Why Will My Comcast Channel Changer Not Work?

By Irene A. Blake

At some point, all Comcast cable television customers face a moment when the Comcast remote control doesn't work. You can’t change the cable channels, use other buttons or the remote stops working entirely. Remote control issues can result from one or more possible causes. Some of these causes you can troubleshoot quickly on your own. Some causes may require professional troubleshooting or repair.

Troubleshoot Power Supply

When your Comcast remote doesn’t work, it may have dead or low charge batteries. With one or more dead batteries, none of the buttons work and any LED on the remote won’t turn on when you press buttons. With one or more low charge batteries, an LED may still turn on or one function, such as turning the volume up and down, may work. Remove the current batteries, replace them with new batteries and try the remote again.

Troubleshoot Sensor Signal

All Comcast remote controls communicate with receiver boxes via infrared, IR, signals. An interruption to the signal can cause the channel button to be unresponsive. Move any obstructions, such as people or furniture, between you and the receiver and try the remote again. If an obstruction isn’t the issue, the angle at which you’re holding the remote may be the problem. Hold it almost horizontal to the receiver and, if necessary, move the receiver to a higher or lower position to correct the angle.

Troubleshoot Remote Buttons

When power or sensor signal issues aren’t the cause, user error involving the buttons is often the problem. Check that you’re pressing only one button at a time and that you’re pressing the button firmly. If you use the “All On” button, or you recently used an auxiliary device such as a DVR, DVD or Blu-Ray player, you may have the remote set to the TV or auxiliary mode instead of the cable mode. Align your remote with the receiver, press the “Cable” button and then try the remote again.

Troubleshoot Cable Receiver

Sometimes the receiver is the problem, not your Comcast remote control. You can determine whether this is the case by power cycling the receiver. Press the “Power” button on the receiver to see if you can power it off. If the “Power” button works, press “Power” again to turn the receiver back on, unplug the receiver at the surge protector or wall socket, wait five minutes, plug it back in and then try the remote.

Professional Troubleshooting

When do-it-yourself troubleshooting fails to fix the problem, your Comcast remote or receiver is likely malfunctioning and you will need additional assistance from a professional Comcast agent or technician. Contact Comcast and an agent will help you reprogram and test equipment. If the remote or receiver won't work, the agent can help you order replacement hardware or schedule a technician visit for on-site troubleshooting.