What can you do if your TV doesn’t have a tuner?

Legally, there is no such thing as a TV without a tuner. If it’s called a “TV” on the packaging, it’s required to have a tuner. This is an FCC rule. Technically a TV without a tuner is called a monitor. This doesn’t stop Vizio and other manufacturers from packing club stores with things they call “tunerless TVs” and making them look exactly the same as real TVs.

Why a tunerless TV?

Tunerless TVs are sold for a few reasons. First of all it does cost money to put a tuner in a TV, and this means leaving it out saves money. That’s important when your product is on the shelf with 25 other similar ones. Second, more than 75% of people do not use over-the-air antennas so this is a part they don’t need.

But what if you bought a tunerless TV and you want to add an antenna to your system? Are you just, well, out of luck?

Here’s the answer

The product at the top of this article is the ProScan Digital Television Converter Box. Converter boxes were originally intended to help people with older tube TVs work with the broadcast standard that became law in 2009. They were fairly common for a few years, but today it’s practically impossible to find one.

Today’s converter boxes have high-quality tuners and HDMI outputs, essentially turning any monitor into a proper TV. They also come with a remote and feature closed captioning. They’re a simple, basic way to let you add that antenna functionality to that Vizio device you bought before you realized you wanted an antenna.

How do you connect it?

Connect your antenna cable to the only connection that you can. Connect an HDMI cable between your converter box and television. Set the input on your TV. That’s pretty much all there is.

There is a simple on-screen setup process which will help you scan for channels. This part is needed so the device knows what channels you can get. This way you get a good experience that includes a guide and proper channel names.

You can use the converter box remote to power on the device and change channels. You will need the TV’s remote to power it on change volume. If you prefer a one-remote solution, you can get learning remotes that will work with this device as well.

Get it now from Solid Signal

Solid Signal is one of the only electronics web sites that still carry TV converter boxes. You won’t find them in most places. Even if the part shows on their site, you may find them out of stock. Shop at Solid Signal for all the parts and accessories you’ll need to live your best digital life! If you don’t have an antenna yet, browse our huge selection. If you’re not sure what you should get, call us! Our antenna experts are available during East Coast business hours at 888-233-7563. We’re happy to help you pick the antenna that’s best for your area and we’ll recommend all the extra accessories and cables that will give you the best possible experience.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.