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Author Topic: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...  (Read 13201 times)

Offline Justin

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Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« on: October 29, 2016, 11:46:22 AM »
VDJ 8.0 as it stands is coded to work BEST at 720p for the video/karaoke monitor. There are many reasons, but most notably are:

- 1080p is unnecessary unless you are RIGHT UP close to the screen
- 1080p costs a LOT more in CPU cycles
- Cable length restrictions are more strict at full HD...
- 720p is quite universally acceptable on any HDTV or DVI monitor

This is most noticeable when you connect several TVs via an HDMI splitter. Especially if they are different brands, models, sizes, native resolutions... and Windows gets tricky and will set the resolution to either the first one connected, or the last one connected, depending on its mood (I swear that's what it seems like!)

So... the idea is that you connect all your screens and splitters first, then click the new "Force 720p Output" box in VDJ. VDJ will then change the resolution of your Karaoke monitor to 1280x720 @ 60Hz, which ANY HDMI or DVI device will accept gladly.

So why put the button in VDJ rather than instruct users to do this in Windows? Many reasons:

1) Every version/revision/service pack changes where things are located. Add to that various third-party drivers and we have a serious mess.
2) Even so, changing not only the resolution but the refresh rate (which is really important here) requires digging deeper.
3) Many people won't bother if it "just works", even if the screen doesn't look quite right. But if it's a single-click...

So instead of instructing how to navigate the settings and advanced options etc, VDJ does it all for you (they may change where the settings are, but they do not change how it's done internally). And since it is set as a "temporary" resolution (like PowerPoint might do for example during a presentation), once VDJ closes, the settings all go right back to whatever they were prior to VDJ's changes.

The video shows where it's at currently. Note that it will NOT have a "default on" setting. I want the user to knowingly click on the button and confirm that they have connected and powered on all displays to be used before applying the change. I sometimes would find myself firing up VDJ and working on my playlist while a partner is still hooking up the cables...

Note that if anything does change the resolution outside of VDJ (like a monitor being disconnected by accident), VDJ will know this and you can just re-click the button to get it back.

https://youtu.be/e_8h0fS6cBY

Wearing a hat because I'm so overdue for a haircut... normally I'm not in my videos but with the webcam feature and all... lol

---

One other, totally unrelated change is more internal. I configured VDJ so that the "main" thread (mostly user-interface) always runs on CPU 0, and the audio output thread (the most critical one) always runs on CPU 1 (if available). This way there is far less chance of causing the audio to glitch (everything related to playback is handled in that one thread so it gets its own CPU core).

If you happen to have 4 cores, then the Karaoke decoding/display happens on CPU #2 (the third one) and any indexing of songs and/or ID3 tags on #3 (fourth core). If only dual core then those things happen on #0 (first one), still keeping them separate from the audio thread.

On a single core system this all means squat. But a quad core benefits the most (including a dual-core with hyper-threading which has 4 logical cores), and even a dual-core keeps everything else that is processor intensive away from the core handling the all-so-critical audio processing and output.

Hope that wasn't too technical - but basically VDJ takes full advantage in the best manner possible of however many CPU cores you have available, separating the "heavy" items onto separate processors for great load balancing. By default, Windows just assigns any thread to a random CPU core, which can cause unpredictable behavior from one run to the next (I only figured this out recently). It could randomly put all of the CPU-heavy threads on the same core by coincidence, not really taking advantage of having multiple cores at all... and another time split them up nicely. Now I have full control of this :)

VDJ uses many, many threads throughout, but most are very light-weight and perform small tasks and therefore I don't care which core is running them. Those four mentioned are best kept isolated, Audio being the most crucial.
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline Justin

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2016, 12:33:43 PM »
One other thing of note that I changed a while back is the "full screen window". It no longer is a "moveable" window. If you fire up VDJ without a second screen enabled, the CDG window does NOT pop up at startup. You can enable it, and it acts like any other full-screen app ("Press ESC To Exit Fullscreen"). If you DO have a second screen hooked up, it will pop up on that screen if it was checked at the last shutdown.

Where it gets tricky is in the rare (but possible) case where you have more than 2 separate displays (splitting one output to multiple displays doesn't matter here). Also, if you try to use VDJ's main window on the non-primary screen -- it doesn't work so well.

