HDMI and automatically hardware recognition

Christopher James Halse Rogers raof at ubuntu.com
Wed Feb 9 05:45:09 UTC 2011

I see Luke has taken the audio half of this, as for the video part…

On Tue, 2011-02-08 at 13:36 +0100, Yann Santschi wrote:
> Hi everybody ! I just found one point that can really be improved in
> future releases of Ubuntu. In a first time I will explain how I found
> it, in a second time what I think about and the third point (the most
> important), a proposition to get rid of this lack...
> I got Ubuntu because I was worried about Windows (it's slow, it has a
> lot of glitches,...). With Ubuntu I can work without complications,
> until today... I bought a TV and wanted to connect it through HDMI
> cable. I configured my nvidia-settings and chose digital audio ouptut.
> It works fine, but...
> Every time I reconnect my TV, I must :
> - Manually detect connected screens
> - Set the correct screen settings
> - Change audio output to digital
> Every time I disconnect my TV, I must :
> - Set the correct screen settings (before disconnecting)
> - Change audio output to analog (otherwise laptop speakers don't work).
> In Windows, it works automatically in the most cases (sometimes not,
> it's just another Windows glitch...).

This is a combination of the nvidia-settings tool not being integrated
into GNOME, the binary nvidia drivers not supporting the standard XRandR
interface for monitor configuration, and no-one investing the time to
make the standard GNOME display tools talk the proprietary NV-CONTROL

If we had the code, we could fix the nvidia drivers - indeed, this
*should* Just Work™ with the open-source nouveau drivers, and does for
me.  If convenience is more important than raw 3D performance you may
find the nouveau drivers to be better for you.

Of course, there's also the chance that hotplug detection won't work for
your system with the nouveau drivers, but at least in that case we've
got a chance of fixing it.

> I think that it's a pain for end-users (in this case I am) to have to
> always (re)set these damn settings to watch a movie, to connect a
> projector, to connect the external display. I know that's possible to
> script that, but as an end-user, I just don't want to : I want to use
> my computer and not to configure it all the time. When I connect my
> usb flash drive, it's automatically mounted and ready-to-use. Why it
> isn't the same with external displays ?
> A way to fix this problem, is to create something such as an "hardware
> profile" that contains settings and when a new display and/or audio
> output are detected (I think it's possible to detect a hardware
> change), a window / widget asks the user if he want's to apply saved
> settings or if he want's to set new settings.
> What do you think about that ?

I think that what you actually want is for things to work automatically,
like with USB, rather than have a pop up window.  :)

This is how it works for drivers which support XRandR and generate
hotplug events right now - if you plug in a monitor, it will be set up
the same way as it was last time, or if it hasn't been plugged in before
it will have a sensible default set up.  The big 3 - ati, intel, nouveau
- all have the capabilities to do this.

Similarly for audio (although I'm less familiar with the hardware
capabilities here) - if we see an HDMI audio device is connected, and
totem starts playing a movie, sending that stream over the HDMI
connection is a good default.
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