How to Fix a No Signal Error on a TiVo

By Todd Bowerman

Troubleshooting a “No Signal” or “Searching for Signal” error on a TiVo box requires investigation of both the hardware’s physical components and its software settings. For instance, connection or settings issues could prevent your TiVo box from correctly reading the signal from your satellite or cable box. Note that TiVo’s program recording functionality works only if there’s a program to record. Information in this article applies to TiVo Series 2 DVR devices.

Step 1

Turn off your television and TiVo box. Examine the cables running between the TiVo box, the television and the video source. Ensure that cables are connected correctly and seated snugly in their appropriate ports. Your source device should output to the TiVo, which should output to the television.

Step 2

Change TiVo’s settings to match that of your program source. Open TiVo Central, highlight “Messages and Settings” and then proceed to “Account and System Information.” Choose “System Information” and check the “Program Source” entry. This setting must match your output device. For instance, it should say “cable without a box” if you do not have a cable box. To change this option, repeat TiVo’s Guided Setup utility by opening TiVo Central, selecting “Messages and Settings” and then choosing “Help.” Pick “Restart or Reset System” followed by “Repeat Guided Setup” to launch the utility.

Step 3

Check your cable or satellite box to ensure it is powered on and connected. Additionally, verify that the device isn’t set to power off automatically; TiVo cannot read signals from your source device if the device is powered down.

Step 4

Verify that TiVo can find a video source by opening TiVo Central, selecting “Messages and Settings” and then choosing “Settings.” Select “Video” followed by “Video Hookup” and then follow the on-screen instructions to determine whether a video source is available.

Step 5

Bypass the TiVo box by connecting the video source directly to your television. If the signal problem persists, the issue is with your cable provider or source hardware and not with the TiVo device.

Tips & Warnings

  • Power cycling all of your equipment can sometimes clear out minor software snags. Turn off and unplug the television, TiVo box and video source. Wait 30 seconds and then power on each device in the opposite order.
  • Damaged or old cables can cause myriad problems with your cable box and TiVo device. Replace weathered cables to prevent sudden communication errors.
  • TiVo recommends contacting your cable company for support when using a Roamio, Premiere CableCARD, or Series3 DVR box.