The genius of the Nintendo Switch is how it allows you to go from playing a handheld game to experiencing it on your big screen in seconds. However, that gloss is definitely muted if you have to deal with periodic blackouts on your TV. If you are experiencing this problem with your Switch, there are two things you should know: You are not alone and there is a solution.
Reddit user r / Ramen-Noodle-Bear had this problem. They struggled to figure out why their OLED switch would occasionally serve a black screen for about four to five seconds at a time when connected to their LG C9 OLED TV. During these power outages, there was no sound, but the Switch’s handheld screen did not come in either: the console still recognized that it was docked. In addition, the Ramen-Noodle-Bears Joy-Cons still worked during these image interruptions, suggesting that the system remained vigilant throughout.
As a biomedical equipment technician in their offline life, Ramen-Noodle-Bear claims to be well versed in troubleshooting and continued to try to test every variable under the sun. They have fully updated the firmware for both the TV and the switch; they ensured that the TV did not just turn off, switch inputs or adjust HDR settings; they promise, “if you read something that someone has tried, I have done it.”
The solution: a new HDMI cable
Fortunately, the Ramen-Noodle-Bear eventually fell over the solution and saved their sanity as well as the sanity of everyone who experiences these Switch blackouts: You need to switch (heh) to an HDMI 1.4 cable.
You can see, Nintendo packed an HDMI 2.0 cable with the OLED switch, to match the output port, which was also upgraded to the new standard. The switch can apparently handle both HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0, which means you should not see any difference in gameplay or performance by using one over the other. However, for some The reason why the newer standard can result in insane blackouts with the video output, especially with this particular LG TV.
It’s hard to say why HDMI 2.0 can cause this handshake problem while HDMI 1.4 does not: it’s possible that there’s a mild incompatibility between LG’s C9 TV and the Switch’s HDMI 2.0 output. Ramen-Noodle-Bear theorizes that the problem may lie in 2.0’s increased maximum data output of 18 gbps compared to 1.4’s 10.2 gbps, although these theoretical maximums have no further impact on gameplay or performance. That said, HDMI 2.0 is not one new technology – it has been around since 2015 – so an incompatibility with a new TV is strange.
Whatever the reason, it does the trick to swap that 2.0 cable for a 1.4 cable, and it’s a cheap solution: You can find plenty of cable options on Amazon for under $ 10. Ramen-Noodle-Bear is not alone in encountering this problem or trying this solution: The top comment on their Reddit thread describes the same problem with the same TV and Switch models, while others repeat similar feelings and thank Ramen- Noodle-Bear for the solution.
Another possible solution
That said, other Redditors reported that they suffered blackouts while using other hardware, and found another solution to fix the problem. These players used a launch day switch instead of an OLED model and experienced issues while docked to a Samsung TV. The fix for them required changing their TV’s RGB settings to “Restricted Spectrum”. If your problem is consistent with this hardware setup, try changing this setting before purchasing a new cable.
You would think we would have figured out these A / V issues by now. Unfortunately, as long as we connect devices from two different companies, occasional incompatibilities can be expected. Maybe Nintendo should just make their own TVs.