But since the target is almost always a laptop + one external video output, it works in pretty much every case. If you're setting up a tower installation, just make sure the karaoke screen(s) is/are the secondary output (which would be the default anyway).

Just thought I'd note the change in behavior. Overall it makes more sense this way when used as intended.
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline Fabio

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2016, 01:48:55 PM »
This is great addition to the program...I had no idea you could control this within vdj...I though that was only a Windows domain.

I know I ran into the issue occasionally, specially when connecting to TV that my system has never connected before. My small 17" TV is 720p and I try to set my system with that in mind, but occasionally it detects the 1080p from the bar and since TV is lower resolutions it stops working.  Normally I have to unplug everything and try to connect the small TV first to the splitter and wait a minute or two in order to settle into 720p then plug the large screen TV into the splitter.  Occasionally I have to do this several times and sometimes I have to restart the laptop when it doesn't switch.  The worst when it happens when I'm having someone else host in my place and this happens and they can't figure out how to make it work.  Having a button there would make it so much easier!  I can just tell them to click that button and voila!
Fabio Q.
Shooting Star Karaoke

Offline Justin

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2016, 04:20:42 PM »
I'm glad to hear I wasn't the only one having had this issue. In my case, my 19" little 720 TV would negotiate at 1080 since it accepts a 1080 signal. At one particular bar, it was one of the bar 42" wall-mounted's that didn't like the signal and so I had to hook that one up first to the splitter, wait for it to settle (to use you phrase), and then hook up my little guy that faced backward (so the singer could face the crowd, big screen behind them).

Some TVs negotiate at their native resolution as a DVI device (which is technically allowed, but not all TVs accept resolutions that aren't an HD standard).

And it did seem random, which is why I said that it seems to depend on what kind of mood Windows is in :)  In reality it's the simple fact that HDMI is intended for negotiation between two devices; add splitters into the mix and it's hit-or-miss which device gets to "talk" first...

So by simply telling Windows that we just want straight-up 720p 60Hz output, the deal is done. I tested this with several DVI monitors and a couple HDTVs, including a 32" Apex which (by default) negotiates at 1360x768 (even though the actual panel resolution is 1366x768, and it overscans anyway so it's totally pointless...........)

Long story short, so far this feature seems to fix the problem. There are basically three standards for HDTV/HDMI:

- 720p
- 1080i (interlaced), and
- 1080p (non-interlaced, aka progressive)

The only (minimum) standard a TV is required to support and carry the HDTV logo is 720p, at 1280x720 60Hz. Some TVs (smaller ones it seems) support more "computer-friendly" resolutions as they are often used as computer monitors. That's where you run into problems splitting multiple TV monitors.

I wonder how they do it at Best Buy and Wal-Mart... probably some very expensive distribution splitter/amplifier that treats each output separately...

And yes, any application (run under a user with admin privileges) can change the display resolution. Remember video games ;)  It's pretty standard and relatively simple, just too bad I never considered or thought about it before today (literally I woke up this morning and thought "hm, I bet that would fix the problem"...)
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline Justin

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2016, 04:25:08 PM »
BTW, in another tab I googled the HDTV specs just to verify a couple points... and the ads - it's been a while since I bought a flat-screen, I didn't realize just how much the prices have come down! I paid $998 for a 37" VIZIO at Sam's Club in 2006... I can get FIVE 43" sets for that today, complete with "smarts"...

The VIZIO still works great though, knock on wood. Except the tuner burned out some years ago lol
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline Fabio

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2016, 05:07:24 PM »
Yeah, some TVs are a bit strange...I once had a large screen TV that refused to be 2nd TV...it wanted to be the main screen with VDJ controls running there instead of the laptop...I ended up not using it...and that TV was a 720p tv.  It was an old TV, since then I made sure the large screen is always 1080...luckily most bars have upgraded their old 720p.

Yeah, the prices have come down quite a bit...I think the pricey ones are the 4K tvs...but 1080...is usually cheap now.
Fabio Q.
Shooting Star Karaoke

Offline Justin

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2016, 05:38:20 PM »
What kind of splitter are you using? Because I did notice a difference when I switched from a "passive" thing that looked like just a "Y" cable, to an "active" powered splitter, which is a metal box. It has the added advantage of boosting the signal level so it's great for longer runs if you put it about halfway down.

