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Experience:  30 Years experience. Authorized Warranty servicer.
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Why won't my TV pick up digital channels?

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Auto Channel scan is not picking up the digital channels after I changed my cable pkg from local to basic channels. I have run the channel set up multiple times and it still only gets the local channels. My other tv's have added the new channels, but this tv seems to be blocking it. It worked previously when we had other pkg with out a cable box.
TV guide set up also never worked. Thanks.

-Is it finding them in the scan but not displaying them or not even finding them?
-How old is the unit?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

2006. It never displays the numbers in the scan and since it is a progress line that starts at beginning and ends when it has completed, there is no display of numbers during the scan. I start with channel 2 through 28 and end up with the same channels.

If you go to the side of the tv and manually press channels I have found 2 or 3 other channels that do not correlate with the numbers showing up on screen, but the remote only goes to those channels.

Ok if its only stopping at 28 then its probably in antenna or air mode.

In the menu where you run the channel scan, you should be able to change the setting from AIR (or ANTENNA) to CABLE. Then run the scan and we should find the channels.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I already did that.

So you scanned them on cable and it only went up to 28?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes. It seems like something is blocking it or it doesn't recognize anything different.

Thats odd, something is wrong there becase if its on cable and not air, it should go way above 28.

Try this first

Turn the tv on.
While it is on, unplug it from the wall
Let it sit for 5 mins
Plug it back in.
Try the scan again for cable.

Not saying this will for sure fix your problem, so don't want to get hopes too high. We have however seen this EEPROM reset clear some odd problems in your model, so its the first thing to try. Let me know if anything changes.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Tried unplugging for over 10 min while tv turned on and running channel scan in cable and it didn't work.

The hard part about your situation is KNOWING how the Digital Channels from your cable company are being delivered to the TV(s) in your home.

It's the details that are important.

Let's look at what your TV can do --

Pioneer TV Specifications

AND --

Specifications for Pioneer TV

Now, overall it looks like your TV can actually do DIGITAL CABLE CHANNELS. But you need to definitely make sure you are connected to Antenna A, you can't be connected to Channel B.

Digital Cable signals can be recieved, but you also have the CABLECARD tuning on your TV and that means if you want to avoid using the Cable box on your TV set, you need to RENT A CABLE CARD FROM YOUR CABLE COMPANY.

If you don't have that, you're going to be stuck with only the Older ANALOG Cable Channels showing up on your TV set !!

And that sounds like the reason you are only getting up to channel 28. They're probably all Analog Cable channels, and the rest of the channels you want are going to require the CABLECARD.

The only way you can check that is by calling your Cable company and see if they still use the CableCard or not.

They sold TVs with CableCard for a couple years, but it was so buggy that TV's stopped using them, and they switched to a different tuner called Cable QAM. It just locked into a signal, and didn't reposition the channels in numerical order. That's what the Cable boxes, and the Cable Card did.


Auto Channel scan is not picking up the digital channels after I changed my cable pkg from local to basic channels. I have run the channel set up multiple times and it still only gets the local channels. My other tv's have added the new channels, but this tv seems to be blocking it.

Are those "other TV's" NEWER? Does it have CABLECARD OR CABLE QAM tuning?

There is a difference in how those tuners get your stations, and where they position the channels.

CableCard was a good concept, but it was buggy and caused the TV to lock up too much. Cable QAM works, but you spend Weeks developing your own cable guide because the channels don't match the cable guide's channel numbers.

If you have basic cable now, and you don't have a CableCard, then most likely you are only SEEING the ANALOG CHANNELS and not the DIGITAL CHANNELS.

That's one reason why I showed you that 2nd picture. To make sure you are using Antenna A for starters.

Then seeing if you are using the CableCard, which I know you're don't Autoprogram a TV that has a CableCard in it.

It's automatic.

