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Out of all the problems anyone could possibly have with a TV, being stuck on a single channel is probably the most surprising. There’s no one way to watch TV these days, with Live TV streaming, cable box, and satellite being the major three.
Obviously, getting stuck on one channel while watching TV via a cable box is a different issue from getting stuck on a single channel while streaming YouTube TV. We’ll try to cover both as well as possible. Satellite and cable are essentially the same, in terms of using a cable box within the house. The only difference is how the signal gets to you.
Whether you’re using a Samsung, LG, Hisense, or (insert TV brand here), the TV is rarely the problem. For the most part, it’s the cable box. After all, the TV just displays what’s coming through the cable.
Table of Contents
6 Fixes To TV Stuck on One Channel
1. The Remote
With cable and satellite, you should be using a physical remote. Streaming live TV is different, but smartphones and gaming controllers are often the stand in for the remote. With cable and satellite, it could just be a matter of low batteries in the remote.
There might be enough juice left in there for an LED display on the remote, though It’s not enough to change the channel. Try going to the cable box and changing the channel, if the option is available. If the channel changes, your remote is failing to communicate with the TV.
You can try changing out the batteries or resetting the remote. Since there are about a thousand different brand of remote out there, especially when you include third-party, universal options, you’ll have to refer to the user manual or look up the online manual for your specific remote to see how to properly reset it.
As far as smartphones and controllers are concerned, It’s either the app or, again, the remote (in the form of a controller if you are streaming on a gaming console). On a smartphone or tablet, reset the app or delete it and redownload it.
For controllers, make sure they are properly paired with the console or plug it into the console to charge and reestablish communication.
2. Reset Your TV
Depending on what you have plugged in back there, the problem may lie with the cable box’s ability to communicate with the TV. The same is true for any streaming devices you may be using. This conflict sometimes happens when you have a smart TV with its own OS and are using a third-party cable box or streaming device.
All TVs are different, but you can typically soft reset one through the settings. You’ll normally find the options within the Settings Menu, under Advanced Settings, General, TV, or About. You can also reset your TV the old school way.
- Turn the TV off using the power button on the remote or on the TV
- Unplug the devices that are connected to the TV
- Unplug the TV from the wall
- Press and hold the power button on the TV to remove any remaining charge
- Wait about two minutes (You only have to hold the power button for about thirty-seconds)
- Plug the external, peripheral devices back into the TV
- Plug the TV back into the power outlet
- Power on the TV and see if you can change the channels
The manual reset method should work for most TVs. Since it’s a soft reset, you don’t have to worry about losing any of your information, such as saved programming and login for smart TV apps.
3. Check Your Ports and Cables
Unless you’re just using the built-in OS on a smart TV, you have to have something plugged in to watch TV from, whether that’s a coax cable or an HDMI port for streaming devices, you should check the cables, devices, and ports.
Unscrew the coax cable and trace it back to the wall. Check the male and female ends and make sure they are free of debris or dirt and that the threads aren’t stripped. Continue checking the cable all the way outside, as far as you can trace it.
Make sure there are no crimps in the cable and that It’s not otherwise damaged. Check over and HDMI devices you have plugged in for the same dirt, debris, or damage. If they are all clean, plug them back in.
4. Reset Cable Box or Devices
Its generally a good idea to reset the TV and the remote when you reset your cable box or streaming device. For streaming devices, reset options are found in the Settings menu, and you’ll have to go by the instructions for your cable box to reset it as well.
Whichever device you own, reset the TV while those devices are off, and you are waiting the requisite amount of time to turn them back on. The same goes for the remote. Do not turn the TV back on until the devices are completely reset and powered back on.
When you turn your TV back on, make sure you can change the channels now. Remember, if the remote is working, but it simply won’t change the channels, the problem is not with the remote. The only time it would be an issue with the remote is if the entire keypad is somehow damaged or the buttons stuck.
Since that’s something you would probably notice right off the bat, you don’t have to worry about the remote once you’re sure the batteries are working and its properly reset.
5. You Have Child-Lock On
This happens most often when you are not living alone and have a significant other using the TV as well. They could have placed a child lock on the TV or for certain channels and just haven’t told you. It could also happen if you are sitting on the remote without realizing it.
To fix it, you will need to know the pin code. If you don’t know the pin code, it’s best to ask whomever else uses the TV from time to time.
If one of the kiddos did it by accident, well, good luck with that. The best way to get around it is to completely reset the cable box to default settings.
You’ll need to check with your manual or jump online to find your cable box manual and see how to do a factory reset on it. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to use the remote the correct way again. The requirement for a pin code won’t just go away on its own, after all.
6. Correct Input Source
You may simply be on the wrong input source. It happens surprisingly often with smart TVs these days, since they have so many input sources. The average TV comes with three HDMI ports alone, much less everything else.
The best way to jump from source to source is by looking for the “Source” or “Input” button on your TV remote. Press it until you are on the right input. If your cable box or streaming device is on, you’ll see the home screen pop up when you reach the right input.
For the most part, the TV being stuck on one channel is common enough and usually merits a simple fix. Rarely, it’s something worse, especially if your TV’s age is getting on up there, along with the remote. If your TV isn’t there yet, the above troubleshooting options should get it back in good working order.