LCD TV HDMI Problems

Written by michael j. scott
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LCD TV HDMI Problems
A typical LCD TV set-up (Image by, courtesy of Michael Malone)

Viewing a movie on a high-definition playback device, like a Blu-ray player, combined with a 1080p LCD TV can be a jaw-dropping experience. To get the most out of your high-definition set-up, you must connect your playback device to your LCD using an HDMI cable. HDMI has become the industry standard for transmitting high-definition signals. Unfortunately it has some unique drawbacks that can hinder your enjoyment of a movie. Learning about the common problems when using an HDMI cable with your LCD TV can help you troubleshoot when problems arise.

Basic Problems

Basic problems with LCD TVs and HDMI include lack of picture, distorted pictures, or no sound. These problems can be caused by a variety of factors, including improper connections or settings, and poor cables. Using poor quality, damaged or unnecessarily long HDMI cables can also lead to picture or sound problems. Finally, the more devices you add to you set-up, including HDMI switches and AV receivers, the greater the likelihood of something going awry.

Basic Solutions

Solutions for basic problems are often simple. Check all of your connections to ensure all HDMI cables are securely attached. Check the settings of your devices to make the output on you playback devices and the input on your LCD TV are both set to HDMI.

Examine you HDMI cables to ensure the plugs are not bent, and the cable is not kinked. If the cables are damaged, replace them with high quality HDMI cables. Purchase new cables from a reputable manufacturer to ensure they are of high quality. Use the shortest length possible to connect your devices. Don't use 15 feet of cable when three will suffice. the longer the cable, the greater the possibility of signal loss.

HDCP Problems

HDCP is a form of copy protection mandated by the entertainment industry. It requires that a signal be sent, through your HDMI cable, to your television from your input device, and a return signal be sent from the TV to the device. The signal verifies both devices are HDCP-compliant. This process is known as an HDCP handshake. In fact, any device in the chain, including HDMI switches and AV receivers must all be HDCP compliant for the handshake to occur.

If the handshake does not occur properly, your LCD TV or playback device is set to shut down the signal, causing a blank screen to appear on your TV. Most problems with LCD TVs and HDMI cables can be traced to this handshake issue.

HDCP Solutions

To solve the problem, ensure you are using functioning cables and turn off all your devices. The turn them on beginning with your playback device, and then your HDMI switch if you have one, then your AV receiver, and finally your television. That forces a new handshake to begin. If that does not work, turn everything off and repeat the process in a reverse order.

If that fails to work, remove the switch if you have one, and try again. Finally remove the receiver and connect your playback device directly to the TV. If you get a signal, you know the problem is with your switch or receiver, and you may have to replace them.

If none of these methods work, the problem may be significant, and you should call the manufacturers of your devices.

Physical Damage

If the HDMI ports on any of your devices are damaged, that will create problems. Physical damage to the ports can occur from the HDMI cables being pulled out of the port at bad angles or too forcefully, or jammed into the ports at bad angles and with unnecessary force. If that is the case, you may ultimately need to hire a professional to repair the damage. Contact the manufacturer of your LCD TV or playback device to determine what steps you must take to get the repairs done.

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