How Do I Tell If A HDMI Cable Is Bad?

hdmi cableHDMI cables can go bad. The most common place for a problem is a bad connection between the cable and the device. This is especially true if you are plugging and uplugging the cable regularly. Here are a few suggestions to debug whether your HDMI cable is bad.

Some common symptons of a bad cable or cable connection are the following.

1) Sound goes in and out (assuming your are using your TV speakers through HDMI).

2) Black screen flashes or a portion of the picture goes in and out periodically.

3) No picture or sound at all.

First things first. Turn off your DVD player, or satellite, or other device. Then unplug the HDMI cable and physically check the connection. Look for bent or broken pins. Wiggle the connection on the back of your DVD player and TV. Make sure the connection is solid and nothing physically appears broken. We have a TV that has a loose HDMI connection on one of the inputs. We simply have to duck tape the HDMI cable secure to the back of the TV and everything works fine. So what someone might mistake for a bad cable could actually be a connection problem on the TV.

If that didn’t solve the problem, the next step is to rule out whether it is the source or destination that is the problem. Is it your TV HDMI connection, your DVD output connection, or is your cable?

    • Test For A Bad TV HDMI Output Connection: If your TV has multiple HDMI connections then try another input connection. Simply take out the HDMI cable from the connection in the back of your television and try another HDMI input. Make sure you change your TV input source using your television remote. Do you get sound? Do you see a picture? If so then your television has one bad HDMI input.
    • Test For A Bad DVD Output Connection: It is harder to experiment with the DVD HMDI output connection since there is usually only one HDMI output. First check that your DVD player is working by using another output, such as a component or composite connection. Get a component video cable and connect it to the back of your television. Do you have picture? Then your DVD player picture is properly working. Remember that a component video cable can display 1080i HD picture which is an excellent alternative if you cannot get your HDMI cable working. You will have to connect sound from your DVD player to your TV or reciever using an addtional cable if you go this route as component cables do not carry sound.
    • Test For A Bad HDMI Cable: If you have passed all the tests above, then it might be a good idea to buy another HDMI cable and see if that fixes the problem.

female-female HDMI connector
One suggestion if you are plugging and unplugging your HDMI cable frequently. Buy a 3 foot HDMI cable (about $5 through Amazon) and a female-female HDMI connecter (which is less than $2). This will allow you to connect to the cheap female-to-female connector which will eventually go bad. When it does you can replace it for a few dollars which is a lot cheaper than a TV or DVD player.


41 Responses to How Do I Tell If A HDMI Cable Is Bad?

  1. Jesus says:

    I have a Samsung 55 USD un55ju6700fxza and I just bought it,I’m having problems with the picture image,I’m trying to get the best quality picture but when I switch it to movie it darkens and messed with the settings and still nothing it looks like that soap opera picture “blurry and I switched to auto motion and still nothing,PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!!

  2. Danielle says:

    My tv had no picture sound but no picture we had a signal sent tv was still not working a 42 inch two year old sony tv. We had another tv in storeage its a older tv but it works great the next day it had no picture either. We plugged the kids small tv up the next day it had no picture. We have no tvs left Comcast tech says it cant be there hd box he suggested we had a power surge we have a electrician friend check our outlets fine. Can a hd box blow the picture in tvs?

  3. Maria says:

    omg I have got all of those problems ! at first it was the cable for sure so I put a AV cable still nothing then it must be my ps3 because my mom always disconnects the HDMI cable every night so I don’t play all night and that may ruined my ps3 but it on doesn’t look like it broken so I thought oh it my tv nope I tried a different tv still nothing and I was about to call sony and pay 80 dollars to fix my ps3 im so happy I didn’t it was my HDMI and the AV cable I used was old so duh im glad I came hear and was wondering and try to put my laptop in my tv and see if it works with the hdmi nope nothing thanks this website is here you saved me 80 dollars yay !

  4. alice says:

    My tv has kind of gray haze over could the hdmi cable be bad?

  5. Janis says:

    Our LED TV will be working then the picture goes snowy but the sound is good. We’ve turned the tv off then back on and the picture is back but this only lasts so long. This has only been going on for the last 4 days. TV is only 4 yr old.

  6. Diane says:

    My Samsung tv had vertical lines on one side of screen until it warmed up. This lasted for several weeks, but now both sides are solid pink, and the sound is gone.
    The wires are all installed inside the wall. Could this be a rodent chewing cables, or is it likely the tcon board has gone out?

