Fixing HDTV black border problem

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Update 02.01.12 - The ATI video cards have been replaced by nVIDIA cards. The instructions below are moot, but will be left here for posterity (or if we have to go back to ATI for some reason).

Problem description


Sometimes the image on the HDTV's is scaled down such that there is a black border around the entire image. The best we can tell, this occurs because of a mismatch between the reported size of the sceen (via DDC back-channel), the DPI setting of Windows, and the output resolution. The ATI video card driver actually cares enough to try to make sure the size of the image output works out. IOW, the HDTV is reporting a size of 46", and the desktop is set to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels...but the DPI is set too high meaning that 1,920 pixels accross won't fill a 46" screen.

This is definintely the fault of the ATI driver, as the same problem is occuring on the projector for station 2, which now has a DVI hook-up. The other projectors, which are connected via VGA, do not have this. So, in the future when if we make them all DVI, we'll need to be on the look-out for this for all twelve screens. Sigh. Or we can get nVIDIA cards (hint, hint).

Problem resolution (pun intended)


  1. Open ATI Catalyst Control Center: The quickest way is to right-click on an empty part of the desktop and choose it from the context menu (should be at the top with red icon).
  2. In the top-left-most button-menu, choose Desktops & Displays.
  3. At the bottom is a row with little monitor icons representing the HDTV and the projector. Using the layout display in the upper part of the window, which shows the location of each screen with respect to each other in the Windows desktop layout, determine which one is the HDTV by looking at the number of the display on top. If it's "2", the click the little down triangle on the icon for display 2 at the bottom, and from the resulting menu choose Configure.
  4. At the bar near the top, click Scaling Options.
  5. Drag the slider-bar all the way to the right to 0% (Overscan).
  6. Click Ok at the bottom.