Digital TV Not Picking Up Any Channels: How I Fixed It

Digital TV Not Picking Up Any Channels: How I Fixed It

We are surrounded by electronic gadgets designed to make our life easier and better, but every so often, these gadgets do the exact opposite.

I resonated with this a lot over the last couple of weeks, as my TV’s signal and picture quality fluctuated. The image on the screen started getting pixelated, and sometimes, a ‘No Signal’ message would pop up.

As if the deteriorated picture quality wasn’t bad enough, the TV stopped picking up channels a few days ago. And all I could see was ‘No Signal’.

I was not only curious to find out what was causing my TV to act up but also wanted to fix it as soon as possible to watch my favorite shows again.

After dedicating hours of research, I found out why my Digital TV was not picking up any channels and how to resolve it. 

If your Digital TV is not picking up any channels, disconnect the TV or converter box from its power outlet and antenna and wait 60 seconds before plugging it back in. Next, run the Channel scan function on the converter box or TV, reconnect the antenna, and run Channel scan again. 

Perform a Double Rescan

Your TV will not pick up channels if the converter box or antenna is facing technical glitches caused by memory problems or electrical interference.

Thankfully, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has got you covered with an easy fix for such antenna glitches.

They have designed a process called Double Rescanning which flushes the memory of a converter box or digital TV.

This process removes all potentially faulty information received from the antenna, allowing the device to pick up signals clearly and constantly. 

To perform a double rescan: 

  1. Disconnect the antenna from the converter box or digital TV.
  2. Disconnect the converter box or TV from its power outlet.
  3. Wait 60 seconds.
  4. Plug the TV or converter box back in.
  5. Run the Channel scan function on your TV or converter box. Doing so will remove any channel data stored in the device memory.
  6. Reconnect the antenna to the converter box or TV.
  7. Use Channel scan again. 

Check the Antenna Cable

Your digital TV may also not pick up channels if its connection to the antenna is weak.

To check for any such lapse, try wiggling around the cable that connects the antenna to your digital TV or converter box.

If the cable has a lot of play, it’s loose and not transmitting the signal properly.

The solution is easy: Connect the antenna cable to its respective port on your TV firmly. 

Power Cycle Your TV

Another reason for your digital TV not picking up channels is related to your TV, as opposed to the converter box or antenna.

Your TV may be low on memory or stuck on a software bug due to static charge, leading to the ‘No Signal’ problem.

That said, these problems can be efficiently resolved by power cycling the TV.

Follow these steps to do so: 

  1. Unplug your TV from the power outlet.
  2. Press and hold its physical Power button for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Wait 60 seconds.
  4. Plug the TV back in and turn it on. 

Realign the Antenna

A digital TV’s antenna is quite sensitive, and its performance can change depending on where it’s placed.

Your TV may fail to pick up channels if its antenna is surrounded by other electronic gadgets or far away from the TV.

The FCC recommends moving the antenna a few feet to reduce the interference caused by competing electronic equipment, like a DVD player or converter box.

Try shifting the antenna a couple of feet and check if your TV works fine. 

Check the Coaxial Cable For Any Damage

Your TV may have a lot of cables plugged into it, but the coaxial cable is the most important one for satellite antenna facilities like digital TV service.

It’s a thick wire with a thin circular frame and a core of copper metal running through it.

If this coaxial cable is damaged or frayed, your TV will fail to pick up channels.

You should examine your TV’s coaxial cable for: 

  • Bends
  • Cuts
  • Cracks 

If your coaxial cable has even one of these, you should replace it as soon as you can. 

No Signal? No Worries

There is something about digital TVs with their daunting antennas that on-demand streaming devices may never be able to encapsulate.

You can access content from major channels completely free of cost. Beat that, Alexa!

And the bonus of watching TV even when your Internet is down is a plus point.

However, the amount of fiddling around I had to do with the antenna when my TV failed to pick up channels was certainly not optimal.

Thankfully, the problem was resolved by performing a double rescan.

If that does not work for you, check the connecting cables and power cycle your TV. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a coaxial cable used for?

A coaxial cable is a copper cable built specially with a metal shield to block signal interference. It’s mainly used to connect cable TV to larger satellite antenna facilities. 

What channels can I get with a digital antenna?

You can watch 100% free HD TV from channel networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Additionally, you can access networks like PBS, The CW, Comet, Buzzr, and MeTV, depending on your location. 

Do Smart TVs have digital antennas?

Smart TVs have built-in antennas for Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth and are not meant for picking up free-to-air channel signals. 

About the author

Maria Chan, or MC, as we call her, is the genius girl-boss who gave up on her cushy silicon-valley job to grind it out with us. Her undying pursuit of wanting Zeebox to the best makes it very clear that she has no interest in running a generic tech-site.

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