Why Does TV Says “No Signal” But The Cable Box Is On?

Wondering why your TV says “No Signal” even though your cable box is on? You aren’t alone. Thousands of people have experienced this frustrating message at least once in their lives. And you’re about to be one of the few who can solve it!

Generally, a “No Signal” on tv screen when the cable box is on indicates a network reception problem. But this isn’t always the case; input source issues can trigger the same message. Luckily, fixing it doesn’t tend to involve expensive, external help. Instead, a few troubleshooting tips and tricks should be enough to rectify the problem. 

In the following sections, we’ll dive deeper into this too-common issue and run through the recommended steps to return your TV-watching life to normal as quickly as possible.

Why Does My TV Says No Signal But Cable Box is ON?

TV Says No Signal But Cable Box is ON

A “No Signal” error lets you know that your television has stopped receiving signals from the input device. It goes without saying that this usually happens when the cable box has switched off, but that isn’t the case here. 

If your cable box is still switched on, the message could mean a variety of things, such as:

  • There’s a loose or damaged cable. 
  • There’s a problem with the cable box itself.
  • Your cable provider is experiencing a service outage.
  • There’s an issue with the tv input selection.

Since a plethora of probable causes exists, it’s always best to hop right in to troubleshooting instead of wasting your time pondering.

Troubleshooting The Dreaded “No Signal” Message When The Cable Box Is On

It’s easy to overthink the irritating “No Signal” tv screen, but that’s useless. Immediately run through the steps below to identify the issue and resolve it so you can get back to your favorite shows.

#1 Check the Connections

Check the TV and box onnections

Naturally, the number one reason why your tv displays a “No Signal” message is loss of signal, you should start by checking the connections between your TV and the cable box.

Begin by disconnecting the cables and looking at the ports. They should be dust- and debris-free. If not, use a can of compressed air to clean them out. Don’t have compressed air? Use an earbud or a dry microfiber cloth instead.

Also, look for the loose cables as they may cause connection issues between your TV and the digital box that can lead to a weak signal or no tv signal.

For cable boxes utilizing HDMIs, ensure the ends of the connectors aren’t bent or otherwise damaged. Replace any damaged ones with gold-plated ends. They’re more expensive but last for years. 

Even though your cable box is on, you should still check its power cable connection. Any damage will cause the TV to run a fairly regular connect-disconnect cycle.

#2 Consider the TV’s Input

switch Tv's input

The “No Signal” screen may arise because the TV isn’t on the input mode your cable box is connected to. So, try switching inputs until you see it.

Just press the input button on the tv remote control and use the directional keys to check each one. The remedy could be as simple as that!

#3 Reset the Cable Box and TV

Reset the Cable Box and TV

Your cable box’s software is a major culprit for a “No Signal” error. Whether it’s an HD or SD box, the provider may have released new firmware and updated it in the backup.

As such, there may be brand-new satellite settings that your device hasn’t properly integrated with yet. 

To fix it follow these steps:

  1. Turn the cable box’s power off. 
  2. Unplug the cable box’s power cable.
  3. Wait for five minutes.
  4. Insert the power cable and turn the box on.
  5. Fixed!

Alternatively, you can switch the box off and then on using the accessible power button on the box itself.

You should also power reset the TV to be on the safe side. Do this by following the steps below:

  1. Turn off the TV.
  2. Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet. 
  3. Wait for five minutes.
  4. Plug the power cord in. 
  5. Turn it on. 
  6. Fixed!

#4 Reboot the TV and Cable Box

In a similar vein to the above, a quick reboot may be all it needs to start working again.

Use your remote or the power button on the digital box to turn it off. Wait a few minutes before turning it back on. After that, do the same to your TV and see if it works.

#5 Consider HDMI Issues

HDMI Issues

Sometimes, your TV will hit a High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) error. It’s an anti-piracy measure designed to ensure non-licensed devices aren’t able to receive cable TV content. All modern TVs comply with this standard.

Typically, HDMI uses this encryption method to stop the signal from being rerouted to different devices. Thus, it can turn off to prevent transferring the signal while conducting key exchange between your TV and game console or Roku. The process is known as a handshake. 

