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 and later (a.k.a. Intel processors with integrated graphics). Thanks RD94 for letting me know!

UPDATE #2 : As mentioned by Bryan Rodriguez in the comments, if the following instructions don’t work for you, you might want to list the “pipes” (a.k.a the argument to the ‘-p’ option) using the ‘-l’ (lowercase L) to list the pipes and try changing the ‘-p’ option argument to another of the ones listed, if any. Thanks for pointing this out ! 

UPDATE #3: Seems like putting the machine to sleep will mess the panel fitter command ran on boot (ie. it’ll be back to overscanning), I will not be able to test a workaround for a little while, but I’m sure there’s a way­. I’ll post an update once done.


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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6 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.

      • deskwizard says:

        My pleasure! That is precisely the reason I decided to make a post about it, it took me a long time to figure it out, figured I’d share. (And more honestly, I didn’t want to mess around for ages if I needed to do it again :P)

  2. Thank you A LOT for this!. After hours of struggling found this post and it was really really helpful. in my case the panel_fitter was not working giving a error i cannot remember, i read the manual and found the option “-l” to list the pipes. It was the pipe “B” for me, after that and some adjustments it is finally looking good. (You might update the post to add the “choosing the right pipe” part).

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