What Causes My Cable Box to Be Rebooted?

By Brian O'Connor

Cable boxes can inexplicably reboot while being used, while on standby or after power outages. While it may surprise a user if a cable box reboots without user interaction, the reasons are as simple as power surges, overheating or temporarily degraded signal quality. Though users might believe the box is faulty after an unexpected reboot, returning the unit is rarely necessary.

Firmware Updates

Pushing substantial firmware updates to cable boxes during off-peak hours, cable providers can remotely reboot cable boxes to ensure the proper installation software. By pushing updates to customers over cable lines, companies can provide new services without requiring user interaction. If a cable box reboots during late-night or early morning viewing, this is a likely reason for unexpected rebooting.

Degraded Audio and Video Quality

Rebooting may also result from of a loss of signal fidelity. For cable boxes to deliver programming successfully, a certain data bitrate must be maintained. When signals become weakened, cable boxes will automatically restart as an attempt to obtain a stronger signal. If a box restarts after displaying choppy, pixelated or disjointed images, this is a likely cause. Customers should call their cable company if this occurs frequently.

Interference from Cable Internet

Splitting cable signals to provide TV and Internet service can create disturbances in cable boxes, resulting in spontaneous rebooting. Whenever possible, cable companies recommend using two separate cable inputs into a home to reduce signal disturbances. Splitting the signal before it reaches a home can boost signal fidelity and cause fewer interruptions in both Internet and TV service.

Overheating

Rebooting may occur spontaneously because of a built-in safety feature that kicks in when a cable box does not receive proper ventilation. If any items are placed on or near a cable box, it is possible for the unit to overheat and switch off. To prevent overheating, place a cable box in an open, dry space free from debris and clutter. By keeping the cable box in an open area, the internal temperature will remain cool and constant, preventing unexpected rebooting from overheating.