New HDMI cables causes loss of sound

21 Mar 2014
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United Kingdom
I have a Virgin box (TiVo) and soundbar (Yamaha Bar 40) connected to the TV (Toshiba 55UL2063DB); and a DVD player (LG BD360) connected to the sound bar and all is good and works.

The problem is that two of the cables (Tivo/TV and soundbar/DVD player) are not long enough, so I purchased a pair of 5m HDMI cables from Amazon.

But I lose sound to the soundbar when I replace the cable between the TiVo and TV, and I lose the signal from the DVD player when I replace the cable between the DVD player and soundbar.

I get sound from the soundbar when I put the original cable back between the TiVo and TV.

With the new cables in place the TV doesn't even register the soundbar, in the sources just lists it as HDMI 2.

The cable between soundbar and TV is the only one I didn't change, and is connected to the ARC port.

What the hell is going on???????

Edit: I still get sound from the TV speaker, I just lose sound from the soundbar.
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HDMI embeds audio in with the picture data, so a loss of audio without losing picture suggests that something other than audio data loss is going on. To me that would indicate an issue with the settings or a compatibility problem between the source(s) and any sink devices such as displays and audio gear.

However, you've had this working with the shorter cables, and so clearly something is changing when the leads are swapped. The fact too that the TV doesn't recognise a source with the longer Amazon basics lead connected would point me toward the communication which happens during a HDMI handshake.

A HDMI cable has 4 x TMDS cable sets for picture/audio (x3) and timing clock (x1). I think they're working okay. Then there are a pair for identifying and communicating between the bits of gear. This is the DDC channel. You can have a look at all the channels and their functions here: Video connectors and cables - Biamp Cornerstone

Amazon basics cables are built down to a price like most things. Within a HDMI cable the TMDS channels are the ones that carry the most data, and so they're the ones that need the thickest connecting wires to handle the bandwidth. The 5V power line carries up to half an amp, so that needs something thick too. Although the DDC and CEC channels don't carry high current or large amounts of data they're still important and so decent cables will use a similar thickness of connecting wire for them as the TMDS channels. Cheaper cables compromise in this area. They also use aluminium rather than copper because of cost. Then there's the construction of the cable. The data pairs need to be twisted a specific number of turns per unit length in order to minimise interactions between the pairs. I think this and the construction could be where your Amazon cable is letting you down.

My guess is that the DDC channel isn't working, and that's throwing off the settings on your hardware. One common issue is having a sound bar that understands digital stereo (PCM) but not Dolby Digital or DD+. The Yamaha isn't in that boat though and so something else is being thrown out of whack with those Amazon leads. Without knowing the rest of what's going on it's not possible to pin down the issue with a remote diagnosis.

The bottom line though is if you can't find a setting that needs flipping back then return the Amazon leads and buy something better.

HDMI is flaky. When it works then it works. But you can never be sure just how close the system is to collapsing, This is the digital cliff. It all works great until it doesn't.
@Lucid You are probably right about the cables being at fault.

These are the cables I brought
Interestingly one of the original shorter cables is an 'Amazon Basic' cable, and the other two cables I got from ASDA

I just found it odd that I 'lost' the soundbar even though it was connected to the TV with the original cable (Unless that was the one 'at fault')

I know I shouldn't have, but I was swapping out the cables while my partner was watching a film on Netflix.
On the back of the TV I unplugged the cable for the Virgin box and within about 30 seconds of the new cable being plugged in the sound started playing out of the TV speaker.

The other end of the cable was not even plugged in!!!

I even turned everything off at the wall, but it still wouldn't work.

I'm returning the cables and getting a new pair of slightly shorter cables (3.6m) from ASDA for almost double the price (I work there so it's convenient - lol)
They will be shorter, but they will be longer than the ones I currently have. And 5m was a bit overkill!

Edit: Just reread the product page and the cables are HDMI version 1.4a, is that the issue!?
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Not sure I'm helping but..
One of the hdmi TV ports will be Arc.. Audio return channel.. That should go to sound bar.Will be marked.
Although I could never get sound from ARC with firestick plugged in on my old panosinic TV.. Odd that. Handshake problem with old outdated TV software was the thought..

My thinking is, it was working as you had it correct but not now with swapping to new cables..


Notice you mentioned ARC.

Maybe dirty ports, faulty cables.. Swap for known good ones.

Also don't hot swap while TV or devices are on. Won't handshake
These are my go-to HDMI cables:

Never had an issue with that brand. For anything over 10M it's very hit and miss, very much depends on the strength of the signal being output by the device. For anything over 10M I would recommend using a fiber optic HDMI cable, I know that doesn't apply here but it's worth mentioning.
I've used the above brand as well- think the longest is 20m, no problems at all, though my TV is only 1080 (it is 14 years old) so it's possible they'll play up at higher bitrates

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