Resolve Dual-HDMI Handshake Issues on AVRs

Quick-Fix Series: we identify a problem and a quick list of troubleshooting steps

The Problem

Lots of us have multiple displays connected to our AVRs. Most often people have both a TV and a projector connected. In my case, I have two projectors connected in the home theatre.

This can sometimes cause issues with the HDMI handshake, which can show up as any combination of the below:

  • Black / blank picture
  • Flickering
  • Snow
  • Audio cutting out
  • HDCP error only when trying to play copy-protected content (such as on Apple TV or game consoles)

Troubleshooting Steps

There are multiple ways to try and resolve this. Let’s have a look at them in turn:

  1. First, let’s confirm that this is the issue – and not something else like HDMI cables or source device issues.
    1. To confirm, try and unplug one display at a time and confirm that the still-connected display is receiving the signal without any issues and the AVR is decoding the audio without drop-outs.
    2. Now try the other display on its own.
    3. If both displays work individually, but not together then you know it’s a dual-HDMI handshake issue.
  2. It may only happen when you have both displays turned on, so try and have only one display turned on at a time.
    1. If the displays work individually when only one of them is running, then it was an easy fix.
  3. Sometimes, even though the second display is off, it is still transmitting power through its HDMI port, so switching the device off at the wall (or unplugging it in countries where there is no socket switch) will do the trick
  4. Some receivers will allow you to turn the HDMI output ports on and off.
    1. It is an option to switch these manually. Of course this can get tiresome.
    2. However, some receivers also give you the option to store the HDMI output port settings in quick memory which can be called up using the remote control (Marantz and Denon receivers call these Quick Select, but other manufacturers have these as well). Check whether your make/model of your receiver supports putting HDMI out settings in quick memory or try it out.
  5. If nothing else works, you may need to resort to feeding both displays from the 1 HDMI port by connecting an HDMI splitter to that port and feeding the displays using the HDMI splitter.
    1. Another thing to try with a splitter – once you have it – is to insert it between the AVR and only one of the displays to see if the displays and AVR will play nicely (by handling the handshake for one of the displays). It’s worth trying to insert the splitter into either HDMI path, as this may allow you to still use dual-HDMI outs on your AVR.
  6. Instead of a cheap splitter, you could get an HDFury device to either split the signal or to insert between the AVR and one of the displays. You MAY be able to resolve HDMI handshake issues this way – as it is usually one of the displays that’s the culprit. However, there is no guarantee that the displays or the AVR will play ball with you.


Please note that dual-HDMI outputs on AVRs do have some limitations. Normally, these are:

  • You can only play the same source in the main zone (zone 2/3 might be different)
  • The resolution will default to the least common denominator – that is for the least capable display. For example, if you have both a 4K and 1080p display connected, then the resolution may default to 1080p for both displays.

Need More Help?

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