  7. Angie says:

    My 6 year old sylvania lcd tv lost color 2 days ago after unplugging blowing everything out plugging back in same – no color my tried to watch a dvd and perfect color same tv I have comcast / ixfinity I guess it’s a bad box seems weird since I went from double play to upgraded triple play about 6 months ago they did come service and switch cables and boxes etc is it common for a box or cable to only last 6 months I’m only about 1 & half years into being a cable subscriber was direct TV 10 years b4 now is ” chatting” or recorded prompts or hard to understand speaking telephone reps my only way to communicate w comcast and not sure why I am responsible to pay for service reaper or replacement call odd $200 /mth. Triple play for 6 months I’m 85% sure tvs last longer than 6 years I have one here in kids room that’s 19 years old heavy but never has been an issue I think $125 In home service for tv repair man $85 me bring in service call estimate both being applied to repair charge IF I choose to other wise just service calls same size tv several brands now I see $299-499 upgrade to smart tv 499_1000+ I’ve never had a tv break and have to fix or replace only upgrade to bigger or more up to date have 4 kids I’m 99% sure that’s how they all have scored tvs in each of their rooms me grandparents should I buy new pay tv service or pay comcast to do this I feel like I’m in 1953 for sure black and white regular tv shows all channels color movies single mom of 4 girls help p.s. single bankrupt for ever mother of 4 girls just one suggestion would score me some sleep please and tanks

    • MaeMae1090 says:

      Comcast doesn’t make tvs their boxes don’t break tvs either hdmi’s weren’t made to surge. Electronics go bad all the time that’s why they offer warranties and give you an automatic factory warranty. Either your picture tube went out or something else. But that’s not because of Comcast so your bill and that stuff is irrelevant. Get a new tv.

  8. I have an LG tv and a popcorn hour media player. I am no longer getting picture or sound. Could it be that my connecting cables have become faulty as I unplug them when not using? I don’t want to buy new ones if it is unlikely that they are the problem.
    Thanks for any help you can give!!!

  9. Reggie says:

    Turned on TV and screen read “no signal”. Checked to make sure HDMI cables were connected. I re-connected cables to each (4) HDMI ports. TV noticed the connections but still no signal. I thought maybe it was the cables itself. I swapped out cables on my son’s PS3 and they were good. I now have everything connected thru component and composite connection. Everything works fine now but the picture is not crystal clear. What needs to be done to gain back my picture?

  10. AL says:

    I’ve been watching movies through my smart Blu-ray on Netflix and tonight going from one episode to the next allI get now is the upper half screen. Called Netflix and they were no help.

    • Jason says:

      I would double check the aspect ratio and make sure you have it setup to 16:9

  11. jane says:

    I replaced the HDMI cable because my television goes black periodically as your site noted, but that didn’t fix the issue. For about 40 minutes, the new cable seemed to be the answer, but it didn’t continue…There do not appear to be bent prongs in either the television or the cable box. Please tell me it’s not the television!

  12. Ferrell says:

    I have uverse and a LG smartTV. Recently it has started just loosing picture at anytime. It just goes to snow. I am trying to determine if it is the TV or the HDMI cable/connections or Uverse service. I removed all other connections on the back of the TV, I have moved the HDMI cable to another HDMI port on the back of the TV, I have replaced the HDMI cable and it still just loose picture and go to snow at any time. In order to get picture back I can do any of the following: I can reset the uverse box, I can simply turn TV off and back on, or I can unplug the HDMI cable and reinsert it in the back of TV , any of which will restore the picture. Problem is who in heck do I call to repair it and where is the problem. Uverse box or TV. This is going to be hard one to pin down cause not just one thing will restore the picture. Any idea on what I can do to pin it down to one certain device?

    • Vernell says:

      I am having the same problem, with the same brand T.v and I don’t think it’s the T.v. When I’m watching regular T.v it’s fine, but when I turn on my PS3 it gives me this issue. I did change one of my HDMI cables, and I might Havel change another one. Mines is also hooked to an Harman Kardon receiver and it’s only doing this with my PS3. I don’t think it’s the T.v in this case maybe something else.