However, the handshake can go wrong, bringing up the “No Signal” error. But it doesn’t mean you have to replace or get rid of everything. Just unplug the HDMI cable, plug it back in, and your TV should work again. 

If that doesn’t work, you may need to remove the offending device from the tv’s HDMI port. Once disconnected, your TV won’t display the “No Signal” error, and you’ll be free to watch shows to your heart’s content.

#6 Talk to Your Cable Service Provider

While most “No Signal” issues are relatively easy to fix on your own, our above-mentioned steps won’t always work for you. And if that’s the case, you’ll need professional help. 

Thankfully, your cable provider will be able to rectify things for you.

Tell them about your problem and don’t forget to mention the troubleshooting efforts you’ve tried. They will either ask you to do something else (i.e., a step specific to your network company) or send an engineer to your house. Regardless, they’ll come up with a solution and your TV-watching world will be restored!

Why Does My TV Say No Signal When I Have Cable?

Usually, a TV screen displays a no signal message with a cable connection when the set top box is not properly connected or not connected to the correct input.

Also, you can get a no signal message if the set top box is not turned on.

Does Unplugging a Cable Box Reset It?

Unplugging your cable box doesn’t reset the device but since the power gets disconnected and the device reboots, it fixes a plethora of temporary glitches.

To reset your cable box, you can use the reset button on the front or the back of the box.

How Do I Reconnect My TV When It Says No Signal?

To reconnect your TV when it says no signal, you should first disconnect the HDMI cable and reconnect it back.

If you are still facing the issues, use an alternate HDMI cable and connect the cable to another port. Also, make sure to change the connection according to the port.

Why Does My TV Say No Signal When HDMI Cable is Plugged In?

TV Say No Signal When HDMI Cable is Plugged In

Here are a few things you can try if the HDMi cable is plugged in and your TV is showing No signal message:

  1. Disconnect the HDMI cable from your TV and the box.
  2. Wait for a few minutes (5 minutes at least) and then reconnect the HDMI cable.
  3. If the issue is still there, try using a new HDMI cable or a different one that’s working.
If everything is plugged in properly and still you are having a no signal issue, check our guide "My TV Says ‘No Signal’ But Everything Is Plugged In"

Why is My Cable Box ON but No Picture?

First, ensure that your cable box is powered on. Check the plug and power source if there’s no power, plug the box to the other wall outlet.

Then, follow the below steps:

  1. Press the input or source button on your TV’s remote control.
  2. Your TV will display all available sources on the TV screen.
  3. Try all the available inputs if your are not sure the input you are connected to.
  4. When you get a display, video or picture on an input, you have got the right input source.

Why Does My Cable Box Working But No Signal to TV?

Usually, when you get a No signal on TV and the cable box is working, you should check the cable connection between your TV and cable box.

If there’s no fault in your cable connection, try using a new cable or a cable that is working fine with other devices. You should also try connecting your cable box to the different HDMI connection port on the TV and select the matching input on your TV.

What does No TV Signal from aerial mean?

The No Signal from aerial means that the TV has lost the aerial signal which primarily happens due to faulty or broken TV aerial. You can also have this issue when the extreme weather conditions or if the antenna is not installed correctly.

In case you are using an Over the air antenna, check the coaxial cable connections and adjust the antenna to improve the signal quality.

Why does it say “no signal” on my TV when I have cable and it works fine with other devices?

If you are receiving a no signal on your TV with a cable connection and its working fine with other devices, it simply means that you have selected the wrong input or the HDMI connection is not getting a proper handshake due to bad connection.

wrong input, properly connected, hdmi connection, power source, right input, signal source, power strip


There are countless reasons for a “No Signal” message, but the most likely is a network reception problem or an issue with the input source. But no matter the problem, you’re more than able to fix it, thanks to our top six troubleshooting steps above!

Keshav Krishnan

I am an Engineer and passionate about Smart Homes and Home Improvements and spent years using, designing & working with Smart Home devices. I am on a mission to make Home Automation easy and affordable for everyone.

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