24 Apr How to Troubleshoot HDMI
We recently addressed the topic of HDMI – High-Definition Multimedia Interface – and explained why this single-cable technology is more than just another pretty abbreviation. We’re getting more and more questions about HDMI audio video technology here at PAC-NJ, northern New Jersey’s source for home theatre systems and services, so let me share with you some of what we tell customers.
HDMI is the gateway to the multimedia crosstalk and home theater integration of tomorrow, allowing home entertainment systems to display input from just about any digital entertainment device. But do-it-yourselfers need to be aware of potential problems with HDMI cables when installing or troubleshooting their audio video systems. And because HDMI behaves more like a data network than audio video cable, conventional troubleshooting can’t always identify the source of the problem.
HDMI cable integrity and quality is absolutely essential to support the two-way communication HDMI relies on, which incorporates HDCP digital copy protection. HDCP is the digital handshaking protocol that allows secure authorized downloads from a media server. When a media source is connected to a display, it requests information from the display, and the display replies by sending a key back to the source. After the key is authenticated, a secure digital connection is created between the source and the display, allowing the content to be sent. This handshaking is preformed repeatedly while the connection is live. HDMI cable problems can interfere with this communication. For example, long cable runs can cause instability with the HDCP handshaking, causing video to drop out. And distribution to multiple locations or audio video components can also be difficult because there is no standard for the number of keys a source can manage. And finally, different versions of HDMI mean that not all devices and cables are equal.
However, these issues are far outweighed by the increase in picture and sound quality HDMI offers us. The solution is to always use high quality cables and proven audio visual equipment combinations. Failure to do so could result in unpredictable and unreliable performance of your system. Fortunately a brand new product category may help solve these problems. These new components can be added to your system and will stabilize the HDMI connection between your home entertainment system or home theater components. And if you’re still having problems, you can engage a professional installer to set up or troubleshoot and fix your system for you!