Vizio has been one of my most trusted TV brands, mainly due to its brilliant picture quality and aggressive pricing.
But, Vizio did play around with the tuner on their TVs in the near past. Hence, making it impossible to connect a coax or a composite cable to broadcast any local channels.
Nonetheless, that's then, and now we are all back to even. But there still remains the question of 'is the tuner the only way to get regular channels on your Vizio TV?'
To get regular channels on your Vizio TV, try connecting a coaxial, an AV(composite), or an HDMI cable from your Antenna or the set box. If your Vizio TV doesn't feature a tuner, you could avail the services of an external tuner as a substitute.
You can also find several apps that facilitate OTA streaming of most local channels on your Vizio TV.
Read on to know more about how to get regular channels on your Vizio smart TV.
Preliminary Checks to Do on Your Vizio TV
Let's begin our quest to acquire regular channels on Vizio TV by checking a few things on the TV itself. You can't go blindly into connecting a coax or a composite cable into your TV without even knowing whether your TV supports one.
And so comes the below-mentioned requisites into relevance. Make sure to check and verify each and every requirement before getting started with the channel acquisition.
Check for a Tuner on Your Vizio TV
A tuner is an internal component of a TV that makes broadcasting and streaming channels possible on your TV. Almost all traditional and most Smart TVs feature a tuner within them.
And Vizio TVs are no exception to this mandate, save some models that came out during the 2016-17 period.
With their 'Tuner-free HomeTheater Displays', Vizio removed the tuner out of the equation for their TVs. Evidently, these TVs were made solely for stream-only applications and not for traditional broadcasting purposes.
A true revelation in the television industry, these Vizio TVs were the first of their kind. And so, without any need of mentioning, they had a hard time making road into the abodes of the conscious customer.
The M-line, P-line, and some of the E-line series of TVs completely lacked a Tuner of any sort. If you have a D-series Vizio TV, you don't have to worry about the lack of a tuner.
Vizio, since then, started noticing the lack of ripples their revolutionary products failed to make in the consumer market. Hence, from 2018 onwards, the Company decided to take a step back and provide all their TVs with a tuner.
To check whether your Vizio TV features a tuner or not, check for a composite or a coaxial port on your TV. You could also make use of the manual to confirm this affirmation.
If your TV doesn't have a tuner, you could make use of an external tuner or an Over-the-Air tuner to accomplish the task at hand.
Check the cables
When you check the cables, make sure to check the cables from both the Antenna and the satellite/cable box(if you have one).
Crooks, kinks, and bends in the cable can render the reception poor. Other entailing occurrings include fuzzy pictures, eerie squeals, static imagery, AV sync issues, etc.
Next, check whether the cables are connected firmly to the port-ends. A flimsy or a precarious connection can also cause reception/sync issues.
Rust and corrosion at the cable ends will cause all sorts of problems for the reception. Replace the cable at once if you notice such inconsistencies.
If you happen to use a splitter to extend or save the cable length, avoid using them. Splitters do tend to induce interferences to the transmission.
Coaxial cables come in a lot of variations. RG6, RG11, RG59, etc., make up some of the most widely used varieties of coax cables.
RG59 cables are suitable for short-distance, low-frequency transmission while RG6 cables are suitable for long-distance, high-frequency transmission. RG11 cables provide better signal strength and less interference compared to both the other variations.
Antenna Positioning and Effects of Weather on Signal Reception
In order to maximize your signal reception strength, make sure to position the antenna in the right direction. Improper positioning may render your reception squirmish and all static.
So, where to direct the antenna for the best possible signal reception?
Pointing the Antenna towards the equator yields the best signal strength; since most communication satellites are located at or around the equator.
While positioning the Antenna, also make sure to direct it towards the open sky, free of all obstructions, like trees or concrete structures.
In the case of terrestrial communicating antennas, make sure to ensure Line of Sight(LOS) for optimal signal reception. Intrusions and solid structures will affect such communication procedures.
Weather plays a crucial role in signal reception. Harsh weather conditions will make the reception erroneous and render the output undesirable. In such cases, best if you take a step back and wait out the adversity.
Scan/rescan efforts may result as unsuccessful if done at times of raging weather. Better try it after the conditions have become stable.
How to Get Regular Channels on Your Vizio TV Using a Tuner
Now that the preliminary steps have been taken care of, let's look at how to actually get all your desired channels on your Vizio TV through different cable solutions.
As mentioned earlier, you can use the tuner on your TV to get local channels on your Vizio TV. Tuners usually come into play when a composite AV or a coaxial cable is connected to the TV from an antenna or a satellite/cable box.
Nowadays, HDMI cables are employed instead of coax or a composite cable for more picture quality and faster transmission speeds.
Let's now check on how to get regular channels using both the cables - coax/composite and HDMI cables.
Scanning For Channels When Connected Through a Composite/Coaxial Cable
Composite and Coaxial cables have been dominating the television industry as the preferred mode of short-distance transmission ever since their inception.
Since then, HDMI cables have made inroads into composite/coaxial cable domination as a formidable contender for the title.
Even so, coaxial and composite cables still remain the preferred ones over the HDMI cable solution.
Once you have ensured a snug fit at both the TV and the Antenna/satellite/cable box ends, follow these steps for scanning the channel using the built-in tuner.
1. Turn ON the TV and choose the Input source. Use the Input button on the remote to navigate through the different sources.
