How Do I Tell If A HDMI Cable Is Bad?

HDMI 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 unplugging 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 receiver using an additional 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.

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 connector (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.