Streaming may steadily be replacing good old-fashioned cables as a means of watching PC-based media on our TVs, but there’s still something to be said for the directness of using an HDMI cable. The quality of data transmission is flawless, and it’s definitely the better option if your PC is in the same room as your TV. But there’s a good chance that you’ll encounter problems with overscanning, which is when the edges of the desktop extend beyond the edges of the TV, and you can’t see everything you want.
This tendency of TVs is a relic from the olden days of CRT TVs but thankfully can be fixed using a number of methods we have for you here.
Fix Overscan Using TV
The quickest way to fix overscan is to use the settings of whatever TV you’re using. This way you’re likely to retain a better picture quality than you would using whatever onboard options your PC has (we’ll get to those in a moment).
The exact name of this setting varies between TV brands, but generally speaking, you’ll find it by pressing the “Menu” button on your remote, then navigating to Picture Size, Aspect Ratio or something similar, where you’ll get to pick between settings like 16:9, 4:3, Zoom, Super Zoom and so on.
One of these options will be called “Just Scan” (LG TVs), “Screen Fit” (Samsung), 1:1 or something similar. Select it, and your desktop should fit perfectly within the four corners of the screen.
Fix Overscan Using Windows
Depending on what make your GPU is, there are a few ways to fix the overscan problem using your graphics card’s control panel.
Fix Overscan Using Nvidia Control Panel
If you have an Nvidia GPU, go to the Nvidia Control Panel, select “Display” in the pane on the left, then “Adjust desktop size and position.”
Select the TV from the options that appear, then tick the “Enable desktop resizing” box. (You need to make sure you’re not duplicating the laptop display for this to work – press Ctrl + P on your Windows desktop to select an option other than “Duplicate.”)
Next, click “Resize” and use the sliders to make your desktop fit on the TV screen.
Fix Overscan Using Intel Graphics Driver
If you use Intel Graphics Drivers (i.e. if you have an Intel CPU), then you can use the Intel Graphics Control Panel to fix the overscan on your TV.
Go to the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel (either through the taskbar or by right-clicking on your desktop and finding it there). In the Control Panel click “General Settings,” select the TV from the “Display” dropdown, then click “Customize Aspect Ratio” under Scaling.
Finally, use the sliders in the “Preview” image to the right to adjust the picture until it fits on your TV.
The AMD faithful may be disappointed to see that their Radeon GPUs aren’t accounted for here. That’s because AMD removed the manual scaling options from their more recent Radeon Settings packages, which isn’t great. Instead, AMD graphics drivers automatically underscan when connected to TVs, which theoretically should negate the Overscan problem. That failing, it’s best AMD users stick to the TV method.