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HDMI Not Working

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TV-Tech has been an electronics tech beginning around 1986. Currently working on consumer and commercial TV's.

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HDMI Not working? How to protect them from surge damage.

This article was written in 2012. All the information here is still valid today. The only difference, TVs have gotten cheaper. But still not cheap enough to not take precautions to protect them. Spending $30-$40, can save you the cost of replacing a TV. And HDMI surges are still causing just as much damage as they did in 2012.


HDMI not working after a power surge is one of the more common things I see as a TV tech, at least during surge season (when thunderstorms happen). When a power surge comes through HDMI, you could have one port stop working, all HDMI ports, or even a TV that won't turn on. HDMI produces the highest quality Video and Audio today, but failing to take special precautions to protect these ports can lead to very expensive repairs.

Hopefully you are here before this has happened to you, but if not, I'll show you some ways to protect yourself in the future.

The most important thing to remember,,,,HDMI damage can occur even if your TV is unplugged from the wall. Read on to see how to prevent it, it doesn't have to be expensive.

Think of electricity from a power surge like a person walking into your house. The power cord is the front door, HDMI (or any signal source) is the back. Of these, HDMI is the most sensitive to power surges. Are your doors open?

All photos in this article are personal pics, taken with an Olympus stylus digital camera.

How to protect HDMI ports in TV or Surround systems - Finally, devices that actually protect HDMI

These inline HDMI surge protectors have come down in price dramatically the last year. With about half the repairs I've done this year being HDMI related. These really need to be used more. It doesn't take a lightning strike to damage the TV. Just a 30 volt spike, will destroy a television.

And if you get the suppressor, you'll need another HDMI cable - No, you don't need to spend a lot to get HDMI cables

You could also get one for a spare, I carry these when I do service calls. I have been called out for HDMI not working, only to find a bad HDMI cable. It doesn't have to be an expensive HDMI cable to get the job done. And in some cases, the cheaper (lighter) cables, put less strain on the HDMI ports in your TV.

HDMI not working prevention, or saving your TV from damage.

THE best thing to do is unplug everything when a storm is coming. This isn't practical for most of us, but at a minimum unplug the power cord to your TV & Cable or Satellite box. And remove the RF cable going IN to your cable box.

Yes, more often than not the surge that damages the HDMI ports in your TV will come THROUGH the cable line into your STB

What HDMI looks like inside the TV - The connectors

HDMI not working ports

HDMI not working ports

This is how the connector looks on the inside of a TV. If you look really close you can see they are all 3 connected together.

Also notice how fragile the connectors are, I see them broken all the time.

Another Inside picture - This is a closeup of the HDMI processor, the part damaged from power surges

HDMI not working processor

HDMI not working processor

This processor runs on low voltage, typically under 5 volts. So a minor surge from your cable or satellite box will damage this. And in many cases this will cause a TV to not turn on.

Note to those technically inclined: You can't get a meter to the pins on the processor, but if you ohm check across the small surface mount capacitors and read a short, it will (usually) indicate a shorted IC. They are almost always labeled with a C and right next to the ports themselves. I usually read all the capacitors around the processor and ports.

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How to protect HDMI - Yes, I'm going to recommend you buy something.

In this case spending a little now can save you a LOT later.

The main PCB in the TV in these pictures costs a little over $200 just for the board. You are probably not a technician, so you would also have to pay someone to install and configure the main.

  1. Get a good Surge suppressor, not an outlet multiplier (often sold as surge suppressors. Look for a guarantee against damage to equipment connected to it). Get a surge suppressor with RF cable protection, but first check with your cable or satellite provider to see if this will block their signal

    The ones listed below all fit this criteria

  2. If you haven't done the first thing,,DEFINITELY follow the next two!!
  3. Unplug power to both your TV and STB if a storm is on the way. Don't just turn it off. This also applies to all electronics.
  4. Remove the RF cable going IN to your cable or satellite box.

Surge suppressors that have protection for HDMI

All of these suppressors have a built in RF protectors. Use this to run the RF cable through BEFORE it gets to your cable of satellite box. Usually when HDMI is not working after a surge, it can be traced to an RF line surge that will also damage the cable or satellite box.

This can interfere with the signal level on some satellite systems, check with your provider before connecting the RF line

What if that didn't help

How to tell if you have a bad cable, port, or no HDMI

ONLY unplug and reconnect HDMI with the TV OFF

First, remove the HDMI cord going to the STB.

Then use another device to test the ports on your TV. Preferably a DVD player that you've tested on another TV with HDMI. Don't connect the STB to the other HDMI ports on your TV!

If none of your HDMI ports are working, you probably have a bad HDMI processor (see picture above). You will either need to call a service center or replace the main. Normally a HDMI surge will blow all HDMI ports on your TV.

If this has happened, your STB is bad also. Do not reconnect that box to your TV after it has been repaired, you will end up with HDMI not working again.

Has this happened to you? - If so, what service provider did you have?

I'm curious as to what service this has happened with. I see it most often with Satellite, but have had a few on both Verizon and Comcast in my area.

