Vizio, being a well-reputed brand that sells great quality TV at affordable prices, got me interested to buy a Vizio V-Series and it has been a fantastic experience.
But an issue that I noticed is that the auto-scan didn't grab any channels, even though my antenna is properly set up and plugged in properly.
I went asking around other Vizio TV users and apparently, this issue is much more common than I initially thought, affecting old and new Vizio TV buyers alike.
So I did a lot of research and troubleshooting and made this comprehensive article on how to fix channel scanning and get back all your missing channels on your Vizio TV.
If your Vizio TV channels are missing, perform a power cycle on the TV, and check the cables and inputs. If the issue persists, reset the TV to factory settings, disconnect your coaxial cable/antenna, and scan to reset your channel counter. Plug it in again and scan for channels.
If the channels are still missing, it could be a hardware failure with the inbuilt DAC or tuner.
I have also explained a couple of other tips in this article to fix channels missing on the Vizio TV issue.
Check the Basics
It's always important to check the basics on your end first before blaming the Vizio TV. This ensures that you are not at fault here.
Considering this is a TV, there can be a lot of errors from your side and I will take you through each and every important thing to check.
Check Your TV Model Number and Age of TV
TVs tend to last a very long time and hence we rarely enter the market for newer TVs. But TV technology keeps advancing at a very rapid pace.
In just a few years, the TVs you get today will be radically different from what you get now, from the display hardware used to even the user interface of the TV
Hence, it's important to note your model number and the year of release of the TV so you can get a much clearer understanding of the required troubleshooting tips.
This is especially important for older TVs as they tend to not have recent UI changes that show the model number or relevant details directly from the TV settings.
The best way to do this is to refer to the owner's manual that came with the TV. If you don't have access to this, you can check the TV's packaging box for basic details.
Check the Cables
Different cables connect to different ports and it can get confusing, especially when dealing with similar-sized ports.
The state and specifications of the cables you use can also significantly impact the signal results you get on your Vizio TV.
Make sure your cables are snugly fit. If you are using a cable provider that uses the old RCA cables, make sure you connect to the appropriate color-coded inputs.
Also, check for wear and tear on all your cables. Always use the cables provided by Vizio out of the box.
If you need to replace the cables, make sure you buy them from Vizio or check the cable's specifications for whether it will support and handle your TV requirements.
Check the Inputs
Your Vizio TV input settings can be a key factor to why you might not be getting any channels during scans.
If you are using a satellite/cable box, then that means the cable provider is the one governing your channel selection. By default, the TV input is set to read the inbuilt TV tuner.
The inbuilt TV tuner plays no role here. You might have to contact your cable provider to select the channel packages you need.
Simply change the TV input to access your cable manufacturer's user interface. The input will be marked depending on your connection: AV, Component, or HDMI.
To change your input, simply follow the following steps:
- Turn on the TV. Make sure you have connected your cable box as per instructions from your cable provider.
- From your Vizio remote, press the INPUT button and select TV to view the various input sources available.
- Select the input via which you connected your cable box. This can vary between AV, HDMI or Component.
If you are doubtful of what input you put it in, just select the highlighted input, as that is the input your TV recognized as receiving a signal from.
Doing the steps correctly should connect your Vizio TV to your cable box directly.
On newer Vizio TVs, there is also a chance your input options may have been set to hidden. To rectify that, simply follow the following steps:
- Press the Menu key on your Vizio TV remote.
- Select the System option and choose Hide Input From List.
- Set all your inputs listed to Visible
Now, you will be able to see your hidden input options directly from the input settings.
Check for Port Failure
The input ports are the hardware that can get easily damaged with an unintentional act of applying force while connecting or with time.
If your Vizio TV isn't detecting your inputs, then chances are the port hardware is damaged and needs replacement.
Although there can be workarounds to fixing this issue, the best solution is to replace the required port with an authorized service center.
Check Your Antenna Type and Positioning
If you use a TV antenna like me for your free channels, then make sure you have a proper type of antenna for grabbing the appropriate signals.
There are many types of antennas, from loop antennas, dipole antennas to even tower antennas.
But the most commonly used antennas based on signal grabbing capabilities are:
- Unidirectional antennas
These antennas can receive signals from only a single path, but with greater resilience to signal noise.
This is an excellent antenna to use if you know the path of the signals or if your broadcast towers are in a direct line of sight.
- Omnidirectional antennas
These antennas can grab signals from all directions and hence offer a 360-degree field, at a comparatively lower resilience to signal noise.
Most antennas currently used are omnidirectional as they are more versatile and can grab signals from all angles.
Antenna positioning is also very important as any obstacle that interferes with the signal can cause a multitude of issues.
It is always recommended to place the antenna outside at a higher altitude without any nearby obstacles covering the antennas.
The higher the antenna is kept from sea level, the greater the range of capture of a signal to your Vizio TV.
Check With Your Cable Provider
If you are connecting to your TV via a cable provider, also make sure that the cable box and coaxial cable is well maintained and properly functioning.
