7 HDMI Troubleshooting Principles

These tips will help troubleshoot HDMI system failures by disabling protocols, substituting products or reconfiguration.

Jason Knott · October 25, 2011

Question: What’s the most likely thing to check in a system that consists of a DVR via HDMI to AVR via HDMI to projector setup and there is no audio?

Answer: The probable cause is that the AVR is not substituting its audio block into EDID. For the integrator, the short-term resolution is to bypass the AVR; the long-term solution is the replace the AVR.

These are the sort of HDMI troubleshooting dilemmas integrators face every day. Integrators are often asked to “break the rules” in their deployments of HDMI by their clients. The technology is flawless in single-room, short-run home theaters. The problems start when long runs and multiple zones are added to the equation, specifically the applications integrators are called upon to install.

Here are 7 troubleshooting principles from diagnostic systems manufacturer Quantum Data that need to be implemented whenever checking any existing HDMI installation. At CE Pro LIVE! on Thursday, October 27 at 2:30 p.m., CEDIA’s technical training manager Steve Rissi will present a long list of HDMI troubleshooting tips. It might be the best 41 minutes your installation staff spends in terms of education this year.

Avoid the Need to Troubleshoot: Prequalify all the equipment in the home and that you procure in your lab before you start the job.

Consider the Origin of the Problem: Determine if the existing HDMI system has ever worked. If so, what changed? Take careful notes.

Make one Change at a Time: Make only one change at a time to limit the variables. Again, take careful notes.

Simplification: Configure or “reduce” the HDMI system to the most-simple configuration that still exhibits the symptom.

Substitution: Substitute suspect devices or components with known-good devices or preferably with test equipment that can emulate sources and sinks with other convenient control functions.

Disable Protocols: Disable CEC and HDCP if possible. Disabling HDCP will immediately tell you if the problem is related to HDCP.

Diagnostic Sequence: Use the diagnostic procedure that provides greatest insight and is easiest to conduct.

Do you have the confidence and knowledge to correctly install, troubleshoot and diagnose HDMI systems? Attend CEProLive! to learn the critical aspects of HDMI device interoperability and troubleshooting techniques.
HDMI Troubleshooting
CEProLive is OCT. 27, 2011. Free registration at

  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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