My laptop is using a Intel 945GM Express Chipset graphics card. Recently I purchased a 19″ LCD with 1440×900 naive resolution. Believe it or not, it was very difficult to set the correct resolution for the LCD as my graphics card is quite old and does not officially support 16:10 resolution. The closest it supports is 1440×1050, causing distortion on the LCD.
I solved the problem by using PowerStrip. With some simple configuration as per this, I am able to add a new custom resolution and get it to work:
However, with this I encountered the next challenge. Media Player Classic, which is my favourite media player, is unable to play video on my LCD monitor when configured as the secondary monitor. I always got the error message
“Due to limitations of your computer’s display device, this video can only play back on one of your monitors. Please move the video window completely onto that monitor”
whenever I attempt to play videos on the LCD.
After some research, I found out that the problem has to do with hardware overlay (see this). Media Play Classic seems to attempt hardware overlay on both the primary and secondary monitors, which, unfortunately, is not within the capabilities of the graphics card.
I decided to change to VLC media player. However, VLC, by default, uses software rendering and does not play HD movies smoothly. When configure to playback using hardware overlay, VLC encounters the same problem as Media Player Classic. Even worse, there is no clear error message – the application simply crashes or plays videos with huge delay/distortion. Windows Media Player works for some simple movies (.avi, .wmv, …) but fails to play many other formats.
Finally, some googling on the best free media player leads me to BS Player. I switch to it and everything seems good so far. Sometimes, the player would crash upon closing but that does not seem to be a big problem for me.