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Steam VR error 208 Link Box?


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So I was playing with my vive last night and decided to quit. I did just that and placed my vive and controllers where they normally rest. It is now the very next day, and I'm suddenly getting the infamous "error 208." The only problem is that I have absolutely no idea what would have caused this. It was working perfectly fine, and then overnight just suddenly broke? I'm very confused.


So I tried multiple fixes found online and nothing seems to have worked. I've uninstalled and reinstalled the drivers for both SteamVR, and my graphics card. Everything is plugged into the same ports that they have been on my computer. I even saw a trick where you take the HDMI cable meant to go from the link box into the pc, and plug it into the HMD directly to the PC.


And would you look at that! It worked! So I came to think that the problem was with the HDMI part of the 3 in 1 cable. But I still had to do one more test to be certain. So HDMI is back in the "LinkBox to PC" position, however, I plugged a normal HDMI cable into the HMD and the link box. Still no luck. Then I plugged the random HDMI from the HMD directly to the PC and it worked!


So I've come to the conclussion that it isn't a software issue, and is the result of a broken linkbox. I don't know how it could've become broken overnight, but I guess it did.


Now my question is: Should I just buy another linkbox, or is it possible that there is another solution that doesn't involve spending $30? The evidence all points to the linkbox being broken, but I'm really struggling to believe that a mysterious force broke it overnight. I have randomly gotten the "error 208" before, and have been able to get rid of it fairly quickly, but this time it really doens't want to go away.

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In most cases, these types of things are related to HDCP - the handshake protocol for HDCP can fail for a number of reasons and connecting the HMD directly to the GPU takes the linkbox out of the HDCP signal chain making it easier for the GPU to talk directly with the signal decoder. 


Replacing the linkbox may help but there's a good shot that it's actually nested in your PC/GPU chain. The fact that leaving USB running through the linkbox still works indicates that the circuitry on the linkbox is still working - it's all in IC so it's all or nothing. 

What you're doing is commonly reffered to as a "linkbox bypass" - it's totally okay to run the Vive like this, it just makes the ports on your PC, in the case your GPU's HMDI port, more susceptible to violent forces if the cable yets yanked. You could also try a different HDMI lead from the GPU -> The linkbox. 

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