Blackmagic Capture Troubleshooting

1. Source Type Unavailable:

The error message Source type unavailable, no compatible hardware detected is displayed on your screen when you need to update the firmware or activate the PCle slots.

  • Firmware not updated: A software upgrade that includes a new Blackmagic driver and firmware stack can cause this error. 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 title bar, navigate to Applications > Sound and Video > Blackmagic Firmware Updater. Follow the prompts to update the firmware if needed. If no update is required, the system indicates that all devices are up to date. Once complete, the system needs to be shut down and powered back on again for the updates to take effect.

Some models of Blackmagic Decklink cards require the remuneration of the PCI bus after a firmware update. This is why the system must be shut down and turned back on.

  • PCIe Slots are 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.

2. Black bars above or beside content, windows output

Some resolutions to this are as follows:

  • Set display output resolution in Windows to the recommended value.

  • 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 outputs content at that resolution, and will also set it as the default resolution in the 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:

    You connect your Windows PC to a Blackmagic Quad HDMI capture card in a Userful server. Windows sees and begins outputting 1920x1200 to that device since that is its native resolution below 4K. Your laptop's display is 1920x1080 so you set that as the output resolution. 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. To fill the entire screen when outputting to Blackmagic, set Windows to Extend These Displays option and set the second display to its Recommended resolution.

3. Black Screen Issues (Blackmagic Capture)

  • These cards only support either 1920x1080 or 3840x2160 resolutions with Userful. Ensure your source device is outputting either of these resolutions. The default resolution supplied by the Quad HDMI recorder to display devices is 1920x1200. Thus manually select the resolution as 1920x1080.

  • You can also disable the Xclient setting in the source to resolve some issues.

  • Windows users can enable the Display Scaling option if elements do not appear large enough on the screen.

Verify the Zone is running

A stopped Zone shows a black screen. Ensure your Zone is playing.

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 including 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 common for cable boxes. For example, it might say 1080i 59.94. A laptop (pictured) may show 1080p24.

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.

Note that 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. You can find them here.

Test other inputs

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

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.

Enable or Disable Xclient

By default, the 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 enabling the Xclient. 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.

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.

4. 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 i.e., 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 the Display settings.

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.

Intel Graphics Control Panel

Older Windows systems can access the Intel Graphics Control Panel by right-clicking on the desktop.

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.

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