Why Did My Broadcast TV Channels Disappear?

No signal on TV screen

A very common question I get on DisableMyCable.com is “why did some of my broadcast TV channels disappear?” Usually, people think something is wrong with their antenna, but in fact TV antennas are pretty simple devices, just a piece of metal basically (unless it is amplified).

Here is a rundown of some possible reasons you lost TV channels.

Your Antenna Moved

From my testing, I’ve found that even a small change in antenna position or angle can have a big impact on your reception. Try moving your antenna around to see if that helps.

If your antenna is on your roof, you might have to go up there to make sure it hasn’t fallen or shifted.

Weather / Atmospheric Conditions

The weather and time of day can adversely affect your TV reception. Clouds, fog, rain, etc. can adversely affect your signal. Some people report worse reception at night while others report the opposite.

Try these tips to improve your reception.

Electromagnetic Interference

It is possible that a new electronic device in your home or neighborhood is wreaking havoc on your TV signal. I’ve heard all kinds of stories about this from my readers.

First, turn off all electronic appliances in your home and see if your reception gets better. This includes florescent lights, computers, Wi-Fi routers, cable modems, Bluetooth devices, cell phones, and so on. If your reception improves, turn on each device one-by-one until you find the culprit.

If you live in a condo or apartment complex, it’s possible that a neighbor’s device is causing the problem. Not much you can do about that, but you can try my tips to improve your antenna’s reception.

Loose or Bad Cable Connections

Make sure your coax cable connections are tight, both at your TV and at your antenna.

Your TV’s Tuner is Going Bad

It’s possible that your TV’s tuner circuitry is degrading. This is not one of the more likely scenarios if your tuner was working fine before, but it is possible. If you have another TV, try tuning the missing stations on that one as an experiment.

If your TV’s tuner is going bad, you can purchase an external tuner, or even better, a DVR.

Your Antenna’s Amplifier is Going Bad

If you have an amplified antenna which requires power, like the Mohu Leaf 50, there could be a problem with the amplifier. This is not a highly likely scenario, as if your amplifier is failing you’d probably lose all channels, but just for kicks, try your antenna without the amplifier. Many people report better reception without the amplifier, believe it or not.

TV Station Transmitter Power Changed

TV stations do tweak their transmitter power from time to time, not always for the better. Not much you can do about that except try to improve your antenna’s reception. Try my tips to improve reception.

TV Station Went Away

TV stations sometimes go away completely. This happened to  a few stations here in Los Angeles, where the FCC allowed TV stations to auction off their spectrum to wireless providers. Usually these are higher-numbered stations as opposed to the major networks. Google the station’s call letters to see if you can find out what happened. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about this.

Physical Obstacle

If they just built a high rise between your home and the TV transmitter, it could be blocking the TV signal. This is a less common cause, but it could happen, especially in big cities like New York. Try playing with your antenna position.

These are some of the reasons why your favorite station might have gone away. Let me know if any of these tips has helped or if you found any other causes for loss of TV stations. – Brian

  • Jan Neace

    Hi, I have had a rooftop antenna connected for the last 1-2years. Reception was fine. One morning I lost reception on 3 major channels. Then one week later lost the local (strongest) channel. Now I am unable to receive any reception via antenna. I have checked the antenna – nothing loose. I’ve even called our local handyman out, who installed it, and he is unable to figure out why I’ve lost all reception. No new electronic devices or lighting have been installed in the house recently. Just stumped as to what would cause total loss of reception without any external changes. Any thoughts? (I have a Roku and zip is 46181)

    • Hi Jan,

      This sort of sounds like your TV’s tuner is going bad but I can’t be sure. Perhaps you can ask your neighbors if they lost those channels as well or not.

      Best,
      Brian

      • Jan Neace

        Can I purchase an external tuner ?

  • Sonu Doshi

    After all the hurricane damage down south, there were so many obstruction issues and damaged dishes. Such a hastle.
    http://www.sonusatellite.com

  • Sheila Hunter

    I have a different question. Ever since I got my Roku I’ve been seeing long distance charges on my land line phone/internet bill. I don’t pay extra for long distance. It’s 3 calls for a total of 18 minutes every month no matter how much or how little I’m using my Roku. The phone number connected to the charges is to Roku corporate I believe. Why would that be?

    • This is totally bizarre – I have no idea. Let me know if you figure it out!

      Brian