Smart TVs are welcome technological development as they grant users access to thousands of online shows that would otherwise be hard to access. Vizio TVs go the extra mile to provide users with over two hundred and sixty free channels through their WatchFree+ platform.
Also, the TVs can access local over-the-air channels provided the TV is connected to an antenna, and you run a channel scan. However, sometimes users notice that even after scanning for channels, the TV does not find channels or finds less than ten channels, yet more are available. Keep reading as we look at what causes this phenomenon and what you can do to remedy it.
Your VIZIO TV could be having trouble picking up antenna channels for many reasons. The reasons may include damaged coax cables, firmware bugs, outdated firmware, wrong input selection, damaged or poorly placed antenna, malfunctioning or poor-quality internal TV tuner, etc.
Start by checking the condition of your coax cables connecting the TV to the antenna or cables connected to your cable box.
Power cycle your TV. Do it manually, without using the remote and TV’s menu.
Check your input selection. If you’re using an OTA antenna, you should be on the TV input. If you’re using a cable box, check if the right HDMI input is selected.
If you have a cable box connected to your TV, you will have to troubleshoot the cable box as well. At least try to restart and reset your cable box.
If you’re using an OTA antenna, you need to check if it’s damaged and positioned properly. Use the tips provided in this article to improve your reception.
Your TV’s built-in tuner might be damaged. Try using an external digital TV tuner.
Try resetting your TV if nothing else helps.
If even resetting doesn’t solve the problem and your TV still cannot find channels, contact VIZIO support.
Are the Cables in Good Condition?
The TV could be having trouble because one of the connected cables is damaged. Cables in poor condition or worn-out cables hardly work as they are supposed to hence why you should always ensure they are in peak condition.
To rule out the possibility of faulty cables, ensure that the cables going to the TV, especially those from and to the antenna, are in good condition. Also, observe the ports and connectors for any signs of damage and if the cable is damaged, purchase a new one.
If you notice ports on the TV are damaged, contact Vizio for what steps you should take next, especially if the TV is still under warranty.
Power Cycle the TV
Sometimes the TV might not find channels because of a minor system malfunction that a restart can solve. A power cycle is a restart that drains the TV of all the power when shutting down so that it restarts all system processes.
You can restart the TV by following the instructions below:
- Power off the TV using the power button on the remote or the one on the TV.
- Unplug the TV from the power outlet.
- Press and hold the power key on the TV for thirty seconds. This will dissipate any residual power from the TV.
- Plug the TV back into a power outlet, turn it on, and scan for channels. Check the antenna’s power supply if you use a powered antenna.
How to Properly Power Cycle a VIZIO TV (Manual Method)
Confirm that You Are on the Correct Input
If you notice that the TV is still not finding channels or the channels are greyed out, it is because you are probably on the wrong Input.
You can remedy this if you press the Input button on the remote to reveal Vizio’s Input menu, then press Input until the TV Input option is highlighted and click OK.
Check if the channels are accessible if they were greyed out, and if there are no channels, rescan for channels by navigating Menu > TV Channels > Find Channels.
Also, if you are using a cable box, ensure you are on the Input the cable box is connected to. You can figure this out by observing which port the cable from the cable box is connected to on the TV. The ports are usually labeled HDMI1, HDMI2, etc.
Note that some devices connected to the TV can also rename inputs, so check whether the TV Input has been renamed to something else, like cable TV. You can confirm this by pressing the Input button and observing the Input menu for changes to the TV Input option.
Check the Antenna
Another reason the TV is not finding channels is that the antenna probably needs to be fixed or correctly set up.
Installing an Outdoor OTA Antenna
You should ensure that the antenna is firmly connected to the TV’s coaxial Input and that the power cable to the antenna is also properly connected to an outlet. The antenna should be away from obstacles that could cause signal interference, ensuring it is on a flat, raised, open surface.
You can also read and follow the antenna manufacturer’s guidelines on how and where it should be placed.