Oddly enough it works even without its power supply since computer DVI/HDMI provides power (where normal HDMI output ports generally do not). At least it does on my laptop (the blue power LED lights up and everything but won't do that coming out of a set-top box, must be a computer-only thing, which is why dongles still need a USB plug for power I guess...)

So much technical detail, but I think this solution should work well. I'll dig out my powered *and* passive splitters sometime next week and really give it a test: 3 HDTVs on one PC, then two TVs and a DV monitor, 2 different DV monitors and one TV.... etc and see what blows up :) I have two VISIO LCDs, a Panasonic Plasma, an Apex LCD, a Samsung LCD for TVs... then I have.... (counting in my head/looking around) at least 5 DVI-capable monitors of various makes, and all the cables/adapters needed. Just have to dig some stuff out and make a little room :)

Last note: I will also research if there is a way I can force/prevent Windows from outputting any resolution other than what I set - in other words no renegotiation with the screen, just send 720p and the monitors will just have to accept that. Seems like there should be a way...
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline Fabio

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2016, 06:02:29 PM »
I tried using those passive splitters before and they never really worked well.  So I only use the powered splitters. I have both the the 1 to 2 and also a 1 to 4 splittler.  I use the 1 to 4 at my Friday and Saturday gig because I need to plug in 3 tvs including the small one that faces the singers.  My laptop must not provide enough power for the splitter to work without a power supply.  I had problem a few months where someone dropped a beer on top of my cable crate and the power supply got soaked and didn't work.  Since I carry an extra of everything, I got the power supply from another set and it worked fine, so I know without the power supply the splittler would not work.

Fabio Q.
Shooting Star Karaoke

Offline chaz

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2016, 04:03:18 AM »
What an awesome solution. I as well have to plug in to the 720p first and then the 1080p.. Direct TV has a button on the front of their box to modify the settings and I was telling my wife that I should figure out how to go through the box.. This will fix everything..

Two issues I have run into .. Not enough hdmi inputs
 Now we just unplug from their cable or satellite..  We now run wireless hdmi .. Easier setup.

I use Aio touchscreen pcs occasionally for karaoke.. Did you know that HP only installed hdmi inputs on their desktop and aio computers .. I found out the hard way.. I had found a great deal for 21 inch AIO models for $300 each quad core 1.6mhz 4gb ram etc... Windows 8.1
I bought 3 of em... Fought for 12 days trying to figure out why. I mind you I had just recently closed a computer repair shop.. So not like I'm a rookie.. I broke down and called HP support.. I learned about hdmi input and output jacks..
Returned them all within 14 days and bought a Dell...
The dell is 23 inches and won't fit in a rack..
« Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 04:06:21 AM by chaz »

Offline Justin

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2016, 08:16:56 AM »
Quote
We now run wireless hdmi .. Easier setup.

Using what exactly? I'm curious... as I had experimented with EasyCast and other devices with limited success... but I am hoping to natively support DLNA one day, so that on a smart TV or dongle or set top box, you could select "VDJ Karaoke" or similar from the list of available DLNA devices on the network...
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline chaz

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2016, 12:49:04 PM »
https://www.amazon.com/Actiontec-Wireless-WiFi-Multi-Room-Video/dp/B00LSS10PM

I use a couple of these.. Easiest setup I have found

Offline Justin

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2016, 03:33:55 PM »
Thanks Chaz. For fun I put a link to that product on the VDJ.Net site (Amazon Affiliate) :)

So how's the latency on that? Do you have to adjust the karaoke sync to account for it, or is it pretty much real-time?
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline Fabio

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2016, 12:41:26 AM »
Interesting Chaz....besides Justin's question.  Have you tried using more than one receiver (additional TV)?

Fabio Q.
Shooting Star Karaoke

Offline ikaraoke

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Release date?
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2016, 02:28:23 AM »
Hi Justin,  I may have missed a post, but what date (approximately) is vdj8 looking at being realesed?

Offline chaz

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Re: Solution to Screen Resolution issue...
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2016, 12:34:55 PM »
As a standard when starting Vdj we move the slider one notch to the right.... That would be something that could use an up and down arrow. For easier adjusting. Fine tuning can be challenging at times.

Fabio we have had up to 4 at a time going with no issues.. The remotes that are included suck.. Making connecting initially difficult. But been using wireless hdmi for the past 3 years. Unfortunately the price hasn't adjusted.