Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Connecting the TV to the Laptop

The first challenge was to connect our Gateway laptops to the TV. We bought an inexpensive six foot HDMI cable on Amazon.

Our laptops are now two years old and were delivered with Vista. We upgraded to Windows 7 as soon as it came out last October. We experienced a lot of instability with Vista, especially on my wife's computer. She uses Kodak EasyShare to manage her extensive photo library. EasyShare is pretty unstable and would take Vista down frequently, too often corrupting the file system. Windows 7 has been much more stable. It catches the EasyShare failures without crashing or corrupting the file system.

I did have a disk failure a month or so after upgrading to Windows 7. I made a clean Windows 7 install at that time without first loading Gateway's Vista first. I then loaded all of the drivers that Gateway said I should use. However, the sound card driver that I loaded did not support the HDMI interface. This left this computer able to display video on the TV but without audio.

I had a difficult time getting Gateway to address this problem. The standard answer was that I had to go back and load Gateway's Vista on the computer and test it that way. They would not address problems with Windows 7. I even got this useless answer from the paid support group I had signed up with to solve my disk problems last December. Pretty disappointing.

I kept after them via their email support and after a number of iterations they sent me a new audio driver that solved the problem. This audio driver included an HDMI option. The only problem is that I would have to go into the Control Panel every time I wanted to watch a video on the TV and select the HDMI driver. I would then have to change it back when I was not through. This is OK for a geek like me, but not for my wife or any other ordinary consumer.

I would rate this set up process a D- because I came close to giving up. My wife's computer had this driver already loaded on it, so I would rate the set up as a C on her computer. I would rate the operation a C on both computers because it is necessary to manually change the sound settings.

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