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Washed-out graphics when using HDMI with PC display

nVidia graphics cards treat differently DVI and HDMI

HDMI cable

If you find that picture quality is reduced when you connect your display to your PC via HDMI rather than DVI, our Helproom Editor can help.

QUESTION I recently began using an HDMI rather than DVI cable to connect my monitor to my PC, which allows me to use its built-in speakers. However, I've found that the picture quality is reduced and graphics appear washed out. I tried using a different HDMI cable, but the results were the same. Can you help?

HELPROOM ANSWER We suspect you're probably using an nVidia graphics card in your PC. These treat HDMI and DVI connections differently, and make assumptions about what sort of device you're connecting them to.

In this case, nVidia will be assuming that you're connecting your PC to a TV rather than a PC monitor (as would be the case with a DVI connection), and is therefore applying a different set of default values for the black and maximum brightness levels. An HDMI connection with HDMI audio enabled seems to be the trigger for this.

This issue can be difficult to fix, depending on your exact hardware setup. However, some users have reported that using a DVI-to-HDMI adaptor on that port (if their card supports audio via the DVI port) will allow HDMI audio plus the correct brightness levels.

If this doesn't work, you can try (at your own risk) a handy utility that lets you toggle between full- and limited-range TV output when using an HDMI connection with an nVidia card. Get it here.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor and Windows 8 Advisor for more Windows advice. Or email our Helproom Editor for bespoke advice.

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