how to get local channels on vizio smart tv

Not quite sure how to get local channels on Vizio smart TV?

Well, in this guide we’ll cover everything you need to know, and how to acquire free (over-the-air) Vizio smart TV channels!

To get local channels on Vizio smart TV, you’ll need to connect an indoor or outdoor antenna and scan for channels.

In addition, you can also watch local channels online by downloading apps on the Vizio smart TV or connecting a streaming device.

Let’s explore how to scan and discover channels first!

How to Scan for Channels on Vizio TV?

use input button on vizio tv remote

To stream local channels on your Vizio TV you need to discover these channels first, and to be able to do so you need to provide your TV with a service.

That service doesn’t necessarily need to be a paid subscription, as long as you have an antenna, but still, you need to purchase one!

These are the steps to scan for local channels on your Vizio TV:

  1. Press the INPUT button on the Vizio remote.
  2. Select the TV Input, which is the default input.
  3. From the on-screen menu, select TV or Tuner.
  4. Select the Tuner option from the provided list.
  5. Choose “Antenna” or “Cable”…
  • Antenna – If you have an indoor/outdoor antenna with a coaxial cable.
  • Cable – For a cable box with a subscription service via coaxial cable.


Based on the model of your Vizio TV the option is “Auto Channel Scan” or “Auto Search”. When the process is ready use the Channel Up/Down to see the discovered channels!

How to Get Local Channels on Vizio Smart TV?

Now that we know how to scan for channels, select a method of acquiring local channels on your Vizio TV. Also, don’t hesitate to attempt more than one method to see which would work!

1. Use Indoor/Outdoor TV Antenna!

The simplest and cheapest way to get local channels on a Vizio smart TV is by connecting an antenna to your Vizio smart TV.

The antenna can both be indoor and outdoor, based on the model and design.

How to Connect Indoor TV Antenna?

connect indoor tv antenna

The indoor antenna is cost-effective and easily connects to any television, including the smart Vizio TV.

Even the simplest antennas come with a coaxial cable that has to be plugged into the “ANTENNA” or on some Vizio TV’s “DTV/TV” labeled port.

How to Connect Outdoor Antenna?

The outdoor antennas are usually amplified and are much stronger for users that want to stream local channels in 4K (if available).

This type of antenna uses more power and has to be hooked up to a power adapter via a USB connection, and the antenna connects to the Coax TV input.

Tip: Then the antenna should be positioned as high as possible on a shelf or furthest away from the TV and other electrical components that cause interference.

2. Download Free Streaming Apps!

One of the quickest ways to acquire hundreds of local channels on your Vizio TV is by signing up for a streaming service.

Such services are Locast, Pluto TV, Sling TV, Netflix, and many more that instantly deliver a wide variety of content as well as live channels for streaming.

  • Locast
download locast on tv

The non-profit organization “Locast” is established in 2018 and still provides online services, including “over-the-air” channels.

There are no subscriptions and fees so all the content is free for all users but you can support them since they accept donations. 

  • Xumo

A good suggestion for streaming free local channels on Vizio smart TV is the Xumo app, available in the dedicated content store.

The service is packed up with more than 190 channels and shows for users to access and stream on Vizio smart TV.

  • Pluto TV

One of the most popular streaming apps available for Vizio TV is Pluto TV, which provides a ton of on-demand content for free.

The service is from ViacomCBS and delivers more than 250 live channels for streaming on Vizio smart TV.

Info: The smart Vizio TV has access to a content store from where you can discover and download streaming apps to watch live channels. 

Some of them are paid, others are free and it’s all based on what you’re looking for and intending to watch!

3. Connect an HDMI (Streaming Device)

One of the most popular ways to watch local channels on Vizio smart TV is by connecting an HDMI device to the port of the TV.

The streaming device could be anything from a computer or laptop or a streaming stick such as Firestick or Roku, as long as the device connects to WiFi.

stream with firestick
  • The goal is to open a web browser and stream local channels online!

Sadly, Vizio smart TVs don’t have a full-scale (downloadable) browser, which negatively limits users.

This limitation prevents users from accessing third-party websites that stream the local channels for free, hence you’ll need some kind of player, as long as there is an online browser!

Tip: On some streaming applications you can download different browsers and for streaming, we recommend Google Chrome!

4. Use an Android Smartphone!

In case you’re still wondering how to stream local channels on Vizio smart TV, and none of the above methods apply to you, we’ve got you covered.

You can use your smartphone to cast a screen on your Vizio smart TV and use the internet to stream local channels online!

Note: To stream local channels via the internet on Vizio TV, check the previous step!
use smartcast on vizio tv

The Vizio smart TV supports the SmartCast TV function, hence you can connect any Android device and share the screen.

However, both the TV and smartphone should be connected to the same WiFi network and you will need the Google Home App installed on your phone or tablet.

  • To cast the screen from Android to Vizio TV tap on the “Cast My Screen”
Info: If your TV is connected to the same WiFi as your mobile, your Vizio TV would appear and you would be able to cast the mobile device’s screen. 

Then simply stream local channels online!

5. Subscribe to Cable or Satellite Service!

The old-school way on how to get free local channels on Vizio smart TV is by subscribing to a cable or satellite service.

These companies can bring local channels to your home by carrying out a coaxial cable and for satellite services, an outdoor antenna + dish has to be installed.

Satellite Channels?

When you subscribe to a satellite channel, you will receive a free and professional installation of your dish as well as establish a connection with your Vizio TV.

The perks of paid services would be customer support and customer care.

TV Cable Box?

connect cable box on vizio tv

You could also get a TV Cable box, with included local channels in the subscription and Coax cable input to connect to your Vizio TV.

Then by scanning channels, you would be able to discover all promised and contracted channels.

Reminder: Don’t forget that after connecting your device to the TV, you need to re-scan for channels so refer to the steps at the beginning of the guide.

6. Use your Mobile Personal Hotspot

As we know, it’s possible to stream local channels on Vizio smart TV when the television is connected to the internet via WiFi or Ethernet.

Well, if we don’t have a router we can always use the mobile hotspot from our smartphones to stream local channels on Vizio smart TV.

  • On iOS go to the Settings app, tap on Mobile Data and enable the toggle!
  • On Android, swipe from the top to bring up the Quick Menu and tap on the data!
use mobile hotspot

Then you’ll need to connect your Vizio Smart TV to the WiFi:

  1. Press the MENU on the Vizio remote!
  2. Go to the Network tab and press OK.
  3. From there select Network Connection.
  4. Then, choose Wireless > SSID of the data!
  5. Enter the predetermined WiFi password.
  6. Download apps to stream local channels.
Note: Your Vizio TV must remain connected to the mobile data as long as you’re streaming!

Quick Recap:

Now that we’ve learned how to get local channels on Vizio smart TV we know that it’s possible via an indoor or outdoor antenna and by connecting an HDMI device.

Also, we can always connect the Vizio TV to the internet and stream local channels via apps!

Read Next: Why Vizio TV Says Resolution Not Supported? Quick Fix

Nicole B