  13. Devon M. says:

    Hi Jason,

    Okay, so I have a Mitsubishi WD-73740 73-Inch 1080p 3D Projection TV (2011 Model) and a Sony BDP 3D S5100. Well, just today as I was about to watch a movie with the start-up, menu and etc. Just at the start of the film, my audio went completely dead but the picture was still there (although it could be better) I tried switching outputs, disconnecting, reconnecting and none which worked. So, I figured my hdmi cable finally went bad (used it almost for two years) and it’s time to buy a new one. Could this be the problem and it simply need to be replaced?

  14. mike says:

    I have installed a HDMI cable between my samsung BD-E5300 blu-ray disc player and toshiba 32 inches LED TV.Turned on the TV and changed input to HDMI, then my blu-ray player.The samsung logo displayed on my TV with a startup sound.But after a few seconds,the TV become blue screen.Its seem like no signal from the player.And the player stay on `STOP’ mode.What could be the problem?

  15. Phil Green says:

    While playing my Xbox 360 the picture keeps going in and out, I’m running the HDMI cable through my Onkyo sound system, the other systems are running properly, it’s only doing this on the Xbox.
    I have a hunch it’s the cable.

  16. Adarsh says:

    First of all my LCD TV is Sony.
    U can chk its features and the other possible ways in which i can connect them.
    My Bluray Player is Samsung.

    Now, I just bought this player last night but the tv has been with me for 2 years.
    The problem is that when I connected my tv and the bluray player with an HDMI cable, at first it didn’t show anything, but later the picture came, and the audio was like coming for 2 sec thn gone and then again it would come for aroun 3-4 sec then gone. Then I tried to put the jacks again but it didn’t work and after when i turned the player off and when turned it back on there was no sound coming, and still no sound out of it on my HDTV.
    I don’t have any sound system etc, but i have an very old stereo which has VCD playback it is of Panasonic, now the plan was tht i wud connect the tv and bluray with hdmi then i wud connect the tv and stereo with the red, white and yellow cable through the tv’s audio out socket. But that is an another story and the sound won’t play on the stereo too until it plays on the TV as the TV gives the sound to the stereo, now that stereo doesn’t have any other connection capabilities, and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t gets connected.
    I just want the sound to play on my TV.
    I think the problem is with the HDMI cable cuz after shaking it while conncted it connects nd disconnects with the tv so it might be the problem, but still an experts advise wud be helpful.
    And, guys i am not a techy guy so make it as simple as possible. :)
    Reply Fast !!

    • Adarsh says:

      And, now in the morning the video is also out.
      I think now its for sure and HDMI cable problem but it is a new one and also 3m long !!

      • Marlon says:

        Faulty Connector on the TV is most likely. Same for a majority of these people. It’s a sad thing that all these TV’s coming off assembly lines are not put together as delicately as one might assume. HDMI connections are kind of a fragile issue and usually the whole problem. Also, TV’s can have difficulty switching to appropriate connections. I once had to disconnect my cable box so the tv would switch picture to the Xbox 360 even though they are on different HDMI connections (HDMI 1 & 2 TV Inputs)

  17. ed stevens says:

    just picked up a new cable box and set it up the same way as before.
    plugged in the hdmi cable to the box and the Samsung 40” HD. attached
    the cable to cable in on the box and the tv displays no signal. the box
    has power.

  18. connie says:

    I have an LG media center that has all my components hooked up. .. blue ray dvd dish satellite surround sound and LG tv… it recently started losing connection and making my tv flutter then scramble and finally drop the signal so that it is one continuous loop… when I turn off the tv for a few minutes and turn it back on the tv looks fine but then starts doing the same thing all over again….HELP!!!

  19. connie says:

    Will the hdmi cause my media center to lose connection to my wireless tv?

  20. Vic says:

    I am on my 3rd Uverse wireless box.
    When I turn on my 42″ Panasonic plasma monitor and Uverse box there is a message on the tv screen ‘no signal’. I can reboot the box and then get a picture.
    I also found that if I unplug the hdmi cable on the Uverse box and re-insert it the picture is restored. I have have a hdmi cable that plugs into a dvi converter plug on the monitor. It only occurs if the tv monitor has been off for several hours. Leaving the Uverse on doesn’t help either. Any ideas?

  21. AJ says:

    I have a 46″ Philips LCD tv the screen keeps going black and there is no sound it only gose black for a few seconds. While its black the source that I’m on shows up. I have a hdmi cable from my Rogers box to my Samsung home theater and from there to my tv. Is my hdmi cables gone bad? Or is my tv going out the window.

