8 Reasons Why Your TV Mysteriously Turns on by Itself — And How to Stop It

updated about 3 hours ago
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If you’ve ever experienced your TV randomly turning on in another room, you know it can be quite an unsettling feeling. You’ve likely asked yourself, how — and why — is my TV doing this? Is my home haunted by ghosts? Regardless of the reason, you’re probably ready to put this weirdness behind you. 

For those who have frantically found themselves searching “TV turns on by itself why??” Here are a few reasons why that could be happening — and how to stop it. 

Top Reasons Why a TV Turns on by Itself

There are a few reasons why a TV might turn on seemingly by itself, says Zak Kann, founder of home tech site Smart Geek Home. From electrical to accidental reasons, here are some of the more common explanations. 

Your TV is connected to a power strip.

If your TV is connected to a power strip, and the power strip has a switch that is turned on, this could cause your TV to turn on randomly, Kann says. And since most people stow power strips out of the way to reduce visual clutter, you may simply not realize that it’s still on. 

Your TV is plugged into an outlet controlled by a light switch.

Many people have this type of setup for convenience. In this case, if the light switch is turned on, then the TV will also turn on, Kann says.

There’s a timer involved.

If your TV turns on by itself, it’s possible (and even likely) that you or someone else has accidentally set a “wake-up” timer for your TV. Similarly, says Kann, a sleep timer can cause the TV to turn on or off without you having to do anything. 

Your neighbor is to blame. 

A neighbor can turn your TV on if they have a remote that is programmed to control your TV, Kann says. “This can happen if you have the same model TV as your neighbor, and they have accidentally programmed their remote to control your TV.”

Your pet is the culprit. 

Your bearded dragon is probably off the hook here, but a larger pet like a cat or dog can totally turn on a TV. “A pet can accidentally turn your TV on if they bump into the remote control and turn it on. Pets can also turn on the TV if they jump on the TV and press the power button,” Kann says. 

The remote batteries are low. 

This may seem odd, but your remote’s batteries can also be the cause of a TV that turns on by itself. According to Kann, “a low remote battery can be the cause of your TV seemingly turning on by itself because the remote control will emit a signal even when it is not being used. If the remote is close to the TV, the TV may interpret this signal as a command to turn on.”

WiFi Interference

“Connected TVs incorporate advanced technology that can sometimes lead to wireless interference, resulting in intermittent power-ons,” says Donovan Wallace, vice president of electronics at Design 1st. These smart TVs could be receiving this interference and interpreting it as a signal to turn on.

Common Remotes

“Devices plugged into the TV’s HDMI port utilize the HDMI-CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) feature, allowing you to control them with a single remote,” Wallace says. While this feature is convenient, he explains that it also means powering on your soundbar or Xbox can also turn on your TV.

How to Stop a TV That Turns On by Itself

If your TV is randomly turning on, it’s time to solve the problem. Here are a few tricks to troubleshoot why your TV turns on by itself.

  • Replace your remote batteries to make sure they’re not turning your TV on thanks to using up the last bit of juice.
  • Try a piece of thick tape over the remote sensor to see if there’s a malfunction that’s telling the TV to turn on.
  • Check to see if the power button on the remote or the TV itself could be stuck.
  • Talk to your neighbors and run a test to see if they are accidentally powering on your TV through the window, especially if they have the same model synced up with a similar universal remote (like the one your cable company gives you).
  • Confirm that you’ve been powering it off entirely. Are you shutting off the cable box but not the TV screen? It could be flickering back on from a power surge.

If it’s none of these things, it could just be an internal electrical malfunction, like a resistor that’s changed value or a defective infrared sensor. If nothing else works, Kann says to prevent your TV from turning on by itself by unplugging the TV when it is not in use, using a power strip with a switch, and making sure the TV is not on a timer.