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Vizio had the bright idea in 2016-17 of removing antenna inputs from their P-Series, M-Series and most E-Series market-leading models like the P50-C1 or E55-E1, which means that if you want to connect an antenna now, you’re out of luck.
The funny thing is that because the FCC say that a TV must contain a tuner, Vizio couldn’t actually market these displays as TVs, so called them “Home Theater Displays” instead, or not-technically-a-TV!
If you have one of these TVs, then I’ve got some tips below on how to get around the lack of antenna input and get your over-the-air (OTA) channels back on your TV.
There’s also a few troubleshooting tips if you’ve tried to connect an antenna but you’re not getting a signal.
Vizio TV No Antenna Input?
If your Vizio TV does not have a coaxial antenna input, you can connect your aerial to an external ATSC digital tuner and plug this into the HDMI port on your TV to access OTA channels.
Because there is no way of directly connecting a coaxial cable to your TV if it’s a model like the Vizio E55-E1 which lacks an antenna connection port, you must pass it through a separate tuner and connect this to your TV.
But there’s a few possible ways to do this, which I’ll cover in full below.
Where is the Antenna Input on a Vizio TV?
Before going to the trouble of getting an external digital tuner, first check that your Vizio definitely doesn’t have an antenna input.
Vizio TV models made in 2016-7 do not have tuners or antenna inputs, including:
And many more models. You can check the model of your TV on the label near the power cord.
But the easiest thing to do is to simply look at the ports on the back of your TV. If you see a long thin port listed as DTV / TV then you do have an antenna port. If not, we’ll take a look at how to get around this below.
Note that if your TV does not have a coax port, then it also does not have an internal tuner, so you will need to get an external one.
Coaxial to HDMI Converter for Vizio TV
If your Vizio TV coax input is broken or your Vizio TV has no coax input, then you need an external ATSC (HDTV) tuner that connects to your TV through an HDMI port.
These decode digital OTA channels and work exactly the same as tuners in regular TVs, and are very easy to setup and use, and are the cheapest way to view broadcast TV.
If you need an antenna, you can save yourself some hassle and get a small, indoor antenna which saves you having to go up onto your roof.
To get broadcast TV channels on your Vizio TV:
- Make sure you have a working aerial.
- Get an external ATSC tuner.
- Plug your aerial’s RF lead into the ATSC tuner.
- Connect your tuner’s Scart or HDMI lead to your TV.
- Switch on your Vizio and change input to the appropriate Scart / HDMI source.
- Follow the instructions with your tuner on how to scan for channels.
- You will then use your tuner’s remote control to change channel and watch broadcast TV.
Using the absolute cheapest aerial and tuner, you could get setup for around $50, but you might want to think about getting an ATSC 3.0 tuner rather than ATSC1.0, as these offer much higher picture quality.
For an even easier solution, if you have an XBox, you could also get a cheap USB tuner and connect that to your XBox to view broadcast TV.
But for the highest picture quality and least frustration, I would recommend going for the wireless route as I cover below.
Get OTA Channels Wirelessly
Although you used to have to wire your aerial to your TV somehow, you can now connect your aerial to an external tuner that itself connects to your home WiFi network, letting you watch broadcast TV throughout your house on all your devices, with just one aerial connection.
The leaders in this field are Silicon Dust, but their HDHomeRun app does not natively work with Vizio TVs as the models from 2016-7 do not support DLNA, meaning that you need to run it on a third device and get it from that to your TV – not a very fun approach.
There are other options, like getting a media streaming device such as an Nvidia Shield and plugging a USB tuner into that. You can then run this through an app on the Shield, but setup is not necessarily intuitive.
The best option to get OTA channels wirelessly on your Vizio:
- Make sure you have a working aerial.
- Get a Silicon Dust ATSC tuner.
- Plug your aerial’s RF lead into the tuner.
- Connect your tuner to your WiFi router using an Ethernet cable.
- Sign up for Plex.
- Follow the Plex instructions to setup your Silicon Dust tuner.
- Download the Plex app to your Vizio TV.
- Watch broadcast TV via WiFi on your Vizio.
Note that Plex only works with Vizio SmartCast TVs, which should include all of those made in 2016-7, but I can’t confirm this.
If you want to check your model, take a look at the Vizio support page and search for your model. Check if it says SmartCast compatible near the top.
Vizio TV Input Options
If your tuner is not appearing as an available input, check that your Vizio HDMI is working and that the input is not hidden.
To check your HDMI input is not hidden:
- Press Menu on your remote.
- Go to Input Settings.
- Highlight your HDMI input and click OK.
- You can then scroll to Hide from Input Source and confirm this is switched off.
Vizio TV No Antenna Input: Workarounds
If your Vizio TV doesn’t have an antenna input, you can get around this with either:
- An external ATSC tuner that acts as a coaxial to HDMI converter for your Vizio, plugged into your aerial on one side and your TV on the other.
- An Internet-enabled ATSC tuner that connects to your coaxial cable and WiFi router via Ethernet, and then connects to your TV and other household devices via WiFi.
The first option is cheaper, but the second option gives you more flexibility, including the ability to record OTA TV if you connect a USB hard drive, and to have multiple devices watching TV at once.