Vizio TVs are a go-to option, especially if you want a cheap TV and still want to enjoy modern features like Airplay and have access to over 260 free online channels. The TVs can connect to the internet, and users get to stream content from services like Hulu and Disney Plus. The TVs can also broadcast over the air channels, and sometimes a few of the channels can disappear, and this is an inconvenience for those waiting to catch up on their local shows and news broadcasts.
Keep reading as we list various troubleshooting measures you can try to regain the missing channels.
The channels on your VIZIO TV can disappear for a variety of reasons including a software bug, wrong input, damaged cables, EM interference, poor antenna placement, improper channel scan procedure, malfunctioning cable box, outdated firmware, etc.
Start with a simple TV restart – this should clean up minor software bugs.
Check cables for damage – it’s not very likely, but it’s still possible that a damaged cable is causing channels to disappear.
Depending on the way you get your channels, you need to select the appropriate input. If you’re using an OTA antenna, select TV. If you have a cable box connected to your TV, select the appropriate HDMI input.
VIZIO TVs have the Skip Channel option. Check if this option is enabled on your TV. If it is enabled, the selected channels will be missing from the channel list.
Run a channel scan/rescan. Make sure to select the right scanning mode (Cable or Air/Antenna). If you’re using an OTA antenna, select Air/Antenna mode.
If you’re using a cable box, you will also have to troubleshoot the cable box (restart it, reset it, etc.).
VIZIO TVs are updated automatically, but there’s a slight chance that your TV’s firmware wasn’t updated because of some bug. Update your TV’s firmware manually.
If nothing helps, try resetting your TV to factory settings. Then, connect your antenna or cable box, and run a channel scan.
Restart the TV
It would help if you tried restarting the TV so it can stop and restart all system processes assuming a bug resulted in some channels missing. It is common for gadgets to malfunction and your TV is no different.
You should also restart the TV in a way that ensures all the power within the TV’s circuits is drained. Follow the steps below to do this:
- Power off the TV as you usually do by pressing the power button on the remote or the one on the TV.
- Unplug the TV from the power outlet.
- Press and hold the power button on the TV for thirty seconds to drain any static power in the TV.
- Plug the TV into the power outlet and turn it on.
- Observe whether some channels are missing and proceed to the next troubleshooting tip if they are.
How to Properly Restart Your TV
Check the Cables
Although it is uncommon for a faulty cable to cause only some channels to go missing while others are still available, worn-out or damaged cables can also cause the TV to malfunction. Therefore, if the antenna cable is worn out or broken, you might experience a poor signal reception that will cause the TV only to find the channels with very strong signals and miss others.
Keenly observe the coaxial cable and ensure it is in good condition and the connectors are clean. You can find a soft-bristled brush and clean the TV’s coaxial port and the antenna’s connector.
If the cable is damaged, purchase a quality one from a trusted vendor. If the TV’s coaxial connector is the problem, contact Vizio if your TV is still under warranty, and they will send a technician or advise you on how to progress.
If the TV’s warranty has expired, you can contact a local technician to help you replace or fix the damaged part.
Check the Inputs
It is also likely that you have the TV inputs confused, and you are on the wrong input source, thus making you think that the channels are missing. This is highly likely because Vizio TVs allow users to rename some Input sources. Sometimes the Inputs are renamed automatically by external devices, especially if the TV is connected to a cable box.
To check whether you are on the correct Input, press the Input key on the remote to reveal the Input menu. You can now press the Input key to highlight different Inputs, then press OK to open one. Toggle through the inputs to get to the DTV, Cable TV, Satellite, or TV input, depending on your TV’s model. Newer Vizio TVs should be on the TV Input for you to access over-the-air channels.
Additionally, Vizio TVs allow users to hide some inputs so that they do not appear when you press Input to reveal the menu. You can unhide hidden inputs by pressing the Menu key and then navigating to System > Hide from Input List and ensure none of the Inputs are set to ‘Hidden.’
If there is any, highlight it and use the Left/Right navigation keys to select ‘Visible‘ and click OK. This procedure is useful if you cannot find the Input option that houses the TV channels meaning all channels are missing.
Check the Antenna
You should ensure the antenna cable on the antenna’s and TV’s end is firmly fitted and in good condition without dents or breakages.
Also, check that the antenna points in the right direction, especially if many channels are missing. A good way to know where to point your antenna is to view the direction your neighbors’ antennae are facing and point yours in that direction if you use an external antenna.
How to Improve Your OTA TV Reception
Also, ensure the antenna is away from obstacles and other devices that produce radio frequencies that can interfere with your TV’s reception. You can relocate the antenna within your home and run a channel scan to see whether the missing channels are available.
You should also know that the available channels vary depending on where you are. Therefore, if you go to a new state, some channels will be inaccessible, and you will receive new ones after running a channel scan.
