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Cable TV

Cable TV FAQ

If you are experiencing problems with your cable TV service, it may be something you can resolve yourself in just minutes. Here are some tips for the most common user related issues.

Residence Hall Students

All residence hall rooms have digital cable TV service. Locate the TV outlet in your room and connect one end of the coaxial cable to it and the other end to the “CATV” or “VHF IN” on your television. Do not connect to the “UHF IN” on your television.

Departments/Administrative Offices located on the Knoxville campus

To request new service send an email to telephoneservices@utk.edu. You will need to provide the room number and an account number for the new cable TV service.

If you have a digital TV not connected to a cable receiver, it is important to auto program your TV to ensure you are viewing all the available analog and digital channels. Exact details on how to auto program or auto tune digital TVs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and from model to model. These instructions are generalizations that are meant to describe the way most TVs accomplish this feature. For best results, refer to the owner’s manual for the specific TV you are working with. Most TVs will take between 20-45 minutes to complete this function.

If you have tried to program your digital TV and still cannot receive all the channels you will need to purchase a digital-to-analog converter box.

Using the TV’s remote control, follow these general steps:

Step 1: Press the “Power” button to turn on the TV
Step 2: Press the “Menu” Button
Step 3: Select “Set-Up”
Step 4: Select “Antenna” then “Cable”
Step 5: Select “Auto Program/Auto Tune” then “OK”

If you have an older analog television, your television cannot receive the signal without use of an Clear QAM tuner digital-to-analog converter box.

Residence Hall Students:

You may purchase an Clear QAM tuner digital-to-analog converter box anywhere that you shop for electronics. These boxes vary in price from $40.00 to $100.00.

Departments/Administrative Offices located on the Knoxville campus:

Send an email to telephoneservices@utk.edu and request a digital-to-analog converter. You will need to provide the room number where the converter box will be installed and the responsible account number for the cable TV service. The converter box will be provided to the departments at no charge.

On a digital cable television system, the “physical” channel numbers have decimals or dashes. However, some systems are designed to also provide “virtual” channel numbers (VCNs) that present the channel as a digit whole number. Unfortunately, different model digital TVs have different types of channel tuners and not all tuners can pick up the VCNs.

If you have a digital HDTV that will not recognize the whole number virtual channel after a channel scan, be sure to check the settings in the set-up menu – including setting the clock if your TV has one. If this does not work, your TV tuner is probably not capable of presenting the virtual channels and you have the following options:

  • Do nothing and use the physical channel numbers.
  • Purchase a newer model HDTV with an Clear QAM tuner that you know can recognize whole number virtual channels.
  • Residence Hall Students: Purchase a digital-to-analog converter box with an Clear QAM tuner that will recognize the VCNs.
  • Departments/Administrative Offices located on the Knoxville campus: Send an email to telephoneservices@utk.edu and request a digital-to-analog converter. You will need to provide the room number where the converter box will be installed and the responsible account number for the cable TV service. The converter box will be provided to the departments at no charge.

Most television sets have settings to enable reception from either an Off-Air Antenna or from Cable service. The campus cable system requires your television to be set to “Cable” (or “CATV”, “CATV – IRC”). If your television is set to “Off-Air” (or “Antenna”) you must change this setting to enable reception of all cable channels. This setting may be changed either by moving a switch or by following menu prompts for set-up. Refer to your owner’s manual for more details. You will need to reprogram/scan your TV once you make the change. See section “How do I program my digital TV to receive all University channels”.

Television signals may be viewed on your computer by using a special PC TV card. Refer to the equipment manufacturer’s manual for installation details. Be aware that performance and quality vary according to the equipment used.

No picture on one or all channels, no color, buzzing sounds, dark or rolling pictures, stations on wrong channel, vertical bars, snowy pictures, etc. Typically these types of problems can be a result of a system wide issue, in-room cabling issue, the television and/or connected devices to the television.

First, check to see if a neighbor in another room is experiencing the same problem. If not, if possible, try to connect your television to another outlet where another television is not experiencing a problem. If a neighbor is experiencing the same problem or the problem is associated with your outlet, please contact the OIT HelpDesk online or at 865-974-9900.

Second, disconnect any other devices attached to your television, such as digital receivers, VCRs, Xboxes, etc. so that the coaxial cable is connected directly from the television to the outlet. If this addresses the problem, then reconnect the devices in an attempt to isolate the device creating the problem. If you have a VCR, make sure the VCR and the television are both set to the same channel – 3 or 4.

Last, adjust the fine-tuning settings on your television. Check your television’s user guide for more information.
Dark picture? Slowly adjust your TV’s brightness and/or contrast control.

Rolling picture? Slowly adjust your TV’s vertical hold.

Picture leans to side? Try adjusting the “horizontal hold” on your TV.

Can’t tune in desired channel? Determine if you are able to tune the channel using the tuning buttons on the digital receiver or VCR. If so, the problem is likely your remote control. Make sure the channel is not restricted by the parental control feature or check your channel lineup to verify channel availability.

Need Additional Assistance?

Contact the OIT HelpDesk online or at 865-974-9900.

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