
8. Hit the “MENU” button again to save the setting and exit
9. (optional) Hit the “PICTURE” button until the setting is “Standard”. My setting was “Vivid” which make the PC’s display look really washed out. This is just personal taste, however.

That’s what worked for me. Your video card may have other settings, but you should be able to ignore most/all of those. My Nvidia card has a lot of settings related to displaying on HDTV’s, but I found most of them to be useless. YMMV.

Good luck and happy HDTV viewing!