Also, if you use a powered antenna, ensure it is properly connected to the power outlet.
Run a Channel Scan
Sometimes channels can go missing because the broadcast frequency has changed abruptly. Fortunately, Vizio TVs have options to scan for new channels, and you can use this to your advantage.
Reasons to Run a Rescan
Follow the steps below on how you can rescan for channels on a Vizio TV.
- Ensure the TV is on the TV Input. To get to the Input, press the Input key on the remote to reveal the Input options. Then press the Input key repeatedly until the TV Input option is highlighted, then click OK.
- Press the Menu key, scroll to the TV Channels options and click OK.
- Then scroll to the Find New Channels options and click OK. This will scan for any additional available channels that are not on the TV while retaining the already available channels.
- You will have to wait until the scan gets to one hundred.
- If the TV does not find the missing channels consider running a new channel scan that forgets all channels saved on the TV and rescans for them afresh. To do this, select the Find Channels option above the Find New Channels option.
Once the TV searches for channels, select Done to exit the scan screen.
Avoid This Mistake When Scanning for Channels Using an OTA Antenna
Check the Skipped Channels
Newer Vizio TVs have a Skip Channel option that people use to select Channels they do not want to appear on the channel list. Although these channels can still be accessed by entering the channel number, they will be missing from the channel list.
You can view all skipped channels if you press the Menu key, then go to TV Channel, select Skip Channel, and press OK. Then use the Up/Down navigation keys to scroll through the channels and look for any channel with a ticked checkbox. If you find one, highlight the channel and press OK to uncheck the box meaning the channel will not be skipped anymore.
If the missing channel(s) is not listed here, do not despair, as there are more solutions you can try.
Check the Source Device
If you use a cable box to access channels, consider troubleshooting it since it could be the problem. Cable or set-top boxes often come with their remotes and operate on a different firmware from the TV; therefore, you should consult the user manual or the provider for the appropriate troubleshooting measures.
Basic troubleshooting includes restating the box and checking that its cables are properly connected. You should also check whether you have paid the subscription fee for the missing channels.
Check for Firmware Updates
Outdated firmware can cause the TV to malfunction in ways you were not even aware were possible. It is important to ensure the TV is on the latest firmware since firmware updates patch system malfunctions and bring new features to the TV.
Vizio TVs automatically download and install firmware updates as soon as they are available, provided you have a stable internet connection. However, the updates can sometimes delay downloading, and you should check if this is the case. You can do this by following the steps below.
- Press the Menu key and navigate to Admin & Privacy > Check for Updates.
- If the TV finds an update, it will prompt you to confirm the download, and it will notify you if the TV firmware is up to date.
Factory Reset the TV
If the missing channels have not been found, consider factory resetting the TV and running a new channel scan.
A factory reset will erase everything from your TV and restore the default settings from the manufacturer. This will allow your TV to be set up afresh and clear any stubborn system bugs that could have been causing some channels to disappear.
The steps below describe how you can reset a Vizio TV:
- Press the Menu button and scroll to the Admin & Privacy option, and click OK.
- Select Reset to Factory Settings and enter the System PIN if you have set one.
- When the TV shows the next notification, highlight the Reset option, click OK, and wait for the TV to reset and restart.
Once the TV restarts, you must set it up afresh by reconnecting it to the Wi-Fi network and restoring the settings you had previously updated. Once you are done, run a channel scan and check whether the missing channels are available.
Vizio TVs are great for streaming online content and watching local channels to catch up on your favorite programs. Unfortunately, the TV might malfunction from time to time and lose some channels, but you can restore missing channels by following the suggestions above.
The instructions on performing various tasks on the TV work on all modern Vizio TVs. If you have the old non-smart Vizio TVs, you can still access their user manuals from Vizio’s website to perform the above functions. However, you should strive to get a newer model as they are less likely to malfunction.
If the TV does not find the missing channels and you are certain they should be available in your area, contact Vizio and notify them of your predicament.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I get my channels back on my Vizio TV?
Answer: If your TV abruptly loses channels, you can restore them and find new ones in case any are available by running a channel scan. Ensure the TV is on the TV Input when doing this and that the antenna is appropriately connected to the coaxial port on the TV.
Question: How do I scan for new channels on my Vizio TV?
Answer: You can scan for channels on your Vizio TV by ensuring it is on the TV input, then press Menu and navigate to Menu > TV Channels > Find New Channels. Wait for the scan to reach one hundred percent, then select done to exit.
Question: How do I reset my Vizio TV?
Answer: You can reset a Vizio TV by navigating Menu > Admin & Privacy > Reset to Factory Settings and entering the system admin PIN if you set one. Next, highlight the Reset option and click OK.