Usually, a TV is stuck on one channel because of a user error or an external device problem.
Don’t be alarmed when encountering this problem, as it can be fixed quickly. In most cases, it’s actually the remote control or other devices that cause the problem. In other cases, the solution is as simple as resetting or power cycling the TV.
Quick Answer: Why is My TV Stuck on One Channel?
Before getting too far into the weeds, it is important to accurately diagnose what is causing the issue.
- If your TV doesn’t respond to any prompt from the remote, the fault may be with the remote. To test this, try pressing the power button, menu button, or volume up/down. If there is no response, swap out the batteries with a fresh set.
- If your TV doesn’t respond to a prompt from the remote or the physical buttons on the TV itself, the fault is likely with the TV. At this point, it may be worth power cycling, resetting, or otherwise troubleshooting the TV.
- If your TV responds to prompts from the remote and/or physical buttons but won’t change channels, the fault is likely with your cable box, satellite receiver, or input source. By changing to a different input (for example, from a satellite receiver to a PS5), you can determine the source of the problem. Now, you will need to reset or troubleshoot the affected input.
TV Stuck on One Channel: Possible Reasons
Your TV screen may be stuck on one channel or a still picture. This may be unsettling, but usually, the reasons stem from a faulty remote control or channel settings.
Let’s look at why this might happen.
Your remote control batteries are flat
This seems obvious, but it is still worth considering.
*The peculiar thing about remote controls is that, rather than totally failing when the battery is fully drained, remotes enter a zone of semi-function when the batteries are mostly drained. So, the remote might work with every third button push, or every tenth button push.
This is one of the most common and overlooked reasons. Remotes can drain the battery’s power more than one may have thought. If the remote control is not working because of dead batteries, then you will not be able to change the channel.
If you replace the batteries, you may solve your problem. However, this method will not work if there is an obstruction between the remote and the TV receiver. Even a new remote will not be able to change the channel if the digital box cannot pick up reception.
The remote control is old
The remote’s function may deteriorate over the years. Although we take care of our TVs, our remotes are forced to fend for themselves!
They are often subjected to wear and tear because they are not made from strong materials. If a certain button is not working, has fallen out, or is just broken, you will not be able to change the channel.
The flash at the top of the remote may not be working anymore as well, which contributes to your TV being stuck on one channel. The good news: a quality universal control can be purchased for less than $10.
The channels may be the problem
If you are sure that the remote is working, then the channels themselves may be an issue. These are the common problems with the channels:
- The channel you want is not on your favorite list – The channel you want to watch is probably not on your favorite list, which is why the TV seems to be stuck on one channel.
- The channel is unavailable in your region – Your service provider probably does not allow you to go to the channel you want. This is because your current subscription pack does not have that channel.
- Child-lock on certain channels – If the channel is locked, then you will not be able to access it without some kind of PIN or password.
The digital box may not be responding or the TV is malfunctioning
Internal damage to the cable box can cause unresponsiveness when you try to change the channel. If you have made sure that this is also not the problem, then the TV itself is at fault. The TV probably got stuck on one channel due to a manufacturer’s fault. You can contact the TV company for assistance.
How To Fix a TV That Is Stuck on One Channel
Luckily, there are many solutions to fix your TV that is stuck on one channel. It usually deals with the remote control or the cable box that needs some attention.
Use the buttons on the cable box/receiver
You can change the channels through the receiver’s buttons. These buttons have arrows that you can use to go up or down the channel list. This means that your remote control is at fault and needs to be replaced or has dead batteries.
Check if your receiver/digital box is working
Your TV may be stuck on one channel because of an unresponsive digital box. Check the ports and clean any dirt and dust with a dry cloth or earbud. If you use an HDMI cable, ensure the ends of both connectors are not damaged or bent.
Then reboot the cable box. You can do this through the remote or power source. Wait for a few minutes for it to come back on. Then reboot your TV by putting it off. Wait a few minutes before switching it back on.
Check if the problem persists.
Check if the TV is on the correct input source
The TV may have frozen on one channel because the input source may be wrong. Try switching inputs by going to the menu and looking through the list of options.
Check if your remote is working
You can do two simple tests to check if the remote is working by checking if your remote battery needs replacing. First is the camera method, which works for infrared remotes. You will not be able to see this; however, a camera can easily spot it.
