Disappointed by Matrox - what features will disappear next?

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Disappointed by Matrox - what features will disappear next?

Postby dpocock » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:00 pm

The Matrox specifications for the P650, and the file readme-advanced.txt, clearly describe a TV Output feature on the P650 card and the Linux driver. The shopmatrox.com web site sells a TV Output cable for use with this card.

After over a month of pretending to provide support and hoping I would give up in frustration, they have finally said that the feature doesn't actually work and that they can't be bothered to make it work:
From: g******@matrox.com
Cc: R********l@matrox.com
Date: 20/02/09 21:28

Hi Daniel,

Technical support can confirm that the TV out feature will not work.
Please keep in mind that documentation is not a point of reference
because features can change without prior notice. For other issues, you
will need to contact the proper channel directly whether be it
shopmatrox.com or other. This is not done through technical support.

Regards,
Georges


I have to ask, if `documentation is not a point of reference', then what is? Do I need to have a special crystal ball to tell me what features will work on a product I purchase from Matrox?

The product description on shopmatrox.com clearly includes my card in the list of cards supported by the TV Out cable:

CAB-HD15-TVF
(CONTVOUT-E) TV-output adapter cable for Millennium G450/G550 series, Millennium P650, Millennium P650 PCIe 128, Millennium P650 Low-profile PCI, Millennium P650 LP PCIe 64, Millennium P750, Parhelia 128MB, Parhelia 256MB, Parhelia APVe, Parhelia DL256 PCI, and Parhelia PCI 256MB. £5.45

The feature was also described in various documents on their web site, although after I pointed that out to them, I can no longer find any reference to the P650 PCIe card except for some driver downloads...

Edited post to remove e-mail addresses from Matrox employees
Last edited by dpocock on Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shafted by Matrox - what features will disappear next?

Postby tuxx-home.at » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:23 pm

Well, you're pointing out a real problem here, but there's unfortunately nothing you can do about that. You can try to RMA your card and get a refund or even better, your money back.
There are several things that don't work with the matrox drivers currently, so let's hope things will get better with either the next series of Matrox cards (the M series, beta driver now available) or the next version of the mtx driver.

But, I'm quite confused about the statement from G.F., what else is this if not a technical issue? And, of course, features can change, but there never was support for TVout on this card apparently, so this feature hasn't changed, it simply never was there - although I heard from some people that they were able to connect a TV to their P series cards, but I don't know if it just was the APVe or some other Parhelia based cards.

You could go and ask XiG if they have a working driver for your card + TV Out support. They have a great support and a great product out there.
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Re: Shafted by Matrox - what features will disappear next?

Postby dpocock » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:40 pm

I can actually get the TV connected using the Matrox cable and a modeline in xorg.conf, but the picture quality is really bad.

The P650 AGP card is still described on the Matrox site, and that also mentions TV Output.

Matrox also supplied me with a 32 bit Linux driver (1.4.6.3) that emits a log message about enabling TV output, but doesn't display any picture on the TV.

I've seen various web sites that are critical of Matrox's support approach, quite a few of them advocate a move to Nvidia cards. The Matrox card is quite a good match for the hardware I'm using (low power consumption, low fan noise), but if Nvidia offers a better driver, then so be it.
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Re: Shafted by Matrox - what features will disappear next?

Postby tuxx-home.at » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:03 pm

What is "really bad"? Is it distorted in some ways, does it flicker, is it not sharp enough? Is the resolution too small?

The 1.4.6.3 driver they gave you is currently in beta state and will be the next publically available driver version AFAIK, but another thing I know is that they do not work on improving the TV-out capabilities of this card. Maybe it's just a configuration or timing issue for the TV attached to your card.

What can I say about Matrox' Linux support? There used to be a support forum a few years ago which was really bad. When I got my first Matrox card I was very disappointed about the current state of the linux driver and the fact that there was nearly no support so I modified the driver and helped people out in the Matrox forum. They then seemed to realize that it doesn't look good if someone else answers the questions they should answer and provides driver updates although that should be their duty, so they simply closed the support forum.

This forum is the replacement for that, but in the last time, I'm not happy with Matrox related things and changes either, so maybe my next card won't be a Matrox card anymore too and then this forum will probably be shut down too. So in my opinion, you have two options now: Wait for the official release of 1.4.6.3 (which should be at the end of the second quarter 2009) or change your video card manufacturer.
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Re: Shafted by Matrox - what features will disappear next?

Postby dpocock » Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:42 pm

very bad picture means:
- black and white, or very bad color
- loss of sync, especially when the background is black (e.g. the credits at the beginning of a film)
- not perfectly aligned to screen size
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Re: Disappointed by Matrox - what features will disappear next?

Postby dpocock » Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:35 pm

Just an update:

- Matrox agreed to accept the TV Out cables for a refund (although I haven't received the refund yet)

- I've now switched to an ASUS NVidia EN8600GT card (it fits the same PCIe 16x slot, uses only slightly more power (40w versus 25w for the P650), has passive cooling and a dedicated TV Out port). Installing the card and driver took less than 5 minutes, and I now get a perfect picture when displaying a DVD at 720x576 over the composite output.

- The NVidia card doesn't have the same crispness as the P650 when using an analog connection to a flat panel monitor. I've always found the Matrox cards give excellent picture stability, and so I'm disappointed that I have to move to another vendor due to the lack of support from Matrox.
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Re: Disappointed by Matrox - what features will disappear next?

Postby midnightflash » Mon May 04, 2009 2:05 am

dpocock wrote:The NVidia card doesn't have the same crispness as the P650 when using an analog connection to a flat panel monitor. I've always found the Matrox cards give excellent picture stability, and so I'm disappointed that I have to move to another vendor due to the lack of support from Matrox.
You are sadly right! I'm so much more satisfied with the nVidia cards I use and sell for Linux-boxes because of nicely working drivers and some kind of open ears on their support. But nVidia hs also it's problems. They killed the overlay-support in newer drivers (also with Windows btw.) for example, which is a really bad idea for multimonitor/TV-out users. But this is still a lot better than the things Matrox is giving to us. Especially as with DVI-monitors the, indeed very much better, analog-output performance by Matrox is not counting any more.

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