For those of you who've had this happen. What was the cost to repair your TV?

John Newhouse on April 27, 2017:

This happened in my Home theater. I had to replace my DLP projector, Cable box, HDMI switch and my Surround sound receiver. Total cost was over $2,000.

I did have protection in place. I have a pure sine wave UPS with Automatic Voltage regulation, power conditioning and surge protection (including RF protection). But still blew out the HDMI in each component.

I am installing a master power kill switch that will disconnect all power to the home theater. Of course this will only help when I am not operating the home theater.

TV-Tech (author) on February 04, 2016:

Sometimes the communications link is damaged in the HDMI switch/processor inside the TV. This is call "handshake". It's where the TV and STB communicate. When you have a failure to handshake, it can be as simple as re-seating the HDMI cable on both ends. Make sure to turn the TV off BEFORE disconnecting them though.

me on September 29, 2015:

Sounds like this happened to me, but the weird thing is that my TV detects the connection but there's is no image, does that sound like a glimpse of hope for my TV? I've tried unplugging, different cables and reseting the TV, but still nothing......is there something else I can try? Thanks in advance.

Gordon on April 19, 2015:

Chalk me up to another person appreciative for the advice. Unplug power for 15 minutes, all better. Saved me from spending a bunch of money...thanks...Also, I'll start using that coax connection on my surge protector. :-)

baylor1 on April 13, 2015:

In the article above (HDMI Not Working) there is a set-in box called "Finally some ICs available to fix some televisions". You totally had my attention until it ended with "So, if you've had yo". What should it have said after that. I am in the lovely position of having my HDMI ports (3) on my Panasonic Viera TV go out with a thunderstorm in Tyler, TX. I use Suddenlink and bundle all 3. Panasonic gave me a repair place 30 miles away. Since my TV is 50", they will have to come to me and I've read where it can cost up to $450! I also lost the Ethernet card in my desktop CPU - fixed now. So, I've now "discovered" why the Belkin surge protector I bought has coaxial and phone plug-ins!!! Your article is great if you could just finish that part about what is the least expensive way for me to get my TV fixed (I'm watching it now with just the coaxial cable thru the DVR (which I made a note for them to replace with a new one after reading your article). You are my hero of the day! What great info. I need to bookmark and keep up with your articles! Thank you so much!

MRVLV from Stafford, Texas on January 03, 2015:

If only one port isn't working after a storm, do I need a technician, or can I possibly resolve the issue myself?

abi on December 14, 2014:

i have a smart 55" 3d tv and the hdmi function does not work due to a lightning strike surge through my STB..the tv powers up but hdmi fucntion is in0operative...any ideas or do i need a new pcb?

TV-Tech (author) on November 02, 2014:

Yeah, many times the simple things work.

Nuance46 on October 24, 2014:

You are simply amazing! We had contractors at our home and the electrician was turning the power on and off. I asked him to let me know when he does it next because of my computer, but I didn't even think about the TV & HDMI cable. My computer has a surge protector, so it didn't affect it. But when I went to turn on the TV for the World Series (a must in my house) none of the HDMI ports worked! I called Comcast, they came to the house and determined it was the TV and I would have to repair the ports. So I went to the Comcast office, picked up a new box & HDMI cord and tried that first. Nothing! Then I found this amazing site that told me to unplug everything, wait 10 minutes....I waited 30! Voila!! I have all 4 HDMI ports working!! Thank you, thank you. I will be buying the surge protector today! Just on the side, I updated the software on the TV as well with a plug-in USB wireless LAN

sbjr on September 09, 2014:

Hi. I had this happen to me on Saturday. All the HDMI ports are not working. The cable company replaced the stb, but still no luck. I am running component right now. I am not too knowledgeable about these things. Am I now left with a repair? Is that my only option?

janey126 on September 14, 2013:

Wow what a great info and lens! Just awesome!

TV-Tech (author) on June 05, 2013:

@anonymous: It would require very expensive air soldering stations. If you could find the HDMI processor. The only legitimate way to replace the chip is to replace the main pcb in the TV. Take a look at the HDMI surge suppressors. One is listed on this lens. That is the first and only device I've seen capable of protecting the HDMI processor in a TV. If you can let me know make and model of your TV I may be able to direct you to a supplier that will sell the main.

anonymous on June 05, 2013:

Thanks for detail information. This happened to me a year ago....it is 5AM, so I will try to unplug first everything as recommended after my wife wakes up later...but, how difficult is to replace the HDMI chip?

TV-Tech (author) on May 31, 2013:

@anonymous: I hear that a lot from my customers. They unplug the power from their TV, storm hits, TV still gets damaged. Thanks for stopping by!!

anonymous on May 31, 2013:

I was taken back to learn that damage can occur even if the unit is unplugged, who'd have thought. I don't have HDMI but I've heard of others who've had some problems but just can't remember what that was but I do recall someone having to unplug for several minutes....very valuable information and I'll be sure to inform others to replace their STB if they have a surge. :)

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