A customer recently returned one of our VGA with Audio specialty PC to TV cables because he couldn’t get it to work.Â With the cable plugged into his Samsung Series3 330 (LN32A330J1DXZA) HDTV the “PC” source was unavailable for selection (commonly described as “greyed out”).Â This is a common problem with Samsung HDTVs because you cannot select a video source that the unit does not detect.
I have often read about this problem with Samsung HDTVs.Â However this case piqued my interest because I have the exact same model Samsung HDTV and the exact same VGA cable and mine works just fine.Â So now I can rule out the possibility that there is something wrong with the HDTV and the cable.Â The problem must be with the PC.Â Just in case, I called Samsung to see if a firmware update was available for this model HDTV.Â It turns out there is not; so our HDTVs must be the same and I can in fact rule out the HDTV and the VGA cable.
To say that something is wrong with the HDTV is not technically correct.Â It’s just that the Samsung HDTV wants to confirm that a PC is in fact connected to it prior to letting a user select the “PC” input mode.Â Other HDTVs may or may not work like this.Â The problem, it turns out, is in how PCs and/or graphics controllers interact with the VGA connector (also known as theÂ d-sub 15 connector).Â Here’s some tips on how to correct the problem; if all else fails, I”ll show you how to fool your Samsung HDTV intoÂ thinkingÂ a PC is attached.
This customer’s particular PC was a Sony brand laptop with an Nvidea graphics adapter.Â So here’s what I recommend:
1. Check that your VGA cable has all 15 pins (3 rows of 5).Â Some cheap cables may not.Â If you find that your VGA cable does not have 15 pins, order a new VGA with Audio PC to TV cable.
2. Update your graphics driver.Â You’ll need to visit your graphics card manufacturer’s website to find, download and install the latest driver.
3. Test your cable.Â If no luck continue . . .
4. Update your PC BIOS (built-in operating system).Â You’ll have to visit your PC manufacturer’s website and look for a “downloads and/or drivers” link.Â In addition to updating your BIOS, check for any other files that you can update.Â For example, this customer has a Sony VAIO VGN-FS780/W laptop.Â Sony lists the following updates available for download:Â BIOS, FIRMWARE, and Sony Utilities DLL update.Â The description for the DLL update states “This utility updates the SonyÂ® Utilities DLL for the Sony VAIOÂ® to version 6.4.0.06290 and addresses an issue where the computer is unable to use certain monitors.”
Here’s some links to check for drivers and/or software updates:
5. Make sure to reboot your PC after installing new drivers.Â Otherwise they may not take effect.Â Test you cable again.Â If no luck . . .
6. Unfortunately if you’re on this step then your PC is not providing the correct signal to your HDTV.Â So I’ve discovered that what the Samsung HDTV is looking for is a ground signal on pin#10.Â Take a look at the picture below.Â Plug the VGA cable into your HDTV and use a paper clip to short pin #10 to the casing on your VGA connector. As soon as the #10 pin is connected to the ground, the “PC” input option on your HDTV will light up and you will be able to select it.Â Once selected, you can connect the cable to your PC and configure your graphics properties as detailed in our PC to TV cable installation guide.
You can take a look at the VGA pinout developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association to see what pins do what.Â VESA was created because ofÂ ”the phenomenal growth of graphics capabilities for personal computers and the resulting proliferation of non-compatible products.Â . . .”Â If the “PC” input is not available for selection on your Samsung HDTV, it is probably because your PC manufacturer has not grounded pin #10, identified as “Sync Ground.”Â Please contact them and ask why?
The VGA standard now supports EDID (Extended Display Identification Data).Â This means that your HDTV can actually “talk” to your PC and identify it’s properties (manufacturer, resolutions supported, etc.)Â You can easily download and run a free software utility that lets you see if your monitor (or HDTV) is communicating with your PC.Â It’s called Monitor Asset Manager and it is made available by EnTech Taiwan.
As always, we’d like to hear from you.Â If you discover any useful tidbits of information please email us and we’ll be sure to pass it along to the next guy:
* * * VIDEO ADDED JULY 21, 2009 * * *