If you have an external antenna, ensure it is pointing in the right direction, and a quick way to know this is to observe where the neighbor’s external antennae are pointed to. You can also change the antenna position and run a channel scan to see if the TV finds any channels.
Ways to Improve OTA TV Reception
Ensure the TV Firmware is Up to Date
Outdated firmware can make the device malfunction, which could manifest as the TV not finding channels. Therefore, you must ensure the TV is running on the latest firmware. You can do this through the steps below:
- Press the Menu key, then go to Admin & Privacy.
- Select the Check for Updates option and press OK. If the TV finds any updates, it will notify you to confirm a download.
Vizio TVs are programmed to automatically download and install firmware updates, but this can be delayed for various reasons. It is important that you regularly check that it is running on the latest firmware.
Rescan the Channels
After trying the above troubleshooting measures, you should also rescan to check whether the TV can now find channels. A channel scan is important, especially if you have relocated the antenna’s position or changed the antenna.
You can run a channel scan by following the steps below:
- Confirm that the TV is on the TV input, then press the Menu key and highlight TV Channels.
- Scroll to the Find Channels option and click OK.
- Wait for the scan to reach a hundred, then highlight Done and press OK.
Avoid This Stupid Mistake When Running a Channel Scan (OTA Antenna)
Check whether the TV has found any channels, and if so, and you want to run another scan, you can use the Find new channels (Menu > TV Channels > Find New Channels) option under the TV Channels menu.
Purchase an External Tuner
If it is an old Vizio TV, chances are the internal components have started wearing out and malfunctioning. Also, it could be that the channel tuner in the TV is no longer compliant with today’s standard hence why you have a hard time finding channels.
Additionally, there are Vizio TVs without an internal tuner, granting them access to over-the-air channels.
All the above problems can be solved by getting an external digital TV tuner, and if you get a quality one, it can overcome the shortcomings of the one in the TV.
They are easy to set up, and some even come with their own antenna.
ATSC 3.0 NextGen Digital TV Tuner
Time for a Factory Reset
If the TV is still not finding channels, consider factory resetting it to clear all settings and restore the default settings. This will clear any persistent system bugs that could be causing the TV not to find channels.
You can reset the TV using the steps below:
- Press the Menu key on the remote.
- Go to Admin & Privacy and click OK, then select Reset to Factory Settings and enter the System PIN if you have ever set one.
- Highlight the Reset option and click OK, then wait for the TV to clear all settings and restart.
Once the TV restarts, you will have to reconnect it to the Wi-Fi network and update the settings you had before and want to retain. You can then run a channel scan and check whether the TV can find channels.
If the TV still does not find channels, you should notify Vizio of the troubleshooting measures you have already tried. It is important to contact Vizio as they will guide you on validating your warranty, as the TV is probably defective.
If the warranty has expired, contact an experienced local technician and let them have a look at the TV. In the meantime, you can continue enjoying the different streaming apps on the TV.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Why is my Vizio TV not picking up antenna channels?
Answer: The TV could be having trouble picking up antenna channels because of various reasons like:
- The antenna is defective or not properly connected to the TV. Also, check that the antenna is connected to a power outlet if it is supposed to be.
- The TV has a slight malfunction that can be solved by restarting the TV. If it persists, consider a factory reset.
- The TV’s signal tuner could be defective. In this case, you can purchase a new one or have the TV repaired.
Question: Why is my Vizio TV not finding cable channels?
Answer: If your Vizio TV is not finding cable channels, the antenna could be disconnected or the antenna cables faulty. Also, it could be that the problem is from your cable provider’s end, so contact them and notify them, and they should help.
Question: How do I scan for local channels on my Vizio Smart TV?
Answer: You can scan for local channels on your Vizio TVs by pressing the Menu key and then navigating to TV Channels > Find New Channels. Once the scan is complete, select done to exit the scan menu.