Here’s how to do it:
- Turn your phone camera on and point your remote at it. The remote light is at the top of the remote.
- Press any button.
- If you see a bluish light come from the remote control through the camera, then the remote is working.
- If you don’t see anything or a slow blinking light, you should replace the batteries.
For remotes that don’t use infrared light:
- Remove the batteries from your remote.
- Press-hold any button for about 30 seconds.
- Leave the button and put the batteries back.
This will reset any glitch that the remote had.
For Samsung TVs (Model Number UE32M5520AKXXU and Afterwards)
If your TV is updated to the latest software, you can fix this issue by returning to the factory settings.
Put the TV off through the power source, which resets the system. You can also perform a factory reset through the Samsung TV by going to Home. If you are still experiencing this issue, even after going back to factory settings, you can combine this solution with other steps.
TV Stuck on One Channel: Solutions for Different Brands
It will help to know fixes for various brands of TVs. This helps you increase the chance of finding a solution, so you can go back to watching your favorite shows.
When trying to fix the problem, you must first check if you have the universal remote or the DirectTV remote, which is called the Genie remote. A standard solution for both remotes is to check the batteries. Press a button on the remote to see if you notice a green light. If it blinks fast, then it means that you should replace your batteries.
For the universal remote control, you can reset it by pressing the red button for 15 seconds. You can clean the remote and the TV sensor. This will improve the chance of it working. For the Genie remote, press the red button on the receiver to reset to default settings. The pair/program option on the settings can be used to reset the remote.
A problem with the EEPROM memory or a faulty mainboard is the reason that causes a Vizio TV to get stuck on one channel. Suppose the main board is the problem. It has to be replaced.
You can reset the system if you have the M3D470KDE or E372VL TV models. The TV has to be turned off by pressing the button for 30 seconds. Plug it in after 10 minutes. Put the TV on with the power button.
You should first check if the buttons and batteries are working properly. Ensure that the universal remote is working properly before changing the TV. The diamond D button and the triangle should be pressed and held simultaneously, turning the light green.
Press 9-8-1 together, making the light blink three times in blue. This means that the Xfinity remote is now reset. You can also perform this reset by holding mute and select simultaneously, waiting for the light to flash, and pressing 9-8-1 with the select button.
The common problems with an LG TV are dead batteries, signal interference, and a faulty mainboard, which cause it to get stuck on one channel. Luckily, the solutions remain the same for both newer and older models.
The remote sensor should be cleaned with a cloth and pointed at the receiver with no obstruction between the two. Turn on the auto-tuning option for newer models.
“Obvious,” Universal Fixes
Some troubleshooting tips apply to all products.
- If a frozen cable box or satellite receiver is causing the TV to be stuck on one channel, try resetting the box/receiver. At this point, you should look for a guide that is specific to your receiver — for example, “how to reset a Spectrum cable box.”
- If the TV itself is frozen, you need to reset the TV. This won’t be possible via menus if the TV is totally non-responsive, but your TV can likely be reset via power cycling (unplugging and then powering back on), a connected app, or physical buttons on the device (such as a pinhole that can be pressed with a pin or paper clip). Again, look for specifics using the brand name of your TV — for example, “how to reset a TCL TV.”
Why won’t my remote change channels but the volume works?
Sometimes, your buttons get stuck, or a spill damages the circuitry system. Dust or pet fur can also be a culprit, as it builds up on the inside and interferes with the connections.
A partially-drained battery may also be a culprit. Or, the TV and remote are both working, but the cable box (or satellite receiver) is frozen.
Why is my streaming TV freezing?
If you see a frozen picture or buffering while streaming, you may be experiencing slow internet or low internet bandwidth to your TV. This usually happens when you have various devices connected to one internet modem. Try unplugging your modem or disconnecting unnecessary devices.
Which batteries are best for my TV remote?
You can either use rechargeable lithium-ion or alkaline batteries. These are easy to charge and do not require you to keep buying batteries.
Having a TV stuck on one channel can be frustrating, but fortunately, there are fixes.
If you have a smart TV, check if your settings are correct before attempting the above methods. You should also consult the system manual to get more information on how to fix your TV stuck on one channel.