Whether are using an OTA antenna, cable, or satellite service, you must scan for channels when setting up your TV for the first time.
While cable providers usually update local channels for their customers, antenna users must rescan their TVs whenever a channel changes frequency or a new station emerges.
Scanning your TV for channels is an automatic and straightforward process. You only need to press a few buttons on your remote and let your TV handle the rest.
Unfortunately, it is not always a guarantee you will find channels after scanning your TV. Moreover, your old, saved stations might disappear unexpectedly, leaving you frustrated and wondering what to do next.
This guide explains why your TV is not finding any channels after performing a scan and what you can do to fix the issue.
1. Cable Mode
When scanning for over-the-air channels using an antenna, you might run into trouble finding any stations because most TV auto-tuners default to Cable Mode.
Since more people are into digital streaming and cable TV, many manufacturers usually set their TVs to cable mode, meaning your telly will pick up fewer or no stations when scanning in this mode.
Before running a channel scan, you must change your TV’s settings from Cable Mode to Air or Antenna Mode.
Here’s how to go about it:
- Press the HOME or MENU button
- Select the gear icon to access the settings menu
- Go to Channels
- Select Channel Setup or ANT/Cable Setup
- Under ANT in option, choose Antenna or Air
- Go to the Auto Scan option and search for channels
How to Run a Channel Scan When Using an OTA Antenna
How to Perform a Channel Scan on a Samsung TV
How to Perform a Channel Scan on an LG TV
2. Incorrect Input Source
While nearly every TV has an antenna input on the side or back, modern TVs have numerous additional ports for various purposes.
If you are less tech-savvy, discerning what port serves what function can get confusing.
HDMI ports and cables have become the standard connection for TVs, set-top boxes, digital converters, and other media equipment.
The HDMI ports on your TV have designated numbers, and you must select the appropriate input source from the settings menu before scanning for channels.
The same applies when using an antenna. You must select the appropriate input source and ensure the antenna cable is firmly in your TV’s RF port.
Here’s how to select the appropriate input source:
- Press the SOURCE button on your TV remote control
- Use the arrow keys on the remote to navigate to the correct input source
- For HDMI, check the connected port number at the back of the TV and select the corresponding source on your screen
- For antenna connections, select TV as the input source
Selecting the Right Input on Your TV
3. Loose or Defective Cables
Loose connections and defective coaxial cables can cause your TV not to find any channels after a scan.
Whether you are using a cable set-top box, digital receiver, or antennae, you must ensure all connections from the input source are firmly in place in the appropriate ports before searching for channels.
If your TV can’t still find channels, consider checking the cables for damage.
The quickest way to test and isolate the faulty cable is to unplug all connections and reconnect them one by one.
Bends, frays, and cracks are signs of a defective cable, and you can test it using a different known functional replacement.
Image Credit – Reddit
If you notice your cables are faulty, the only solution is to replace them.
Also, check the ports for dust and defects to ensure your cables can plug all the way in.
4. Faulty Cable Box or Digital Converter
If your digital receiver or cable box is faulty, your TV won’t pick up any channels, no matter how many times you perform a scan.
The status lights might indicate your cable set-top box or digital converter is on, but it might not function as expected because of electrical malfunctions or hitches.
You can quickly fix the problem by rebooting the cable box if the problem is a slight hitch or bug.
- Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet
- Wait for 20-30 seconds
- Plug the power cord back into the wall outlet
- Reboot your cable box or digital converter
- Rescan for channels
Even though you can repair a faulty cable box, some defects are beyond mending. If this is the case, contact your service provider for a replacement.
5. No Coverage
Sometimes your TV might not find channels because of inadequate or no coverage in your area.
Available channels vary depending on location, with some broadcasters only servicing particular areas.
You can check whether your area has coverage using various free online channel checkers. The Federal Communications Commission also has a reception map program you can use to check for available DTV signals at your location.
6. Poor Antenna Placement
Improper antenna installation and poor placement are other reasons your TV cannot find channels after a scan.
Whether you are using an indoor or outdoor antenna, you must ensure it is properly installed in the right place to increase your chances of finding more channels after a scan.
Most indoor antennas do not work well because of placement issues. Ideally, it should be close to the ceiling near the window to reduce electromagnetic interference and boost signal strength.
Why Do Indoor Antennas Have Poorer Reception than Outdoor Antennas?
Outdoor antennas are more effective since you can mount them easily to face the direction of the broadcast towers.
How to Properly Mount/Install an Outdoor TV Antenna
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Why is my auto scan not finding channels?
Answer: Your auto scan might not find channels if you select the incorrect input source. Loose connections can also cause this problem. Ensure you choose the appropriate input source from the receiver to the TV and that the cable is firmly in place. Some TVs require double scanning to find channels.
Question: Why is my TV not picking up antenna channels?
Answer: Your TV might not pick up antenna channels because of weak signals. Your home might be too far from broadcast towers, or your area does not have adequate coverage. Physical obstacles such as trees and hills can prevent your TV from picking up channels. Installing a signal booster or amplifier can help solve the issue.
Question: How do I get my antenna to pick up channels?
Answer: Proper antenna placement is vital to finding local TV stations. Experiment with different spots in your home, particularly near the window, to find a suitable location. Ensure the antenna faces the broadcast towers near you for the best chance of picking up channels.
Pointing a TV Antenna for Better Reception
Question: Why is the TV saying no signal?
Answer: Your TV might say no signal because of selecting the incorrect input source. Damaged cables, loose connections, defective ports, and improper antenna installation can also cause your device to display a “No Signal” message.
Question: Where is the best place to put an indoor TV antenna?
Answer: The best place to put an indoor TV antenna is near the ceiling next to the window. This position prevents low-lying electrical devices from interfering with the signal and ensures the antenna has the best chance of receiving transmissions from the broadcast tower.