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I'm trying to connect my Macbook Pro Late 2011 (OS X 10.8) to a LED TV. I'm getting this flickering static shown on the screenshot below. It also comes with a "bursting" sound whenever the static appears. Happens once every couple of seconds.

Things I've found out:

  • There's no problem with the cable (a Griffin Mini DisplayPort to HDMI connector). I actually brought it back to the store and it worked just fine using the shop's MacBook Pro and external monitor combination.

  • Cables are properly connected. I've checked and pushed the connection points a dozen times to make sure this is not the cause.

  • There's no problem with the TV. It works just fine when connected to an iPad, or to a PS3.

  • Problem also happens on a different TV (LCD).

I've done some research and solutions recommended would be to reset the parameter RAM and the SMC. Before I go to such measures, anyone with an idea about what could be causing this problem?

enter image description here

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  • 1
    The female plug on your computer has oxidized pins. Clean them.
    – Ruskes
    Feb 4 '14 at 15:28
  • Buscar, I did suspect that also and wiped them with cotton buds. :) No idea how to clean them properly.
    – Ronixus
    Feb 4 '14 at 15:44
  • I understand your adapter is known good, but have you tried a different cable? Feb 10 '14 at 7:01
  • @MrWonderful Please place that as the answer and I'll award you the bounty. Yes, it worked fine with a different cable. I just don't understand how the Griffin cable could work on a different PC and not on mine. Anyway, your comment did prompt me to try a different cable and boy it worked! Effectively, you solved me problem.
    – Ronixus
    Feb 12 '14 at 13:51
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+50

Have you tried a different HDMI cable?

I recently experienced a problem with a Roku 3 that sounds similar. During boot, the Roku displayed its boot screen successfully. However, once it got past that point (I assume it switched video modes,) the display went to flickering black with rare bursts of proper video. I replaced the cable (after constant pestering from my better half) and voila! I was dumbfounded, yet thought if you hadn't tried it, that might be the next avenue to pursue.

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    For the benefit of others going through this answer: the culprit is the Griffin Mini DisplayPort to HDMI connector. It's working fine when connected to a monitor, but ends up like this when a LED/LCD TV is involved. @MrWonderful got me to consider trying a different cable, just for the sake of it - and it ended up isolating the problem. Griffin needs to look at this. Either it's a manufacturing defect, or a design problem.
    – Ronixus
    Feb 12 '14 at 15:37
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I cannot comment your question, but maybe you can narrow the problem down by using gfxCardStatus to force the macbook to use either internal or discrete video card. I'm thinking it may be a problem with either.

Also, can you get rid of the flickering by forcing the plugs a bit in any direction with your fingers?

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You did not tell if you tried using your Macbook and the Griffin cable with other kinds of external monitors (i.e. projectors, computer monitors). I had flickering problem before because of poor cable contact. From what you described, I would focus my suspect very much on the Macbook mini display port and image setting. Just an idea, you may try reducing resolution for the image you put on the LCD TV, and changing color mode on the LCD TV (i.e. PAL, NTSC, AUTO etc)

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Have you tried all the refresh rate settings? I have seen similar problems when operating at a resolution beyond what the TV (or graphics card?) is capable of.

Cycle through every resolution setting and each refresh rate available at each resolution. If it is too hard to control the display dialog box do "gather windows" on the main display and you can control the TV settings from there (the dialog box moves over to the main view).

It is easier to do this all if you have mirroring mode off (Arrangement > uncheck "Mirroring Mode") so the main display stays at its native resolution.

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I had the same problem. Eventually worked out that it only did this with HDMI cables (Tried 3 different ones) that had 'shielding' (High density triple shielding for maximum noise rejection). Tried a few cables with no shielding and it worked every time...

The shielded cables worked fine with other laptops in our office though.

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