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Why Does My HDMI Keep Cutting Out?

Why Does My HDMI Keep Cutting Out?

HDMI cables are robust, reliable, and very capable. But they aren’t devoid of concerns, or the cord is not foolproof.

For example, some common issues associated with HDMI cables are blurry or fuzzy images, no or intermittent pictures, weird colors in the image, etc.

A bad HDMI cable is usually the root cause of all these problems, although other things could have also gone wrong.

A good HDMI cable, however, doesn’t guarantee impeccable performance. The HDMI connection could drop out even if the cable’s good.

The setup will work fine for an entire day without issues. On other days, however, the link may drop out for a few seconds and then return.

Such cutting out could happen multiple times in rapid succession during the day. At times, merely walking past your TV could cause signal dropouts.

So, what could be the reason for HDMI cutting out frequently? There is more than one reason. Read on to learn about them all and the solutions. If your HDMI connection has been sloppy recently, this is a must-read.

Loose Connection

A loose HDMI connection is often the reason your HDMI keeps cutting out. The loose-fitting could be at the input or output end of the line.

For instance, the cable plugged into the rear of your AV device or gaming console could be loose, or the fitting at the TV end could be sloppy.

hand holding a loose HDMI cable connected to TV

Solution: Ensure the connectors on both ends are correctly hooked. If needed, unplug and plug them back in.

On a related note, ensure the HDMI cords are not placed close to or intertwined with power cables. Voltage-transferring power lines could cause HDMI signal interferences.

Broken HDMI Port

A bad HDMI port could be the reason the connection’s conking off. Although HDMI ports and cables are robustly built, they are not bulletproof. They could rust, for instance.

Even HDMI ports on devices less than a year old could tarnish, or the metal could discolor due to oxidation.

If you tend to plug in and plug out cables from your devices’ HDMI ports, they may not break, but the wear could show reduced performance.

hand holding HDMI cables and different ports on TV

Solution: If the port is causing issues, try plugging it into another port. Most HDMI input and output devices come with multiple HDMI ports.

If your device has only one port and is faulty, you have no option but to buy another. Although HDMI ports can be repaired, the repair job is challenging as it entails soldering tiny connections.
Since a new device purchase is significant, confirm that the HDMI port is bad. It’s possible the cable has issues and could be causing the problem.

If it’s a clear case of rusting, take sandpaper or emery board and scrub the rust off gently. Follow it up with spurts of canned air to clear the metal filings that may have entered the port.

Faulty HDMI Cable

HDMI cables either work or don’t work. Like how a premium cable with a gold-plated connector doesn’t lend to superior performance, a frayed or worn-down cord doesn’t mean a drop in video and audio quality.

However, at times, the cable’s connector could be loose or may not attach to your device’s HDMI port properly. Unplugging and plugging the cord back in multiple times won’t help.

Also, the cable could have inherent issues that may mess up the signals.

HDMI 2.1 at the back of a TV

Solution: If the HDMI cable seems bad, use another cord. If you don’t have a spare cable, get a new cord, like this one.

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Even if your cable quality is good, it may not be up to speed, quite literally. For example, for 4K content, a standard HDMI cable may not cut it. The above-mentioned cable will work.

HDCP/EDID Handshake Issue

Compared to the above problems, HDCP or EDID handshake issues are more technical.

HDCP (high-bandwidth digital content protection) prevents the illegal reproduction of high-definition digital media. EDID (extended display identification data) is the initial handshake and greeting between two connected devices.

When the handshake happens, the source and display devices are successfully linked, and essential data gets transferred between the two devices. Information such as video resolutions, serial numbers, model numbers, etc., move between the two devices.

But when there are handshake issues, the consequence is likely a blinking video, blank screen, etc.

The handshake may not happen for different reasons—for instance, a cable with damaged pins could cause the issue.

broken hdmi cable end

At times, using an extension device like a splitter or switch could result in the devices not communicating with each other properly.

Solution: Inspect the cable. If it looks broken, use another cord.

Although HDMI cables are backward-compatible, HDMI 2.1 connections best work with Ultra High Speed HDMI cords, such as this Monoprice 8K Certified Ultra High Speed HDMI 2.1 Cable.

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Performance issues could occur if a cable with lower specifications or rated for HDMI 1.4 or 2.0 is used. Therefore, use a suitable HDMI cable for your setup.

Remove all intermediary accessories and connect the input device to your TV or display directly, and check whether the handshake issue persists.

Some splitters may ignore HDCP/EDID requests, carving a pathway immune to the handshake error. But then you’ll have to try multiple splitters to find the ones capable of that.

Another reason is that if the cable is too long for its specification or power delivery, the excessive length can cause handshake issues, too—more on that below.

Cable’s Too Long

HDMI cables are short-distance cables. The maximum a standard HDMI cable can span and not encounter transmission issues is 20 meters (65.6 feet).

Twenty meters, however, is a stretch, and there could be signal degradation issues at that length. The ideal length is around 5 meters (16.4 feet).

If your HDMI cable is more than five meters long, nearing 20 meters, the connection may cut out.

Disconnecting both ends of an HDMI cable plugged in a TV

Solution: Use HDMI cables not longer than five feet. The shorter the cable, the better will be the signal quality. Also, the cable’s ideal length shortens as the HDMI version it supports goes up.

For instance, an HDMI 2.1 cable’s ideal length will be smaller than an HDMI 1.4 cord due to the former’s increased bandwidth requirements.

If the cable’s length cannot be compromised, use “active” HDMI cables. The non-active cables discussed above are called “passive cables.”

Active HDMI cables employ amplifiers that help transfer audio and video signals over long ranges without signal loss.

This Monoprice HDMI High Speed Active Cable, for instance, can stretch up to approximately 30 meters (100 feet).

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Conclusion

Luckily, an HDMI connection dropping out regularly is not as significant an issue as it may initially seem. There are resorts, and those are pretty straightforward.

If you’re experiencing the HDMI-connection-dropping-out concern with your setup, inspect your layout for the possible issues above.

Apply the solutions and check for performance. Since ascertaining whether the resolution worked or the feedback may take time, implement all possible solutions, covering all bases.

An HDMI reset is also recommended—unplugging all the devices, disconnecting the cables, and then plugging them back in. Let the devices remain unplugged for a minute or two. After reconnecting them, power them on some 30 to 60 seconds later.

If all the above measures don’t help and the cutting-out problem continues, talk to an expert. Regardless of the route you take, don’t panic. The problem is usually not as severe as it might seem.

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