Underscan Man


I recently built an HTPC with a Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H mobo and AMD Phenom X2 550 processor, with 64-bit Windows 7.

Everything runs like a top. I have the HTPC connected to my 46-inch Samsung UN46B6000 via HDMI (input 1), with only one problem: The video output displays onto the TV with black bars all around it, about an inch on each side. When viewing cable stations, watching a Blu-ray movie (via HDMI input 2), or playing Wii over the component connection, the display fills the full screen, no problem.

I’ve tried switching HDMI inputs around, using different HDMI cables, even switching from the Gigabyte motherboard’s onboard HDMI port to using a Radeon HD 4650 with HDMI out. The problem persists. No settings to adjust this are found within the ATI drivers/settings. Windows display settings are set to full 1920x1080. When connecting the HTPC to the TV via the analog connection, it does use the full screen, but the colors don’t seem as bold as with HDMI. I really would like to utilize the convenience of audio and video on one HDMI connection.

The TV itself does have “zoom” features that will stretch the picture out or make it bigger than 1080 pixels, but then it’s cutting off edges! We still use it for our Hulu viewing and day-to-day use, and everything works fine, but it’s a nuisance having those black bars around the screen.

—Name Withheld

AMD should be ashamed of itself for making this driver setting so ridiculously hard to find. Right-click the desktop and choose Catalyst Control Center from the menu. Click the Graphics menu in the top-left of the CCC window and choose Desktops and Displays. Now, click the black triangle in the smaller of the two icons representing the display you wish to control—it’s at the bottom of the CCC window beneath the heading “Please Select a Display.” Now all you need to do is click the Scaling Options tab and move the Underscan/Overscan slider until the desktop fills the screen appropriately. Click OK and you’re done.

It's hard to find, but ATI's Catalyst Control Center does have an underscan/overscan slider.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at doctor@maximumpc.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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