A No Signal message pops up on your TV, and immediate panic begins to set in. You have guests coming over in half an hour, so you need to figure out the cause and work out a solution as soon as possible.
Both an antenna and HDMI cable are connected to your TV, but how can you tell which one is causing a No Signal error message to appear? And how can you get your TV to display your desired content?
Keep reading to find out!
- 1. Check If the TV Is Set to the Correct Input/Source
- 2. Ensure the Cables and Ports Are Correctly Connected
- 3. For HDMI, Ensure the Source Device is Working Properly
- 4. For Antennas, Check Your Antenna for Damage
- 5. For Cable Boxes, Ensure it’s Correctly Powered and that All Connections are Secure
1. Check If the TV Is Set to the Correct Input/Source
Many modern TVs will adjust their inputs automatically once they detect an input source. This means that your TV will instantly display your antenna or HDMI-connected device as soon as it receives the signal.
However, many other TVs do not have this function, requiring users to adjust the input manually.
Follow the steps below to manually change your TV’s input source.
Step 1: Find and press your remote’s Input/Source key.
Step 2: Now you should see a window on your screen with multiple inputs. Click the input you want to display on-screen, be it Antenna (TV) or HDMI. Most modern TVs will have multiple HDMI ports, so verify which port (HDMI 1, HDMI 2, HDMI 3) your device is connected to before selecting it accordingly.
2. Ensure the Cables and Ports Are Correctly Connected
Sometimes a No Signal message can be a result of something as simple as a loose cable.
So, thoroughly check every cable connecting your input device (e.g. laptop, DVD player, cable box, antenna) to your TV for any signs of wear and tear. It’s also a good idea to carefully examine the cables’ connectors to ensure they’re not misshapen or missing any pins.
If the cable is damaged, promptly replace it.
Then, it’s time to turn your attention to your TV and source devices’ ports.
If you’re using an HDMI cable for your setup, ensure your cable is firmly connected to the TV’s HDMI port. HDMI ports do not have a built-in locking mechanism and older ports that have gone through several years (or decades!) or wear and tear can facilitate looser connections.
Luckily, you can ensure your HDMI cable stays firmly in place with an HDMI lock. This HDMI EZ Lock will work with any HDMI port, whether or not it has a locking screw.
If the HDMI port has a locking screw, located either above or below the port, then you can secure the cable in place with a small screw, as demonstrated in the video below.
If the HDMI port does not have a locking screw, then you can attach the lock to your TV using adhesive. Watch the video above demonstrating how to adhere an HDMI lock to your TV.
The great thing about both of these options is that they are removable, so you don’t have to worry about having your HDMI cable permanently attached to your TV.
If you’re trying to display channels via an antenna, check which kind of coaxial cable your TV uses. F-connector and SMA connector coaxial cables have a small screw to securely fasten the connector to your TV port.
If improperly screwed in place, the coaxial cable will be unable to send signals to your TV.
Follow the steps below to correctly connect your coaxial cable to your TV.
Step 1: Carefully insert the connector’s copper core is correctly inserted into the port’s hole.
Step 2: Then, turn the connector’s lock screw clockwise to tighten it and secure it in place.
Watch the video below demonstrating how to connect an antenna to your TV using a coaxial cable.
3. For HDMI, Ensure the Source Device is Working Properly
When using your TV’s HDMI input, it is relying entirely on the source device’s input signal. This means that if your source device (e.g. laptop, DVD player, cable box, streaming stick, etc.) is not working properly, then your TV will display a No Signal message.
First and foremost, ensure your source device is connected to power or sufficiently charged. If you’ve connected your device’s USB power cable to your TV USB, try plugging it into a wall outlet with a USB adapter instead.
Some devices, like DVD players and cable boxes, support multiple outputs (e.g. HDMI, S-Video, RCA, etc. So, you must ensure that you’ve selected the device’s HDMI output.
If you’re using a single-output device, like a laptop, you may have to adjust its output in the settings. This process will vary depending on which OS system your laptop is fitted with.
Step 1: Simultaneously press the Windows and P keys.
Step 2: Since laptops already have a main display (its screen), you choose one of these options to display the screen on your TV.
- Second Screen Only
Step 1: Open the Apple Menu.
Step 2: Go to System Settings. This setting may also be labeled System Preferences.
Step 3: Head to Displays.
Step 4: Press and hold your keyboard’s Option key.
Step 5: Detect Displays will then appear in place of “Night Shift.”
Step 6: Unplug and replug the HDMI cable.
4. For Antennas, Check Your Antenna for Damage
Antennas are often placed outside of the home and may be attached to the roof, edge of the balcony, and so on. While this placement does allow antennas to transmit signals, it also subjects them to the environment year-round.
Harsh and unexpected weather events can cause the antenna to corrode or become damaged, especially if the area you live in is prone to acid rain or lightning storms. High winds can also knock the antenna out of position or cause neighboring objects to fly and hit it.
So, it’s a good idea to regularly check your antenna for damage. If you don’t remember where you mounted your antenna, follow its cable to find it. Then, carefully examine it from head to toe, ensuring nothing is bent or missing.
If you find that your antenna is broken and cannot be repaired, consider replacing it. This outdoor antenna is a great replacement as it’s moderately priced and easy to install.
Mounting an antenna yourself does take a little bit of skill and patience, but it can be done if you’re properly prepared. However, if you have no prior technical experience, this job may be best left to the professionals.
You can mount an antenna using a J-pole, antenna mount, or another mounting tool depending on what kind of antenna you’re using and its size.
Watch the video below outlining a few different ways to mount an outdoor antenna.
Once you’ve ensured your antenna is in good condition and have carried out any necessary repairs or replacements, it’s a good idea to check that it’s facing the right direction. Antennas can become misdirected by strong winds or other external factors, which can cause a weak or absent signal.
For the best results when setting up your antenna, ensure its front (often the smallest part of the unit) is facing the nearest broadcast tower. You can locate the nearest broadcast tower by entering your address into Antenna Web.
To learn more about how to set up your antenna for the best signal, check out the video below.
5. For Cable Boxes, Ensure it’s Correctly Powered and that All Connections are Secure
Think of a cable box as the trusty middleman between your Antenna/Satellite and TV. The cable box unscrambles the antenna’s signals, allowing them to be displayed on your TV.
So, if your cable box is broken, the TV will be unable to receive these signals and only display that pesky No Signal message.
Ensure your cable box is correctly powered with its proper power cable. If you find that its power cable is broken, find a compatible replacement.
Then, check that the input and output cables are correctly attached to their respective ports. If you’re unsure which ports each cable should be attached to, consult the cable box’s user manual for its setup instructions.
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.