Cable + Onkyo + HDMI = periodic audio drop outs

Ok… this is weird. Maybe simple to someone else though. It’s been happening for a good while too, though now it’s troublesome for me.

Two problems:


Using HDMI as the input from a Motorola HD cable box, via Verizon FIOS into an Onkyo TX SR 805, again, via HDMI, currently the display is my Pannasonic 50 inch plasma Viera 720p HD TV. All via HDMI.

When I’ve not got the display energized/on, and I’m listening to anything out of the Motorola HD cable box thru my Onkyo TX SR 805, on their HDMI connections, periodically the audio will cut out…. Briefly… just a one two, or three, seconds or so, then return.

This event occurs regularly. IN increments of approximately 5 – 6 minutes.

With the display on, TV, or Front Projector, it won’t happen. At all. The audio is continuous, and steady. The only gripe there is during switching from HD to sD channels…. Or and I’m guessing here, from digital bit stream outputting ones to LPCN/PCm types…. Then there’s a second or three delay, at times.

I’ve moved around all the HDMI cables…. Reinstalled/re-assigned hardware to other inputs…. Same result.

Using 2 ch analog instead, for audio from the same set up, all is well. Smooth and continuous. Not one interval of drop out.

I’ve not tried to use to digital inputs… HDMI for video and coax for audio…. Yet.

Why does not having the display on cause these periodic audio outages over HDMI?

Is there some reset button in or on the Onkyo receiver that can address this?

Initially, during setup I did have some trouble getting everyone to shake hands via HDMI.

Turning everyone off, unplugging, etc, and re-energizing things finally settled that. I think. At least now everthing plays and the video is seen on the Panny plasma.

VERIZON FIOS says it’s Onkyo’s issue…. Guess what Onkyo says…? It’s Verizon’s problem or Motorola’s concern.


If you connect a HDMI version 1.4 source (3D), to a HDMI receiver (1.3A) will it damage anything??

All the HDMI cables have the same pin out config, only the tech inside the gear changes, right?

I’m guessing "Nope, nothing will break".

You’ll only receive the benefits of HDMI 1.3A. The lesser of the two versions.

Is that right?

Thanks so very much…
Blindjim, I feel your frustration. I have an Onkyo TX-SR605 and I once had a problem like you described using the Motorola DCX3400 cable box from Comcast except that it would only affect the video and only on the Comcast 3D channel where it would blank out the video for a fraction of a second every 10 minutes or so. It was pretty annoying.

I'm not sure how I fixed it. It was either due to going to an actual 1.4 version HDMI cable between the Motorola box and the Onkyo or it was an HDMI setting in the Onkyo's setup menu. I wish I could recall.

What I can say is that I'm using a 1.3a version HDMI cable between the Onkyo and the TV, and that works fine to get full 3D on the 3D channel.

I also know I used to have the Motorola's HDMI cable plugged into the HDMI/DVI input but later switched it to one of the TV's HDMI-only inputs. I'm not sure if that had something to do with the 3D video blank-outs or not.

Sorry I can't give you a definitive answer, but hopefully some of the above will help... And yes, I love it when the various equipment manufacturers try to lay the blame on another component that they "had nothing to do with." Unfortunately, these company reps are not exactly experts, but rather people who can read instructions off a computer screen whether they relate to your particular issue or not. And as in all service industries, some reps are more skilled than others.

I had a thought (scary, I know) and it is this: I was warned about my DirecTV box not having enough output to send an HDMI signal very far or I would get periodic drop outs. Once I got an HDMI splitter/amplifier, no more problems. How far away are the units?
3D over a 1.3A HDMI? Hmm.

I feel much of the nonsenseical answers we get from Cable techs come from their lack of knowledge. Just plain ignorance. We here, all get into our gear on completely different levels than 98% of the population does. Consequently, when we hear those ridiculous re marks, we either anger, or laugh out loud!

Try asking them how to switch the box’s output to strickly LPCM or just PCM, 100% OF THE TIME…. If you really want to mess with them.

What’s PCM? Is the usual reply.

Or ask them that going in to see just what sort of tech you have on the line with you.


Presently, no HDMI 1.3 or 1.2 (Oppo 980) cable is more than six feet.

I’ve used 27 or 28ft out of my Onkyo to a projector and had fine results, apart from the “when the FPJ ain’t on the sound cuts out periodically”, aspect which I’m trying to address here.

