From personal experience, I know how frustrating it can be to have your HDMI connection abruptly disconnecting when you’re in the middle of streaming something or playing a game. It can be a real pain to try and figure out what the problem is and how to fix it. That’s why I decided to do some research and share my findings. I’ll be discussing the possible causes of the problem, some common solutions, and tips to help prevent future HDMI connection issues.
An HDMI signal may disconnect because a device is not on, there is a loose connection, faulty cable, the cable is longer than 33ft., the EDID or HDCP ‘handshake’ has failed, or the resolution of display and source devices doesn’t match. Most of the time, each of these has an easy fix.
As with many technical issues, the problem (and solution) is usually simple: check the cables, turn devices off and on again, or replace one part of the system. Sometimes, though, it can be a little more technical.
|Display device not switched on||Display device is off or not ready to receive a signal||Ensure the display device is turned on, and all settings are set to receive a signal from the source device.|
|Loose HDMI connection||Cable not securely connected to the source or display||Unplug the HDMI cable and re-plug both ends into the source and display device, ensuring the connections are secure and tight. Consider using cable locks for your HDMI cables to keep them in place in the future.|
|Faulty HDMI cable||Cable has a manufacturing fault or is damaged due to wear||Replace the HDMI cable with a new one or test with a known working cable.|
|Incorrect power-on sequence||Devices not recognizing each other when turned on||Turn the devices on in a different order to ensure they recognize each other.|
|Long HDMI cable (>33ft)||Weak or intermittent signal due to cable length||Use an HDMI repeater or extender kit halfway along the cable to maintain signal strength.|
|Failed EDID or HDCP ‘handshake’||Devices not communicating correctly||Change the HDMI channel input on the display device to force the source and display to ‘talk’ to each other again.|
|Mismatched resolution settings||Source and display resolutions do not match||Set the resolution settings on both devices to ‘Auto’ or match them so the signal being sent matches the desired display setting.|
|Outdated firmware on source or display devices||Devices not updated||Check for firmware updates on both devices and power them down and back on after updates.|
|Signal intermediary fault||Relay or audio transmitter/receiver issue||Connect the source device to the display device using one hardwire HDMI cable. If the disconnection stops, check the settings on the intermediary or replace it if it is faulty.|
These Three Things May Cause An HDMI Cable To Disconnect
If your HDMI connection keeps disconnecting, don’t panic. There are many reasons this could be happening, and in almost all cases, there is an easy solution to stop this and get you back to viewing.
Often a simple problem is the cause of the fault, so before doing anything else, check these three things on the source and display devices as well as the HDMI cable:
- First, ensure that the display device is switched on and the source device is connected and ready to send a signal.
- Check that there isn’t a loose connection on either end of the HDMI cable. Unplug the HDMI cable and re-plug both ends into the source and display device, ensuring the connections are secure and tightly placed.
- Check that the HDMI cable isn’t faulty.
Let’s look at how to identify and fix each of these.
Ensure That The Display Device Is Plugged In And Switched On
While it may seem obvious, if the display device is off, the source device may keep disconnecting from it when the connection attempt times out. Check that the display device is turned on and that all settings are set to be able to display the signal from the source device.
Equally obvious, check that the HDMI cable is plugged into both the source and display device.
Lastly, check that all settings are set so that the display device can receive a signal and the source device can send a signal.
Ensure That There Isn’t A Loose Connection
An HDMI cable does not sit in the socket as securely as other connection types. A loose connection at either end can cause your HDMI to disconnect. The display or source device heats up, causing the HDMI socket to heat and expand. If the cable is a little loose, this may cause the connection to loosen further and disconnect.
Checking that the cable is firmly plugged in on both ends will ensure this is not the problem.
If you do find that one of the connections was loose, consider using cable locks for your HDMI cables to keep them in place in the future.
Ensure That The HDMI Cable Is Not Faulty
If you have a new HDMI cable, it may have an out-of-box fault, meaning that it was damaged before the sale or has a factory fault. While this is not very common, it can happen.
If you have had the cable for a while and it has started to disconnect where it didn’t before, it may be because of wear-and-tear or age.
In both cases, a simple way to test if an HDMI cable is faulty is to switch it out with one you know works. If the disconnecting persists, you know it is not the HDMI cable. If the disconnection stops, you know the HDMI cable is faulty and can replace it with a new one.
Advanced Troubleshooting For HDMI Connection Issues
While the three simple troubleshooting tips above may be why your HDMI keeps disconnecting, there may also be a more technical problem. While there could be many reasons for HDMI connection issues, below are some common ones and how to fix them.
Use A Different Sequence To Power On Devices
Sometimes a source device doesn’t automatically recognize that a display device has been turned on and is ready to receive a signal if it is turned on after the source device or vice versa.
If an HDMI signal keeps disconnecting, this may be the issue. The simple test is to turn the devices on in a different order.
Avoid Long HDMI Cables Longer Than 33 Feet
Signal in an HDMI cable can become weak or intermittent on a cable longer than 33 feet. If the cable you are using is longer than 33 feet, you may want to consider using an HDMI repeater or extender kit halfway along the cable.
Change The HDMI Channel Input On The Display Device
HDMI technology uses what is known as EDID or an HDCP ‘handshake’, basically, both devices confirm that a signal can be passed between them. Sometimes this EDID or an HDCP ‘handshake’ fails for some reason, and the connection keeps dropping.
Changing the HDMI channel input will force the source and display to ‘talk’ to each other again and possibly resolve the fault.
To do this, go to the source and/or display device settings menu (or use the remote in the case of a TV) to change the HDMI input to another source and then back again.
Check for Firmware Updates On The Source Or Display Device
Check that both devices have all the necessary updates installed and that each has been powered down and powered back on after the updates.
Match Resolution Settings For The Display And Source Devices
If the source resolution does not match the destination device resolution, it may cause the signal to disconnect. The display device may not support the resolution the source device sends and keeps disconnecting.
Use the menu settings on both the source device and the display device to check the current setting and to change them to match if necessary.
Either set the setting to ‘Auto’ or match the settings on each device so that the signal being sent matches the desired display setting.
Eliminate Signal Intermediary Faults
If the source device uses an intermediary, relay or audio transmitter/receiver, check that this is not the fault. Connect the source device to the display device using one hardwire HDMI cable. If the disconnection stops, then the intermediary is the problem. Check the settings on the intermediary or replace it if it is faulty.
The simple reasons something doesn’t work is often the right one. Before doing anything else, check the connection of the HDMI cable sockets, check the cable is not faulty and that all devices are turned on correctly and ready to send/receive a signal. If none of these fix the HDMI disconnection issues, try some advanced troubleshooting with display resolutions, avoid long HDMI cables and try switching the HDMI channel input on the display device. In most cases, these should fix the problem. If you are still experiencing an HDMI signal disconnecting, contact the device manufacturers for more advanced troubleshooting options.