I'm new to Linux and just installed Ubuntu 12.10 on my HTPC that I just put together.

It has a Z77 chipset with a Intel i3 and Intel 2500 graphics. I'm having an issue with overscan. I have an older Dynex 42inch tv that does not let you turn overscan on or off. I can't see the top, bottom or sides of the screen due to this and I've been trying to fix it.

I've seen some stuff about modelines, and kernels, but I'm so new to this, all I'm able to do is open the terminal.

Can someone tell me what to do step by step to get to a point where I can adjust the overscan?

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5 Answers 5


Take a look at this thorough guide on UbuntuForums. The trick is to set new display modes with xrandr. After you add the new modes, you adjust the margins accordingly to center the picture on the screen.

  • I went to that link, and it asks to download and compile xtvmargin. What does that mean? Is there a program I need to download to do this?
    – user126405
    Jan 27, 2013 at 21:27
  • That particular tutorial does rely on xtvmargin. You can download and compile it, or download the attached package at the end of that post (though you have to log in to the forum to do so)
    – Travis G.
    Jan 28, 2013 at 6:52

So I had this very same problem and by searching around (allot!) and fiddling here is the best solution I found.

In the terminal type:

xrandr --output HDMI2 --transform 0.95,0,-52,0,0.97,-35,0,0,1


xrandr --output HDMI2 --transform 1,0,-57,0,1,-29,0,0,1

If this doesn't fit your screen try playing with the 4 numbers I changed always going back to the '1' in substitute for the decimal number on the second input. Also remember to change HDMI2 to your output. You can find this by typing: xrandr -q

Also this change is not permanent so you will need to set a script to run at startup.


Running a server version of Ubuntu I didn't want to hassle with xrandr. I used an HDMI to DVI dongle and it got rid of the overscan. If course, this assumes a monitor with a DVI input as well as HDMI.


I tried these settings (from Jason), and many others. What eventually worked for me was a combination of 2 switches - "shrinking" the content then realigning the top-left corner.

xrandr --output HDMI2 --fb 1240x700 --transform 1,0,-20,0,1,-10,0,0,1

My TV overscans by 20 pixels on the sides and 10 pixels on the top and bottom. Yours will likely vary.


For my TV, a 50" LG plasma from 2004, running from my acer with Intel HD4000, it worked to set the resolution to 1152x864 and then do:

xrandr --output HDMI1 --panning 1383x864  --transform 1.2,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,1

I know it's a 4:3 resolution, but the 20% scale on y-axis, makes it fit perfectly and with correct aspect ratio.

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