Last night, observing a friend’s Sony VAIO connected to a 42” Panasonic Viera 720p plasma display via the HDMI input, the screen was not displayed properly, with a significant portion bleeding out of the boundaries of the screen. It was cut off about 5% on every side, like it was zoomed in.
Asked her about how she feels about it and the answer was even more ridiculous than the problem itself: “if I could only see the Start menu button…” She then explained how both Sony and Panasonic tech staff have come along for help, and tried to solve the problem using nVidia Control Panel, by means of some absurd fashion: resizing the desktop and adjusting horizontal and vertical dimensions to the desired screen size… Well, that’s definitely a proof to my “pizza-boy-turned-support-technician” theory.
It’s not OS-dependent and if you’re luckily using a Mac, you might not be able to see all of the menus at the top of your Mac’s screen or the lower half of the Dock icons might be cut off.
TV Picture Overscan
If I send, for example, a display signal of 800×600 from my PC through the VGA connection, with overscan set to OFF, I will get the image at the center of the screen with a black border around. As the display is 1024×768, this would result in some of the screen being unused. That is why overscan is enabled by default.
The basic function of overscan is that it stretches the image a fraction so as to take the outer picture frame off of the screen. This, thus prevents little edge artifacts appearing on your screen on Standard Definition viewing.
For the HD signals being sent through HDMI, the overscan option is only available when Aspect Ratio is set to Auto (16:9 signal only) or 16:9. This has to be separately set for SD and HD signals. For HD it does not need to be on and is very easy to switch from on to off. This option might be available regardless of the input connection you are using. Some users leave it off all the time, but I prefer the perfect edges all the time, so leave it on for SD.
As stated above, the aspect ratio must be in auto (which is the default setting) or 16:9. For me, I find it a useful feature.
On Panasonic HD plasma displays, for the HDMI port you’re currently using, select Menu > Setup > Picture Overscan, and turn it OFF. If you are unable to find the Picture Overscan option, then try fiddling with the Aspect settings. You will probably find it set to Auto. Switch it to 16:9 and you should find the Picture Overscan option will be available from the Setup Menu.
Pioneer Kuro and Pioneer Elite Kuro [Updated July 17, 2007]
Strangely, world’s finest HDTV isn’t “Full HD,” and only does 720p! Ignoring technology-rabid 1080p-obliged consumers, Pioneer’s 2007 Kuro and Elite Kuro displays sport a 1,024 × 768 XGA resolution panel for 42-inch models, and the 50-inch flavors up the ante with a 1,365 × 768 WXGA resolution. With both being 16:9 dimensionally, only the 50-inch has square (1:1) pixels.
As for the picture sizing, you will need to set your Pioneer Kuro TV input to “dot-for-dot” (no scaling), and maybe the overscan setting as well in order to exactly.
Samsung [Updated September 5, 2010]
On Samsung LCD HD TVs, the option makes more sense. The problem could be because you had initially selected a wrong screen size (16:9 | Wide Zoom | Zoom | 4:3). So, for the specific Samsung HDTV HDMI port connected to either a PC DVI port or a notebook HDMI port, select
Picture Options ►
Size and set
Screen Fit. If that didn’t solve the problem, while having your Samsung HDTV HDMI port connected to either a PC DVI port or a notebook HDMI port selected as current source, select
Edit Name and among options (like DVR | Game Console | PC), select
PC. This will hopefully counterbalance the cropped picture, and edges rendered outside the screen will be justified inside the viewable area. If you want it to make more sense, be informed, by Edit Name they meant Input Type!
World’s largest chaebol, though it’s a far cry from being a high-end brand, Samsung produces mass-market products common consumers enjoy. So thanks to Samsung’s customer satisfaction policy, if your HTPC feeds a Samsung LCD HD TV, or technically speaking, if your personal computer outputs DVI, and you’ve converted the DVI to HDMI, using either a DVI to HDMI converter or a DVI-D Dual Link to HDMI cable, selecting
Screen Fit (and perhaps
PC) for the HDMI input you’re currently using, should solve the cropped screen problem.
Commenting Request [Updated December 5, 2010]
If you’ve been experiencing the same HDMI cropped picture problem in your HD Ready/Full HD plasma/LCD/LED display panel, and seen the edges of the screen are like they’re rendered outside of the viewable area, please comment, stating the brand/model of the TV display, and where the option to solve the problem lays.