How to unlock cable box channels is a legitimate question, especially for those who want access to more channels.
Cable companies use these devices to control the access of their subscribers.
Nowadays, it’s hard to circumvent this, but there are ways how you will be able to watch more channels on your box.
The easiest way to unlock cable box channels is to check your package. HD channels will not be readily available on the lowest plans. If you want to watch these channels, you will get a better plan from your cable company.
You will have to pay more, but you will certainly have access to new entertainment options.
Why Are My Channels Locked?
There are many ways cable companies can block access to certain channels.
Here are some of the top reasons, so you have an idea on how to get them unlocked, allowing you to enjoy them.
1. Cable Package Needs an Upgrade
Cable boxes block channels you do not have access to based on your subscription.
If there are a few channels that you want to watch but are blocked, the reason is that your plan does not include them.
2. Parental Controls is On
You might not know it, but some cable companies will ship their boxes with parental controls turned on by default.
There could be some channels that are blocked, or you mistakenly added several channels to the list that you did not remember.
3. Cable Box Needs Updating
Another reason why some of your channels are blocked is that your cable box needs updating.
It could be that there are new channels that your box has not yet detected or a software glitch that has mistakenly blocked a few channels.
Steps on How to Unlock Cable Box Channels
How to unlock channels on Comcast cable box or from other companies, the process is quite simple.
You don’t even need any technical expertise to do it since all you need is your cable box remote to unlock these channels.
Step #1: Upgrade Your Cable Package
Cable companies usually have subscription tiers that grant access to different channels.
The more you pay monthly, the more channels they offer. This is especially true with HD channels since they are usually unavailable on the lowest package.
The best way to unlock more channels on your cable box is to upgrade to a better subscription.
Some cable companies also allow pay-per-channel schemes where you can add your favorite channels on top of your current subscription.
If you are eyeing a few channels that are not currently available to you, consider getting an upgrade to get it. Just prepare for a higher monthly subscription fee.
- Go to your cable provider’s website.
- Log in to your account.
- Look for their plans or package list.
- Choose the one that fits your entertainment needs.
- Click on the apply button and proceed to pay.
Note: Upgrading your cable package is easy. You want to watch out for early termination fees.
Once you upgrade to a new subscription, you will usually have to wait some set period before you can downgrade or cancel without paying a fee.
Step #2: Check for Damaged Cables
If there is a channel currently on your subscription and you suddenly lost access to it, you want to look for damaged cables.
Frayed or broken cables can result in you losing access to a few channels.
Damaged cables lose their insulation properties, and interference will be your number one enemy.
If that cable is near an interference source like an electrical outlet or wire, there’s a good chance that it will cause some blocked channels.
Here’s what you should do if you suspect damaged cables:
- Visually check all the wires that are connected to your cable box.
- If you see fraying or physical damage, replace that cable.
- Check the HDMI cables from your cable box to your TV.
- Replace the cable if you see signs of damage.
Step #3: Disable Parental Controls
One of the ways how some of your cable channels get blocked is with parental controls.
It’s possible that your cable box shipped with this feature enabled, and some channels are blocked.
Another scenario that could happen is that someone in your home inadvertently enabled parental control and disabled some of your favorite channels.
If nothing of these steps works so far, you will want to check if the parental controls feature is turned on.
Here’s how to do it:
- Go to your cable box’s Menu.
- Search for Parental Controls and press Enter.
- Enter your password or PIN code.
- Look for the channel in the list you want to unlock.
- You may need to enter your password or PIN to confirm.
Note: This is a helpful feature if you have kids and your cable subscription includes channels you do not want your children to see.
After unlocking, you will want to ensure that the channel appears in your programming list.
Step #4: Rescan the Channels on Your Cable Box
Software issues can cause some of your channels to be blocked.
Even if you have not touched any setting on your box and know those channels are available with your plan, your cable box’s software can block them.
One of the ways to fix this is to allow your cable box to rescan all of your channels. It will go through all the possible channels one by one and check if they are available for your plan.
It’s one of the quickest ways to restore your channel list, especially if a bunch of them is blocked.
Here are the steps to rescan the channels on your cable box:
- Press the Menu button on your cable box’s remote.
- Look for the Channel Scan option.
- Select Prefer Best Available Resolution.
- Wait for the scan to finish.
Note: Rescanning your channels may take some time. This option is also known as Rescan, Tune, or Auto-tune. You can select those if you see them on the menu.
Step #5: Perform a Refresh of Your Cable Box
Rescanning your channels might not do the trick for you. If this is the case, it may be a symptom of a deeper software problem with your cable box.
The next thing you can do is to perform a system refresh. It’s a hybrid of a power cycle, reset, and system restore.
If your issue of blocked channels is temporary, this will do the trick.
Performing a system refresh will get rid of any software issues and refresh your signal with your cable provider. That new signal can activate channels that are blocked.
Here’s how to perform a system reset of your cable box:
- Go to the Menu of your cable box.
- Look for System Refresh or Reset.
- Press OK to select it.
- Wait for the refresh to finish.
Note: Cable boxes from different companies are different, but you can refresh them in a similar way.
Refreshing your cable can also take some time, so it’s vital that you be patient during this process.
You do not want to turn off your cable box or pull the plug as that will cause more issues.
Step #6: Update Your Cable Box Software
Updating your cable box seems like the last option, but if none of the steps work so far, you will want to do this.
Outdated software can cause more harm, especially if it has been a while since you upgraded.
Here are the steps to update your cable box software:
- Open your cable box’s Menu.
- Look for Software and go to Updates.
- Press OK to confirm.
- Wait for the update to finish.
Note: The process to update may be different depending on your cable box. Xfinity allows you to update their equipment online.
You will need to update other boxes by confirming from the menu manually.
Thus, you can unlock your cable box channels by disabling parental controls. You might be surprised at how many channels can be on the list. Make sure to put in a PIN code or password so no one can easily add channels on the parental control list. Rescanning your channels also helps in unlocking them.
Read Next: Why Is Auto Scan Not Finding Channels?
How to unlock cable box channels can get quite tricky if you do not know the steps to take.
Luckily for you, our troubleshooting steps will help you unlock your channels so you can watch your favorite channels.
If the problem continues to persist, you can also call your cable provider’s customer support so they can refresh your signal or help you replace your cable box.
Kevin has over five years of experience working in various Tech startups and providing Technical solutions. He has contributed to many Tech publications and websites.