I just got my Raspberry Pi in the mail, and went to hook it up to my TV with an HDMI cable. I plugged in the cable (known to work with my cable box), a keyboard, and then power. A light comes on the Raspberry Pi, but no picture.

Is there something special I need to do first? I have the OS on a flash card already and it's inserted.

I found a TV with RCA input, that I was able to hook it up with. I know the OS is fine, and went through the configuration wizard. Unfortunately, I don't see anything on the HDMI side yet.

  • 1
    Only one LED lights up, or more?
    – ikku
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 21:22
  • try connecting the cable on both sides before you start the raspberry pi. Also turn on tne tv and select the right source before starting. There are also some settings in the config.txt file in the root directory regarding hdmi, maybe you need to change something here to get it to work with your tv. good luck. Commented Jan 26, 2013 at 17:11

11 Answers 11


I had a similar problem with my Pi, when I connected it first time to my tv (a Samsung D5000): the tv did not understand an HDMI device was connected. I have raspbmc as the os.

There are a couple of instructions you can add to /boot/config.txt to tell your Pi to activate the hdmi output when you connect a cable, and to force hdmi output mode instead of dvi. I added these lines, rebooted Pi, and began seeing my raspberry on screen :)


Reference: How do I force the Raspberry Pi to turn on HDMI?


In config.txt

comment out


this started my system to work. I think only one hdmi output works but I do not care. It has a problem finding which video to use and some people have it start working on its own.

  • IMO it's extremely unlikely this actually helps. Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 11:49
sudo tvservice -p

will turn on HDMI output if it was disabled for some reason. Check out the other options of this command.

  • And how do I run the command if I can't get to the console? Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 17:36
  • 1
    @CanadianLuke Oh, SSH, of course? I was kind of assuming that was a given, seeing as the other answers go about editing files. Which, on second thought, can probably be done by putting the SD card in a card reader.
    – Raphael
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 21:22

@Trapias's answer is correct.

Another alternative is to uncomment the line

# hdmi_safe = 1

in the config.txt file.

You should also verify the correct operation of the screen, the cable and the Raspberry.


I think that's DVI not HDMI. I know that in datasheet it says HDMI. I'm using an HDMI to DVI cable to get the image on the screen.

  • Hdmi is dvi with sound. The quality is the same, and I doubt it uses hdcp Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 23:02
  • @CanadianLuke just to add, HDMI also carries a bunch of control signals for cross-device multimedia controls
    – Alexander
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 2:44

Ensure that the connections are all secure.

Carefully, but surely, do this. First-time connections can be difficult. If you push too hard, you may damage the unit. If you don't push hard enough, you may not have a good connection.

Ensure the SD Card is not placed upside-down. (It happens.)

Try re-flashing the operating system to the SD Card.

Good luck and let us know of any updates.

  • Connections are secure. Tried unplugging and plugging it in. No change. The SD card is inserted properly (it boots and I see video on RCA) Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 7:23
  • Hm. The HDMI-output could be bad. Are you definitely on the correct HDMI input on your TV? (Always good to check; you may have several on your TV.)
    – Zéychin
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 7:32
  • Beyond that, try upgrading your OS to the latest version, in case there are bugfixes: sudo apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade && apt-get upgrade.
    – Zéychin
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 7:34
  • The HDMI on the TV works, and is labelled as HDMI 1. I removed the cable from my cable box, and plugged it into the RP Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 7:39
  • Try following the directions listed here: elinux.org/R-Pi_Troubleshooting#No_HDMI_output_at_all
    – Zéychin
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 7:40

I was getting this problem I took out the sd card put it back in again and then turned it on(pluged in the power ) and it worked!


I just went through the whole ordeal and I finally went to the little user manual. It says in simpleton - plug everything in and have the TV on but plug the power last. "Everything" meant: HDMI; keyboard; mouse, and; the micro SD card. Now the last thing that you will plug in is the POWER. This will send the PI to boot. If you do this in a different sequence in the initial power up, it will not work. POWER has to be last thing, after everything necessary has been plugged in.

  • You had a manual with yours? And a micro sd? Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 16:15

It had been a while since using my raspberry pi and when I turned it on, the system booted up fine showing the splash screen. After the system booted and I saw the background for a split second,the screen went blank. Thr screen remained blank unless I moved my mouse. The video only displayed in raspbian while moving the mouse after boot. I held shift at boot for recovery and reran install. Problem fixed. No more video issues. This was raspbisn 1.2 as that was the version that came with my device

I tried everything you all suggested without success. Hope this helps someone.


Putting config_hdmi_boost to 9 helped for my old SONY KDL-46W5500m

  • Where would you make this change?
    – Bex
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 13:01
  • 1
    In config.txt. Just put the card in any reader and the folder is visible under Windows.
    – GGGorast
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 17:52

Download the torrent for the os not the zip. You can also try to wiggle the power cable because it might not have enough power

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