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How to Get Antenna Channels on Vizio TVs Without Coaxial Input

January 12, 2024

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Are you wondering how to connect an antenna to your Vizio TV that lacks a coaxial input? This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know.

Overview

In 2016-2017, Vizio released several TV models including the P-Series, M-Series, and some E-Series that did not have built-in tuners or coaxial inputs. These “theater displays” rely solely on internet connectivity for streaming content.

If you own one of these Vizio TVs and want to access over-the-air (OTA) channels, this guide explains your best options:

  • Getting an external tuner or converter box
  • Using a wireless content transmitter
  • Checking for hidden input sources
  • Troubleshooting cables, connections, and firmware

Follow the steps below to seamlessly integrate an antenna into your tuner-less Vizio TV.

Check If Your Vizio TV Supports An Antenna

Before connecting any cables, you need to verify if your Vizio TV actually has a coaxial input.

Tuner-less Vizio models without an antenna input include:

  • P50-C1
  • P55-C1
  • P60-C1
  • P75-C1
  • E55-E1
  • E60-E3
  • E32-D1
  • E55-D0

The quickest way to check is by examining the ports on the back of your TV. If you don’t see a coaxial port labeled “DTV/TV”, your Vizio does not support connecting an antenna.

You can also reference the TV’s specs in the included manual or on Vizio’s website by searching your model number.

Connect An External Tuner Or Converter Box

If your examination confirmed that your Vizio TV lacks an antenna input, don’t worry! You can simply add this functionality with an external tuner or digital converter box.

These devices decode over-the-air signals and output content over HDMI just like an internal tuner. They act as a “middleman” between your antenna and display.

How To Connect An External Tuner

Follow these steps to seamlessly integrate broadcast channels on your tuner-less Vizio TV:

  1. Purchase an ATSC digital converter box or tuner with both coaxial and HDMI outputs.
  2. Connect the antenna cable to the coaxial input on the tuner.
  3. Use an HDMI cable to connect the tuner box to an available HDMI port on your Vizio TV.
  4. Turn on the TV and external tuner box. Switch inputs to the correct HDMI source.
  5. Follow the tuner manufacturer’s instructions to auto-scan and save OTA channels.
Tcl Tv Hdmi

Once configured correctly, you’ll be able to use your tuner’s remote to easily change channels and control volume.

The Mediasonic HomeWorx is an excellent budget option that gets the job done. For better performance when receiving channels from farther distances, consider upgrading to a more powerful model like the iView 3300STB or SiliconDust HDHomeRun.

If you own a Vizio SmartCast TV, adding apps is generally easy. But if encountering issues with Disney+ or other streaming apps not functioning, referenced tuner-less troubleshooting guide covers common fixes.

Using an alternate universal remote can also help isolate problems. Check out advanced tips for powering on Vizios without operational remotes as well.

Access Channels Wirelessly With HDHomeRun

An even more convenient approach is using a wireless transmission device like SiliconDust’s HDHomeRun. This eliminates the need to run long HDMI cables across your room.

Access Channels Wirelessly With Hdhomerun

Here’s how to integrate OTA channels wirelessly:

  1. Connect your antenna cable to the HDHomeRun input.
  2. Use the included Ethernet cable to connect the HDHomeRun to your WiFi router.
  3. Download the HDHomeRun app on your Vizio SmartCast TV.
  4. Follow the in-app tutorial to scan for channels.

Now you’ll be able to stream crystal clear broadcast TV wirelessly over your home network. A single antenna can feed OTA content to multiple devices.

Unfortunately the HDHomeRun software does not natively work with 2016-2017 Vizio models. But by pairing it with Plex, you can circumvent this.

Check For Hidden Input Sources

Before pursuing hardware upgrades, double check that your Vizio isn’t simply missing the TV input source.

The “Hide Input” feature allows you to remove clutter by hiding unused input options. If accidentally enabled on the source connected to your tuner, it would make that HDMI input invisible.

Luckily, it only takes a few quick steps to reveal hidden sources:

  1. Using your Vizio remote, press the Menu button
  2. Navigate to System > Input Settings
  3. Select Hide Input
  4. Highlight the missing input labeled TV
  5. Change visibility toggle to Visible
Vizio Tv Hide Input

The source should now appear when cycling through inputs. Try connecting your antenna again via coaxial → tuner → HDMI.

