Playing PC games on Smart TV - upscales everything?

So, like so many others, I am playing Skyrim and other games on the TV bigscreen instead of just on my laptop. Skyrim, extremely modded, only has 30 FPS right now, and I had issues with Gears Tactics poor performance as well.

It seems, that since my TV is set to 4K, EVERYTHING I play is upscaled by my graphics card (I think so, at least??) to 4K?

Is there a way to change this? I have set Skyrim to 1920 x 1080 (In Skyrimprefs and Bethini) and its still 4K so maybe Nvidia does this somewhere? The same goes for Gears Tactics - its set to 1920 x 1080, but its being output in 4K!

This boggles my mind!

Edit: To not show a compacted screen of my laptop desktop on the TV, I have set a scale at 100 percent in windows screen settings. But without that, I have the issues of skyrim and other games not showing the edges (Overscan I think its called).

I don’t have a good answer, but I need to ask if you’ve tried drilling holes into it.

of course - its the first thing I tried. I didnt know if it was the laptop monitor or the samsung smarttv though I had to do this to, so I drilled holes in both - to no avail!

Seems weird. Does your TV support other res? (I don’t see why it wouldn’t)

If you go to advanced display info for the screen, adapter properties, then list all modes, does it show a bunch of different resolutions?

You could try setting your desktop res down lower, see if that takes. Verify what res your TV is actually set to, it should have some info that shows you that.

Even if it were upscaling, I don’t think that is super expensive if you are actually rendering at 1080p. You can check the scaling settings in the Nvidia settings app, adjust desktop size and position. Try changing the perform scaling on option.

With overscan you may be able to turn that off on the TV, under aspect ratio settings or something.

Thanks Profanicus - It seems though, as is Nvidia renders the game at 4K, at least, thats the resolution Nvidia says the screen is set at. I have tried other resolutions through the NVIDA control panel, but they all seem to come with some drawbacks. 2K has a weird format (2048 x 1536) and doesnt fit my games, and for some reason 1080 looks really strange as well, and requires me to use scaling in windows to make the windows fit. Also - it really didnt feel like much of a performance gain.

Its a bit of a difficult subject, because I dont know what half the options are - and mostly the TV is locked in 16:9 and when it isnt, Skyrim no longer fits, whatever I try.

This is what I am running now (again)

But once more I have to use windows scaling at 200 percent to not have the windows desktop screen look incredibly small and text as well.

BUT - what really bugs me, is that the games seem to use the 4K resolution, no matter what I have set the game to? Unless its like you said, and it doesnt really? The performance hit is real, though!

I realize the below is in the danish, but it seems to me, that the game should use its own resolution, since this option isnt toggled?

That’s what your desktop is set at, but if you run Skyrim at 1080p it should change down to that res. Can you verify whether or not it does that? Your TV should be able to show info regarding the current res.

In the pic above your refresh at 4k is set to 30Hz. So at that res 30fps is the most you will get.

Maybe when you run your desktop at 4k/30, then set a game to run at 1080p, it keeps using that refresh?

(Though I thought Gears Tactics let you set refresh as well as resolution)

Remember upscaling changes the size of the image - if your 1920 x 1080 wasn’t upscaled it would only be a small box in the middle of the screen. It seems like you’re saying that setting the game to run at 1080p is running worse than if you had set it to run at 2160p (4k)?

Change your Windows desktop to 1080p & the problem will go away.

Exactly right. His display physically has 4k pixels so it must be upscaled or it would only take up a quarter of the screen. The question is whether the GPU or display is doing the upscaling and what algorithm it uses to do that. If the game is being run in fullscreen non-windowed mode at 1080p the display is doing the upscaling.

If the GPU supports it I would suggest trying integer scaling, which makes each 1080p pixel take up four 4k pixels and should look perfectly sharp and not blurry. AMD supports this across their product line but Nvidia annoyingly only allows it on Turing.

In the image above he has it set to ‘display’. I’m pretty sure there should be no performance impact here.

I still think this performance hit he talks about is related to the 30hz refresh he has set at 4k, since he said Skyrim is running at 30fps.

If you have Skyrim set to 1920x1080 it’s being rendered in 1920x1080, regardless of what your output resolution is. At least on my 4K TV, the output resolution is always 4K, and everything is just scaled to fit automatically. This scaling doesn’t come with any real performance loss. If your output resolution is only 30 Hz, that’s going to look awful and is going to look awful regardless of what frame rate your card can push. Is your laptop limited to 30 Hz output or can you bump that up to 60?

