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855GM tv-out not supported by new intel driver

I tried to connect my aging Inspiron 700m to my TV with S-Video, which has worked well in the past, only to discover that tv-out is no longer supported with the new intel driver (see this discussion at Ubuntu’s bug tracker ). And the old driver is no longer included in debian/ubuntu/sidux.

I installed the xorg-video-intel-i810  driver from etch (now oldstable) with –force-conflicts; the newer versions are dummy packages for the intel driver. Then I copied over my old xorg.conf, but it still used the intel driver. Plus apt refuses to do anything because of the conflict.

Perhaps I will need to compile the xorg 7.1 source and install over the debian packages? What a f#*&ing pain in the ass. Or maybe i810 is still maintained in 7.3+, but not packaged? More on this later when I find a solution.

UPDATE: I finally got old xorg installed, only to encounter worse bugs than no S-video out – I can’t get any dual head working. I suspect that 6.8 may work, but the older the release the harder it is to get it compiled. For now I will be booting into Windows XP whenever I need S-Video. I’d be curious to know if anyone has success with 6.8 (or any other solution).


  1. Wrath says:

    Is this strictly Debian-based bug, or is it an Xorg issue? How closely have you been following the discussion? I found this snippet:

    “TV-Support for the newer Intel video cards should work with the current -intel driver and the command xrandr or maybe the new gnome-display-properties.”

    and this…

    “If I suspend the system to S3 then wake it up both the TV and VGA ouputs work flawlessly. On a reboot, I get the same problems (either one or other of the displays no longer outputs despite xrandr saying both are connected and outputting).”

    Which is intriguing…

    This is perhaps the most telling:

    “The new -intel driver (the old one is -i810) has support for TV-out on 60 Hz TVs. Can’t find the bug/thread where I read that, but all 50 Hz is basically left with two options: using an old -i810 or buying a new TV.”

  2. bda says:

    The 60Hz limitation applies to newer intel chipsets. 855GM tv-out is not supported at all, and from what I’ve read Intel has no plans to implement it. So basically it’s up to the community.

    I managed to get xorg 7.2, which is the last release containing i810, installed, but I get a vm86 error in Xorg.0.log and my screen goes blank until I reboot. I found a bug report relating to the issue with a patch for 7.0, compiled the patched 7.0, and got the same error. At some point I’d like to try 6.8, but it’s difficult to get old releases to compile because of library version changes. I’m not sure it’s worth it. I can always boot into windows if I really need S-Video out – VGA out works fine.

  3. bda says:

    Some folks have created a chroot environment designed specifically for i810 tv-out, using the last debian version where it actually worked (Lenny). Haven’t tried it yet, and not an ideal solution, but still pretty cool. Here’s the link:

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