The Monitor in the Dell

This time it is a monitor, not a farmer.

I have wasted the last two days messing with a video computer problem. I am trying to get an ATI dual monitor video card to work with my XP system so I can watch Netflx movies on my standard NTSC ANALOG TV.

I recently started using a Dell E171 LCD monitor with my XP system. Been doing that for several months. Running the monitor and as secondary monitor, an old large screen analog TV. Those Neflix movies just look better on the large screen TV. When you take the computer generated audio and video and feed them to a video modulator, you can watch the results on TV channel 3 or 4 depending on which you set up. Computer monitors are for doing computer things.

Well, a few days ago the Dell monitor began complaining about the video it was gettting. ‘cannot display this video mode’, was the error message on the screen of the monitor. I knew it had to be a software problem since the hardware had worked fine for some time before. I deleted and re-installed the ATI drivers for the 7500 video card. No change. Same message and only on boot up. Once windows loaded the ATI drivers, everything was fine. Trouble was I could not see what was happening at boot. Not that the boot messages were critically important but I rely on them for information as to possible problems. It is nice to know that the BIOS still recognizes the correct amount of ram memory and the hard drives I have installed.

I tried a different ATI card, a 9520, same result. Then I tried a Nvidia Geforce 2, 400/400mmx. That card worked fine but I could not get the resolution on the TV to be greater than 800X600. A resolution of 800X600 did not fill the TV screen fully from side to side.

There are plenty of posts on the web about the error message I was getting but no solutions. Lots of suggestions. No solutions and most of the suggestions were from folk who obiously did not know anyting about computers, monitors, software or hardware. I don’t understand why people insist on showing the public that they don’t know what they are talking about. I thought only politicians did that.

Well, the Nvidia card was not going to work for me but it was tempting to go out and buy a new and better Nvidia card that would do the job. However, I stopped being tempted when I looked at the prices.

Back to the drawing board. Maybe sleep on it.

I finally came to the obvious conlusion that the problem was not so much in the computer as in the monitor. The error message was being generated by the monitor. Too bad. I liked the 17 inch screen that the Dell was providing. Of course you did not need a 17 inch screen to display the error message and if that was all it was going to do I didn’t need the monitor either.

Out with the Dell and in with a ViewSonic VE155b. Hey, the ViewSonic worked just fine with both ATI cards. How about that!? Once again Dell comes up short. Oh well the Hell with Dell. No substitute for going with quality in the first place.

So my solution to the problem was to find a monitor that did not complain about asking to be a monitor. ‘Cannot display this video mode’, then what good are you!? I could understand if I were trying to display the video on a hard drive, that would probably not work. But when a device whoes sole purpose in life is to display video, when that device stops displaying video, it is time to find something that will do the job.

I did not junk the Dell like I should have. It is working in a less demanding application doing things that are not as complicated as displaying variousl video modes.

I am not sure why the Dell has this problem. Could be it is sick, but it is not worth any more of my time to try and find out exactly what is going on. I suspect if I knew why Dell sells monitors that do not work all the time, I would just get really, really mad.

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