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HDMI Audio gets fuzzy

  • Audio
  • HDMI
  • Laptops
Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
February 10, 2010 6:11:16 PM

Bought a Gateway NV5927u, sweet deal for $500. Lucked out and scored with the Core-i5, not to mention the Blu-Ray and HDMI output (pretty much the reason I bought it).

After making sure everything's up to date, and doing a bit of optimization on the startup, I finally decided to take the blu-ray for a spin. So, hooked it up to the TV via HDMI, and it looks gorgeous. About 10-15 minutes into a movie, the audio goes from crystal-clear to a static-laden mess.
But it works perfectly fine when watching on the laptop itself...

So I tried a few other devices with HDMI (360, standard DVD player, desktop), and all of them don't have that issue. Even swapped cables and used a different HDMI port, still run into the same issue.
So driver hunting I went. Updated everything I could find. Intel chipset, Intel graphics (which supposedly includes HDMI's audio), realtek audio, firmware for BD drive, all Win7-64 updates, updates for PowerDVD (even dropped cash on a newer version)...

Only way I've been able to get around it (but not fix it) is to unplug the HDMI cable from the laptop, then plug it back in. That'll buy me another 10-15 minutes or so. So far, the best thing I've been able to come up with is using VGA and separate speakers, which is more complicated than I want it to be.
I'm looking for a more permanent 1-cable solution, but I'm at my wits end. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Only using this feature when laptop is plugged in, Power mode set to "Maximum Performance" with screen saver disabled.

Gateway's product page
Core-i5 (not sure which one, running at 2.27GHz)
4GB DDR3-1066
320GB 5400RPM HDD
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
AVG 9.0 Free Antivirus (Norton was first thing to go)

TV is Vizio VM230XVT, Windows recognizes it as such

Please, any help is greatly appreciated. I would not be asking if it were a simple fix (but then again, I've overlooked a few simple fixes in my day, haven't we all?)

More about : hdmi audio fuzzy

February 11, 2010 12:44:00 PM


the problem is indeed in the HDMI cable, not in your settings or the drivers. Try a HDMI 1.3c cable, that worked for me ;) 
February 11, 2010 1:43:42 PM

DaTom said:

the problem is indeed in the HDMI cable, not in your settings or the drivers. Try a HDMI 1.3c cable, that worked for me ;) 


So I tried a few other devices with HDMI (360, standard DVD player, desktop), and all of them don't have that issue. Even swapped cables and used a different HDMI port, still run into the same issue.

yea... no. not the cable. already eliminated that. thanks anyway.

still open to suggestions/solutions
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February 16, 2010 3:45:30 AM

I couldn't find a good spec sheet (didn't look that hard) but if this is running an Intel graphics chip, that might be the source of your problem.

I have had a similar issue over the past day, in which my monitor (HD LCD television) will randomly have bad static, and potentially an audio drop out, before going back to normal. I couldn't find any description of said problem, but found similar suggesting they had difficulty with the Intel chip. Since it is HDMI, the audio is tied to the graphics. I have the latest Win7 X64 drivers, and still have the issue. Now all of this started after we got a baby monitor yesterday, so I have wondered if that was causing interference, however I haven't had conclusive testing, and I have only had the monitor for two days, so there's a good chance that it just didn't happen until today. (Most I've used it is today.) Not interference.

You tried different devices, that means it is the PC, at least in part. You said you tried different cables. Different brands / sources? On a whim, I tried the cable that came in the monitor box, and at least so far I have had no issues. It makes me think that the first cable might not have been as well shielded, even though the ferrite beads on that thing were huge. If something is bursting (transmission, activation, etc) and that was getting picked up on the cable, that might have caused the sound? (I'm not an electrical engineer or anything close, just theorizing that a badly shielded cable might act as an antenna, though video stays fine... which doesn't make much sense)

That doesn't guarantee anything, but I'm hoping not to hear static again for a while (or ever). Granted, I haven't done much using sound since the cable swap.

If not that, unfortunately it may just be the Intel graphics chip. If that is the case (and I'm hoping it isn't just as much as you) then a new driver released in the future may help.

Here is the URL of the thread where someone else was having issues:

Sorry, not really an answer.

EDIT - Thought about it further, checked my months-old Monoprice order, and I was wrong, the cables were not the same. First was 1.3a, second was... well... whatever was in the box. It may have been 1.3a, but I'm doubting it. May have been 1.3c? Haven't checked. If you are sure that both cables you tested were HDMI 1.3c, then that might not be it (back to the graphics chip?) but if you are at all unsure, best to try putting a 1.3c cable in there to check. More research, 1.3a versus 1.3c shouldn't be causing this. Still, if you have two cables from brand A, might not hurt to try brand B.

Another edit - From further reading, sounds like it probably wasn't interference I was dealing with? (Still not up to speed on the whole digital cable bit, the old analog stereo plug connector has served me well until now.) Still, I have yet to have the issue since swapping out the cable last night. Knock on wood, or whatever superstitious act you prefer. That being said, Monoprice has great reviews (myself included), so I'm still leaning towards it being a graphics chip / driver issue. What I have read on cable problems thus far is that they tend to be all or nothing, your signal gets through the cable or it doesn't. Now I haven't chopped one of these cables up (yet) to get a good look at the internals, but assuming the audio and video streams to be going on the same line, cable damage wouldn't explain it, as my picture is perfect when the audio goes to crap. I probably ought to just go to Wikipedia and start doing some reading (or better yet start working on my actual job today...)

