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I connected a Microsoft Surface Book 2 running Windows 10 to a 1920 x 1080 Philco PTV42E60DSWN TV (HDMI port) and the borders of fonts (but also in images) look all ragged (see comparison to 1920 x 1080 laptop monitor below). The Display configuration says 1920 x 1080, 100% for font scaling, but it does seem like the TV is using a much lower amount of pixels for the same image. Am I missing some configuration detail here, or is the TV just not indicating the truth when it says it's operating at 1920 x 1080?

TV: enter image description here

Monitor: enter image description here

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    Did you check the TV’s overscan settings yet? Also make sure your graphics driver isn’t compensating for overscan. – Daniel B Sep 26 '18 at 18:30
  • Unfortunately I could not find an overscan setting in the TV. :-/ – user118967 Sep 27 '18 at 4:52
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    They’re usually in a “Zoom”, “Image Format" or “Aspect ratio” menu. // Let’s try another test: Set your TV as the primary monitor, sign out and sign in again (no need to reboot). Does that fix it? – Daniel B Sep 27 '18 at 5:37
  • Thanks. I investigated the zoom and ration options, but that does not change things much, and leaves parts of the desktop out of the screen. Signing out and in did not seem to make a difference either. – user118967 Sep 28 '18 at 15:28
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    You did make the TV the primary display first, right? Or are you perhaps in clone mode? In that case, use either extended mode (with TV as primary) or just the TV. – Daniel B Sep 29 '18 at 10:23
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After looking up the display specs of the Microsoft Surface Book 2 from Wikipedia:

13.5": 13.5 in (34 cm), 3000×2000 (267 PPI) LCD

15": 15 in (38 cm), 3240×2160 (260 PPI) LCD

The native vertical pixel resolution is 2000px on the 13.5" and 2160px on the 15". Stretching a 1080 image over 2000+ tiny pixels combined with anti-aliasing display algorithms is why it looks smooth on your laptop screen

The pixels on a 42" HDTV with a native resolution of 1080 are much larger than your Surface Book 2. I'm not familiar with Philco HDTVs in particular, but you may be able to see what resolution the TV is displaying by pressing the "INFO" button on the remote. Also, depending on the default display mode of the TV (overscan/underscan), adjusting the aspect ratio ("PIC" button perhaps?) may clean up the image from your laptop. Hope this helps!

EDIT: I did a little image testing on my 1080p desktop monitor by taking a screen cap of the Stack Overflow logo from that website at 100% and copied it with a 400% resize in Paint since the resizing function it uses does not use any anti-aliasing (nearest neighbor scaling, 1 pixel becomes a 4x4 block of pixels). The result doesn't look all that different from your picture of the TV. enter image description here

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    Thanks. The TV "Info" key shows "1920 x 1080". I think I made it sound like I expected the image to be comparable to the Surface monitor's one. I realize the Surface monitor image is going to be much better, but 1920 x 1080 is still a decent amount of pixels and I would expect it possible to show a decent image on that (without the kind of weird aliasing issue we see on the "k" in the first image above, for example). I also have a 1920 x 1080 external monitor and I don't see that kind of issue when connected to it... Thank you, I appreciate your help. – user118967 Sep 26 '18 at 4:29
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    You're welcome. An interesting test between your external monitor (which I'm assuming is smaller than the TV) and the Philco TV would be to use a magnifying glass on the external monitor and see if the pixel coloration matches what you see on the TV without magnification. That would be a good indicator if the display quality is specifically from pixel size or how the specific screen displays a 1080p image. – Blaelph Sep 26 '18 at 18:33
  • Thank you, I appreciate your running the test. I don't think of the issue being simply a matter of the screen being bigger and pixels therefore more visible. In your test, you use 16 times more pixels to represent the original image, but in my case the 1080 monitor and TV should be using the same number of pixels, only the TV pixel size is larger, so we should see the "same" image, with the same shape, only bigger, but I do see something more ragged and with different shapes and borders... – user118967 Sep 28 '18 at 15:43
  • I am also thinking it may be a color issue. The TV seems to show less colors and I guess this hurts the aliasing capacity, but I can't find where to obtain that information. – user118967 Sep 28 '18 at 15:49
  • With regards to changing the colors, you can try changing the color settings on the TV itself if your external 1080p monitor looks satisfactory using the same connection. It might also be worth it to try changing the color space settings from your graphics adapter for your external display from the nVidia control panel to see if it improves the image. – Blaelph Oct 3 '18 at 2:41

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