2. Select the 'TV' or the 'ANT' input.
3. Click and open the Menu option using the Menu button.
4. Click and open the TV or Tuner option.
5. Select Tuner Mode. Then select the installed setup - Antenna or Cable.
6. Click on the Auto-Search/Auto Channel search/Find Channels option.
7. Wait for the scan to reach 100%. Choose your preferred channels.
Exit the Menu tab and check for the channels.
Scanning For Channels When Connected Through an HDMI cable
HDMI offers much better resolution capabilities than the composite or the coaxial route.
Composite and Coaxial cables systems offer picture quality only up to SD resolution. Whereas, through HDMI, you can get anywhere from HD to even 4K.
The process is quite similar to the coaxial method. All you have to do is connect the HDMI cable to your TV from the satellite/cable box.
Then, follow these steps on your TV to get all your desired regular channels in High definition.
1. While connecting the HDMI cable, take note of the HDMI port you connect the cable to.
2. Switch the input to the connected HDMI source.
3. Once done, click and open the Menu tab using the menu button.
4. Open the TV/Tuner option.
5. Depending on your setup, select the Antenna or Cable option under Tuner Mode.
6. Click on the Auto-Search/Auto Channel search/Find Channels option.
7. Upon scan completion, select and verify the channel list.
You can now check and change your channels using the satellite/cable box remote control.
Use these steps if you have trouble finding channels on your Vizio TV.
Getting Channels Using External Tuners
If for some issues with the internal tuner Vizio TV or due to its complete absence, the best alternative to a traditional tuner is an external tuner.
In the case of external tuners, you can extend the channel list and improve the quality of reception furthermore than a built-in tuner.
Nowadays, most set-top boxes act as an external tuner, irrespective of its origin(supplied with the cable/antenna service or as a third-party accessory).
Now, one might think that these devices differ a lot. But that's not the case; both these devices have a lot more in common than in what they differ.
Once you connect the coax lead from your cable/Antenna to the external tuner, the device then processes the signal, acquires all the channels, and transmits it to the TV.
This transmission can be facilitated through a coax, composite, or as in most cases, an HDMI cable. After connecting the cables, switch to the preferred input and enjoy.
Some external tuners are capable of DVI transmission, but they are limited to video-only signals.
One notable variant of external tuners is wirelessly transmitting tuners. The method adopted in transmitting the processed signal distinguishes them from a standard external tuner.
Once the channel acquisition is complete, you can access the processed channels either wirelessly through a WiFi connection or an Ethernet connection.
This mode of sharing facilitates simultaneous multiple device accommodation.
HDHomeRun is a recommendable example of such a device. With such devices, first, connect the coax cable to the tuner. Then open the recommended app on a supported platform, and enjoy streaming.
Hence, Vizio TVs that lack an inbuilt tuner can hugely benefit from such a mode of channel acquisition.
How to Get Regular Channels on Your Vizio TV through Apps
Another potent alternative to a traditional tuner is to get your favorite channels through streaming apps implemented via SmartCast.
There are quite a few apps that do offer superior streaming quality and curated collections compared to what you would likely get with cable/satellite services.
Most of them do come with a subscription charge, but that's a given with all the content they provide.
Apps like Hulu, Youtube TV, ESPN+, etc., do require you to create an account and purchase a subscription plan for availing the app services.
Most of them also provide live TV streaming, again, at an additional cost.
With Vizio SmartCast TVs, you can download and use the apps that provide OTA streaming.
Follow these steps to download and install such apps on your Vizio TV.
1. Once you turn ON the TV, press the V button on the smart TV remote.
2. This will bring up the SmartCast menu. Click and open the Apps tab.
3. Click on the Search(magnifying glass) icon. Then type in the name of the app.
4. Click on the app and install it.
Open the app and enter the required credentials. If it requires a subscription, proceed with a plan and confirm your subscription.
Apart from the paid ones, some apps do provide free streaming of local channels on your Vizio TV.
Pluto TV and DirectTV Stream are some of the best examples of such apps. Install them and start streaming, it's that easy.
Ever since the invention of Television, Entertainment and News has dominated the game with their varied content and sensational information.
And since the last decade or so, digital streaming has taken a huge toll on the traditional analog methods of sharing information and content.
But Vizio does stick to their instincts and provide most of their TVs with a built-in tuner. Several Smart TV offerings supplement the traditional methods with the current ones.
Included within this article are also methods other than the standard tuner route.
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- Does My Vizio TV Have SmartCast? Here's How to Check
- Vizio TV Won’t Stay On: How to Fix 
- Do Vizio TVs Have a Reset Button? Answered
Frequently Asked Questions
Why won't my Vizio TV change channels?
The most obvious reason would be your remote. Check whether the batteries have not died out or not. Another probable reason would be the TV inputs. Check and make sure you are on the correct input source. Interference between the remote and the TV could also hinder communication.
Why can't I find the right input on Vizio TV?
More often than not, you will have trouble finding the right input source since it is hidden. Hidden inputs are certainly a thing with Vizio TVs. To find and retrieve the input go to Settings>System>Input Settings>All inputs. Then, shower over the input to view its status. Click on the OK button to bring up a settings menu. Click on Visible to make it appear while choosing the input.
Which is the best external tuner?
SiliconDust HDHomeRun series and Hauppauge external tuner can be trusted to do a good job. Other options include MyGica Hybrid USB tuner, Sling AirTV 2, TBS tuner, etc.