My PRIOR TO HDMI, Sony HT rec has yet one more issue…. Some relays in it are failing, so the Onkyo came in as a replacement. It was an inevitability…. Just sooner than I planned for.

So now, all the cables are 6ft or less. Some are those really skinny ones the cable people supply. I had a short one from Blue Jeans, but it just flat out won’t work. My PC uses a 12 ft, HDMI and all is well there too, audio, and video are fine.

It’s like periodically, the Verizon gear, or the Onkyo is sending out some sensing signal to detect if all is well with the HDMI circuit.

Or… as the result of the display not being on another signal, hand shake, or something occurs.

BTW I THINK I have everything setup right. But I’ll recheck… currently no audio comes out of the display via HDMI… audio only comes off the RF connection of the Verizon STB.

In fact, I'm near sure the issue revolves around the Verizon HD STB.


Using my Oppo 980 via HDMI, I get no aduio drop outs if the plasma display is off and I'm playing content which has both video and audio as the FIOS STB does.

Hmmmm.... never thought about it like that before. Hmmmm.
I would get drop outs like that with voltage swings if a fridge or something like furnace kicked on, in my case it was just a bit loose digital coax wire that fixed mine but it happened when appliances kicked on and off.
Fixed! Fixed?

Well, leaving it on all day yesterday... periodically. I found this out.

If I turn on my display first andd foremost, THEN thurn on the Onkyo rec, HD STB all works fine, as previously stated. No drop outs when display is on.

however, thereafter, I can turn off the display and AS WELL, get no audio drop outs as said before. No display, drop outs. With display NO Drop outs.

Well, turning on the display first, than at some point de-energizing it, all works without audio interuptions.

Go figure.

No inside the setup menu to alter things all to PCM or LPCM. simply the process of who gets energized first.

Like I said... this is weird. but apparently figured out now.


What happens when you connect up two different
versions of HDMI... a 1.3A receiver, with a 1.4 (3D) source?

Can or will there bee problems then?
it seems all day yesterday was just a drill.

it's doing it again. Soon as I changed the ch. to the music ch it started dropping out all over again.

Try a digital coax or toslink for sudio and see if that helps, you will still get all the benefits of HDMI video but perhaps no audio issue.
Thanks Chad

It's merely a major annoyance. I can and do simply connect some RCA elads off the STB to the rec and switch inputs. That fixes it.

It's become a curiosity, and aggravation, and now a quest for the truth! lol

I'm more tied up in my pittiful attempt to obtain a cheap BR disc player for my Bedroom now.

Someone is polling someone. Somehow. On the HDMI interface. Which seems legitimate IMO and accounts for the cut outs.

Or because the display is off, it periodically is telling the reciever, Hey man! Ain't nobody here! Go Away!.... and the ONkyo has alzheimers, and keeps asking.

Beats me.
Oh yeah...

Ooooohhh, and the concerns over connecting up two dissimilar HDMI devices? EX: HDMI 1.3 TO A HDMI 1.4?

No prob!

According to two techs… yeah, one ain’t good enough for us/me, connecting up two different HDMI devices means only this… the more upscale device won’t have it’s attributes operating. Otherwise, at the levels below it’s version all items should function properly.

EX: Hooking up a 3D BR disc player to a previous BR only (No 3D) receiver, will result in most likely, ONLY those BR features and functions allowed by the former or lesser HDMI appliance.

You should still get the 1080P image thru put, and the associated BR audio output via HDMI into your proc or receiver which will convert it to analog and send it along to the amps. Be they on board or outboard.

But no 3D or HDMI 1.4 info will get transmitted or passed thru or along due to the receiving device, the proc or receiver, have only the previous iterations abilities.

AS all HDMI cables have the same pin out config, using whatever HDMI cable should pose no outage or debilitating issues.

One tech did say, “We sell only the HDMI 1.4 version cables now! They do appear to work better even if the application is not in the 1.4 arena and relegated to any previous iterations of HDMI.”

“Are the wires inside these new cables larger or more plentiful which could as well increase theier girth?” I asked

He replied, “No, they’re not any bigger around, they just have more strands for the sending and return signals.”

You don’t say!?

Technology always astounds me when I speak with Technicians about it. During those conversations, technology changes faster than a novice bull fighter changes their underwear.