Blu-ray Blues: Troubleshooting Home Theater Problems

April 27, 2010

I am a big fan of the Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray player given its outstanding picture and sound quality (especially now given its price!). However, I’ve recently run into issues while watching DVDs.  Occasionally, the screen blanks out as the DVD plays but the audio is fine.  I don’t have the problem while playing blu-rays.  So, what’s the best way to troubleshoot a problem like this?

One of the best approaches to troubleshooting your home theater or any other electronics is the process of elimination.  There’s lots of different things that could go wrong with your system.  The process of elimination helps you figure out which parts of the system are working so you can focus in on where the problem is.

Before we start, it’s helpful if you know how everything is connected together.  To watch a DVD, I know that I need my TV, blu-ray player and receiver powered on.  The blu-ray player provides video to the TV over an HDMI cable and audio is sent over RCA cables to the receiver.  The receiver in turn outputs sound to the speakers.

Given its a video problem, the issue exists with either the TV, blu-ray player or the DVD disc itself.  So, to fix this problem, here are the questions I asked myself:

  • Do all of the components have power?
  • Are all of the physical connections ok?  Try reseating the HDMI cable on both ends.  Sometimes it looks like a cable is connected but it really isn’t.  This is especially true if you have cats.
  • Try different DVDs.  In my case, the problem occurred with different DVDs. 
  • When the screen blanked out, I was able to change the source to cable and the TV showed a picture.  This eliminates the TV itself being the problem so the problem is probably with the blu-ray player or how the blu-ray player and TV interact with each other
  • Google the specific symptoms you are experiencing.  Use your specific model number (i.e. bp-320 screen blank dvd)
  • From Googling, I tried turning off CEC (Kurolink, Anynet) but that did not help
  • I went to Pioneer’s website which showed there was a firmware update to the player which addressed “Enhances DVD stability”.
I ran the firmware update on the blu-ray player and so far, so good!  While its great that manufacturers can now easily provide updates to address product issues over the Internet, it has also given them some license to release products that aren’t tested as thoroughly as they should be. 

Tags: Blu-ray, pioneer, troubleshooting

One Response to Blu-ray Blues: Troubleshooting Home Theater Problems

  1. Home Theater Seating on June 22, 2010 at 6:24 am

    So you have bought a home theater set for watching movies and television at home. You wish to experience a better way of enjoying entertainment in your home. Well, you should not forget to buy home theater seating to create more comfortable environment.

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