My TV Won't Access My Cable Box

Troubleshooting your cable television is as easy as testing each part.

Problems with your cable service may lead you to jump on the phone and demand service. Unfortunately, a service call can take days to set up and, depending on your warranty, may be quite expensive. The first thing the customer service department will do when you call is to run you through a short list of troubleshooting procedures so that it can learn what your problem is and try to help you fix it. Knowing this troubleshooting procedure will save you some time and a potentially aggravating phone call.

Step 1

Press the power button on the TV set. Check the power cord if it did not turn on when the power button was pushed. Plug in the cord if it is not connected to the wall socket. Replace the TV with your backup set if the cord on the first one is damaged or if it does not turn on when the cord is plugged in and the power button has been pushed.

Step 2

Press the power button on the cable box while the television is turned on. Look at the face of the cable box to be sure that the power light came on when the power button was pushed. Check the power cord on the cable box to be sure it is plugged into the wall socket and is in good shape. Unplug your cable box, wait three minutes for the system to clear and plug it back into the wall. Push the power button on your box and watch for the indicator light to come on.

Step 3

Check the coaxial cable that runs between the cable box and the television. Be sure that both ends are attached and that there is no damage to the cord. Remove the cable and replace it with a new, 4-foot cable. Check the system to see if it works.

Step 4

Plug in your replacement TV set and hook up the coaxial cable that comes out of the cable box. Check your system. Try this setup again with the new cable.

Step 5

Plug the coaxial cable running from the wall straight into your television. Contact the cable company and tell it you need a new cable box if running the cable from the wall into the TV solves the problem. Remove this cable from the television and replace it with a new, 100 foot coaxial cable. Connect the new cable to the box outside and to your television. Contact your cable service provider if none of these solutions fixes your problem.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 televisions

  • Cable box

  • Coaxial cable (4 feet long)

  • Coaxial cable (100 feet long)

  • Small adjustable wrench


A small adjustable wrench can be used to remove a coaxial cable from a connection if it is necessary. The wrench should never be used to tighten a coaxial cable, as this may damage the connector and force you to replace a cable box or television.