Ubuntu and HDMI audio

Ok, so I got the video part of the HDMI output working with a couple of deft mouseclicks and the help of my previous workings with nvidia control panel, but when it came to audio…

First off, I go internetting, ask the mighty Google how the heck it is to be done.  I happened upon a ubuntuforums.org post detailing steps to get a GT240 to work, whereupon I hit snag after snag, eventually crippling my entire audio setup.

Eventually, I found that my saving grace was “alsa-utils reset”, but the internet did not tell me this – rather, my brother pointed it out (him being an audiophile and a closet ubuntu geek).  I managed to get my speakers back, and seeing as I wanted to watch a film and had spent a good few hours troubleshooting audio things I decided HDMI audio can wait until it works ‘out of the box’.  Especially considering, as I said earlier, it’s actually a downgrade in speaker quality.

That said, it appears my tweeters have blown (muddy, muffled sounds coming from the hifi at the moment; my brother diagnosed it as blown tweeters, but he didn’t properly examine the patient so I don’t think he’d want to be quoted on that).

Those poised to criticize Ubuntu for not supporting HDMI ought remember that it is an immature technology (HDMI, that is, not Ubuntu) and is steeped in DRM.  Aside from the ethical problems I have with DRM, it also creates lots of technical hassle for projects wishing to use technologies that rely on it.  Especially if the company responsible for the DRM is uncooperative or demands financial recompense for their support in making technology work with it.  The mind boggles at why consumers put up with this kind of treatment, but I guess conglomerates preclude us from having much choice.

Have fun hacking!

Ubuntu dual-screen

Ubuntu doesn’t detect my second monitor automatically, but all it takes is a button ‘detect monitors’.  Windows XP requires multiple reboots and a painfully slow Nvidia Control Panel in order to get anywhere near dual headed graphics.  It also does not provide me with a full 1080p picture (without going too much into the ins and outs of it, Windows XP’s best resolution for the panasonic TV was 1200×950-ish, whereas Ubuntu can give me the full 1920×1080 with a little bit of tweaking).

Admittedly, my experience in the past with Ubuntu has been slightly different when it comes to dual monitors, but for Ubuntu to reach this level of desktop usability within 6 years from their first release (compared to WinXP having 16 years to get from Win 1.0 to WinXP); I’d say that’s pretty gosh-darned impressive.

What’s more, Ubuntu doesn’t route audio through my TV unless I ask it to.  Windows detects the TV’s speakers as an audio device and then PREFERS it to my hifi.  I’d rather have MSN go through the hifi and only films and whatnot that I’m gonna be watching with MSN turned off to go through the TV.  If that, ’cause frankly my hifi’s speakers are gonna be better than my TV’s – they’re just in slightly the wrong place, is all.

Every day I get happier and happier that I’m home.  ❤ ubuntu.  So much.

Have fun hacking!