Don’t give your users a bad first experience

Some months ago I got around to upgrade my old CRT-tv to a flatscreen. I first figured that if I hooked up my old Mac Mini to it I could use that to watch whatever service (netflix, youtube, etc) that I wanted.

The tv cut of the sides of the screen and I was pretty pissed and assumed it was because I had purchased a cheap tv – it wasn’t until a week ago I learned about overscanning – basically your tv will try to make low-quality connections (720p) look better by scaling them up a bit. When the connection is HD then the 1024p image gets scaled up too much and some gets cropped out.

Here is what gets me – when I turn to an HDMI channel it very helpfully tells me that the connection is 1024p@60hz. So the tv knows the connection is HD and could easily provide the user with the entire picture, not scaled at all but for some reason this check was’t put into the software.

And to disable this scaling hack I had to change… the aspect. WTF? There was nothing wrong with the aspect, but at least now my entire computer screen is displayed.