Further Antenna and Tuner Troubleshooting

If your external tuner is connected properly but you still aren’t receiving any channels, here are some additional troubleshooting tips:

  • Try adjusting placement of your antenna to optimize signal strength. Use AntennaWeb to identify direction of broadcast towers.
  • Verify coaxial cable connections are screwed in completely at both ends.
  • Inspect cables for damage like cracks or corrosion. Replace if necessary.
  • Rescan channels on tuner box after making any adjustments.
  • Check tuner box firmware and update to latest available version if possible.
  • Make sure TV input matches source HDMI port connected to tuner.
  • Factory reset tuner device then rescan channels.
  • As last resort, factory reset the Vizio TV, reconnect tuner, and rescan channels.

In optimal conditions, OTA HDTV broadcasts can be received within 50 miles without issue. With a capable directional outdoor antenna, maximum range exceeds 100 miles.

If problems persist even after trying all troubleshooting, your broadcast signal strength may simply be too weak. But in most cases, seamlessly integrating over-the-air TV on a coaxial-less Vizio TV is straightforward.

Installing An Antenna On A Standard Vizio TV

For readers with traditional Vizio models featuring built-in tuners and coaxial inputs, here is a quick rundown on connecting an OTA antenna:

  1. Purchase an indoor or outdoor HDTV antenna like the Mohu Leaf or Antennas Direct ClearStream.
  2. Mount/place antenna with line of sight aimed towards broadcast towers.
  3. Connect coaxial cable from antenna directly into the “DTV/TV” input on your Vizio TV.
  4. Turn on TV and tune to correct input labeled “TV” or “DTV“.
  5. Open menu then navigate to Channels > Channel Scan. Pick “Auto” then “Start” to scan.
  6. TV will automatically find and save available OTA channels from antenna feed!
Vizio Tv Auto Channel Scan

If not getting all expected stations, try adjusting location and orientation of antenna. Rescan channels after making any positional tweaks.

In most regions, even simple $20 unamplified antennas can reliably receive 30+ free HD channels. Adding an amplifier can extend range even further.

Now that you know how to connect both standard and tuner-less Vizio TVs, access to free over-the-air content is at your fingertips!

Key Takeaways: Getting Antenna Channels on Vizio TVs Without Coaxial Input

  • Recent Vizio home theater displays lack built-in tuners and coaxial inputs required for OTA antenna connectivity.
  • Purchase an external ATSC tuner or converter box to interface antenna feed with HDMI.
  • Wireless HDHomeRun devices offer full home DVR and multi-device streaming capabilities.
  • Use Plex to bridge HDHomeRun support limitations on SmartCast OS.
  • Check for hidden TV input if not appearing after tuner is connected via HDMI.
  • Inspect connections, reposition antennas, and rescan for channels if issues arise.

Frequently Asked Questions

What input do I use to connect antenna to Vizio TV?

If your Vizio TV has a built-in tuner, connect the coaxial cable from your antenna directly into the “DTV/TV” input port. Tune to the “TV” source then scan for channels. For tuner-less displays, attach antenna cable to a digital converter box or HDHomeRun instead. The tuner then connects to open HDMI port.

Why can’t my Vizio TV find channels from antenna?

If not finding expected stations, first check antenna positioning using online tools. Rescan after adjustments. Inspect coaxial connections for damage and solid screw-in on both ends. Try an amplifier if far from broadcast tower. As last resort, factory reset TV and tuner box then rescan channels.

Do I need internet for antenna on Vizio TV?

Fortunately, over-the-air HDTV does not require an internet connection. The only exception is if you are integrating OTA capabilities into a tuner-less Vizio using a wireless HDHomeRun. This streams channels over WiFi so does need your home network. But a direct antenna coax input does not.

What is the range of an HDTV antenna?

With ideal conditions and line of sight placement, you can expect to receive OTA signals within 50 miles. High-gain directional antennas paired with a signal amplifier can push ranges past 100 miles. Terrain, foliage, buildings, weather all affect reception. Try the AntennaWeb tool to estimate channels available at your location.

The Bottom Line

While the omission of ATSC tuners on select Vizio TVs posed challenges, the workaround solutions make enjoying free over-the-air channels on these displays straightforward.

By leveraging external antenna-fed tuner boxes, or wireless streaming devices like HDHomeRun, accessing and recording broadcast programming is simple.

The options for integrating OTA capabilities are more abundant than ever. All it takes is an inexpensive converter and a few basic cables to unlock tens of crystal clear HDTV stations.

Now that you know the seamless methods for getting antenna channels on coaxial-less Vizios, start enjoying HD entertainment over the air!