Unfortunately, the promise of HDMI has never lived up to it’s reality. To be fair, if you have a simple setup—a source device connected to a display—and you’re within about 6-15 feet or so then generally you’re fine. However, once you start setting up an HDMI-based network that’s comprised of a receiver, pre-pro, or HDMI switchers, then that’s where many of the problems arise.
Problems can manifest themselves in seemingly maddening ways:
- You’ll get no audio or video
- You’ll get video, but no audio
- You’ll get audio, but no video
- Switching sources can take 2 seconds per device in the chain so if you have source, switcher, receiver, and TV, that’s 4 devices or 8 seconds between switching
- Powering the devices “on” in a certain order will make things work fine while powering them on in a different order will make things go all out of whack.
AppleTV (2nd and 3rd Generation): Troubleshooting video issues http://support.apple.com/kb/TS5148 or this one
Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation): About Apple TV and HDCP http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4428
The articles sound so promising but what they’re really telling you is you’re at the mercy of HDMI. My favorite is certainly TS2090. The tech article matter-of-factly states: “Your Apple TV may stop playing audio to an HDMI device (TV, AV receiver, or HDMI switcher) for these reasons:” My hopes are then dashed when I see the reasons being:
- Switching devices using AV receivers
- Using HDMI switches
- Using HDMI splitters
- Removing an HDMI cable and plugging it back in when all the devices in use are on
Wait a minute, you just described every setup that isn’t AppleTV connected to…. the TV! So, I can’t play my AppleTV content through my stereo system for high fidelity? I’m limited to those tinny speakers in the TV? Oh I could go on and on.
I settled on a solution that I’ll talk about in my next post as I take you through what I did to try and solve my HDMI trials and tribulations.