How To Fix TV Overscan With Proprietary Nvidia Driver On Linux/Ubuntu

By | August 15, 2013

Yesterday I’ve been battling with getting my TV to work properly when I hook it up to my desktop PC that’s running Linux, Linux Mint 15 to be more precise. The thing that was causing me headaches is something that’s a problem not just on Linux, but on other operating systems also, the dreaded TV overscan. I have Nvidia graphics and in this tutorial, I’m gonna show you how to solve the TV overscan problem when running the proprietary Nvidia driver.

Nvidia tv overscan issues linux ubuntu main driver

Why proprietary Nvidia driver you might be wondering. Well it’s only because that’s what I’m using at the moment. The fix is actually quite easy, and I got the idea after reading this very useful thread on PCLinuxOS forums. The same fix can be used in every other Linux distribution, Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, you name it, as long as you’re running the proprietary driver and you have the Nvidia X Server Settings manager installed, the one that can be seen on the image above.

Also note that I’m using the driver that’s installed using the Driver Manager, the one that comes with Linux Mint and Ubuntu. There’s no need for downloading the driver from the Nvidia website in order for this overscan fix to work.

Nvidia tv overscan issues linux ubuntu main driver setting

Don’t worry, in order to solve the TV overscan problem there’s also no need for typing in a long list of commands in terminal (or should I say copy/pasting them).

This one can actually be fixed by simply opening up the Nvidia X Server Settings manager and after that opening up the X Server Display Configuration from the left sidebar. There you need to select the attached TV from the Selection dropdown menu and then down below click on Advanced, to reveal advanced settings for the connected TV.

Nvidia tv overscan issues linux ubuntu main driver settings close

Here’s a bunch of other random Linux how to’s:
Command Line System Info Utility For Linux
How To Print Multiple Photos On Linux With gThumb

Here’s a close up of the two settings that you need to tweak in order to fix the overscan problems. Now the numbers that you will have to type in here will be different for you, depending on how much overscan you have and what resolutions the external display that you’re using supports.

ViewPortIn: in my case this has to be set to the resolution that I want my external display to have. My TV supports full HD, so I have this set to 1920X1080.

ViewPortOut: this is the tricky part. Here I had to experiment with numbers in order to get it right, because to tell you the truth I have no idea what these mean. I lowered the resolution that I typed in the ViewPortIn field by 60 and 40 pixels respectfully. Then by following the instructions in the PCLinuxOS forum thread, I started adding various different trailing values after the lowered resolution. After every tweak I hit Apply to see what changed and soon enough the overscan issue was fixed.

Depending on what make and model TV you have, you might be able to solve this problem within its own settings, by turning off overscan for example. My Quadro LCD TV unfortunately does not have this option, but luckily this fix worked just fine.

Are there any drawbacks? Well I noticed that every time that I turn off the external display in X Server Display Configuration, next time that I turn it back on, these values have to be typed in again. As for the PC restarts, well in order to make the changes more permanent, you will have to generate a Xorg.conf file. I’m gonna write about how to do that very shortly. I’ll post a link here once the article is live. Fewh, let me know if you come across any issues or if you have any additional questions in the comments section down below.


2 thoughts on “How To Fix TV Overscan With Proprietary Nvidia Driver On Linux/Ubuntu

  1. Gabriel

    Thanks, this was really helpful to get underscan on my projector. AFAIK, the two numbers at the end are for shifting the image right and down respectively. The first two numbers scale the output. You usually want to shift half of what you scaled to get a centered image, though not always.

    1. Zoran Valentak Post author

      Hi, you’re welcome, I’m just glad someone found this helpful. Yes, setting this up is a bit of a hit and miss. You will need to experiment with numbers to get it right, but it works, and that’s what’s important. 🙂


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