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Old 06-08-2012, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I thought I took all the proper steps to ensure success on my project, but inevitably, I ran into a bit of a hiccup. I'm hoping it's a non issue, but would appreciate the insight of those more capable than myself in this arena.

My setup is as follows: All components (cable box, blu ray, apple tv, mac mini, etc.) are connected to my Onkyo tx-nr709 receiver via 3 foot 28 awg high speed hdmi cords from monoprice (like this). Then I have a 40 foot 22awg professional hdmi cable from monoprice (like this) traveling from the HDMI out MAIN of the receiver to the HDMI input of my Samsung Plasma. I also added these HDMI dongles to both ends of the 40 foot HDMI cord because it was so stiff/inflexible.

Now, I tested this setup for two weeks prior to sticking that 40 foot hdmi in my ceiling, over a bathroom, around piping, behind a shade, .....you get the idea. Everything worked fine as far as I could tell. All blu ray content (1080p/60) was playing as expected. So, I took the plunge and began my cable runs which also included speaker wire for my 5.1 setup. 2 days later, I was finished with the runs. The first thing I did was fire up a blu ray. Everything looked as expected (although I was paying a lot more attention to the sound, because the video picture had been fine for two weeks and I wasn't really concerned). I had to switch some setting on the receiver to get sound through the speakers instead of the TV. As I was doing this and viewing the on screen display of the receiver on the TV, the picture started to go in and out. The screen would begin to alternate between the blu ray content, a solid green screen, and then finally a black screen which would display the number HDMI the Samsung was on (HDMI 4 in my case), as if nothing were connected. I begin to immediately theorize the connections just weren't plugged in all the way. I took the dongles off of both ends of the 40 foot hdmi, turned the receiver off and then back on, but wasn't getting any picture at all. I basically quit for the day, before losing my mind. Tried again the next evening and I got strange behavior for about 15 seconds (blu ray content, solid green sreen, black screen), but then the blu ray kicked in steady and I had no issues. I haven't had any cutting out issues since. I've tried all sources over and over, and even hooked the dongles back on to the end of the 40 foot hdmi. Everything seems to be working as expected. Last night I realized I hadn't updated the firmware on my receiver, so I did. Maybe that was to blame for my earlier cutting out problems. I probably should have updated that before doing anything, but it's just so strange that everything worked fine for 2 weeks and then I had that small hiccup of cutting out, and then everything worked fine with no signs of cutting out issues. Was it just bad connections (hdmi just needed to be unplugged and replugged in again)???

Although I haven't been getting any of the "cutting out", I've began to obsess over whether or not my cable is bad. I'm now watching the blu ray content very closely (like right up to the screen of the tv) and thought I was seeing "sparkles" in the picture. Was watching 'Man on Fire' and I can't tell if its just the way the movie was filmed (its very "grainy" at times). I'm so paranoid now that something is wrong with my HDMI cable. I do see little pixels that flash white in some scenes if I get very close to the tv (its the same scenes, and the little pixels happen in the same place every time). How obvious would sparkles be if I had that problem? I've heard they're normally very extreme, but can also be subtle. Would they appear all the time, on every scene, or is it possible to only see them sometimes, in particular scenes, and only a few very briefly? I think this is all in my head, but I just can't help it after my crises. I always thought if you could see picture on the screen, your cables were good. Am I wrong about that????? I've got a shot to pull another HDMI if I need to, but that would be costly and time consuming.

Am I worried about nothing here????

Sorry for the long post. Any answers/advice/educated theories would be much appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 06-08-2012, 01:23 PM
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Hi there,

Don't be sorry for the long post, we need information. I know how you feel. This kind of thing would bug me really bad, too.

I don't remember what 'Man On Fire' looks like, but 'The 5th Element' is very grainy. Maybe you want to play that, compare what you see on the 2 movies and make a judgement as to whether you actually have a cabling problem. You may also want to play a smooth movie (can't think of 1 right now) and examine. When I had this problem, it was very apparent (the picture was snowy) so plugging the power supply to the HDMI switcher solved it. Of course, your problem, if any, is different.

About the sparkling occurring in the same place with the same scene all the time, I can't comment directly on it. But I think that the sparkling due to a cabling issue would be very random and occur every where on the screen.

If not too difficult, you may go ahead and add a 2nd cable run while you're still at it. You never know what will happen to that 1 run in the [long, or short] future. I did 2 so I could sleep better:)

Good luck.
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Old 06-08-2012, 01:59 PM
 
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I would rather have too much information than not enough. So, thank you for including the detail. Often we get a question of, "my HDMI doesn't work with my receiver. What's wrong?" This is much better.

Sparkles should be obvious even far away from the screen. They would also be random. So, replaying the same video again should produce defects in different places than the first playback. If you are seeing the same problem in the same place then it's either a shiny disc error or part of the film.

What you had with the green screen / blank screen sounds like obvious bit errors to me. My one concern with leaving things as-is is that someday they might reappear.

