TV Searching for Source When Streaming – We’ve Got the Answer

You are streaming Netflix or similar and when you leave the menu and start the show, your TV gives you a black screen with a notification that it is searching for your source. Why? You’ve looked in the TV settings, the receiver menus, and even your streaming device’s limited settings. Nothing has helped! What is going on here and can you fix it?

The Good News

The good news is that you haven’t messed anything up. This isn’t HDMI CEC making your life difficult. It isn’t that you missed some hidden setting somewhere in your system. For once (it seems), it isn’t because your kids did something and won’t fess up.

The Bad News

It isn’t anything you can easily fix.


What’s Really Happening

The simple answer is that something in the video signal is changing. Much like every other issue where your screen goes blank, something is causing a new HDMI handshake to occur. This might be because the menu is in SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) and the movie/show is in HDR (High Dynamic Range). It might be because the menus are at 60Hz and the movie is in 24Hz. Regardless of the exact reason, the effect is the same. The TV and your AV receiver/source are having to renegotiate the HDMI handshake. This causes your screen to go blank while the devices all figure out what video resolution/framerate/whatever they are going to use.

Is There a Solution

There is, but you might not like it. You will need to go into your menus and force your devices all to output one particular video resolution/framerate/dynamic range. This will, technically, work. You will eliminate all the “searching for source,” black screens, and other HDMI handshake issues on your TV regardless if you are streaming or not. But it isn’t a perfect solution.

Oftentimes, if you force a specific video output, you risk artifacts. Your menus might be pixilated or flicker because they are being converted into another framerate or resolution. You may lose HDR completely or your SDR video might look too dark (or too bright).

Take Away

This article is really focused at the average consumer. If you have the means, and seeing “searching for source” on your TV when streaming really bugs you, there is an expensive solution. Outboard video processors will eliminate most of these errors. Especially when switching from one source to another. You may still run into some delays when the framerate or resolution changes within a source, but it should be much faster.

For the rest of us, the only solution is to live with it for now. HDMI handshakes and other similar issues have improved over time. We expect this issue to only improve as newer TVs are released.

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