Disappearing Antenna TV Channels: What To Do Before Calling For Repair

by Alyssa Carpenter

The switch from analog to digital broadcast signals allows anyone with a digital TV and a TV antenna to receive free high-definition programming from stations with transmitters within the home antenna's range. However, the TV doesn't get the signals automatically. It must scan for them and lock in on the ones it finds.  On occasion, a TV that has scanned for and locked in over-the-air channels seems to lose one or more of them.

Sudden signal loss is often due to signal interference or a change in the way a broadcast station transmits the signal. Checking the antenna connection and redirecting the antenna, if necessary, typically fixes the problem. If not, the next step is to use the TV's set-up menu to scan to find additional channels.

If your TV suddenly loses all of its channels and scanning to find new channels doesn't work, your first thought is probably that the TV has malfunctioned. If the screen is black or displays an error message instructing you to call for service, you're likely correct, and we'll be glad to evaluate and repair the problem. If, on the other hand, you see a "no signal" message on the screen, you may be able to save an unnecessary service fee by performing a double rescan to try to restore the channels yourself.

1. Check the TV's Input setting to make sure it's still set to antenna. If it's set to cable and you don't have cable TV, restore the antenna setting and check your channels again.

2. Disconnect the antenna from the TV, and unplug the antenna from the electrical outlet, if it's powered that way.

3. Prompt the TV to scan for channels, as if you were setting it up for the first time. Because the antenna isn't connected, the TV won't find channels. However, it will clear its memory of those that previously were locked in, so you can start fresh when you add them back.

4. Plug the antenna in again, and reconnect it to the TV.

5. Perform another full scan for channels.

6. If the scan doesn't restore all the channels you had before, try doing the lower level scan to add additional channels. Repeat this scan several times, if necessary, until it finds the rest of your channels.

You may have to repeat this process to restore all the channels you had before. That done, perform the additional-scan periodically. Because broadcasters occasionally make new channels available, you may be able to add to your current lineup. Talk to your local TV store, such as TV Video Repairs, for more information.