Video Dropouts- Is it Your Long HDMI Cable?
You’ve made a change. Maybe it was a new display or projector or maybe you finally decided to try out 4k and HDR. Now you have a problem. Your video isn’t working properly. It was fine before, but now you are getting video dropouts – could it be your long HDMI cable? It certainly could be! Let’s discuss!
Video dropouts caused by long HDMI cable runs can take many forms. Most of the time, the cable is older and worked fine in the past. But, as technology has changed, that cable has remained the same. You can sometimes find ways to work around your older HDMI cable, but they don’t always work. On top of that, video dropouts can happen with newer HDMI cables as well!
Video dropouts can be error messages on your screen that will say, “No Signal,” or “Signal Not Supported.” More often, your screen just goes black and you are left wondering. Either way, you may still hear the audio but the video will be missing. This lets you know that the signal is working but something is stopping your display from showing you the image.
HDMI Cable Compatibility
Chances are, your cable is the issue. It is either too long or the wrong type. An older HDMI cable may have worked fine with the older HDMI versions, but won’t be up to snuff with the latest iterations. Video dropouts are your best indication that you need to upgrade your long HDMI cable.
But what if you bought a new HDMI cable and you are still getting video dropouts? Chances are that the HDMI cable you bought isn’t capable of carrying the bandwidth it claimed. There are certifications for HDMI cables that can help you know if your purchase will work in your setup. But do you blindly trust those certifications?
Test, Test, Test!
Before you start replacing your in-wall HDMI cables, make sure you test them out first. Many cables are labeled with verbiage that sounds an awful lot like the HDMI certifications. But if it doesn’t have the right holographic sticker on it (see above), you can’t trust those claims. Plug everything in and test out your devices before you start running any cables inside your walls.
If you are experiencing video dropouts, the first place we’d suggest you look for the cause is at a long HDMI cable. Even if your cables are shorter, if they are old, they might not be able to support the high bandwidth requirements of 4k/120Hz with HDR. Swap out those HDMI cables for certified ones. If that doesn’t fix the issue, it’s time to look elsewhere in your system.