I have been a long-time user of Vizio TVs, mostly for watching cable and playing games in my man cave. The reception has been impressive, and the tuner, a worthy one.
Like most modern televisions, Vizio TVs (not all of them) come preinstalled with an ATSC tuner through which you can stream OTA channels and content.
Problems with my TV tuner would disappear once I restart and rescan for channels. When this does not work, I try a few other fixes. I compiled all the possible solutions into this troubleshooting guide so that you can fix your Vizio TV tuner if it is not working.
If your Vizio tuner is not working, first, check if your TV has a tuner. Most Vizio TVs produced between 2016-17 lacked a coaxial input. Check for weather adversities and the positioning of antennas. You could also try refreshing and updating the TV. If these don't work, factory reset the Vizio TV.
In this article, I have explained each troubleshooting step in detail. Simply follow the instructions to troubleshoot your Vizio TV.
Basic Checks for TV Tuner Issue on Vizio TV
Before jumping the gun and restarting/resetting your Vizio TV, let's check the basics. A simple mismatch, like selecting the wrong input, will render the scanned channels invisible.
Make sure you have checked and confirmed the following necessary conditions before making assumptions.
Check Whether Your TV Has a Tuner
Even though most modern TVs support a Tuner (which incidentally makes a TV, a TV), some Vizio TVs do not support them.
Vizio came out with its "Tuner-free HomeTheater Displays", which simply lacked a tuner, making them a streaming-only display unit.
This was a turning point in the world of Television because no other manufacturer had adopted such a revolutionary stance before.
Most Vizio TVs, made during 2016-17, don't have a tuner.
Almost all of the M-line and the P-line, and some of the E-line series of TVs made during this time were affected by this corporate decision.
And since then, by 2018, Vizio has reverted to providing their TVs with a tuner.
If your TV was made during the said period, chances are, there won't be a tuner within your TV.
Make sure to check your TV manual for further clarification. You might as well check for a Coaxial input port on the TV. If it is absent, look no further, your TV does not support a tuner.
In such cases, try using an external tuner which is available by the handful on the market.
Check the Cables
A crooked or a precariously connected coaxial cable may cause the broadcast to be snowy. It will also make the tuner unresponsive to scans and channel searches.
Check for kinks and crooks in the cable. Also, check for corrosion and rust at the plugin end and the port.
Try replacing the cable if the old one transmits only fuzzy pictures and eerie squeals.
If you happen to use a splitter to connect the cable to your TV, remove it and directly connect the cable to your TV.
Splitters are known to induce interference, hence rendering the transmission faulty.
Check the Antenna Positioning and Characteristics
The position of the antenna determines the quality of the signal received. The best possible direction towards which to direct your antenna is towards the equator.
Make sure to place your antenna at a permissible height, free of any obstructions, like trees or other opaque objects.
If you happen to have a powered antenna, make sure to connect it to an AC power outlet for more gain characteristics and better reception.
Ensure Line of Sight (LOS) if receiving the signal directly from a terrestrial broadcast station.
Weather Conditions and Their Effects
Adverse weather conditions will affect the reception of signals. If the weather in your region is not favorable, try accessing the tuner after the adversity has dissipated.
Trying to scan for channels during bad weather will leave your efforts futile.
The only workaround is to wait for the conditions to stabilize and then scan for channels.
Choose the Right Source
Perhaps the most common mixup of them all, choosing the wrong input on your TV.
Most people forget to check the input before assuming that there is some fault with the tuner. Make sure to choose the right source input before making such assumptions.
Most Vizio TVs come with a host of source inputs. Change and select different inputs until you find the right one.
Assuming that you have checked and confirmed the basics, let's move on to how to configure the tuner on your Vizio TV.
How to Use the Tuner on the Vizio TV
The tuner setup is pretty simple on Vizio TVs. But before you continue, make sure to plug the coaxial/broadcast input firmly into the TV's AV composite/component or the HDMI ports.
After doing so, usually, a pop-up message will come on the screen, informing you that the tuner needs setting up.
The message will also prompt you to press the OK button on the remote to begin the scanning process.
If you didn't get the pop-up message, follow these steps to configure the tuner.
1. On the Home screen, press the Menu button on the remote to open the Settings tab.
2. Click on the Tuner or Channels option, depending on the TV model.
3. Select Find channels or Auto channel scan, depending on your TV's available options.
4. Wait till the scan is complete.
After the scan is complete, you will be able to see the exact number of scanned channels available on your TV. Change the input to the right source input to start broadcasting on your TV.