One more time... 9:42 AM, the static returns. Has to be the computer. Back to the graphics driver, and that link above. Looks like this is a known issue with P5QL-EM Mobos. Also looks like, at least so far, ASUS hasn't provided a fix. Lovely... So none of this likely applies to you, other than it being something regarding your computer. One thing I read was to disable exclusive control for the sound device, worth a try.

Start => Control Panel => Sound => Select specific adapter => Advanced => Deselect "Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device."

Sorry for the wall of text, been a while since I've used a forum so I'm going to have to work on getting to the point a bit faster...

Used some italics / strikethrough to try and get rid of some of the less useful information, without removing it entirely.
February 18, 2010 5:39:41 PM

tramusen said:

You tried different devices, that means it is the PC, at least in part. You said you tried different cables. Different brands / sources?

I've tried cables from different brands and made under different specs ranging from 1.1 up to 1.3c. Even defied common advice and dropped $50 on a 4ft "premium" cable only to have the same results. Glad I kept the receipt on that.

I'm going to try the control panel. Will post with result by the of this weekend.
Otherwise, I'll try to return the laptop and get one powered by AMD instead (if I can land as good a deal).

Best solution

February 18, 2010 6:02:39 PM

Just to clarify on the Intel aspect of it, the Intel processor (cpu) wouldn't be the culprit (I'm pretty sure?), but rather the onboard graphics. If you were to get another Intel-based notebook with a dedicated graphics card, that might be a better choice than just switching to AMD. Then again, for that price, it may take switching to AMD to keep the price the same with dedicated graphics. Not that those have zero issue, but at least with earlier Intel graphics chips I've read lots of trouble reports. (That being said, people with problems are more likely to talk about a product than happy people... Happy to unhappy ratio may not be accurately reflected from what you find.)

From the Gateway specs:

Chassis with Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator HD with 128MB of dedicated system memory supporting Microsoft® and Mobile Intel® HM55 Express Chipset

That's your most likely problem area, if it isn't a driver problem. Trying to look for pages with static and that specific on-board graphics, I came up with nothing. Tried with a couple of different word sets and the like on Google, and just found nothing. You may have better luck with Google than I had.

It may not be the on-board graphics after all. Or your specific notebook may have a manufacturing defect, while the notebook model is without known issue.

Have you tried contacting Gateway? They might have a couple of things for you to try. Granted, what they ask may be unreasonable, stupid, or useless, but with it being a notebook at least the first is less likely.

The "solution" I got from ASUS for my HDMI audio issue was to disassemble the computer, and rebuild it outside the case with the motherboard on cardboard to check for grounding issues. With the size of that case, there's no way I'm going to bother opening it all the way up to test, and then cramming everything back. I just went with a DVI + Stereo miniplug setup, leaving the HDMI on the monitor for the Xbox 360.

February 18, 2010 6:41:36 PM

Well, got off the phone with a buddy of mine. He ran into a similar issue with a Sound Blaster setup about a year or so ago. Turns out, for him, it was a driver fix. It just took a long time for Creative to come up with a working set of drivers for it.

BTW, it's an Intel Core i5 430m, which has a "dedicated" graphics processor on the same chip as the CPU. I've not had the best luck with Intel (and nVidia for that matter) since they released the Pentium D (/shutters)

I contacted Gateway, they said there's no problem they're aware of, so they want me to send it back for repairs. Intel support also says they're are any known issues at this time. I figure since it's still under return policy at BB, I'll see what they got first.

I'm almost certain drivers would fix it. But I'm really impatient, and the lack of support from the manufacturers has gotten really aggravating.

I could just as easily go the VGA/Stereo-mini route, but it defeats the purpose behind buying the laptop to begin with. I wanted it because it "offers" Blu-Ray as well as a means of delivering full 1080p video and uncompressed audio in a one-cable solution.
... :(  I'll report by the end of this weekend and vote on an answer.
February 18, 2010 6:48:59 PM

Completely understandable. Only reason I'm using the setup I do is because it won't ever be mobile. If it were a laptop with HDMI, two cables wouldn't be acceptable, even if they were optical audio and HDMI for the video.

Good luck at Best Buy if you go the return route. I guess same should be said if you decide to send it to Gateway, I hate sending off electronics stuff for repair.
February 19, 2010 12:28:03 AM

Looks like it's going back to Gateway for repairs (yay warranty!)

Intel swears up and down it's not a driver issue, since "all audio seems to have the problem" gotta love scripts and if-then conclusions from tech support. Not even reading the issue. They sent me this link instead
... Doesn't even list the HM55 chipset! How about some updated software! That's inexcusable! you know you're working on a product, have the damn thing ready when you release it!
the pains of early adopting...
Told them I'm going to stick entirely with AMD from here out. I'm done with Intel.

At least Gateway thinks it may be a software or hardware problem, but they want to test it to make sure. I figure, no harm in that. Worse comes to worse, they'll give me my money back or replace it with the AMD version instead

Thanks anyway. Tram you get the gold star for this one
February 19, 2010 12:28:18 AM

Best answer selected by tikrjee.
November 15, 2011 6:01:12 PM

So I am having this same TV but some different specs on the pc side, could it be the TV? I know this topic is old but wondering if he actually solved this because though the thread is labeled answered this has not been solved.