  22. Jenny says:

    I have an LED TV, Blu-Ray player, DirecTV satellite box and Onkyo Receiver and surround sound speakers all connected with HDMI cable. Equipment is less than three years old. I have no sound whatsoever coming out of the surround sound speakers when the receiver is on and no picture or sound when the receiver is on. The sound and picture works just fine on the TV while playing the Wii which is not connected by HDMI but the sound only comes through the TV speakers; there is no sound through the surround sound that would come through the receiver. Bad HDMI cable or bad receiver?

    • john says:

      Did this recently happen? Did everything use to work? If so, factory suggests a soft reset (unplug receiver for 5 min) or A hard reset which is holding the vcr/dvr button in while holding on of button in until “clear” is on display screen.
      Most common issue is if you have A or B speaker button accidently pushed to B. (try this first) It can also be a HDMI pass through issue that you need to resovle by making sure each device is “set up ” to the proper connection. (see your manual and follow step by step again) Good luck, call Onkyo 800-229-1687 or go to website and download manual for your unit.

  23. Nick says:

    Just recently I’ve noticed that when I have my Toshiba 46′ on the “native” screen setting the picture is no longer filling out the full screen. There’s about a 1/2 inch of black running along the top of the screen. This only happens on HD cable channels. When I use the native setting with my Roku to watch movies there’s the picture takes up the entire screen, more or less.

    I was wondering if this is a problem with the HDMI cable I have running from my cable box to my TV, or a problem with the video feed I’m getting from the cable box? I’m praying it’s not a problem with the TV haha.

  24. Paul Johnson says:

    HDMI cable good or bad?
    I have a picture that when I turn it on it almost looks like snow on the screen. very, very light. It is with TV or Blu Ray DVD. When I get to a picture it appears to go away.

  25. Kathy says:

    I have a Panasonic 43″ plasma tv, with Comcast/Xfinity cable. Some of the HD channels are very pixelated, while others aren’t. And all the non-HD channels are okay. What could be the problem?

  26. Jim says:

    I have uverse and have installed a 2nd tv in the next room. I have a powered splitter which is plugged into the uverse box. I ran 25 foot cable with a connector to a 6 foot cable which goes to the 2nd tv. It works but many times I have to unplug the HDMI cable from the 2nd tv when I turn the main tv on then plug it back in after the picture and sound appear. It then works but turning the tv off isn’t a straight forward process either. Did I do something wrong or is this just the peculiarities of a mirrored image?

  27. John says:

    I have installed a HDMI cable in a home theatre system. Cable is new and was installed at the pre-wire of this room (installed before walls were plastered). On connecting the projector and surround sound system I have found that there is no picture or sound. I have confirmed that both the Theatre system and Projector both work independently. I am also positive that the cable was not damaged during installation. Is it possible that the cable is faulty? Is there something I am missing?

    • Jason says:

      It could be a faulty cable. How long is the cable? If it is over 50 feet that could be a factor. One thing to double check is that you have the right input selected on your theatre system and your projector. Other than that, if you independently checked them both, then most likely it is the cable.

  28. Lisa says:

    Turned on LG Plasma TV tonight. Then turned on blue-ray dvd player. Changed input on TV to HDMI3 like I always do but tonight when I did that the blu-ray dvd player screen didn’t come up.
    I put a movie in got sound but no picture.

    Any thoughts.

    • Jason says:

      The fact that you are getting sound, but no picture, points to a cable or HDMI (input or output) problem. I would next try component video (red, green, blue) and see if that works (or another cable type and input). I suspect it will. Then you will need to determine if it is your DVD player or TV. The only way to do that is find another HDMI source and connect it to the same HDMI input on your TV. If it works, then it is your DVD player HDMI output that is broken, if it doesn’t work, then it is your TV HDMI input that is broken. Good luck.

  29. Donovan says:

    if both HDMI ports are out on TV (2 different lightning strikes )can that be repaired or do we have to buy a new tv?

    • Jason says:

      If it is a smaller TV I would think it would be cheaper to just buy a new one. Another option is to use component video inputs (red, green, blue) which supports HD 1080i.

  30. Carter says:

    Very nice troubleshooting guide Jason. It seems that most people end up having a defective HDMI cable if they are not getting audio and video.

    In cases of running long HDMI Cables (over 40 ft), the cable itself isn’t necessarily defective, but the signal just isn’t strong enough for their particular devices. In this case, it is a good idea to get a cable that has a lower wire gauge to ensure that the signal is strong enough top reach between devices.

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