TV Not Able to Find Any Channels? Here are 7 Tips to Help

TV flickering

Is your TV tuning not picking up any channels?

I know how annoying it can be to press the life out of the auto-scan option on your TV, only to find it’s still unable to find any channels.

Don’t worry, though. I’m here to help.

If your TV can’t find channels, ensure you plug the antenna in well, check what channels you should be getting, search for channels manually, or restart the TV. Checking your tuner and ensuring the coaxial cable is not faulty is also crucial.

Read on to learn how to get your channels back on your TV!

Why trust us? This article was written by Craig Anderson and Austin Sharman.

Craig has helped thousands of other homeowners repair their appliances since 2016.

7 Things You Can Do if Your TV Can’t Find Any Channels

Is your auto scan not finding channels on your TV? You’re not alone! Different reasons can explain why you’re experiencing the issue.

In this section, I’ll guide you through seven simple fixes to help you get your channels back!

#1 Check the Antenna

If you’re using an over-the-air antenna and your TV can’t find channels, my first tip is to ensure you’ve plugged the antenna in well.

Now, I know checking the antenna sounds obvious, but it is so easy for something to jolt the cable and become loose without you noticing. This is an important step if your home is anything like mine, with dogs, cats, and children running around.

You should plug the antenna firmly into the TV’s tuner.

TV antenna connection
Make sure that you plug the cable well into the antenna jack.

Your TV can also lose channels due to the antenna’s position or interference. So, please try moving your antenna to a higher position, preferably near a window.

It’s also worth mentioning that if your antenna is facing the wrong direction, you won’t be able to find any channels, especially if you live in an area with a lot of signal interference.

But which direction should your antenna be facing? It will all depend on where you live and where your broadcast towers are. To find out, you can check a station locator online like this one for iPhone or this one for Android.

The station locator will tell you which stations are available in your area and where the broadcast towers are. Make sure your antenna is oriented correctly.

If you’re located between two antennas, they can compete and cause reception issues. So if the issue persists, you should consider replacing it with a more powerful one.

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#2 Restart Your TV

In my experience, restarting your TV is a good way to clear any problems that can be stopping it from searching for channels.

You can restart your TV by doing the following:

  1. Turn the TV off using the power button
  2. Plug the TV out at the mains
  3. Wait for 2 minutes
  4. Plug it back in at the mains
  5. Turn it back on using the power button

After restarting your TV, try to perform an automatic channel search. If the TV can’t find your channels, move on to the next fix.

Restarting TV
Unplug your TV and plug it back in to restart it.

#3 Check What Channels You Should Be Getting

Are you seeing some TV channels on your screen but perhaps not all the channels you hoped you would? Then it is important you check which channels you should be getting.

From what I’ve seen, the channels you are offered will vary according to your location. You can find a bunch of free channel checkers online, which will provide you with a list of the channels you should be seeing in your area.

If you are missing some of the channels from the list you see online, you should perform a rescan. Sometimes stations change the frequency they use to broadcast. A rescan will help you to find the station’s new signal.

Ok, but what can you do if you’re unsure how to perform a rescan? Here are all the instructions you will need to do so.

  1. Press “MENU” on your remote control
  2. Navigate to “CHANNEL SCAN” in your TV’s options
  3. You should then be able to press “RESCAN.”
    • NOTE: The “RESCAN” option could show up as “TUNE” or “AUTO-TUNE” on some TVs.

If you are not seeing any of the channels in the list you see online, move on to some of the other fixes below.

#4 Search for Channels Manually

In my opinion, choosing the auto-scan button on a TV is the most convenient and fastest way of looking for channels.

However, when the auto scan is not finding channels, you can also perform a manual scan to restore the channels available for your TV.

To perform a manual scan, you’ll need your digital transmitter and frequency numbers, which will vary depending on where you live. If you are unsure what yours are, you must contact your service provider.

#5 Ensure Your Coaxial Cable Is Not Faulty

Is your digital TV not picking up channels even after trying the fixes above? Then it’s time to check the coaxial cable.

I tend to find that a damaged coaxial cable will not show any results when you search for TV channels.

First, ensure the coaxial cable, especially the screw-on type connection, is tightly secured. Then look for the following signs of wear and tear.

  • Fraying
  • Bending
  • Cracking of the cable

If your coaxial cable shows any damage, you must replace it.

If you want to get any replacement part – or see how much one would cost – click to enter your model number in the search bar below. Our partners at AppliancePartsPros stock almost every part with free guides on how to install them.

After you have replaced the cable, try performing an auto-channel search. If the channel search is successful, then you will have solved the problem.

#6 Check Your Tuner

If you’ve tried the fixes above and your TV still can’t find channels, the problem could be with the tuner itself.

You can check your TV’s tuner by doing the following.

  1. Plug your coax cable out of your TV
  2. Plug the cable into a different TV
  3. Try to run an automatic channel scan on that TV

Did running the scan on a different TV prove difficult? If the scan didn’t work, you probably have a problem with your TV tuner.

What if you didn’t have a problem auto-scanning for channels on another TV? Then the problem most likely lies with the TV itself. To solve the issue, you’ll need to contact a technician.

#7 Reset Your TV

Although uncommon, I find that sometimes performing a factory reset on TVs can help get the channels back.

Just keep in mind that resetting your TV to its factory settings comes with some permanent effects. It will remove any picture settings or configurations you’ve set, as well as delete any applications you’ve installed. If you had your TV professionally calibrated, you’d also need to redo the calibration after the reset.

Always ensure you’ve backed up any essential data or settings before resetting your TV.

To factory reset your TV, access the menu and go to Settings. Then, search for the “Factory Reset” option and confirm the reset.

The process of resetting your TV will vary depending on the specific model you own. So, please check the manufacturer’s manual.

It’s rare, but if nothing else works, consider replacing the main board, which is responsible for TV tuning. However, keep in mind that doing so exposes electrical components on the power board, which aren’t typically isolated, posing a risk of injury. So, I recommend having a professional handle the replacement. Don’t forget to check if your TV is still under warranty.

Wrapping Up: Getting Your TV Channels Back

Hopefully, now you know how to fix a TV that can’t find channels.

Remember that if your auto scan is not finding channels, you’ll need to ensure the antenna is plugged in properly, check the channels you should be getting, and perform a manual scan. Don’t forget to inspect the coaxial cable and tuner.

Thank you so much for reading! Please check out our other free guides if you found this article helpful.

Have a great day!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more