Blackmagic Capture Troubleshooting

Source type unavailable, no compatible hardware detected

Firmware not updated

This can happen after a software upgrade that includes a new Blackmagic driver and firmware stack. The system should perform a firmware update automatically upon reboot, but this may fail. Log in to a Linux Desktop Source to check for Blackmagic firmware updates.
From the top menu, click on Applications -> Sound and Video -> Blackmagic Firmware Updater. Follow the prompts to update the firmware if needed. If no update is required, it will indicate that all devices are up to date.
Checking for firmware updates. Click the animation to zoom
Once complete, the system will need to be shut down and powered back on again for the updates to take effect.
Some models of Blackmagic Decklink card require renumeration of the PCI bus after a firmware update. This is why the system must be shut down and turned back on.

PCIe Slots not active

If your system has dual CPU slots but only one is occupied, this will cause several of the PCI Express slots to not be active. In order to utilize all PCI Express slots on a motherboard, a dual-CPU system must have two CPUs installed.

Black bars above or beside content, Windows Output

Short Answer: Set display output resolution in Windows to the (Recommended) value.
Longer Answer: When Windows connects to an external device such as a monitor or capture card, it interrogates that device for a list of its supported and recommended resolutions. When it knows the recommended resolution, it will begin outputting at that resolution, and will also set it as the Default resolution in Display Settings.
If you change the output resolution to that display, Windows will still output the native signal, but will draw pixels on it at the selected resolution.
For example:
  1. 1.
    You connect your Windows PC to a Blackmagic Quad HDMI capture card in a Userful server.
  2. 2.
    Windows sees and begins outputting 1920x1200 to that device since that is its native resolution below 4K.
  3. 3.
    Your laptop's display is 1920x1080, so you set that as the output resolution.
  4. 4.
    Windows is still outputting a 1920x1200 signal, but only drawing 1920x1080 pixels on that canvas. The rest of the screen is black.
You can see the effects of this by setting Windows to output to other resolutions such as 800x600 - the black bars will "move" to the sides.
So in order to fill the entire screen when outputting to Blackmagic, set Windows to Extend These Displays and also set the second display to its (Recommended) resolution.

Black Screen Issues (Blackmagic Capture)

These cards only support either 1920x1080 or 3840x2160 resolutions with Userful. Ensure your source device is outputting either of those resolutions. The default resolution supplied by the Quad HDMI recorder to display devices is 1920x1200, so 1920x1080 must sometimes be manually selected.
Disabling the Xclient setting in the Source can also resolve some issues.
Windows users can enable Display Scaling if elements do not appear large enough on the screen.

Verify the Zone is running

A stopped Zone will show only a black screen. Ensure your Zone is playing.
A stopped Zone
A playing Zone

Test with another Source type

Black screens can be caused by a number of factors. Play the Zone or Display in one of the default sources such as Web Browser or Signage Player to ensure there is not another issue at play.

Verify all connections and power to all devices

Disconnect all the components in the chain (HDMI ports, converters, etc.) Reconnect them starting at the source.
If you are using Blackmagic Micro Converters, ensure they are connected to a power source via USB or power brick.

Check Desktop Video for signal

Use a Linux Desktop source to open Desktop Video from Applications -> Sound & Video. Check the input feeds.
An active feed will show an input resolution - a common one for cable boxes, for example, might say 1080i 59.94. A laptop (pictured) may show 1080p24
Verifying that the capture card has an active signal input. Click the animation to zoom

Connect a laptop or other device

If you are capturing a media player or other potentially encrypted source, these can sometimes have difficulty agreeing on an output mode. Connecting a laptop to test output should help narrow down the problem. When connected, your laptop should behave as though it has been connected to an external display.

HDCP encrypted content

Userful does not natively support the capture of copyright-protected content. Devices such as Chromecasts, NVIDIA Shields, Apple TVs, Cable or Satellite set-top boxes, and Blu-Ray players will not play content on Userful.
We are not able to sell or support devices that provide workarounds to this problem. However, our partners and customers have reported good results using these devices.
They can be found here.

