Help! My AV Equipment is Powering On By Itself!

Is your AV or home theater equipment haunted? Does it feel that way? When you power on your AV receiver or display or game console do other devices come on as well? Or maybe you wake up in the middle of the night to your speakers blaring. You are not alone! Many people, especially those that have upgraded one or more pieces of AV gear recently, experience the same phenomenon. But what is it? What causes your AV equipment to power on by itself? We have the answers!

The Most Common Cause

If you have recently upgraded your gear, you might not have heard of HDMI CEC. HDMI CEC is a feature that allows devices that are connected via HDMI to talk to each other. The idea is that you can grab a single remote and control everything. That sounds great in theory but rarely works well in execution.

If your AV equipment is turning on by itself, it is probably because HDMI CEC told it to. You probably turned on your TV and your game console or blu-ray player came on. Or you turned on your receiver, and everything else powered up. Whatever happened, you need to disable HDMI CEC in the AV equipment that is powering on spontaneously.

You’ll need to head into the settings and find and disable HDMI CEC. Now, be warned that it is rarely called HDMI CEC. Manufacturers like to give HDMI CEC new names. For Sony it is BRAVIA Sync, for Samsung it is Anynet+. A quick Internet search will let you know what your equipment calls it. Whatever it is, turn it off.

Other Possible Culprets

If you have disabled HDMI CEC and your AV equipment is still powering on by itself, there are a few other likely suspects. If the gear is powering on when you are not doing anything else (in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping for example), then it is likely looking for an update. Many pieces of AV equipment will power on periodically to see if there is a firmware update. This is especially true of game consoles. Also note that it may not be the actual device that is the problem. Another device in the chain could be turning on looking for an update, sending out an HDMI CEC signal that is powering on a different device, and then shutting itself off. Again, HDMI CEC should be off on all devices.

Another unlikely but possible cause is a faulty or dirty power switch on the unit. If the switch is dirty, it could be triggering. To fix this, unplug your device and, if you are comfortable, open your gear to get to the backside of the switch. if you don’t want to remove the case, you can do this from the front as well. Get some contact cleaner (isopropyl alcohol will also work) and spray it into the switch. Don’t flood it, just a little. Then work the switch back and forth. This should remove any dirt or debris. Now, wait until the contact cleaner is completely evaporated before plugging back in the device.

Lastly, you could have a faulty remote. To test, cover the remove or put it in a drawer somewhere. If the device stops powering on, it was the remote. First thing, change the batteries. Low batteries can sometimes cause remotes to send out erroneous signals. You can try the contact cleaner trick on the power button, or just get a new one (or a universal remote).

Have you had your gear turn itself on? What fixed it for you? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page!

2 Comments on Help! My AV Equipment is Powering On By Itself!

  1. Randall D Nutter

    I am trying to pair a newly purchased Toshiba tv (55LF621U21) with an older Peerless Outdoor soundbar sk-060 to be used on the back porch. I cannot find any connectors to link these 2 pieces of equipment together. I am wearing out the guys at Best Buy. Any thoughts?

    • Not sure why you are using this article for your question, but the answer is an optical to 3.5mm cable (like this one). You have an optical output on the back of your tv and a 3.5mm input on the back of your soundbar. The soundbar looks like it has a proprietary connector so you may need to use the included 3.5mm cable with an adapter (like this one). I’m surprised the BB people could figure this out. If you have lost the cable that came with the soundbar, you may have to locate another one. But if you have it, this should work.

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