Fixing HDMI overscan issues on Ubuntu 16.04 and Intel Graphics


UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that this only works for ‘Ironlake’ GPUs (a.k.a. Intel processors with integrated graphics). Thanks RD94 for letting me know!


I’ve been having trouble using xrandr with the commands I normally use with AMD and Nvidia cards for overscan.

Those are the ones I normally use:

xrandr --output HDMI-0 --set underscan on
xrandr --output HDMI-0 --set "underscan hborder" 48 --set "underscan vborder" 24

On Intel graphics, I get error messages similar to this, since the commands are not supported.
X Error of failed request: BadName (named color or font does not exist)

I finally found the answer here and got it working with a bit of fiddling.

First, install the intel-gpu-tools package to acquire the intel-panel-fitter tool.

In my case, the answer was this command: sudo intel_panel_fitter -p A -x 1848 -y 1030
Note that you will have to change the x and y values for your specific TV/monitor.

The ‘-p A’ part is a bit mystical for me, I’m assuming the “pipes” are the outputs available. (Sadly even the man page isn’t more helpful on that subject)

The man page is located here if you desire more information on this tool.

Once you have found the values for your display, to have the command run automagically on boot (even on login screen!), add your command (less the ‘sudo’ part)
to /etc/rc.local  (sudo nano /etc/rc.local) BEFORE the ‘exit 0’ statement.

I can’t believe I didn’t find that earlier! Let’s fight the audio now…

EDIT: Using those instructions worked for me to force HDMI output, else it always switches back to analog audio.


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3 Responses to Fixing HDMI overscan issues on Ubuntu 16.04 and Intel Graphics

  1. RD94 says:

    Only works on IronLake and newer, however…

    • deskwizard says:

      I didn’t have any older hardware than that to test, nor did it even cross my mind to be honest,
      I’ll add a note at the top, thanks for pointing this out!

      • RD94 says:

        Thanks for this write-up. There seems to be a lack of good information out there about tuning your Intel graphics in Ubuntu, and putting together your stuff with some others, I was able to work out what I needed to do.

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