Test other inputs

Determining which port is mapped to which source when using a Duo 2 or Quad 2 capture card can be troublesome. If your system shipped from Userful, there should be a labeled guide on the side of the system describing which input is which.

Set manual Connection

Sometimes manually setting the Connection to HDMI or SDI can get things working. Setting the Mode is not recommended - this should be automatically determined by the connecting device.
Changing the Connection from Auto to HDMI or SDI

Enable or Disable Xclient

On by default, Xclient adds reliability and scalability by breaking out the Blackmagic rendering processes from the main Userful back-end process into individual processes, one per capture feed.
This adds some complexity to the rendering pipeline though and if you will have fewer than 4 active capture feeds at any given moment, disabling Xclient may resolve some issues.
It's not recommended to run 5-6 or more capture sources without Xclient enabled. Contact us if you have this requirement.

Multiple Displays in one Source

Each Blackmagic Capture source can only be played on one display or zone at a time. If you need to display the source on more than one panel, you need to enable a Mirror Group.
Enabling a Mirror Group
If you are using a Blackmagic Capture source inside Command & Control, check to ensure other displays or zones are not also attempting to access the same source in the Control Center.

Check Resource Utilization

Userful 10.6 includes a Monitoring section that allows you to easily monitor system resource usage.
For Blackmagic capture, the key indicators are GPU usage and GPU PCI. Check to ensure none of the related graphs are showing any signs of maximum load.


The player back-end can sometimes become confused and not respond properly. Putting everything into a "should-be-working" state and rebooting Userful can sometimes clear up an issue that may not be apparent.

Quality, Color, or Resolution Issues

"Blurry" text

This is caused by JPEG compression settings to Zero Clients. For most applications, this should not be visible at normal viewing distances. However, adjusting Advanced Settings to optimize for Text will help clear up the image.

Non-broadcast resolutions

If the source you're trying to capture is a laptop or PC and your display is not at a broadcast resolution (1920x1080, 3840x2160), duplicating its screen to the capture card will not work with Linux or macOS.
Resolutions such as 1366x768, 1440x900, or 1600x900 are only supported in Windows. It supports the cloning of displays with different resolutions.
To resolve this:
  • Windows: Set your desktop to Duplicate, then change your capture card resolution in Display Settings.
  • Linux and macOS: Verify that the "Mirror Displays" option is unchecked in Display Settings.
Set Windows to Duplicate displays

Incorrect Color Space

By default, your computer likely outputs RGB color space. This can cause resolution issues and other visual artifacts when being captured by Blackmagic cards.
Enabling YUV or YCbCr color space output can resolve many quality and resolution issues.

Intel Graphics Command Center

Newer Windows 10 systems use the Intel Graphics Command Center, which can be found in the Start Menu. The YCbCr option will only appear for displays connected to the Blackmagic capture card.
Enabling YCbCr Color Space with Intel Graphics Command Center

Intel Graphics Control Panel

Older Windows systems can access the Intel Graphics Control Panel by right-clicking on the desktop.
Enabling YCbCr Color Space with Intel Graphics Control Panel

Too Many Active Sources

Check AV-Over-IP Tools to ensure none of the GPU resources are being overloaded.

Check Desktop Resolution

Check the output resolution and scaling settings of your PC, ideally, it should be set to 1920x1080 and 100% for most scenarios involving capture.

Other Causes

HDMI splitters and switches may also cause issues with capture. It is advised to remove any and all splitters and switches and connect directly to the capture card if possible. If HDMI splitters must be used, powered splitters are strongly recommended.
The capture of HDCP (Copyrighted) content is not supported.
Blackmagic Micro Converters should be powered from a dedicated power source, such as their own power brick or a dedicated USB power brick. Powering them from USB ports on the Userful server can cause instability.