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MythTV frontend on laptop with broken or removed panel

From OCAU Wiki

I have an Acer 5920G laptop which was dropped and as a result the laptop panel (referred to as the LVDS panel) was shattered and unusable. I could have shelled out for a replacement panel and fixed it up, but I opted to use it as my new MythTV frontend instead! So I pulled the laptop apart and removed the broken panel as well as the frame for the panel. The 5920G laptop has a HDMI socket on it, so I was thinking that I should be able to get the laptop to display video on my 42" plasma TV.

This particular laptop has a NVIDIA 8600m GS video card in it, so if you are trying to do this with a laptop with a different kind of video card, your mileage may vary.

To actually get mythbuntu on the HDD of this laptop, I removed the HDD from the broken laptop and put it into a different 5920. This laptop isn't a 'G' model, so it's got an Intel video card, not the dedicated NVIDIA card. I installed mythbuntu as a frontend, then once that was done, installed openssh-server and the NVIDIA binary Xorg driver, nvidia-glx-185 packages.

However, once the laptop was attached via HDMI, I found that there was no display on the TV. It seemed like the laptop had started correctly, but after seeing the BIOS and Grub on the TV and some text while the laptop was starting, I got a blank screen. To fix this, I connected to the laptop via ssh with the '-X' option, to forward X sessions to the computer I was connecting from. Once connected, I ran 'nvidia-xconfig' to create an xorg config file which should use the HDMI-connected TV for display.

Crossing my fingers, I restarted the laptop and voila! All was good!

The above process wasn't as smooth as it sounds, I've tidied it up after quite a bit of troubleshooting and lots of rebooting and fiddling around until I figured out exactly how to do it from scratch. I did find some useful information by Googling around for "xorg LVDS panel disable" and other such terms. One interesting page was this one on the Ubuntu wiki: [1]

Now I have to configure the optical audio out from the laptop (there's a mini-toslink output) and get the IR receiver on the laptop to work as well, and I'll have a functioning MythTV frontend!

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