So, what to do? When you reconnected everything did it feel any different than the original? Did you have any different signals running (particularly with wires running parallel to the HDMI)? In other words were you running 7.1-channel when you were getting the errors and stereo when you were not? What you are looking for is interference caused by other signals (such as caused by speaker wires). Are you sure you're running at the same resolution as before?

If all that looks OK, then I'd probably leave it alone and see if it's still stable after a few more weeks. If so, then the old adage of "better is the enemy of good enough" applies.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .Capstone View Post

I've got a shot to pull another HDMI if I need to, but that would be costly and time consuming. Am I worried about nothing here????

I doubt there is anything wrong with the cable. If your system continues to function without any problems don't worry about it.

With a long run like this it's possible that the signal strength is borderline. Monoprice sells different models of HDMI Equalizer Extender Repeaters which can help if the originating signal is weak. Some of the repeaters are DC powered and others use the power from the HDMI cable. They are relatively inexpensive and something to keep in mind if you have problems down the road.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Movies

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Old 06-08-2012, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Alk3997 and XJ6,

I really appreciate you guys getting back to me. I figured the more information I gave, the easier it would be for an expert to diagnose.

It's very good news to hear you say that sparkles would be obvious, even from long distances. I really think this all may be in my head. I just got so panicked as soon as the picture started behaving strangely that now I'm standing 12 inches away from my 58 inch plasma screen to see if I can see any problems. What I am observing is extremely minor and although I need to watch some more content, it appears what I'm seeing is occurring in the same place on the screen and at the same part in the film. I watched a particular scene about 10 times last night and the little white pixels that would flash were always in the same exact spot and there were only a couple (max 3) at any given time. In general the 'Man on Fire' blu ray seems to not have the best pic quality. I've got the 'Planet Earth' series which I would think would be a good one to test for pic quality. I'll try that one. Also, when I first fire up the blu ray, that initial FBI Warning screen that pops up is absolutely crystal clear. No tiny white pixels at all, even from two inches away.

To answer some of your questions: Yes, it did feel a tad different when I reconnected after the issue. Remember, I had dongles attached to that long/thick HDMI cable and I felt like the one at the TV had come a little loose. The TV is hung on the wall and its only got .33" from wall to TV (good idea in theory, but not the most practical thing to work with Im learning). I have to push the thick cable back into the wall and let the dongle come out. I believe that when I did this, I may have originally loosened the dongle from the cable. Couple that with the fact that I just got around to updating the firmware on my receiver and I really think that the problem was one of those things or maybe even a combo of both. I went on Onkyo's site and some of the fixes listed under the previous firmware updates for my receiver are:
Stabilizes video output when using HDMI/CAT5 Extender on HDMI OUT MAIN terminal;
Improves noise during playback of DTS-HD Master Audio with particular Blu-ray disc;
Improves picture output of 1080p/24 sources;
Improves audio/video output in HDMI Through mode; (I'm not using through mode)
Enhances video output when Monitor Out setting is set to "Both"; (I'm using Main, not Both)

I thought the first 3 there were particularly interesting..maybe it had a lot to do with my first problem. Who knows.

Also, I should mention, that while I was testing my setup originally (before anything went inside walls) the 40 foot HDMI was laying across the floor while it was plugged in. Someone stepped on it very lightly near the TV and it must have jiggled the connection a bit. The screen went red and then went back to the content (just regular hd cable tv 1080i) but the colors were all over the place and crazy looking. I unplugged the cable and the dongle, blew on them, plugged them back in tightly and all was fine. I didn't think much of it at the time, but looking back on it, maybe this is similar to what happened to me initially with the whole solid green screen and then black thing. What got me into super panic mode is that I tried unplugging and replugging the connection at the TV several times with no luck. Remember, it wasn't until the next day that it started working without any problems????? And no, I don't believe any settings were changed in terms of 7.1 or 5.1. Also, the resolution I'm running is set to 'Auto'. I haven't changed that. Maybe I just have a really sensitive connection. I don't know if its my TV's fault, the long hdmi cable's fault, the dongle's fault, or all of them together???

I think I'll watch some more content and investigate more. The picture cutting out is obvious and is a problem, but since updating the Onkyo firmware last night and making sure the connections are as solid as possible (I think I'm going to use electrical tape at the dongles) I haven't had a problem with it. I'm wishfully thinking that particular problem was related to one of those two things or a combo of both and not the long HDMI cable that's in my wall. If the problem doesn't come up again over the next week or so, am I probably safe to assume I was correct on that theory? The second aspect to all of this (the "sparkling") might just be in my head thanks to the first problem. I probably need to view more blu rays and watch them in a more normal fashion (not 6 inches from the screen trying to find any pixel that doesn't look right). In your guys opinion, is sparkling very obvious? In other words, someone would know it if they had it, not just an expert (it could be seen under normal viewing experiences). Additionally, I know someone who could probably let me borrow one of those high priced Audioquest HDMIs they carry in Magnolia. I could test that and see if my results are any different. That might give me some additional piece of mind that this sparkling thing is just in my head.
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .Capstone View Post