Lastly, you really haven't told us about your other TV sets....How are we to compare them to this one if you don't tell us if they have CableCards, or Cable Boxes, or simply they are older than 2006.

Pre-2006 TV sets were the older ANALOG cable TV sets.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Not home right now. The other tv's do not have cable cards and are newer than 2006. I will have to check about their tuning. This tv did work before a month ago with out any other equipment before cable pkg was dropped to local. When we returned to basic plug it did not reset channels that it had previously recognized. No cable cards.

Ok, from what you are describing, it sounds like you had Digital Cable, reduced the package to Local stations only, which usually is delivered as Analog cable until they shut the analog completely off.

I changed my cable pkg from local to basic channels

That statement to me implied that Basic cable channels were reduced to only getting the local TV stations and no cable stations in the basic package, which usually are stations like TNT and others that come from satellite from across our whole nation.

Local is only your local stations in your area, then basic is the national stations in the smallest package. 2006 was the first year that Digital tuning for local TV channels was made mandatory on all TV stations, but Digital QAM (or Digital Cable was still an optional feature.

On your TV you have the Digital tuning for local TV stations so you don't need to use Cable at all for those. When you connect to cable, you can get Analog Cable no problem. The moment your cable company goes 100% Digital is the moment you need either Digital QAM, or CableCard to get their channels.

Without a Cable box.

Any old TV set will be able to pick up Analog cable. but Digital QAM TVs....they usually scramble the TV channels....mix them up. They put channel 7 on Channel 23, and Channel 17 on Channel 44...That's what I mean by mixing them up. It's the way cable moves the stations around, and a Digital QAM TV set sees the channels, but the channel frequencies are located on other channel numbers.

It gets complicated explaining it, but if you happen to notice on the other TV sets that channels 2 to 28 are in the right place but channels 29 on up are in the wrong place, then you know that 2 - 28 are Analog stations. 29 and above are Digital.

Another key point....the Channel numbers.

28 all by dots or dashes in the channel number that display on your TV set, that's Analog. Digital would show up as 28-1 or maybe 28.1 Digital has dashes or dots to let you know it's a digital channel.

Now HERE is where it can get bad....

Cable does channels 2 to 135. That's it.

What if your stations you are trying to get are way up in the 200's? You can't get it without a cable box.

That's why you find HD CABLE channels sitting at 200 and want HD, you have to rent their cable box to get HD. Cable has a right to set their channels whereever they darn well please, and if they want you to rent their box, they'll put stations where you NEED their box.

And believe makes it much more difficult to know if your TV set has a bad section of tuner or if you just can't get those stations because it's outside of the range of your TV tuner.

The fact that your other TV's seem to work....and the fact that you only get 28 channels makes me wonder where Channel 29 and higher are located.

What the other TVs do.....the actual channel numbers they display on their TV screens...that's a place to start.

Calling the cable company to find out where they truly located the channels above 28 is important too.

Knowing if they are 100% digital right now is important.

It all adds up to why you aren't getting those stations on 1 out of 3 TV sets.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Still not home. I did call the cable company and they do not scramble their digital channels. They are going to come out and try the DTA box and see if that helps pick up the channels. It is bizarre that a month ago this tv received all these channels and now it doesn't so they are going to look at connections again etc. let you know what happens. Also it does not require a cable card. Thanks for input. I will check all the suggestions when I get home.

If you have a DTA box, then your TV would have to either use Channel 3 or 4 only, and you would have a separate remote control to change your channels on the DTA box.

None of that matches the statements you made. I doubt you have a DTA box on any of your TV sets.

Scrambled channels shouldn't apply either. Scrambled channels would not give you any picture without a cable box to descramble them.

You either have analog, or a combination of analog and digital TV channels.

I would find it rare to even see a cable company still sending analog channels out to their customers simply because I saw most of the big companies switch over to full digital in either 2010 or 2011. If they are all digital, and they claim they are scrambling them, I can only see them sending the Basic channels out that way. In that case, I would expect they'd use channels 2 to maybe 135 at the most for unscrambled channels.


