FYI, We Need to Fix Our HDMI
July 15, 2011 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Who can repair a broken HDMI cable? Way TMI re: HDMI inside.

We are renting an apartment in San Francisco that came pre-wired for sound, TV, etc. It wasn't until after we got here that we realized that the connector on the HDMI cable is broken. We obviously don't want to invest a ton (and are asking for some relief from landlord) but does anyone know of a place or electrician or AV specialist who could splice a new connection on to the old wire?

I've poked around and it definitely seems possible but I think we are getting the run around from a couple of people who have come by about how hard this would be to do. Given that we know very little about this (and we've had several AV/Sound companies not return our phone calls) - does anyone have any idea (a) how much something like this would cost and especially (b) who in the Bay area might do this without completely overcharging us? I found some DIY solutions online, I'm just not quite that adventurous.

This seems like one of those things that if we found the right person it would be painless but instead it's turning into a total time and potential money suck. Thanks for your help.
posted by jasbet07 to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is usually a replace rather than repair situation. http://www/ has HDMI cables in varying lengths for ridiculously low prices.
Is the cable run inside the wall or is there some other reason you can't just replace it? If it's broken, the landlord should probably be informed, so you don't get charged for it.
posted by cosmicbandito at 2:00 PM on July 15, 2011

Yeah, seriously. Buy a new cable from Monoprice for $4 and be done with it.
posted by Jairus at 2:04 PM on July 15, 2011

I perused some forums and found what I expected: splicing HDMI is very difficult to do. The cable is a mess; four shielded twisted 100-ohm pairs and seven miscellaneous conductors. That equates to 19 connections that are very tiny to try to connect. Odds are you will not succeed in a fix.

The easiest way is going to replace the broken component. That being said, is this a wall plate like this that is broken or the end of a cable? If it's a wall plate, this might be a very easy DIY repair. The HDMI wall plates are usually just a pretty face that the cable plugs into on the back. If it's a broken connector on the cable buy a new one for cheap and run the cable through whatever housing.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:05 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far. It's definitely the connector that's broken and it's not a standard $4 cable - it's run through walls and ceilings into a cabinet that contains all of the wiring - pulling the cable would be more trouble than it's worth. I also perused and while it does look like a p.i.t.a. for someone like me - there seemed to be some folks who posted viable solutions for replacement connectors for someone who knows what they're doing. I'm assuming in SF - and the land of the techies...there's got to be some people who would have this expertise.
posted by jasbet07 at 2:20 PM on July 15, 2011

posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:22 PM on July 15, 2011

Response by poster: Here's one example of a solution that seems possible if someone had a bit of background but that would be beyond me.
posted by jasbet07 at 2:23 PM on July 15, 2011

"We are renting an apartment ... We obviously don't want to invest a ton (and are asking for some relief from landlord)"
If they advertised the place as pre-wired for sound, have them fix it. Seriously. You absolutely don't want to be splicing a cable you don't own, and ultimately, how it gets fixed is not your problem.
posted by misterbrandt at 2:30 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Here's a picture of the broken connector on the cable.
posted by jasbet07 at 2:31 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding misterbrandt. You signed the lease expecting working wiring and they didn't deliver. They are obligated to fix it or, failing that, lower your rent.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:43 PM on July 15, 2011

In your "one example" the guy is recommending that you chop the cable itself, away from the connector, and then strip the wires accordingly and match them up to an identically manufactured cable, also chopped. It's a ghetto splice but it can work. If you fudge a pair of wires or the colors don't match then you will end up with reversed polarity and fried gear.

Also if the cable is longer you may be working with an "active" line that can carry a signal for longer runs versus a "passive" line that you can buy at Wal-Mart.

The problem with HDMI is that it is a licensed holding and to receive certification and manufacturing data you have to pay the $10,000 annual license fee. Hence why you can't buy connectors from Radio Shack (would allow for non-licensed cables) and why your average cable guy will just replace the wire rather than source the parts. It's not like ethernet where crimping tools, standards, and specs are widely available. :(

Just tie some string to the broken end and pull a new cable through.
posted by Khazk at 2:59 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I think it'd be easier to fusion splice multistrand fiber optic than an HDMI cable.
posted by bz at 4:10 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Uh... That your finger, more-or-less to-scale, in that picture?

I've never seen an HDMI cable or connector that big. They usually have a similar size and thickness to a USB cable.

I'd have to agree with others who have said to just use the existing one to pull a new one. As long as no one stapled it to a beam somewhere in the walls, that will go a lot easier than you might expect.
posted by pla at 4:42 PM on July 15, 2011

I'm with @pla. Are you sure thats not a broken DVI connector? It's entirely possible, since DVI is a video-only subset of HDMI, and there are HDMI<>DVI cables & converters. Big clue would be if audio was delivered by a second set of cables.
posted by kjs3 at 4:54 PM on July 15, 2011

Yep, that is a DVI connector.

Three rows by 8 for digital, plus VGA on the end.
posted by JackFlash at 10:27 PM on July 15, 2011

FYI dvi is not video-only. Dvi can carry audio. Dvi is only missing a much more obscure semi-useless hdmi feature (cec).
posted by Wood at 8:09 AM on July 16, 2011

@Wood: Are you sure? I just cruised through the DVI 1.0 spec, and it doesn't mention audio. In fact, I can't even see what pins audio would be carried over.
posted by kjs3 at 2:46 PM on July 16, 2011

DVI is video only. However, DVI and HDMI are electrically compatible, with DVI as a video-only subset of HDMI. HDMI sends audio as separate packets across the same digital wires during the video vertical and horizontal blanking periods. Separate audio wires are not used. You could use a DVI cable and put HDMI adapters on both ends to connect two HDMI devices and get both video and audio. However, if you connect an HDMI adapter to a device with only a DVI connector on the box, this means the device does not support audio and only the video data is transferred.

So you can use the same cable, with adapters, to connect HDMI and DVI devices, but a DVI device will not support audio.
posted by JackFlash at 4:05 PM on July 16, 2011

Response by poster: Does the fact that it's DVI change things re: my original questions?
posted by jasbet07 at 3:42 AM on July 17, 2011

@jasbet07: Not really. You just need to make sure you get the right replacement.
posted by kjs3 at 11:52 AM on July 17, 2011

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