Troubleshooting Auto Scan Not Finding Channels Issue

Are you having trouble getting your auto scan to find channels on your TV? Don’t worry – there’s a solution! In this article, we’ll guide you through troubleshooting this issue and provide tips for finding the channels you need.

Whether you’re using cable, satellite or an internet protocol device, these steps will help you successfully get your channel auto scan working again and start watching your favorite shows. Keep reading to learn more about troubleshooting auto scan not finding channels issues!

Why Is Auto Scan Not Finding Channels?

A tv running an auto scan

When your channel auto scan isn’t finding channels, first make sure you’re in the right menu – typically this will be found under Menu -> Channels -> Auto Scan. Your TV’s menus may vary, so if yours is called something different, consult your user manual to find out how to access the setting.

Once you’re in “Channel Auto Scan” mode, select either “Cable” or “Antenna”, depending on which type of signal you’re using. If this doesn’t solve the problem and you’re still not seeing channels after auto-scanning, it might be time to check a few things:

  • Make sure your TV tuner is functioning properly – if possible, try a different TV to ensure that it’s not an issue with the digital tuner card.
  • Check that your antenna cabling is working correctly.
  • Align your antenna properly to point towards broadcast towers in your area.
  • Ensure your antenna has enough range for OTA signals in your location.
  • Make sure there’s a noise margin greater than 0 at your tuner to display a channel on your TV set.

In the next section, we dive into each one of these steps in more detail.

Make Sure Your TV Tuner is Working

If your television is having trouble auto-scanning for channels, the first step to troubleshooting is to check whether your TV tuner is functioning. If your television was manufactured before 2009, it likely has an analog tuner and this could be the cause of the issue.

If that’s the case, you’ll need a digital converter box. This allows you to convert over-the-air (OTA) digital broadcast received from your antenna into an analog or digital signal compatible with your television, projector, computer monitor, smart TV, HDTV, LED TV, LCD monitor and more.

On the other hand, if your television was made during or after 2009 then it should have a digital tuner installed. In that case, you can try plugging in the antenna’s coax cable into another TV to see if that resolves the issue. 

If you are sure the TV tuner works fine with modern signals, then we can move onto the next possible problem.

Check TV tuner settings

Choosing the right mode on your TV is important for tuning in to the right channels. There are two main modes: cable mode and antenna mode. Cable mode is usually used when you have a cable subscription, while antenna mode is used when you use an antenna to receive signals from broadcast towers.

If you are using an antenna to receive your TV signals, then having the TV set to cable mode may result in fewer (or no) channels being viewable on your television.

Check The Antenna System is Working

It’s pretty obvious that if your TV antenna system is not working, then your TV is unlikely to pick up any channels at all while auto-scanning.

Try Another TV

If you have another television that you can plug into the antenna outlet, then try plugging that in in place of the current TV and see if that works. If it does, then the TV you are trying to tune itself has a problem.

If it doesn’t, then there is a problem with the antenna outlet or whole antenna system.

Check The Antenna Cords

Check the cord that plugs into the TV itself – is it in good condition? Is it damaged at all? If you are at all unsure, then replace it. A poor-quality cord can make a big difference to the signal quality.

If your cord plugs into an antenna outlet on the wall, then check that as well for signs of damage or other problems.

Check Antenna Alignment

TV antenna on roof with front labeled

It is important to make sure that the antenna is pointing in the right direction. This will ensure that you are able to receive the best possible signal and get the most out of your antenna.

The first step is to find out where your local TV transmitters are located. You can use an online tool such as Antennas Direct’s mapping tool or DTV Reception Maps from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help you locate them. Once you know where they are, you can then determine which direction your antenna should be pointed in order to receive the strongest signal.

If you have an omnidirectional antenna, it will pick up signals from all directions equally, so there is no need to point it in any particular direction. However, if you have a directional antenna, then it is important that you point it towards the transmitter mast for optimal performance.

The easiest way to do this is to look at the other antennas in your area, make sure yours is pointed in the same direction. If this isn’t possible, then use a compass to aim it in the direction of the transmitter listed in one of the tools above.

Check Cabling, Splitters and Boosters

home TV antenna system schematic

Coaxial cable is used to get the signal from your antenna to your televisions. Depending on the signal conditions in your area, and your TV system layout, it may run directly to your TV outlet, or via splitters and/or a signal booster.

If you can do so safely, check the cable for any signs of damage. If the outer sheath is broken or frayed, then you should look into having the cabling replaced. Even a small amount of water ingress into the coaxial cable can have a large effect and will introduce signal noise.

If you can see any splitters or boosters then check them for signs of water or other sorts of damage too. If any of the connections show any signs of corrosion or rust then you will need to look into replacing them.

It is worth noting that if your antenna system has a booster on it, it will likely have a power supply for the booster somewhere. If that power supply is turned off or faulty, then the booster itself will actually block all signals. So take a look around for a power supply for your booster and if you find it, check to see if it is plugged in and operating correctly.

If All Else Fails, Call a Professional

If you have tried all the solutions above, and you still can’t get your TV  to tune in then it’s probably time to get a professional in to take a look. 

The Antenna technician will have an Antenna Signal Meter that they can plug into your system and read the signal strength directly. From there they will find it quite easy to find the source of any problems and will be able to get you up and watching TV in no time.

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Aaron Green
Aaron is a qualified electronics technician with over 20 years of experience. He has an avid interest in all things tech-based and loves to keep up with the latest products and inventions.

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