The official Safety Guide that comes with every PlayStation 4 has some pretty detailed explanations on how you should hook up your console’s HDMI and AC power cords.
The Safety Guide itself has a bunch of information–most of which is common sense type stuff–on Sony’s next-gen PlayStation 4. You can find health warnings, general tips, and even the same spec sheet that found its way on the internet weeks ago. One passage is particularly interesting, though, and it talks about how to properly hook up your console.
Any console gamer knows that gaming systems come with two basic necessities: a power cord and a cord that hooks up to a TV. In the past there were coaxial connectors, then RFU, followed by AV cables. Although we now have a different cable (HDMI), the premise remains the same.
The PlayStation 4’s Safety Guide tells users something very specific regarding how to set up their system, and it just might have something to do with the dreaded “blue line of death” error that has plagued many gamers so far.
The malfunction is centered around a faulty HDMI port, which effectively bricks the console and renders it useless. The error is characterized by the continuous pulsing blue light that affected consoles emit, never transmitting a signal to a television.
Since the section in the Safety Guide discusses HDMI ports and AC power, it could be possible that these two are related somehow. The passage is found on Page 9 under the AC power cord use section and reads as follows:
“Do not plug the AC power cord for the system into an electrical outlet until you have connected the HDMI cable. Make sure the TV or other component is unplugged from the electrical outlet prior to connected the system.”
Could this have anything to do with the BLoD? Is it possible for the HDMI port to be somehow overloaded with a charge? Perhaps those affected by the error didn’t follow this step and unintentionally zapped their PS4’s HDMI outlets.
Or perhaps it’s completely unrelated and the PS4’s were faulty to begin with.
The guide also lists a few other AC precautions, warning users not to unplug the AC power cord when the PS4 is still on or it could potentially damage the system (but this in itself is common knowledge). This is a bit disconcerting when you take random power outages into consideration, so let’s hope all will be well if you use a surge protector.
Additionally the guide mentions an “electrical outlet”, which may not apply to power strips or surge protectors–but nothing’s been ruled out or confirmed.
It will be interesting if Sony cites this tidbit sometime in the future, especially if this is indeed the cause of the blue light of death. There are many users who read all tips and guides before setting their system up, but the excitement of launch day fervor is hard to fight when your brand new angular console is singing its psiren’s song.
Be advised that this is just a supposition based on a possible correlation between the small snippet of text in the Safety Guide and the problems that some gamers are facing. Sony hasn’t confirmed anything, and of course this hasn’t been revealed as the cause–nothing’s 100% at this point.
In all likelihood the consoles were broken before the users opened them, as it would be downright impossible to have every single PS4 console working properly upon launch.
Maybe we’ll hear more in the future, but as the passage hasn’t been brought up really anywhere else (or cited by Sony support or even Yoshida himself) it could indeed just be a small warning that doesn’t really have much effect on the console altogether.
One thing’s for sure, though; it wouldn’t hurt to just follow the guidelines, and I myself will be adhering to the Safety Guide’s tip every time I hook up my PS4.