» Removing HDMI overscan on a Sony HDTV

Removing HDMI overscan on a Sony HDTV


Posted on 11 January 2009 - 15:09

Christmas was quite media/techie this year: we bought a nice 52" Sony HDTV and a small Acer PC with HDMI output as a media center. And also a Wii with Guitar Hero :-)

Connecting the PC to the TV with HDMI showed a good amount of overscan: the viewable resolution was something like 1820x1030 pixels when the native resolution of the TV is 1900x1080, causing the borders of the PC's desktop to be cut, and even worse, causing the display to be blurry because of some image resizing happening somewhere.

After fiddling with many of the nVidia control panel settings (the PC still runs Vista until I manage to properly install the nVidia Linux drivers), and scouting the web where many people report similar problems, I finally found out the solution was a non obvious setting on the TV side. Go to "Settings / Set-up / Screen settings / Display Area" and select the "Full pixel" option. In French, this is in "Réglages / Réglage / Réglage écran / Zone d'affichage" and the value is "Tous les pixels".

Basically we tell the TV to show all the pixels that come from the HDMI input, and once done the display is perfect! But I can't understand why we would like to do otherwise, i.e. not display everything and have the TV resize a perfectly clean and properly sized digital input... Overscan was understandable with analog transmission when the end of scan lines could be noisy or cut, but with a digital signal, I'm quite puzzled by why we would like to do that, and even more why this is the default setting on the TV.

Anonymous's picture

Normal broadcast video is always sending more information (VBI) in the broadcast (EIA-608, Line 21 Captions, Teletext, etc.) and therefore it is not normal to display everything. If you are outputting from your computer though, you are not sending this extra data, so therefore you should disable the cropping and set it to "Full Pixel" mode (which means, say you are a monitor, not HDTV) or adjust on the PC. Almost all TV's are setup to assume overscan by default, as that is still the most common case.

So to fix this, you need to ensure that the computer doesn't think it is sending a signal to an HDTV set, as that causes it to send data assuming an overscan. There are methods to override the TV, by adjusting the registry settings for the Nvidia drivers. Here is some more data on this topic. http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=58483&view=findpost&p=33...

you also have to keep in mind that many DVDs, broadcasts and other signals send non-square pixels (PAR != 1:1), which is another variable that needs to be considered when viewing on your HDTV. I think long term all this will go away, but most of this is related to transitioning from non-digital to the progressive, square pixel digital world.

Anonymous's picture

I'm particularly happy to hear about the guitar hero bit ;-)

Anonymous's picture

Sander, thanks for the thorough answer!

Anonymous's picture

Wonderful. This is exactly what I'm searching for! Now I got a wonderful 1080P Screen. You made me happy.

Anonymous's picture

Thank you for posting this! I solved the overscan problem in 2 minutes with your help.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for the solution however it seems it doesn't work with Sony KDL-40S4100 as I can't change the "Display Area" to "Full Pixel" because it is shaded and can't be chosen.

Anonymous's picture

for some reason I am not able to find the full pixel option under the display area I only have normal, -1 and -2 please help! This is very frustrating because my screen is completely screwed up.

Anonymous's picture

hi mate, did you ever sort out that issue? My PC shows up on the bravia with big black borders and i have the same -1 / -2 options as you.

Sylvain's picture

Yes I did! Read the post carefully ;-)

Now could these black borders caused by a wrong resolution setting on the PC?

Anonymous's picture

Thanks a lot for this brief tuto.
I have SONY Bravia HDTV and NVIDIA ION Graphic card and
I have been looking for fixes for my overscan problem for a while.

Anonymous's picture

I have the same problem, can't find that 'full pixel'-option anywhere.
Did you sort it out?

Sylvain's picture

As I said in the post, it's at "Settings / Set-up / Screen settings / Display Area". Now for this option to show up, you need to have selected the HDMI input on the TV.

Anonymous's picture

And as I said, can't find it anywhere!
The menu on my TV is different I guess, so forget about it.

Anonymous's picture

Seems that on some Sonys, the mentioned full-pixel option is not available. However, we found that the nVidia control panel offered a helpful setting:
nVidia Control Panel >
Select a Task (ie: left panel)>
Video and Television (category) >
Resize HDTV desktop (item)

With this we were able to remove overscan.

Anonymous's picture

Thank you so much. I have tried everything with no success and was about to give up until I found your article.

Anonymous's picture

This was WONDERFULLY HELPFUL! Thank you and thanks to those that left informative comments. This problem has been driving me BONKERS!

Anonymous's picture

In order for the FULL PIXEL option to be available on the Sony Bravia, you must first set your WIDE MODE to FULL.

Anonymous's picture

I have been searching for over a year on this. And it looks as if, to get my Sony Bravia to display 1920x1080 for my PC, I will be forever hitting MENU-Down-Down-Right-Up-Right-Up-Menu.

Anonymous's picture

You are so awesome for hepilng me solve this mystery.

Anonymous's picture

hahahhha... after searching an hour for the solution to this common 'overscan' problem... your supremely simply comment (menu-down-down-right..etc) was exactly the solution for me. Thanks! Thanks to you and the original poster.

Stu