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obvious things first. have you tried the other input plugs on the TV? do you get the same problem with plugs 1 and 2?
you can try only having the TV connected to the Graphics card and turning on the PC see if it comes up as the primary display automatically.
have you tried configuring the Nvidia setting so ONLY the tv is a display instead of dual monitor?
doing these will rule out faulty cable or faulty S-video plug or Faulty TV input plug.
There are a few things that come to mind here. Number one is to try a different and known functioning DVI cable. Maybe see if you can recreate the problem simply by wiggling the dvi cable. If there are any splitters/adapters, remove them and plug the cable straight from the video card to the display. Make sure the display is set to digital input mode. When you are using the digital cable, make sure to completely remove the analog cable. See if this problem happens outside the operating system (such as in the system bios, if it does, this indicates a hardware issue). Finally, the digital input on the monitor could be having an issue, try a different monitor or try this monitor with digital input from another system.
make sure your tv is set to the correct avi or input that your using for the laptop conection to it. hope this helps, normally should just come onto the tv. once the tv is on correct station so to speak.
Have you set the properties from your computers graphics settings ?
They have to be set first and it is always better to start with a lower resolution first.
First off ensure it is a good quality cable as many cheap cables are not worth the material they are made from.
Second you will have to make sure you tv is set to the correct input eg video 1, input 1, etc.
Third you need to call up the display properties for your graphics card on the computer
You can right click on an empty area of your desktop and if there is an option for Nvidia or radeon you should use that.
If not click on properties. setting, advanced, you should then see a tab for your graphics card, select this.
Options may vary a little from here on but you are looking for an advanced control panel just for your graphics card and it is in this area that you can select additional displays and their properties. Usually it is best to select "clone" until you have established a picture. after that you can select expand or other options, Clone is usually best.
You should also find the option that lets you set the resoloution for each screen independant. then you can select the flat screen and say set it to 1024 x 768 as a starting point whiles leaving your regular monitor as it is.
You should by now have some form of display on your TV. It may look wrong but once you have it you can alter the resolution until it fits as you want it to.
The aspect ration on your big tv may also need to be changed so that you can get the computer image as large as possible without loosing any of it eg. the toolbar
If you have an Nvidia card then you are better using the "dualview" option to do what I just described Radeon may have somthing similar but I am not a fan of that brand and find the Nviia easier to use for this type of work.
If your graphics card has a digital output then a lead from that to your TV if it too has hdmi etc is a better option than S-video, Some TV's also have a VGA input this too is better than S-VIDEO.
it sounds like your computer isnt set up to send the signal out. try right clicking on your desktop and selecting a dual monitor setting. It should be found under graphics options or something similar.