TV Answer Man
to Fix Your Cable TV Box
Washington, D.C. (March 10, 2013) -
Editor's Note: TV's
Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to
best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If
you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by
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Q. I have Comcast
and sometimes my cable TV goes out. I'm never really sure what
to do to try to get it back on, short of calling a Comcast
repair person, which can cost money. Are there other things I can do by myself to fix
it? -- Tom, Dunkirk, Maryland.
Tom, before you call Comcast, or
any cable operator, and schedule an appointment with a repair
person, there are some things you should do. Some cable
operators charge stiff fees for coming to your house for repair
work so you want to make sure you do everything possible to fix
the problem yourself before calling.
First, call Comcast to make sure there are no outages in your
area. Sometimes, your cable box isn't working because your
entire neighborhood, or an even larger area, is having a
problem. A wire could have fallen down or a cable could have
blown. When you call Comcast, or most any other cable operator,
an automated message will come on saying there is an outage in
your area. If that happens, just sit back and wait. There's
really nothing you can do until they fix it.
However, if there isn't an outage in your area, make sure your
cables from the set-top box to the TV are connected securely. It
doesn't take much for them to come loose. As the parent of a
very active 23-month-old -- and the guardian of four cats -- trust me, I
If the cables seem okay, make sure your TV is tuned to the right
channel to receive your box's signals. The right channel will be
the video input where your cable is connected. For example, it
may be HDMI 1 or HDMI 2.
If you have the right channel on, then try re-setting your cable
box by unplugging it for 20 seconds or so and then plug it back
in. Sometimes, that will reconcile the problem.
After re-setting, if the picture is still not on your TV, make sure a channel
number appears in the channel box. If the box reads, '0,'
something's wrong and your box is not getting a signal from your
At that point, it's time to call your cable operator and report
the problem. However, before you do, try one more thing: If you
have another cable box in the house, see if that box is having
an issue. If it is, you know your entire cable service is having
a problem and it's time to call your cable service and ask for
help. But if the second box seems ok, your first box is likely
the problem. Then, you will still call your cable operator, but
you'll tell them that one box appears to be defective and you
need a replacement. The cable op will usually send you one by
mail without having to come to your house.
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