Somehow macOS 11.6 broke HDMI

I wanted to do an XScreenSaver release, and it turns out that some time since April, Apple has started refusing uploads to the app store that were built with Xcode 11 (because fuck you that's why). And they never bothered to do a build of Xcode 12 or 13 that will run on macOS 10.14 (because fuck you that's why). So here I am, under duress, finally upgrading to macOS 11.6 (because fuck me that's why).

And that's going about as well as expected:

But the above game of whack-a-mole is not why I'm posting. No, I'm posting because I'd like someone to explain to me why my iMac's second monitor is working fine but my third monitor (my projector) is getting no HDMI signal. I see a bunch of people complaining about this sort of thing on laptops, but no answers.

If I go to the end of the run and plug in a different monitor into the cable that normally plugs into the projector, I get signal, main screen turn on. But apparently said signal is now unacceptable to my projector.

Note: no hardware has changed, only an OS update. And somehow that OS update has weakened or otherwise broken this HDMI run, and now I can no longer watch TV from my couch.

Double-You Tee Fuck.

Update: And then... it magically started working again.

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10 Responses:

  1. Carlos says:

    Sorry, this is not a "the reason is this for sure" post, but a "could be this" post. To make up for it, if this is the cause, it is utterly unactionable on your part.

    It sounds exactly like what happens when you own a video device whose HDCP key has been cracked (common) and added to the blacklist that manufacturers are required to include, update, and distribute (happens, but generally takes a while). BluRay players are (or at least were) famous for suddenly deciding particular TVs or projectors were no longer worthy of their blessed pixels.

    Perhaps MacOS 11.6 includes your projector's HDCP key in its blacklist. Unfortunately I know of no way for mere humans to determine if this is actually the case - perhaps someone else knows.


    • Eric says:

      To be fair, anyone watching High Definition Child Porn (HDCP) deserves to be on some kind of list.

      • グレェ「grey」 says:

        LOL, thank you Eric. I thought I was the only one who made that joke.

        There's also the corollary DPCP joke for those who contend with DisplayPort's heinous copy protection failings. ;)

    • Jered says:

      HDCP errors will (used to) give a modal dialog on the active screen, although I wouldn't have put Apple past breaking that too.

      Are HDCP blacklists still a thing? The master key was reverse engineered more than a decade ago. The content industry is full of shitty ideas, but continuing to pretend their broken crypto still works is taking it a bit far.

      You could get a $20 HDCP stripper and give that a try, but I do not think this is the issue.

      • グレェ「grey」 says:

        HDCP and DPCP errors are still a thing, though I do not know if the blacklists are updated.

        Impressively, I think it was the PS4 which had an option to disable HDCP when they realized that a lot of gamers were plugging the output of their consoles into capture cards to stream, and hey, free advertising! Though I will note, the widely lambasted at time of release (though ironically now much more expensive in the after market) Neo Geo X did not implement HDCP at all, which was welcome. Albeit, I'm sure that had nothing to do with SNK later renegged on Tommo's license and subsequently releasing their own Neo Geo Mini things which are substantively worse in every appreciable aspect. (cough sarcasm cough)

        The HDCP strippers have varying results of actually functioning unfortunately, and more often than not in my experience, some have required splitting out the audio into TOSLink and then perhaps even another device to re-inject the audio. Which is say, they do function, but they don't function well.

        There are reasons for this of course, and it isn't just that the powers that be who are able to extend copyright long past its expiration date hate you, and the consumers who line their wallets, because they do undoubtedly hate you. It's also because if you are a "real" professional, you will presumably be using something such as HD-SDI or 12G-SDI or these days maybe NDI, which while also being more expensive than HDMI connectors for doing roughly the same thing (albeit with more robust BNC physical interfaces), since they are considered to be used more or less exclusively by content producers who are willing to pay more up front costs, they aren't laden with copyprotection mechanisms, because holy smokes, have you ever noticed how obtrusively annoying such things are?

        It's a tale at least as old as SCMS (Serial Copy Management System) which was the backlash against DAT (Digital Audio Tape) because, heaven forbid that engineers invent something new and decent and sell it to people for bleeding edge technology prices, without other marketing departments and their attorneys attempting to striate the market with lines in the sand of who is a producer and who is a consumer and other still awfully expensive but maybe $50 to $100 cheaper products. There are profits to be made! Somewhere, for some completely unscrupulous people, who will call others thieves at any sign of dissidence. They've got the money and power, and they prefer to keep it that way.

        • jwz says:

          albeit with more robust BNC physical interfaces

          We use SDI cameras at the club, and what? BNC is the worst! The connectors are always wobbly and out of spec, they don't handle strain well, and putting a new end on is so much more of a pain in the ass than doing the same with an F connector.

          • グレェ「grey」 says:

            My reply apparently vanished into the ether. C'est la vie!

            NDI ostensibly is over ethernet, so RJ45 connectors may become the prevailing thing moving forward if that becomes more popular?

            I didn't write that intending to imply that BNC connectors were the best, my apologies if that is how it was read, but they are "lockable" which is more than I can say for HDMI or DisplayPort. Albeit, the IEC power connectors on some recent DJ mixers (e.g. the Pioneer DJM-V10) are also lockable. I think if you really want to see someone extolling the virtues of BNC, you probably need to look at Eric Blossom's old Slashdot interview, but even then I think he was referencing it predominantly as an interconnect for antennae rather than general purpose usage:

            Personally, I like XLR interconnects a lot, but they seem to be used predominantly for audio applications. マクロスプラス「makurosu purasu」(Macross Plus) did tease a fiber optic based interconnect which was clearly XLR inspired. Unfortunately, decades later and while we did get AI-ish pop stars such as Hatsune Miku aping Sharon Apple, and pilot-less drones, both also foreshadowed in Macross Plus, fiber interconnects built for rugged roadie wear and tear remain elusive.

            • K J says:

              DisplayPort does at least have a couple of little spring hooks in full-size variety. They aren't locks but they will pretend to be such well enough for many applications.

  2. EricE says:

    I wouldn't assume it's an HDCP problem - the window manager in OSX has been fucked for some time now with multiple monitors in weird ways. You can't always trust was is in the Displays System Preference.
    I have a few Mac's that have multiple monitors to drive multiple projectors and the only way to get any predictability with outputs has been with Display Menus:

    I believe the base version is free; it's been a long time since I "purchased" it in the app store.
    The other cool thing about Display Menus - you can pick just about any resolution/frequency combination your heart desires.

    Reversing the dumbing down by Apple one app at a time :p

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