XBox 360 AV Cable Problems

Written by nick grimes
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XBox 360 AV Cable Problems
Control pad for the Xbox 360. (controller image by Thommi from

The Microsoft Xbox 360 is a popular and technologically advanced video game console and media centre. However, if the Xbox 360's AV cable is not working correctly, even a fully operational system can be prevented from displaying games correctly. There are several potential Xbox 360 AV cable problems.

Internal Breakages

As with any other audio/video cable, the AV cable of the Xbox 360 can become broken. If the console is frequently moved (due to console rentals, LAN parties etc.), the cable can be placed under extra stress. Winding the cable too tightly--to fit it into a bag for transportation, or to tidy it out of the way for a cleaner TV area--can place internal stress on the cable, snapping the wires within and rendering the cable non-functional. Internal stress can also be caused by stretching the cable too tight, such as when the console is placed too far from the television.

Frayed Cables

Even if the cable's insulation is broken but the inner wires seem undamaged, a replacement or repair should be sought. Cable insulation can be damaged during un-packaging, or if heavy furniture or appliances are placed on top of the cable. There are less obvious dangers, too. Danny Goulter, electronics retailer, gives an example: "you'd be surprised how often we get cables come in that have been gnawed by pets. If the insulation on those wires gets stripped, it can cause short circuits that can permanently damage your Xbox or television."

The TV/HDTV Switch

Many Xbox 360 cable problems are caused by an improperly set TV/HDTV switch. This switch, located near the end where the cable connects to a television, enables the user to switch between regular and HD (High Definition) picture output from the cable. However, this isn't the only step in setting your Xbox 360 to high-def output. This setting must be chosen in your console's menu as well: go to the "Console Settings" section of the Xbox 360 user menu and choose "Display." Choose between regular and HD output, then reset your console and change the AV cable's switch to the desired position.

Poor Connection

Sometimes the problem with an Xbox 360's AV cable is as simple as a poor connection between the console and television. If any of the cable's plugs are loose on either end, picture flicker and discolouration can result. Checking for this problem is as simple as disconnecting your cable at both ends, then securely reconnecting to both television and Xbox 360.

HDTV Connection Errors

Between standard and high-definition video, the Xbox 360's AV cable has a total of eight different output plugs. It's easy to connect the wrong plug to the wrong socket, resulting in a picture which may be discoloured, washed-out, or marred by static. Ensure the right plugs are in the right sockets by separating standard from HDTV output sets, then matching the plugs to the colours of the sockets in your television, stereo or media centre.

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