The last hour of your life has been dedicated to setting up your projector and connecting it to your laptop with an HDMI cable. However, you can not for the life of you get your projector to display the laptop’s screen. Instead, it’s simply displaying a static black screen.
After tinkering with your projector’s settings, you begin to suspect that your HDMI cable may be at fault.
But, can HDMI cables even cause a black screen or no display? What are some other reasons why your screen may be black or blank?
Keep reading to find out!
What Is a Black Screen?
Black screens usually occur when your display, (be it a TV, projector, monitor, etc.) does not receive an input signal or data. In some instances, your display’s screen may remain black even if you have connected an input device to it.
There are a few variations of a black screen that can occur.
Your display’s screen may be a solid blue, such as the image shown below.
In other instances, the screen may remain completely black.
Your display’s color will depend on its model and circumstances, though both indicate the same problem: the display can not find an input signal.
In some cases, the blue or black screen may be accompanied by an error message summarizing the problem’s cause (e.g. no input) or informing you that it will restart to resolve the problem.
Can HDMI Cables/Ports Cause Black Screens?
Yes, HDMI cables/ports can cause your display’s black screen.
If you’re using an HDMI cable to connect an input device to a display, it must be set up correctly to work properly. An incorrect HDMI setup could lead to an inconsistent video or audio feed, a distorted image, and in some cases, a black screen.
Loose HDMI Cable or Port
While other older cables, like VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort have built-in locking mechanisms, either in the form of screws or a small lock, HDMI cables can freely be inserted and removed from their ports.
While this does prevent you from accidentally pulling your TV or laptop off the table if you trip on the cable, it also makes the connection prone to outages if the connector becomes loose. This can cause the video and audio to stutter or stop completely.
This disconnection will often prompt your display to switch to standby mode, or in the case of some models, shut off completely to save power, resulting in a black screen.
- Check that your HDMI cable is properly and securely connected to the correct HDMI port. Try removing it and reconnecting it, gently pushing it into place.
- If your display is still black after checking the HDMI cable, try using another HDMI cable in case the original one is faulty. Faulty HDMI cables can cause a variety of video/audio problems, including a black screen. You can learn more about damaged HDMI cables in our article, 10 Faulty HDMI Cable/Port Symptoms.
- Many modern displays have multiple HDMI ports, so try connecting your cable to another port to see if it works. If your display only has one HDMI port, ensure it’s dust-free, and clean it with a brush and compressed air if needed.
- If you’ve tried the solutions above and have confirmed that your HDMI cable and port are indeed working, consider investing in a cable lock/clamp. This will hold your HDMI cable in place without damaging it, ensuring your connection will not be interrupted by a loose cable.
Depending on your device, you can choose which one of the two designs listed below will work best for you.
- Hdmi port lock: the HDMI lock safely secures your HDMI cable to its port. Locking capability avoids...
- Prevent accidental disconnection: HDMI port lock helps prevent an HDMI cable from coming loose from...
- Universal design: this HDMI lock works with any HDMI cable and any device with a fixing or locking...
Last update on 2023-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.
- No more signal dropouts from loose HDMI cables
- Secures HDMI cables in place to eliminate intermittent signal loss or disconnected HDMI cables
- Provides strain relief on your HDMI input by supporting the HDMI cable from the component's chassis
Last update on 2023-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Watch the video below demonstrating how easy and fast it is to install and use an HDMI EZ lock.
Wrong HDMI Input
Displays with multiple HDMI ports also have the same number of HDMI inputs, with each one corresponding to a port. This can be confusing when setting your display’s input to HDMI, as you may choose the incorrect HDMI input.
If you do set your display to an input with no signal or data, it will go to sleep or enter standby mode and present a black screen.
Ensure you’ve set your display’s input to the correct HDMI port. Most HDMI ports have numbers next to them (e.g. HDMI 1, HDMI 2, etc.), which correlate to their respective inputs. If you can, check your HDMI ports’ label for a number, then change the input accordingly.
Otherwise, you may have to flip through your display’s inputs until your input device pops up on-screen.
Depending on your display’s make and model, you can usually adjust the input by following the steps below.
Step 1: Press the remote’s Input button (for TVs) or go to the Input/Source option in the menu (for monitors).
Step 2: Head to HDMI.
Step 3: Choose the HDMI port your input device is connected to.
What Are Other Causes of Black Screen/No Display? With Solutions
In addition to a loose cable or an incorrect input, there are several other factors that can cause a black screen.
Let’s learn what problems to keep your eye out for when dealing with a black screen and learn how to fix them!
Faulty Power Supply or Port
Fault power supplies or ports can make it difficult for displays to properly turn on and illuminate their screens. The display may also randomly turn off, displaying the input source one moment and turning black the next.
1. Test your wall outlet’s electrical output using a multimeter/voltmeter. Then, compare this output to your display’s voltage to ensure they are compatible. Depending on where you live, your TV should output:
- 110 volts for the USA and Canada
- 220 volts for the UK and Australia
Watch the video tutorial below to learn how to check a wall outlet’s electrical output.
2. If you’ve brought your TV from another country with different voltage standards, consider using a step-up/down transformer. This nifty device will make your foreign TV compatible with your wall outlets, ensuring your TV and outlets stay damage-free.