Refresh the Vizio TV
If and when your Television starts acting up strangely, start the troubleshooting procedure by giving your TV a proper restart.
And the most efficient way to perform a restart is through a power cycle test.
A power cycle test will remove all the temporal errors and pent-up static charges on the TV, essentially making it faster and more responsive.
The process is simple, and here's how to do so:
- Start by turning OFF your TV and then plug out the power cable off the socket.
- Wait for a few seconds, even minutes, preferably.
- Then, press and hold the power button of the TV for about a minute. Doing so will drain away the static charge stored in the TV.
- Plug back in the TV and switch it ON. Then, check for the issue.
Try scanning for channels after restarting the TV.
Check for Hidden Inputs
Modern smart TVs have the provision to automatically change the names of the source input, depending on the device connected to that particular input.
Certainly, Vizio TVs are no exception to the said feature.
Some of them have a peculiar TV feature that enables users to hide the TV input from the list of source inputs.
If you cannot find the broadcast input on the list of sources, try checking the hide input settings to change the status.
To access this settings menu, follow these steps.
1. On the Settings tab, click and open System.
2. Select the Input settings option.
3. Click on All inputs. Here you will be able to see all the inputs.
4. Hover over an input to view its status.
5. Once you have highlighted an input, and found that it is hidden, press the OK button to bring up a settings menu.
6. Click on the "Visible" option to change the status of the input.
Exit the settings menu and then restart the TV. Check for further issues.
Update the Vizio TV
An outdated TV, much like any other rundown electronic device, is a playground for the potential bugs and errors waiting to breach the firewall.
These bugs can hinder the working of a tuner, leaving it useless in its wake.
Make sure to update the device to the most current firmware version to stave off any such interlopers.
To update the TV, follow these instructions.
1. On the Settings menu, click and open the System option.
2. Select the Check for Updates option to manually check for any updates.
The TV will automatically restart after applying the updates.
Factory Reset the Vizio TV
As a last-ditch effort, try resetting the TV to its factory settings. A factory reset will clear the system of all inconsistencies and restore it to the factory condition.
Also, keep in mind that a reset will wipe clear all of your personal preferences and apps. This step comes in handy especially when the Vizio TV starts restarting at random or when Vizio TV freezes abruptly.
There are a few methods by which you can reset the TV.
Some Vizio TVs come with a dedicated reset button on the back. Press and hold the button until the screen turns OFF and then back ON again, indicating the start of the process.
You can also reset the TV using the on-screen commands. Here is how to do it.
1. On the Settings menu, click and open the System option.
3. Select the Reset TV to Factory Settings option. You will have to enter a parental control code. Enter 0000 as the code if you haven't set up a parental code.
5. Click on Reset TV.
Wait for the process to complete.
SmartCast TVs have the support for a reset using the TV buttons. Press these buttons in tandem to reset the TV.
1. Press and hold the Input button and the Volume down button together.
2. A pop-up will appear on the top of the screen, informing you to press and hold the input button to reset the TV.
3. Press and hold the Input button to start the process.
Basically, what constitutes a TV is the presence of a tuner with which you can acquire the different channels, floating among the very air we breathe.
In other words, a faulty tuner = faulty TV, meaning channel issues on your Vizio TV.
Additionally, try spraying off the dust on the TV's motherboard using compressed air. This will reduce the heating and other issues that may trouble your board.
Usually, most tuner issues can be resolved by replacing the tuner module on the motherboard. Consult a technician about the scope for replacement.
If none of these fixes work, contact Vizio support for further assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How does a TV tuner work?
A TV tuner is a device that processes the signals received by the antenna. It then decrypts these signals (which are encrypted for security purposes), making them ready for broadcast. The tuner is capable of searching and similarly processing multiple channels, simultaneously. A TV has to be tuned every once in a while for an optimal viewing experience.
Are there any substitutes for analog tuners?
There are a lot of alternatives for the traditional analog tuner. One of the best alternatives to an analog tuner is the digital OTA tuner called HDHomeRun. It is a fairly inexpensive alternative that provides a TV viewing experience without the need for a tuner. Other alternatives include external tuner boxes, antennas with built-in tuners, digital tuner converter boxes, etc.
Why are HD channels not showing up on Vizio TV?
This is a known issue with Vizio TV tuners. While scanning for channels, if the tuner detects both SD and HD versions of the same channel, it will only select the first one detected or the one with better reception. Rescan the channels again, as a remedy.