Limited/Full Color Range by default

After Jetson TX2 with L4T R28.1 bootup, X11 has Full (0-255 channel value) Color Range. 1

However, if X11 is closed (sudo service lightdm stop) or switched to a Virtual Terminal (via CTRL+ATL+F1 or sudo chvt 1), then Limited (16-254 channel value, washed out colors, low-contract image) Color Range is used.
This behavior is tested on different monitors (one with HDMI-IN, and two with DVI-IN).

After a lot of digging I’ve found undocumented Tegra-specific FB_VMODE_LIMITED_RANGE bitflag of fb_var_screeninfo.vmode than is responsible for selecting Color Range.

To get the value Color Range, run cat /sys/kernel/debug/tegradc.0/mode | grep vmode.

To set the value of Color Range, compile and run:

#include </usr/src/linux-headers-4.4.38-tegra/include/uapi/linux/fb.h>

int main() {
  fb_var_screeninfo vinfo;
  assert(!ioctl(f, FBIOGET_VSCREENINFO, &vinfo));
  v.vmode &= ~FB_VMODE_LIMITED_RANGE; // Sets Full Color Range.
  //v.vmode |= FB_VMODE_LIMITED_RANGE; // Sets limited Color Range.
  assert(!ioctl(f, FBIOPUT_VSCREENINFO, &vinfo));

  return 0;

Further notes:

  • /usr/include/linux/fb.h of both Vanilla Linux and L4T R28.1 does not have bitflag FB_VMODE_LIMITED_RANGE defined.
  • Setting Color Range to Full only persists when in Graphics Mode of Virtual Terminal (assert(!ioctl(f, KDSETMODE, KD_GRAPHICS))).
  • Setting Color Range to Full returns back to Limited in a couple of seconds when in Text Mode of Virtual Terminal (assert(!ioctl(f, KDSETMODE, KD_TEXT))).
  • FB_VMODE_LIMITED_RANGE affects DRM Example (tegra_multimedia_api.orig/samples/08_video_dec_drm/video_decode_drm) the same way is affects Linux Framebuffer.

-What is the proper way to set Full Color Range in non-X11 environment?

  • Does Limited Color Range is selected because of the monitor (video-in) properties?
    • If yes, which ones?
    • If no, does HDMI-OUT always have Limited Color Range by default?


This is set by DC driver in kernel if you don’t have userspace window system(e.g. X11). I guess this is set to limited color range all the time. This property(full range) is enabled in X11 on rel-28.1. Before rel-28.1, there was always limited color range for HDMI output.

Still, you could also check the kernel code if possible.