Follow the steps below to use a step-up/down transformer.
Step 1: Plug your TV into the transformer’s Output outlet that matches your TV’s voltage.
Step 2: Connect the transformer to power with its attached power cable.
Step 3: On the back of the transformer, press the AC voltage button corresponding to your TV’s voltage.
Step 4: Finally, turn the transformer on.
Now you can use your TV normally no matter where you are!
Warning: To avoid electrocuting yourself, please demonstrate extreme caution when handling AC voltage devices.
If you live in an area that experiences regular power fluctuations, power surges, or extreme weather events that may affect the power supply, consider using an AVR or Automatic Voltage Regulator. This nifty gadget will regulate the voltage your TV receives, ensuring it’s not over or underpowered. Many AVRs also have multiple outlets, allowing you to connect multiple devices to one wall outlet.
Faulty Source Device
If your TV’s cables and power supply are all in working order, there may be something wrong with your source device.
- Ensure your source device (e.g. laptop, gaming console, DVD player, streaming stick) is in working condition and, if needed, properly powered. Also, check that it’s turned on and hasn’t gone into standby mode.
- If possible, try connecting another source device to your display to see if the problem still persists. If the screen remains black, there may be something wrong with the display. If the display begins working correctly, there could be something with your input device.
PC Cannot Boot Properly
If you suspect that your PC may be causing this problem, consider the following:
1. Your computer may be struggling to pass its POST (or power on self-test). This is a test run by your computer each time it starts up to verify that all of its components are functioning correctly. If any of your computer’s hardware, like its CPU or mouse, isn’t working, it will fail the test and stay off.
2. If your computer cannot pass its POST, you may be able to tell which component is causing the problem by carefully listening to its beeping sound. You should be able to find the root of the problem by observing the length and number of beeps.
Refer to the table below outlining the meaning behind a few standard beep codes manufacturers use. Or head to this article on Computer POST and beep codes for a comprehensive list of different manufacturer’s beep codes.
|1 short beep||DRAM refresh Issue|
|2 short beep||Parity Issue|
|3 short beep||Base 64 Memory Issue|
|4 short beep||Timer Issue|
|5 short beep||Processor Issue|
|6 short beep||Keyboard Controller Issue|
|7 short beep||Virtual Mode Exception Issue|
|8 short beep||Display Memory Issue|
|9 short beep||ROM BIOS checksum issue|
|10 short beep||CMOS Battery Issue|
|11 short beep||Cache Memory Issue|
|1 long 2 short beeps || Continuous Beeps||Video Card Issue|
3. Several problems can cause your computer to struggle to boot. So, it’s best to follow a few general troubleshooting steps, especially if you’re unable to deduce the root of the problem from the beep codes.
- If you’ve just assembled your PC (especially for the first time), some of its connections may be incorrectly or insecurely placed. You may have also accidentally used an incompatible component, causing your computer to malfunction.
So, it’s a good idea to check your hardware’s compatibility by heading to PC Part Picker and entering its specs (e.g. CPU, motherboard, power supply). If the results reveal that any components are incompatible, replace them with compatible versions.
- External devices (i.e. hardware) such as keyboards, USBs, storage devices, printers/scanners, etc., may cause your PC to glitch or prevent it from booting. So unplug all external accessories from your PC, ensure it’s charged (if needed), and try to turn it on.
- A dusty RAM may be preventing your PC from passing its POST. If your PC has removable RAM, carefully remove it. Then, properly clean it using compressed air, Q-tips, and rubbing alcohol. This process can be delicate and you risk damaging your RAM if it’s cleaned improperly. Luckily, CHRON has a detailed article outlining How to Clean RAM.
If your PC has other RAM slots, try placing your RAM into them to see if it helps your PC pass its POST and start up.
Note: Do not try removing your PC’s RAM if it is not explicitly removable, as this may damage both your PC and RAM.
- If your beep code reveals there’s a problem with your PC’s CMOS battery, you must purchase a compatible battery and replace it. If you have a warranty for your PC or its battery, you may be able to have it replaced for free by the manufacturer.
This is a somewhat involved process that requires a moderate amount of technical skill. But, if you’re up for the challenge, the video below does an excellent job of explaining each step necessary to replace a PC battery.
4. If you’re a techie and want to learn more about specific and more technical solutions for each possible issue, check out the article POST troubleshooting steps, which explains what POST is, what problems can cause it to fail, and how to fix them.
Wrapping Things Up
Your projector, TV, or monitor displaying a black screen may be startling, but it’s not uncommon, especially if there’s a problem with the HDMI cable or port.
First and foremost, ensure your HDMI cable is securely connected to the display and input device, and that your display is set to the right HDMI input.
There may also be a problem with the power supply and port, so double-check that your TV’s voltage is compatible with the wall outlet, and use a step-up/down transformer if needed.
If your source device is the culprit, observe if it’s making a beeping sound when you try to turn it on, as it may have trouble booting properly. You can then analyze these beep codes to understand which hardware component is stopping your PC from starting up normally.
What’s your experience with a TV/projector/monitor displaying a black screen?
Let us know in the comments below!
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.