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When I connect my netbook to a TV via HDMI everything works fine, but because I watch it from a distance icons and fonts are too small. I'd like to either zoom it or set lower resolution that would just get upscaled to tv can show it correctly.

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May I suggest an alternative approach: Make fonts larger and icons larger?

TTY font size is set with sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup as illustrated at How do I change the font or the font size in the TTY (console)?

Preferences | Appearance allows you to set the default font in the GUI as shown at How to change font size which can't be picked from 'Font' setting

GUI icon size is changeable as per How to resize the Unity launcher? by a right-click on the Desktop followed by Launcher Icon Size at lower right, unless you're using Classic, in which case see How can I make the icons larger and/or clearer in Classic Menu Indicator? for more.

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When i needed to change my ubuntu resolution in a non-standard resolution i've found a useful program which is 'newrez'. It's not very user-friendly but it allows you to set resolution even bigger than your monitor native resolution. You can also create simple scripts to quickly change resolution. You can find newrez here:

http://gtk-apps.org/content/show.php?content=134686

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