Why Auto Scan is not finding channels on your TV

If your TV’s auto Scan is not finding channels, don’t worry – this problem is usually an easy fix. It is even a breeze when you know the culprits behind the error.

The most likely culprit is your TV antenna. If the connections are loose, the signals can’t come through. Or the antenna may be misaligned, pointing away from the TV towers. 

Please stick with us as we investigate other possible causes of this menace. With some simple tweaks outlined here, you’ll switch through all your favorite shows again soon. 

Why your TV is not picking up channels

Here are some common reasons why your TV is not picking up channels:

1. Antenna issues: The antenna may have switched directions in stormy weather, or a new building is obstructing the signal. 

2. Damaged coaxial cables: Wear and tear, accidental cuts, damages, or loose connections may make the coaxial cables ineffective.  

3. Loose cable connections: Loose-fitting cables cause signal leakage, whether it’s the connector on the TV itself or where the cable meets the antenna.

4. Defective channel decoder: The tuner inside your TV may malfunction due to dust or wear and tear, preventing the TV from decoding channels. 

5. Outdated channel list: A broadcaster could have changed the wavelengths for their free-to-air channels, maybe due to an upgrade.

6. Tower maintenance: If the TV towers are undergoing repairs, chances are that signals may be interrupted and auto scan won’t get any channels.

7. Wrong Auto Scan settings: Scheduling auto-tune when the TV is switched off and selecting the wrong mode (e.g., Satellite instead of DTV) may return 0 channels. 

SEE ALSO:  What is the farthest a TV antenna can reach?

Here is an expanded troubleshooting guide for when auto scan is not finding channels:

1. Check TV power and signal meter

  • Go to Settings on the TV Menu, then Channel Setup or Channel Tuning. 
  • Find the Signal Strength Meter or Signal Diagnostics option depending on your TV model.
  • Tune to different channels and observe if any are showing signal strength bar 

NOTE: A signal strength above 50% indicates the antenna is working and the issue is connection-related rather than a tuner failure.

Conducting a Signal Strength Test on my LG Smart TV
Conducting a signal strength test on an LG TV. Image: StreamDiag

2. Inspect broadcast tower status

  • Go to the  TV Query section of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) website.  
  • Enter your zip code and press Submit. 
  • Scroll down to see a list of local broadcast towers in your area.
  • Check the status column for each station. 
  • Look for any alerts about current maintenance work, upgrades, or repairs on the towers. 
  • If maintenance is occurring, signal issues are temporary. Check again later once work is complete for channels to return.

3. Examine antenna condition 

If the Auto Scan is not finding channels on a Samsung TV or any other brand, you might have issues with your antenna. Use these steps to troubleshoot:

  • Visually inspect the full structure from all sides for outdoor antennas. For indoor antennas, check the room placement.  
  • Look out for any damage, like bent elements or broken mounts. 
  • Check if the antenna has shifted direction. 
  • Examine any objects partially blocking the signal path, such as tree branches touching the antenna or new buildings obstructing the line of sight.
  • If safe and possible, use a ladder to get higher and ensure no obstructions between the antenna direction and broadcast tower location.
  • Trim back branches or foliage.
  • Adjust the antenna direction to point more precisely toward the towers. Use the FCC map to know the exact direction.
  • Ensure the connection point is clean and dry.
SEE ALSO:  Can you boost a TV antenna signal using aluminum foil?

4. Follow and inspect cable connections   

coaxial cable with foil
Aluminum foil is used in coaxial cables for protection from RFI interference. Image: Makarov Aleksandr
  • Start from the antenna and follow the cable path as it travels to your home and the TV input jack.   
  • Examine all connections, including wall plates, junction or splitter ports, and connectors for loose fits. 
  • Snugly tighten all cable screw-ons and jacks. 
  • Inspect the cable for damage, such as cuts, cracks, punctures, and kinks that could affect signal quality. Then, replace the damaged sections.
  • Check behind wall plates and TV back panel for corrosion. 
  • Use compressed air to clean contacts and improve connections.

5. Scan for new channels

Rescanning will help detect newly added or changed channels based on updated frequency information, fixing the issue of digital TV not picking up any channels. 

  • From the TV menu, go to Settings > Channel Menu > Channel Scan
  • Select the option to scan for new channels.
  • Be patient as the TV loads new channels.

6. Adjust Auto-Scan settings  

  • In the TV menu Channel Options, find Auto-Scan or Auto-Tuning settings. 
  • Set auto-scan to run during TV startup or schedule periodic scans during early morning or late night, when there are fewer interruptions.
SEE ALSO:  200-mile indoor TV antennas worth getting

7. Get help from a technician

Continuing issues with scanning in channels could indicate a hardware problem, like a faulty tuner that needs professional service.

A technician will diagnose the exact issue and replace any degraded components to restore your television’s ability to reliably receive broadcast signals and tune channels.

How to get your smart TV to auto-scan channels

On a Smart or Android TV, use this procedure for auto-scanning channels:

  • Using the TV remote, press the Home button. This will take you to the smart TV’s home screen.
  • Select the input method as Channels. 
  • Go to the Settings menu, then select the Channel section.
  • Choose Auto Tuning/Channel Scan and select Scan for channels.
  • Ensure both analog and digital channel types are selected.
  • Initiate scan – this can take up to 15 minutes.

How to scan for digital channels on your TV?

Here, you need the same procedure for auto-scanning all channels, with one key difference.

It would help if you made sure the Analog channel type is unchecked or turned off and left the Digital option selected.

It will allow your TV tuner to focus on locating the latest digital frequencies from local broadcaster towers rather than older analog signals.

If you want to add analog channels later, you can always re-run the auto-tuning and select both digital and analog tuning options at that time. 

More About TV Tuning

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