It’s always something

Remember my excitement over this? The new A/V receiver was a welcome addition to our home theater setup, and I was quite happy with it…until we installed a new Sony Blu-ray player and immediately discovered that something was not quite right.

Whenever we’d try to watch a DVD, the TV would display a fuzzy pink-tinged picture, something that I’m pretty sure didn’t accurately reflect the content of the disc. Then, it would display a message like “resolution not supported” and go blank. The cycle would start over, and while it occasionally would end with the DVD playing properly, more often we had to give up on it. The problem was that I was never sure if it was the DVD player, the receiver, the TV, or a combination of two or more of them. All three have the capability of upconverting non-HD signals, and I feared that they just weren’t playing well together. And, of course, the documentation read like, well, stereo instructions.

I tried everything I could think of…swapping out HDMI cables, toggling the conversion settings on all the devices, and…well, that’s all I could think of to try, to be honest. I finally had the brilliant idea of connecting the DVD player directly to the TV, and it played perfectly. That, combined with the fact that even the cable box/DVR that was routed through another HDMI connector on the receiver had the same problem led me to believe that the receiver’s HDMI circuit board had issues. I googled the problem and found that others had experienced HDMI problems with Onkyo A/V receivers, albeit not with our particular model.

The receiver is still under warranty, so I contacted the store I ordered it from (Vann’s Inc., via and they immediately diagnosed it as a defective unit and offered to exchange it or issue a refund. I was very impressed, until they added that these options were available only if I shipped the unit back to them in the original packaging. That packaging included a box big enough to house a refrigerator, and we didn’t want to use an entire spare bedroom just to store an empty cardboard box. So, Vann’s washed their hands of the issue.

Next stop: Onkyo’s customer support. I emailed them and received a response within a couple of days (along with an apology for the delayed reply). They directed me to one of their service centers for warranty work. Of course, the closest such center is in Denver, so I’ve got to ship a 40 pound piece of electronics up there and the turnaround is 2-3 weeks, assuming they have the parts in stock to fix it. So be it.

The upside is that we’ve greatly simplified our remote control situation once more. And we can still watch the Blu-ray player by connecting it directly to the TV. But the absence of surround sound makes an HD DVD a less than satisfying experience. What I really miss is the ability to play music on the front and back porches.

Why am I sharing this? No real reason, other than it might help someone else diagnose a similar problem. And, I guess, also to point out that in light of the kinds of problems we could be having, this one’s not too bad.


  1. Eric, we have found the more gadgets a person gets and the more things such gadget is suppose to do,the more likely at least of of them will have some sort of problem. At least you know how to figure out how to solve them.

  2. Definitely true. Technology is a two-edged sword, and what it often saves in time or provides in entertainment/information, it also often takes away via its care and feeding requirements. However much we want things to “just work,” as long as humans are involved, they won’t.
    I’ll bet even the Amish get hacked off when one of their wagon wheels goes wobbly!

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