How to Troubleshoot Your DTV Converter Box

What to do if you connect your DTV converter box and don’t have a signal

man laying on the floor fixing television cable behind cable box

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If you've hooked up your DTV converter box and still do not have television reception, you may be tempted to throw in the towel. Fortunately, there are some troubleshooting steps you can try to get your TV in working order.

  1. Check the power. Check again to be sure your converter box is getting power. You may need to switch to the RF modulator's power.

  2. Check the connections. The cable may be connected to the wrong port. There are some general rules of thumb for connecting cables. From source to display, always connect the output to the input, and match the colors at the end of the cable to the input. Make sure everything is matched up correctly and that the connections are secure.

  3. Check the channel and source input. If the DTV converter box is connected to the TV through a coaxial cable, then your TV should be tuned to channel 3. If you used a composite RCA cable, then you likely need to turn the TV to the AUX/Video channel. If the DTV converter box has a channel switch that changes between channels 3 and 4, then make sure you have it tuned to the same channel that your TV is tuned to.

  4. Configure the DTV Converter Box. You must run a channel scan after connecting the DTV converter box, otherwise the converter box will not display any local channels. The scan is part of your DTV converter box's menu system; use your remote control to access the menu and perform the scan.

  5. Align the Antenna Properly. It may be that your antenna is not aligned properly or in an optimal location for reception. Towers, signal, and frequencies may change, affecting the ability of a signal to reach your antenna. Any of these factors can impact where and how you should position your antenna.

What to Do if Your Antenna Is the Problem

If you tried the above troubleshooting tips and still do not have all of your channels, then the source could very well be your antenna.

For outdoor antenna users, a site called AntennaWeb can make recommendations on the right kind of antenna to use and how ti should be placed in your home. For instructions on how to use AntennaWeb's form, follow the steps outlined in this guide:

You'll learn how you need to align your antenna to receive digital signals. It will also show you the best type of antenna for your area.

If you use an indoor antenna, we recommend buying an antenna designed for digital reception, especially if you currently use a directional antenna like rabbit ears. Antennas designed for digital are flat and should have amplification up to around 14db. The antenna needs to be multi-directional.