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Fixing the Boxee Box Black Screen of Death

written by: M.S. Smith•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 4/8/2011

Bad things can happen to even the most well behaved Boxee Box. You may run into a situation where the device will boot but does not actually show the Boxee Box interface, but only a black screen. What is causing it, and how do you fix it? Find out here.

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    Boxee Box Black Screen of Death Diagnosis

    Oh no! Your Boxee Box has caught the Black Screen of Death. Or has it?

    There is currently a known issue with the Boxee Box that can cause a black screen to appear instead of the normal interface. This issue usually occurs at boot. When you turn on the Boxee Box, it will start normally, displaying the D-Link/Boxee Box boot animations. However, once the boot screen has finished, you are not sent to the interface. Instead you see only a black screen.

    You may or may not have audio output when the Black Screen of Death occurs. If you do, the audio output will likely correspond to your movements on the Boxee Box menu with the remote; but obviously, you're unable to see your selections.

    The Black Screen of Death is not a boot failure issue. If your Boxee Box does not start when you press the button, or does not load the boot screen, you likely have a different issue.

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    The Problem

    Boxee Box The Boxee Box Black Screen of Death issue appears to be a problem with the handshaking process between video devices. The "handshake" is the initial data sent between the display device and the output device that validates the output device and also tells the display device what it will be displaying.

    This can fail in several ways. Sometimes the display device will be given display settings that it can't handle. A glitch might cause the Boxee Box to tell the display that it is sending data at some unusual resolution or refresh rate. If the display doesn't recognize what it is being told it will not show an image.

    Handshaking can also fail if the display does not think the output device is valid. Digital connections use a copy protection system called HDCP that requires authentication of the output device before an image can be display. If that fails, the display will show only a black screen. If the Boxee Box is not sending authentication information properly a black screen will result - although some users have reported a red screen as a result of this issue.

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    The Solution

    A handshake failure resulting in a Boxee Box Black Screen of Death can occur at various points along a connection. Your first step in resolving the problem should be to connect your Boxee Box directly to your display device with an HDMI connection. This eliminates the possibility that an adapter, receiver or other device between the Boxee Box and the display is causing the handshake to fail.

    If your problems continue after trying that solution, you may need to restore your Boxee Box to its factory settings. Unfortunately, doing this will reset any changes you've made to the Boxee Box, delete all settings and preferences, and return your Boxee Box to the state it was in when it came out of the box. This may be the only way to resolve the Boxee Box Black Screen of Death, however. At least some portion of the problems do appear to be caused by the Boxee Box sending incorrect display information rather than a handshake failure caused by some other device.

    Should the problem still occur, it's time to call or email Boxee Box customer service. Your unit may have a hardware issue that needs to be resolved by a customer service agent or fixed by replacing your unit.

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    Boxee Box Forums: BSOD - Black Screen of Death

    Boxee Box Support: BOXEE-7710

    Boxee Box Support: BOXEE-7806

    Boxee Box Support: How do I perform a factory reset?