For those with CRTs, what do you do when a game is underscanned or overscanned on your display?

So, my PVM 20L5 is calibrated so as to precisely hug the image the outside of a PS2 game and/or an N64 game that uses all pixels. I find that those systems usually have the “widest” and “tallest” games when all pixels are used (although I have not tested this extensively and might be mistaken).

This means, however, that on some games and systems like Banjo Kazooie on N64, all Genesis games I’ve tested, all NES games I’ve tested, and all Saturn games I’ve tested, there’s a rather noticeable gap between the TV frame and the game’s borders where pixels are not drawn showing a degree of underscan that seems to vary depending on what I’m playing.

I’m torn as to whether I should leave it this way or if it’s better to overscan the bigger images a little so that there’s no borders for nearly any of the games I play.

No doubt, games back then were designed with tolerance for some overscan and my TVs growing up all overscanned images on most consoles - even the ones that have smaller images like the Genesis.

One particularly interesting system, however, is the Dreamcast. I’m not sure what it’s native aspect ratio is in VGA mode, but it’s the only system that is even slightly overscanned with my current monitor. If I adjusted the borders for that, however, everything would be pretty severly underscanned.

Interestingly, some games from the 32/64bit era started offering centering settings for the image in the options menu, (Super Smash Bros and Soul Calicut being the ones that came to mind) and in those settings they often had an outer boarder which displayed what I assume to be the inner most threshold of overscan the devs seemed to design around.

But I find that depicted border to be a bit too generous and inconsistent between games and haven’t used them to calibrate my display.

I know my NEO GEO CMVS has a similar border calibration screen that is on the system level, but that also seems a bit too generous. I also know the 240p test suite has one but I’ve never actually run it before (I should change that).

So what do you all do? Do you adjust the CRT borders on a per-machine basis, leave it slightly overscanned for all systems so there are never any borders, or do what I did and adjust it for the (nearly) largest image from a 4:3 system that you can find, and just cope with borders for other games/systems?

I’ve learned to live with it honestly. I never found a good way to adjust things quickly on my PVMs or consumer CRTs.

I gave up hope of having one setting for everything so I do a quick adjustment on a per game basis; everything is a little different. I’m use to it now and can quickly adjust video phase and v/h size. I should write v linearity since it’s always the same but I still just quickly adjust it as well.

What are you using to make adjustments? The service menu? Or is there some sort of extron-type device you’re using?

The service menu on a PVM. I sit close to the monitor so that makes it easier. I moved a couple months ago and haven’t set up the new setup yet so it may be an issue going forward.

I change it via the service menu so there is no overscan and it fits proportionally. This means I have to change it each time I boot up Saturn T___T.

On my PVM 14M2A, I get to the service menu by pressing menu, then enter+degauss.
There are then many options to configure, which you scroll through with Menu and Enter, and adjust with the +/-.
NOR DEF 60 seems to be NTSC options, and as stated earlier, H-Phase, H-size, and v-size will be all you need.
Hitting degauss twice writes the settings to memory.

The L2 may be slightly different.

Bringing up the 240p test suite can be useful for those consoles that run it, but for saturn, dreamcast, ps2, you might have to eyeball it with a static screen.

Have a play around. If you stuff up, unless you’ve written the settings to the monitor’s memory, they’ll reset when you power it off.

I go for a slight overscan because it counteracts the push and pull of blooming on a consumer CRT. I find it distracting when I’m bright screens the blooming underscans the display.

Sadly despite my KVAR25M31 looking identical to the FV310 it doesn’t have the high voltage regulator.

I’ve always lived with it because a remote has never worked with my CRT so I can’t access the service menu. It’s never been egregious enough to really be annoying and seems to differ heavily by game

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When I had only a PVM, I adjusted overscan so that the majority of games covered the screen entirely. With a BVM, there are profiles and I have a few different ones that cover all my systems.