If you are limited to 30 Hz at 4K, then I would recommend reducing your output resolution to whatever you need to in order to achieve 60 Hz, and then go into the nVIDIA scaling control panel and let the display do the upscaling instead of the GPU, just to force it to take your lower resolution (and higher refresh rate).

Well sure, if it’s only running at 30Hz you aren’t going see higher framerates unless you have vsync off, but that would just look worse.

Thanks guys, for all the suggestions and tips - The problem for me is, I dont know where the issues are, on the Smarttv, or on the laptop.

My laptops reslution IS set to 1920 x 1080.

Samsung smarttv has quite a few options to use - Enhanced HDMI throughoutput for one, which I have no idea whether to use or not.

As for the resolution and 30(P?) it was set to, that is not something Ive done - its an automatic setting. Samsung recognizes a PC and sets up everything it says.

What I did end up doing, was going through NVIDA control panel, and choosing a 1920 x 1080 /60 resolution instead. That semi-worked, only, when I started Skyrim (And this is a Skyrim specific problem), the game no longer fit the screen and went beyond bounds.

I then went into screen settings in windows, selected Scaling (which it suggest NOT to do) and set that to 100. That works!

So - Now Skyrim with 240 mods works! And it runs at close to 50 FPS now, instead of 20-30 FPS.
Someone said skyrim was in this resolution before, but I really think that is wrong - My tv said it was a 4K resolution.

Gears tactics also suddenly works again, and isnt moving in slowmotion, now that its not set to a 4K resoultion.

Question : What is the difference in letting the Display do the scaling, instead of the GPU? Can the Smarttv do any lifting, graphicswise?

Again - thank you all! In these corona times, and me having to stay home in my now…sigh…3rd month, Skyrim is keeping me sane.

This is a pretty common kind of problem I have with my PC/TV setup. I keep everything at 4k, and my Windows scaling is set to 300% (the recommended value).

But some games just don’t play nice with Windows scaling.

I’ve had games in Borderless mode taking up 1/4 screen, games in fullscreen but 1/4 res, and games in fullscreen with 1/4 of the image blown up to fullscreen. :P

One thing that usually fixes it is right-clicking on the game exe or shortcut and choosing properties, compatibility, change high DPI settings and ticking the high DPI scaling override at the bottom with the dropdown set to application.

300??? Doesnt that…make your screen incredibly small? I seem to have various success with the scaling thing though. At some time I had a scaling of 200, and that looked normal - then suddenly it didnt anymore. The screen was supersmall, as in every icon was small ,and text was very small as well.

I cant believe I didnt think of the compatibility settings!
Doesnt Borderless normally take up more processing power? I seem to have that experience myself - For some reason though, I see in the Bethini (Skyrim ini editor) that this is set to borderless as standard as well for some reason.

Man - sometimes PC gaming is COMPLEX!

It does, but I find 300 makes most things nicely readable from the couch. Text at 200 is too small for me. I’m not doing any productivity tasks on the couch so I don’t need a lot of real estate, it’s all web browsing, videos, and games - for that it’s all good.

For productivity I’ll sit at the desk and use my monitor.

Generally fullscreen runs better yes, but it depends on the game. If I want to alt-tab or have power to spare I’ll use borderless.

Borderless can be a lot brighter for me as well since it uses Windows HDR, where fullscreen doesn’t (unless specifically supported).

Okay, that sounds weird to me - 300 is bigger than 200 for you? I seem to have the exact opposite when I tried ?Thats why I set mine to 100 - or does that depend on your resolution again? Well, I guess it should.

Yes, 300% is bigger for me (and I assumed everyone). It’s setting the scaling of stuff in Windows, so 300% is going to make text three times bigger than 100%. 200% should make stuff twice as big as 100%.

How large it actually appears to your eyes will depend what res you are at, but at any given res the values are relative.

For example 4K with 300% scaling should make things look the same physical size on the screen as 720p with no scaling (100%), but much crisper and sharper.

Just to make sure we are talking about the same thing, it’s this setting?

yup - thats the one! I most have done something wrong when I saw it shrink, the higher number I put in.

It does make for some nice screenshots though, 4K, upscaled or not.