Check whether the signal issues are not from the cable provider's end by either plugging it into another TV or by contacting your cable provider directly.
If you see any concerning issues with the cable box hardware, contact your cable provider and ask for a parts replacement.
The Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide
Check the TV Settings
TV settings are a usual culprit when it comes to your lack of channel selection. We know that TV input settings can be a reason why you can't view your channels on the screen.
Now, if you are connecting a cable or antenna directly to the TV without a cable provider accessing your free channels, that's where the inbuilt TV tuner is required.
To properly access the channels, we need to scan for the channels first. To do that, simply follow the following steps:
- Select the INPUT button. You will notice two options: TV and Tuner.
- Click on the Tuner option and select the appropriate option: Antenna or Cable, depending on your input configuration.
- Choose the Find Channels/ Auto Search/ Auto Channel Scan option, depending on your Vizio TV model to start your channel auto scan.
This takes some time, and after the scan is complete, you should see your available channels.
Re-scanning after changing your antenna position can also help check for more channels and you can also estimate the best position for your antenna..
If you still feel you are missing a few channels, follow through with this guide.
Check for DAC Failure
Every electronic device can only understand inputs in digital format.
Since the 2009 analog to digital switchover, our over-the-air signals in the US have been digital for more reliable connectivity.
This conversion on the receiving end is done by Digital to Analog Converters (DAC). A faulty DAC in your TV can cause the signal to not be read at all.
A solution to this dilemma is to replace the inbuilt DAC part. But this can be an expensive component, depending on your VIZIVizioO TV model.
The best answer I have for you is to get an external DAC for your TV.
A converter like this will typically cost you only about 25 bucks and you can get it easily at any Walmart or at Bestbuy.
This converter directly connects to your antenna cable and hence provides the conversion before entering your TV.
Perform a Proper Power Cycle
A power cycle can be an effective way to reset the power conditions of your Vizio TV.
To perform a power cycle, simply follow the following steps:
- Turn off your TV and disconnect your TV plug from the wall socket.
- Wait for at least 10 minutes.
- Press and hold the Power button on the TV for at least 30 seconds.
- Release the Power button and replug the power back in.
- Turn on the TV and scan for channels.
This step is also effective in resolving pairing issues with the Vizio subwoofers and soundbars.
Hard Reset Your TV
Depending on your Vizio TV model, you can find a setting to reset your TV back to its factory settings.
Hard resetting will wipe out all your saved settings and this might eventually fix the root cause behind your Vizio TV not scanning for channels properly.
To reset your Vizio TV to its factory settings, simply follow the following steps:
- Press the Menu button on your Vizio TV remote.
- Select the System option
- Choose the Reset & Admin option from the list.
- Highlight the Reset TV to Factory Defaults option and press OK.
- Now your Vizio TV will ask you for a parental code. If you havent set any parental code, simply input 0000 when it asks for the password.
- Select the Reset option
Your TV will start wiping its settings and restore to factory defaults. After a few minutes, the TV will reboot and the initial setup will begin.
Manual Re-scan Fix
If your TV still doesn't detect channels, then here is the fix suggested by Vizio that worked for me that got channels to pop up on my TV too:
- Do a power cycle first to reset your Vizio TV's power configurations.
- Disconnect your antenna/coaxial cable from your Vizio TV and perform the channel scan. This should result in 0 channels being detected.
- Now reconnect the antenna/coaxial cable to your Vizio TV and perform the channel scan. You should notice more channels now.
If this procedure doesn't work for you, you can try hard resetting your tuner. Doing so will negate all problems with the Vizio TV tuner.
To do just that, simply follow the following steps:
- Disconnect your antenna/coaxial cable and power cable from your Vizio TV.
- While holding the power button of your Vizio TV for 30 seconds, reconnect the antenna/cable first and then the power cord.
This should reset your channel tuner. After the reset, scan for channels again. Your channels should pop up.
Pushing aside the small easy-to-fix issues like this, Vizio makes some great TVs at affordable prices.
I certainly am a happy customer of Vizio products in general, and with this guide, I intended to make you one step closer to being happy as me with Vizio.
I hope this comprehensive troubleshooting guide on fixing your channel scan issues on your Vizio TV has successfully guided you as it intended to do.
Do stay tuned to my website for more guides.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I scan for channels without a Vizio remote on my Vizio TV?
You can access the Input settings by pressing the Input button on your TV several times till you see the TV option. Then, press the Menu button and use the Up and Down buttons to navigate through the Input menu.
My Vizio TV does not have an antenna input. How do I connect my antenna?
This means there is no digital TV tuner inbuilt into your Vizio TV. You can purchase an external digital TV tuner and plug that into your TV to make use of your antenna.
How can I check for the nearest broadcast tower location for aligning my Antenna for my Vizio TV?
You can check out your local TV station website for possible broadcast tower locations in the area. You can also install a TV Station Locator app for help. Once you get a location hit, simply check for its directional polarity and align your antenna accordingly. Your process will be easier if you use a compass app.