HDMI gubbings

From: graphitone23 Feb 2018 10:23
To: ALL1 of 31
Morning all.

I wanted to run this issue I'm having with an HDMI cable past you all, just to see if teh hive mind can help, or suggest some other troubleshooting I've not thought of.

In one of the boardrooms at work, there's a TV with a HDMI lead chased into the wall, it then goes under the suspended floor and into a floorbox. From there the cablers added a faceplate into the floorbox with a short female to female HDMI extension lead joining the one from the TV to whatever device we want to plug into the faceplate. So, nice n' simple. However, we've been seeing some weird aberrations on the screen recently - this goes from a few green dots to lots of green dots, plus some colour blurring etc. So, I've tried the usual stuff, testing with other cables, laptops and screens to rule out faulty connections/kit. The weak link seemed to be the short female-female cable, as bypassing that meant the dots et al disappeared and I got a clean image. I ordered a replacement, fitted it and got the same problem, albeit not as bad. The attachments show what the old and new cables produced on the screen. I took the short extension out of the faceplate just in case it was picking some electrical noise up from the VGA and sound cables in there, but it didn't improve. The kicker here is that I've since tried the new extension cable on another TV and it works fine.  :-@

I've read this morning that the refresh rate of the screen might be to blame, so I can check that out the next time I'm over in that office. Anyone got any other ideas?! :J
EDITED: 23 Feb 2018 10:23 by GRAPHITONE
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)23 Feb 2018 10:39
To: graphitone 2 of 31
"we've been seeing some weird aberrations on the screen recently"

What changed in your setup? Does the screen look ok with a direct connection to device? Is the total length of cabling an issue?
From: graphitone23 Feb 2018 10:55
Nothing changed, it's just degraded over time.

Like I said, I've bypassed the female to female extension cable, plugged the lead from the TV straight into the laptop (which I didn't make clear before, sorry!) and things were fine. Taking that setup (the extension cable, HDMI lead to laptop and the laptop itself) and trying it on another TV things were also fine. It's the just the in situ setup at that office, using the extension that things bugger up.

I don't think the length's an issue, it's no more than 5 metres of cable.
EDITED: 23 Feb 2018 10:59 by GRAPHITONE
From: william (WILLIAMA)23 Feb 2018 12:35
To: graphitone 4 of 31
The received wisdom used to be that since HDMI is a digital signal, any old cable would do so don't waste your money on flashy stuff. In fact it's incredibly prone to problems from connections, EM interference, poor quality internal wire causing digital errors, sharp bends round walls, etc. Some older monitors and TVs emphasise this. 

Is there a staff kitchen next to the boardroom with a fridge/fan/water-cooler/whatever in it? (Especially if it wasn't there before). Is there a huge run of Ethernet/mains/sound cabling or similar sharing the underfloor route?

How old is the TV/Monitor? Our old plasma telly distorted and complained like mad unless it had decent shielded cable plugged into it.

I still don't completely understand your setup. have you been able to remove the chased-in cable to test that separately, i.e. have you been able to test it when it's free of its conduit with or without the female/female extension? Might be worth spending a couple of pounds on some clip on ferrite chokes if all else fails.
From: graphitone23 Feb 2018 13:53
To: william (WILLIAMA) 5 of 31
The chased in cable going to the floorbox from the TV works fine - I've plugged a laptop directly into that and all's well, as is the rest of the cabling when removed from the floor box (the female/female cable and the lead from that to the laptop). It's just when the female/female is used in the floorbox that we see issues. It could well be some EM interference from adjacent power cables, but the direct connection to the TV in the floorbox inamongst all that works fine. Apart from the mains cables for the room itself, there aren't any others running through that part. Most are in the ceiling void anyway. I don't know if the old cables are shielded or not, and it's almost certain that the female/female connector isn't, but I can test that this aft in a similar setup in our main office boardroom.

We don't get the cheap cables, we go for the lower end of the branded ones.

The TV's an 5-6yr old plasma. Did you see a similar kind of distortion to that which I'm seeing?
From: william (WILLIAMA)23 Feb 2018 14:25
To: graphitone 6 of 31
No, just periodic break ups across the whole picture. 
From: graphitone23 Feb 2018 15:00
To: ALL7 of 31
I don't know if it makes any difference, but the dots and other artefacts appear in the same place each time something's connected.
EDITED: 23 Feb 2018 15:00 by GRAPHITONE
From: milko23 Feb 2018 17:53
To: graphitone 8 of 31
so, the female-to-female adapter/cables are shit even fresh out of the box? I don't currently see what else it could be. Possibly, messing with resolution (to a lower one or a native one) and/or refresh rate would work around it. I had a cable that could only do 720p once, that was weird.
From: graphitone23 Feb 2018 18:44
To: milko 9 of 31
Seems that way. :C

I'm over there again early next week, so I'll get to mess around with it again then.
From: ANT_THOMAS23 Feb 2018 22:44
To: graphitone 10 of 31
What milko said, sounds like the coupler is rubbish.

