Home > Resources > Technical Resources > Black Box Explains > AV > Common Video Errors
Common Video Errors

5 common video errors and how to fix them.

Digital HDMI and DVI formats provide sharp, crystal-clear image quality. However, problems can occur. Here are the five most common:

HDMI cable that’s too long or of inferior grade or HDCP issueProblem 1: Black screen (no picture at all).

Possible causes:

  • Bad cable or cable that’s too long, causing either the video signals or EDID/HDCP control signals not to be transmitted properly. Make sure that you use quality, high-speed HDMI® cables—they don’t even have to be expensive ones—or try an HDMI extender.
  • HDCP is unsupported. Does the display support HDCP? DVI displays usually don’t.

HDMI cable that’s too long or of inferior gradeProblem 2: “Sparkles” in the picture.

Usually caused by: HDMI cable that’s too long or of inferior grade. The solution is to use a video extender, and/or buy quality HDMI cables from a reputable supplier.

color encoding issueProblem 3: RGB color tint.

Usually caused by: A color encoding issue, a common problem when using a DVI display with an HDMI source. If you’re using a splitter or an extender between your source and the link, make sure it handles EDID. If possible, force the source (for instance, a Blu-ray player) to output HDMI video with RGB color encoding instead of Component (YPbCr) video encoding.

HDCP issueProblem 4: White noise or “snow” on-screen.

Usually caused by: An HDCP issue. This is actually what the encrypted video looks like. It happens when your display (or any active component, like an extender, used in the transmission) doesn’t support HDCP. The display, in turn, isn’t able to decrypt the video stream. Be sure to use equipment that supports HDCP.

Electromagnetic or radio frequency interferenceProblem 5: Flickering or unstable image.

Can be caused by: Electromagnetic or radio frequency interference, bad cable, or cable that’s too long. These all can cause issues with HDCP or the signal, resulting in flickering or the video randomly disappearing then reappearing after a second. The solution: Use certified high-speed HDMI cables instead of standard HDMI cables, or if you need to go long distances, try an extender. If you’re already using an extender, try changing to shielded CAT6 solid-core bulk cable.