Model: PDP-4270HD

If there is anything that can affect the's going to be the TV's main board shown here --

Pioneer TV Main Board

It has the tuners used to get the TV stations, but there has to be a reason you get channels 2 to 28, and nothing else.

Logically, I can't see a tuner stopping at that specific channel, unless the tuner actually switches bands right at channel 29.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I figured it out.

We hooked a DVR up to this tv so it would have the input of the available channels from a digital signal. I ran the channel set up and it only showed channel 3 after I was done although I could change it with the dvr remote. Then I manually put in each channel with the add channel setting with the tv remote and then disconnected the DVR and connected the RG6 cable back to outlet and the channels all worked.

I don't have a DTA box, the cable company was going to bring one to try.

It works surprisingly. Thanks for the input.

Your "workaround" is totally fascinating to me. It helps me to understand, and who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks, eh?

You hooked up a DVR recorder, and used it's tuner on your TV right? You auto scanned it's tuner, and the TV only locked on channel 3 from the DVR, correct?

Then you had to manually ADD each channel to the TV set, and that's when you got ALL your Channels back on your TV?

If that's the case, then the TV Tuner's BAND has been selected correctly, and you could store ALL channels into your TV manually, yet your TV can only SEE the channel's SYNC PULSE on SOME TV stations but not ALL TV STATIONS.

That's logical analysis...we use that as part of our "tools" to isolate and figure out what is going on with a TV set.

So your auto programming mode will capture the sync pulse on channels 2 to 28, yet 29 to whatever channel numbers are the highest won't capture.

I still think it's a band switching issue, simply because of the fact that at 29, it dumps all stations above that.

Band switching....Let me explain that to you.

You own an AM FM radio ? Do you ever remember your parents or grandparents owning a MULTIBAND RADIO from the 1970's?

It did AM, FM, Shortwave, Fire, Ambulance, Cops....

It was ONE RADIO doing multiple Bands of different frequency channels.

Some were in the VHF and others in the HF and others in the near-UHF bands.

It switched on and off different tuners in the radio to get the channels.

Anyways, TV sets are similar and have always been that way, even back before cable TV became popular.

We had VHF channels and UHF channels. But what you didn't know is that the VHF channels actually had 2 bands of frequencies, and you had to turn on one tuner for low band and another for high band.

Cable....Analog Cable has about 5 Bands making up the entire cable spectrum.

I thought Cable 22 was the END of one band, and 23 was the beginning of another band of Cable, but now I'm wondering if it's 28 is the end.

That would make sense to me if it was....then you'd have a bad tuner that can't tune in Cable 29.

But you manually INSTALLED the tuner is working.

But it doesn't mean the tuner is delivering it's sync pulse to the

Auto programming memory.

And it still points to the tuner -- in a roundabout way. The tuner just isn't delivering the sync to the auto programming's memory to lock onto.

So that's a nice workaround you found.

If you want to spend the money to get the autoprogramming to lock onto channels, you'll need to take apart your TV set, look at the board with the RF coax jacks on it, and find some numbers/letters printed on the board. They're in that yellow box area on this picture --

Main Board of Pioneer TV

The code is basically 3 letters/4 numbers long. Yours is AMW or AMV 2432 or something like that.

If you want, you can get that number or even take a picture of the board's numbers and get another main board for it.


A new one is just too much.[master+part+type]=Main+Board

That's from a salvaged that broke it's Plasma panel. It's better, less cost. But always verify that part number matches the AWV number on it, if you decide to replace it.

It's the fix for your problem now that we know the problem is not due to some change in Cable's channel delivery.

Believe me....we're stuck with using the box in the FORT.

TV Tech1, Technician
Category: TV
Satisfied Customers: 5316
Experience: 30 Years experience. Authorized Warranty servicer.
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