I've had HDMI cables that don't play nice with CEC communication (controlling TV, amplifier, volume etc). Also recently had a setup where CEC was working great, then just decided it didn't fancy it anymore. Changed all cables, changed all settings, couldn't get the magic combination of whatever along with a suitable sacrifice to get them talking properly again. Total ballache.
From: Dave!!24 Feb 2018 10:06
To: william (WILLIAMA) 11 of 31
The received wisdom used to be that since HDMI is a digital signal, any old cable would do so don't waste your money on flashy stuff.

It's more a case of if everything works with a cheap cable, a higher quality cable will do jack shit for improving the image quality any further. This is despite some people with £100 platinum-plated HDMI cables adamantly claiming to see "richer colours" or other such crap with their more expensive leads.

However where a cheap cable/adapter combined with kinks, bends and other interference results in the signal breaking up (as is happening here), a more expensive and better shielded cable may be worth trying.
From: ANT_THOMAS24 Feb 2018 10:09
To: Dave!! 12 of 31
I guess it's more down to consistent and suitable build quality, along with shielding, rather than bullshit coatings and oxygen free bollocks.
From: william (WILLIAMA)24 Feb 2018 12:09
To: Dave!! 13 of 31
There still is a market for people who have insane beliefs about the benefits of graphite coatings on oxygen-free copper inside medical grade silicone insulation. In the audio world, it reached its peak in the late 90s with a gent called Russ Andrews who marketed paper dots that you could peel off and stick to things like fridges, water tanks, televisions, etc. These had been 'treated' with his proprietary purified water and would make your hifi sound better. He's still in business banging out his special plug fuses and so on.
From: graphitone26 Feb 2018 14:45
To: ANT_THOMAS 14 of 31
If the coupler (that's so much easier to type than female to female) is rubbish though, why would it work in a different office. The coupler seems the weak link at the office with the floorbox, plugging straight into the TV there from the laptop works ok.

The coupler works fine at our main office though. It only fouls up in the other office, which points the finger either at the environment there, or a combination of things in that setup that I don't yet understand.  :-/

If I get time this afternoon, I'll set something up in the server room and have the coupler very close to the back of the server cab.
From: ANT_THOMAS26 Feb 2018 15:55
To: graphitone 15 of 31
Could be a larger amount of interference in the other office. I haven't read back but is the connection box next to or does it contain a load of other electrical junctions that might lose their shielding in that area?

Wrap it all in lead.
From: william (WILLIAMA)26 Feb 2018 22:18
To: ANT_THOMAS 16 of 31
Might be worth spending a couple of pounds on some clip on ferrite chokes if all else fails
From: graphitone27 Feb 2018 11:16
To: ANT_THOMAS william (WILLIAMA) 17 of 31
I like the wrap it all in lead option. It might stop people tinkering with it.

I tried the coupler in a small scale setup with a tft monitor in our server room, and have literally had it on top of the four 3 phase commando connectors in there and inamongst a lot of other power leads and everything was fine.

I'll cancel the lead order. :C
EDITED: 27 Feb 2018 11:21 by GRAPHITONE
From: graphitone27 Feb 2018 11:46
To: william (WILLIAMA) 18 of 31
I had a look at his site earlier on and the Kimber brand they sell rings a bell as a high priced and even higher bollocks name from when I first started looking into hifi stuff.

There's this on there. Crazy stuff. There's even an option for getting your cable frozen. I suspect the chill might not last once I've got it installed and cranked the heating up.
From: Chris (CHRISSS)27 Feb 2018 22:18
To: graphitone 19 of 31
Wow! That's just ridiculous. I'm almost tempted by the £1,195 1m USB cable. It comes with its own carry case :O And definitely the cryo treatment. Although no option for burn in with the USB cables :(
From: Chris (CHRISSS)27 Feb 2018 22:39
To: Chris (CHRISSS) 20 of 31
Ok, er, they're suggesting adding an earth rod with their RF Router to dump additional ground noise from the system. To me that would be worse cos the system would have two different ground references.