Having problems with your High Definition (HD) service? Look here for the most common troubleshooting steps.


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Black or gray bars surrounding picture

When a program is transmitted in 4:3 aspect ratio and it is viewed on a 16:9 screen, the image typically will be centered on the screen with black or gray sidebars.

Note that the Suddenlink set-top does NOT change the aspect ratio of any programming. However, many HDTV sets provide the viewer with the ability to remove the black or gray sidebars (stretched, zoom, expand, narrow, etc.).


If you have a Suddenlink HD set-top and would like to use these functions on your TV set when viewing 4:3 aspect ratio programming, you will need to wire up the Video Out (component video or S-video) of the Suddenlink set-top box to a corresponding standard input on your TV.  Future versions of the HD set-top box will have the “stretched, zoom, expand, narrow, etc.” functions built into the box.

Delay in picture displaying

It may take up to 5 seconds for a HD picture to first display. This occurs because there are many more pixels to be created, thus, more time is required.

Noise on one channel

Check that the coaxial cable is finger-tight. It may be loose or disconnected.

No Picture on any channel

If there is no picture on any of your channels, follow these steps to troubleshoot.


  • Verify cables are connected properly and that the TV set is tuned to cable channel 3 or 4, if using a TV – VCR connections. All cable connections should be finger-tight.
  • Verify that component connection cables are not crossed. “Y” to “Y”, “Pb” to “Pb”, and “Pr” to “Pr.” Component video diagram
  • If connected through the baseband RCA video connection, make sure the cables are connected properly. RCA video diagram
  • If you have a Scientific Atlanta set-top, make sure that your HDTV set has YpbPr (as opposed to RGB) inputs. If your set has RGB inputs, you will need to obtain a YpbPr-to-RGB adapter module and adapter cables from Suddenlink.
  • If you are using a VCR to watch TV, the VCR needs to be turned on or set to bypass.
  • Check that the correct video output mode is selected. The default mode is standard video available or RF or S – Video.
  • Check that the proper video display format for the TV has been selected.
  • Make sure that you have tuned to an HD channel that is available in your area. Check our website for the available channel line-up in your area.
No Picture on HD channel(s)

If you aren't receiving a picture on any of your High Definition channels, but you have picture on your Standard Definition channels, follow these steps to troubleshoot.


  • Make sure you are tuning to the channel through your Suddenlink HD-enabled set-top. Without the HD set-top, you will not be able to tune to an HD channel. The only exception to this is for customers that have a digital TV with a built in QAM tuner, in which case you can pick up your local broadcast affiliates in HD, typically local NBC, ABC, FOX, and CBS broadcasts. Please consult your TV’s owner's manual to determine if your TV has a QAM tuner.
  • If your TV has a built in QAM tuner, you can pick up the local broadcast affiliates in HD with the coaxial cable from the wall outlet connected directly to your TV (may require an Auto Program of your TV’s tuner. Consult your TV’s owner’s manual for more information.)
  • Please visit our website and check your area’s channel lineup for availability of local affiliates broadcast in high-definition. All cable connections should be finger-tight.
No Power

If you are receiving power to your TV but no lights are glowing on the box, use these steps to troubleshoot.


  • Check if power cord is disconnected and reconnect power cord, if necessary.
  • Verify that the set top box is plugged into an outlet that is always on (i.e. not controlled by a light switch.).
Picture in Picture (PIP)

In order for PIP to work on an HD set top, the signal must be split at the wall plate.

If it isn't or if you are unsure, please contact customer support or chat with us online for additional help.

Picture is clear but color is not right

If you turn on your TV and box and the picture comes in but the colors aren't quite right, follow these troubleshooting steps.


  • Check that your component video cables are connected correctly (i.e., Y is connected to Y, Pb is connected to Pb, and Pr is connected to Pr). Crossing these cables will mix up the picture colors
  • Check that your connections are finger-tight. RCA-style cables and jacks have a tendency to become loose, especially if not pushed in properly.
  • If all of the above are true, adjust the convergence and luminance on your television set until the picture looks normal.
  • Adjust the color, contrast, brightness, and tint, if desired.
Picture is not displayed full screen

Not all programs are in HD format and therefore programs will not always be full-screen. Not every show currently broadcast by a HD station in HD format. Check your local programming guide or visit our website. You can assume that if you are getting a picture on the HD channel that your equipment is functioning properly.


Check your HDTV settings by consulting the HDTV’s owner manual.

Switching Video Inputs

A wide screen HDTV may have picture size adjustment features (zoom, stretch, etc.) that can be used to remove the sidebars (black or gray thereby preventing burn-in) otherwise seen watching standard definition programming. To take advantage of these picture size adjustment features, switch the video input mode on the HDTV to the Standard Video input (most likely labeled source, video source, inputs, TV/video, or video on the remote control that came with the TV) when watching standard definition programming.


Future versions of the Suddenlink HD set top box will have picture size adjustment functions built into the set top. In either case, Suddenlink recommends avoiding prolonged viewing of programming with sidebars or letterboxing as this may result in damage to the HDTV. Consult your HDTV owner’s manual for details.