Alk3997 and XJ6,
I really appreciate you guys getting back to me. I figured the more information I gave, the easier it would be for an expert to diagnose.
It's very good news to hear you say that sparkles would be obvious, even from long distances. I really think this all may be in my head. I just got so panicked as soon as the picture started behaving strangely that now I'm standing 12 inches away from my 58 inch plasma screen to see if I can see any problems. What I am observing is extremely minor and although I need to watch some more content, it appears what I'm seeing is occurring in the same place on the screen and at the same part in the film. I watched a particular scene about 10 times last night and the little white pixels that would flash were always in the same exact spot and there were only a couple (max 3) at any given time. In general the 'Man on Fire' blu ray seems to not have the best pic quality. I've got the 'Planet Earth' series which I would think would be a good one to test for pic quality. I'll try that one. Also, when I first fire up the blu ray, that initial FBI Warning screen that pops up is absolutely crystal clear. No tiny white pixels at all, even from two inches away.
To answer some of your questions: Yes, it did feel a tad different when I reconnected after the issue. Remember, I had dongles attached to that long/thick HDMI cable and I felt like the one at the TV had come a little loose. The TV is hung on the wall and its only got .33" from wall to TV (good idea in theory, but not the most practical thing to work with Im learning). I have to push the thick cable back into the wall and let the dongle come out. I believe that when I did this, I may have originally loosened the dongle from the cable. Couple that with the fact that I just got around to updating the firmware on my receiver and I really think that the problem was one of those things or maybe even a combo of both. I went on Onkyo's site and some of the fixes listed under the previous firmware updates for my receiver are:
Stabilizes video output when using HDMI/CAT5 Extender on HDMI OUT MAIN terminal;
Improves noise during playback of DTS-HD Master Audio with particular Blu-ray disc;
Improves picture output of 1080p/24 sources;
Improves audio/video output in HDMI Through mode; (I'm not using through mode)
Enhances video output when Monitor Out setting is set to "Both"; (I'm using Main, not Both)
I thought the first 3 there were particularly interesting..maybe it had a lot to do with my first problem. Who knows.
Also, I should mention, that while I was testing my setup originally (before anything went inside walls) the 40 foot HDMI was laying across the floor while it was plugged in. Someone stepped on it very lightly near the TV and it must have jiggled the connection a bit. The screen went red and then went back to the content (just regular hd cable tv 1080i) but the colors were all over the place and crazy looking. I unplugged the cable and the dongle, blew on them, plugged them back in tightly and all was fine. I didn't think much of it at the time, but looking back on it, maybe this is similar to what happened to me initially with the whole solid green screen and then black thing. What got me into super panic mode is that I tried unplugging and replugging the connection at the TV several times with no luck. Remember, it wasn't until the next day that it started working without any problems????? And no, I don't believe any settings were changed in terms of 7.1 or 5.1. Also, the resolution I'm running is set to 'Auto'. I haven't changed that. Maybe I just have a really sensitive connection. I don't know if its my TV's fault, the long hdmi cable's fault, the dongle's fault, or all of them together???
I think I'll watch some more content and investigate more. The picture cutting out is obvious and is a problem, but since updating the Onkyo firmware last night and making sure the connections are as solid as possible (I think I'm going to use electrical tape at the dongles) I haven't had a problem with it. I'm wishfully thinking that particular problem was related to one of those two things or a combo of both and not the long HDMI cable that's in my wall. If the problem doesn't come up again over the next week or so, am I probably safe to assume I was correct on that theory? The second aspect to all of this (the "sparkling") might just be in my head thanks to the first problem. I probably need to view more blu rays and watch them in a more normal fashion (not 6 inches from the screen trying to find any pixel that doesn't look right). In your guys opinion, is sparkling very obvious? In other words, someone would know it if they had it, not just an expert (it could be seen under normal viewing experiences). Additionally, I know someone who could probably let me borrow one of those high priced Audioquest HDMIs they carry in Magnolia. I could test that and see if my results are any different. That might give me some additional piece of mind that this sparkling thing is just in my head.

Yes, the sparkles should be obvious. Unless you think something is broken, I wouldn't touch the cables or try a different one. Don't grab defeat from the jaws of victory...
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:17 AM
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Your picture alternating with an all Green screen is an HDCP error – the TV is generating the Green Screen when its failing to authenticate with your Source via the AVR; quite a common problem and can suddenly appear after many hours of trouble free operation; a system reboot (power everything Off at the wall then back on) will often resolve it (until it happens again!!!).

Most (if not all) of your BD discs will be encoded at 1080p24 so try and play them back in that format!

Only use the video processing in the AVR if you really need to – often they are less trouble (HDCP and EDID) when set to video ‘Bypass’ mode and allow your Display to scale any non-native signals.

Sparkles will jump out at you – you won’t have to look too closely!!!

Always worth even a basic ‘calibration’ of your Display settings (using a test disc) before you stick your nose on the screen looking for picture processing flaws!

Joe

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