EPIA Ms in Windows support VGA video resolutions
of 800x600, 1024x768, 1152x864, 1280x768, 1280x960, 1280x1024,
1400x1050 and 1600x1200 all in 16 or 32 bit colour. The boards
support resolutions of 800x600 and 1024x768 on a TV.
The classic EPIAs in Windows support VGA video
resolutions of 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768 in 16 or 32 bit
colour and 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 in 16 bit colour. The boards
support 640x480 and 800x600 on a TV.
VGA Picture quality on all EPIAs is generally
very good - only the very highest resolutions show any kinds
of blurriness. There seems to be no support (or drivers) for
non-standard resolutions, which would benefit widescreen TVs.
an EPIA to a TV
The original EPIAs have a very simple system
for switching between TV and monitor output. If a TV is connected,
it will display on the TV at the next reboot. If a VGA monitor
is connected, the VGA output will be used. If both are plugged
in, the EPIA would display on the monitor.
The EPIA Ms are not so simple. Without another
PC or a monitor temporarily next to your TV, it is not possible
to configure TV output under Windows. The display device is
selected in the BIOS but then subsequently the Windows graphics
driver has its own ideas, switching to its own settings after
the VGA Windows loading screen. This has to be configured
Here's how to set up TV output on your EPIA
M: Attach your TV and monitor together, select CRT+TV in your
BIOS and boot normally. Both screens will boot, then the TV
will go black. Open the display control panel, click the settings
tab, then advanced, then S3Display. Select the TV so that
a blue line goes around it and then tick the box next to it.
Click 'Apply' and the TV will display again. Adjust your device
Method 2: If you have another PC there is
an easier option - install VNC
as a service onto the EPIA M, connect them both to your LAN,
switch on and adjust the control panel remotely from your
The classic EPIAs and
EPIA Ms both have a VGA monitor output, an S-Video socket,
and socket switchable between RCA composite and S/PDIF functionality.
We found little difference on our TV between RCA and S-Video,
though in theory S-Video should be better. We chose the S-Video
output as we could connect straight to the front of our TV,
leaving the S/PDIF socket free for AC3 output to our digital
The EPIA Ms can manage
1024x768 and 800x600 resolution on a TV, compared to 800x600
and 640x480 with the classic EPIAs, both in NTSC and PAL formats.
Both boards as default have an image slightly smaller than
full screen size (as marked on the edges of this photograph).
Both boards have overscan as an option, which stretches the
desktop beyond the edges of the screen (a little too far for
some purposes). The EPIA Ms also have control over the absolute
picture position in software, though not with the horizontal
and vertical scaling found on
some TV output cards.
Our picture shows just how difficult it is
to photograph a TV. Our picture was very clear and well colour
balanced with no shimmer or flickers. There was some distortion
around the edges of the picture - but this is not a problem
if overscan is used. By contrast, the picture quality during
bootup on a TV is awful. BIOS text is blurred and too bright
- though still usable.
Tip: Unless you're lucky enough to own a Plasma
with VGA input, TVs aren't designed for displaying the small
text of a Windows or Linux desktop. We changed our DPI settings
to "Large" in Display Properties/ Settings/ Advanced
and improved the text legibility dramatically.
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