Comcast Cable Box Says Not Authorized? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Emily Carr
by Emily Carr
It’s disappointing when you’re trying to watch something on TV, and the Comcast cable box flashes the message, ‘Not Authorized.’ What went wrong? If your Comcast cable box says ‘Not

It’s disappointing when you’re trying to watch something on TV, and the Comcast cable box flashes the message, ‘Not Authorized.’ What went wrong?

If your Comcast cable box says ‘Not Authorized,’ it’s due to a service outage, disconnected WiFi, or a software bug. Purchase a DTA for $5.99/month or update your subscription package to solve the problem. If none of these solutions work, contact Comcast Support for future troubleshooting.

Continue reading to explore why your Comcast cable box says ‘Not Authorized’ and learn how you can address the problem!

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Why Does My Comcast Cable Box Say ‘Not Authorized?’

Experiencing technical difficulty across any technology platform is never fun and often challenging to figure out. There are a few different causes of the error message, ‘Not Authorized.’

Five reasons why your Comcast cable box says ‘Not Authorized’ are:

  • There is a service outage.
  • The WiFi is disconnected.
  • A Digital Terminal Adaptor (DTA) is needed.
  • Your subscription package is limited.
  • There is a software malfunction.

Each of these problems can be solved using simple troubleshooting techniques by you from home!

Quick Disclosure

Before we get started, it’s important to point out that back in 2010, Comcast unveiled Xfinity- a new subsidiary. Xfinity is the brand name of Comcast Cable Communications, LLC. It’s used primarily for new technology services like streaming, Internet, and TV offerings.

Some of Comcast’s service offerings are branded, for example, as Xfinity Customer Service. Because of that, throughout this article, Xfinity and Comcast will be used interchangeably. Both refer to the same company!

Reason #1: There Is a Service Outage

Sometimes your internet service provider is experiencing some difficulties. This is what’s causing the Comcast cable box to read ‘Not Authorized.’

Service outages could be a temporary, one-time issue. Wait at least 24 hours before resetting your modem or calling their support number. You can usually check on Xfinity’s website to see if your particular zip code is experiencing an issue.

The good news is that area outages resulting from weather or other extenuating circumstances usually resolve themselves within a few hours. There’s nothing needed on your behalf!

The Fix

If you think that there is something more long-term wrong with your internet connection, or the ‘Not Authorized’ message keeps occurring, try restarting your modem.

To do so, all you have to do is turn off your TV, unplug the modem, and wait 60 seconds. When you restart the modem, plug it back into the wall, connect it to the router, and hit the ‘On’ button.

Another way to do this is by holding the ‘Reset’ button down for 3 seconds on the back of your modem. It will then take a few minutes for it to fully reconnect to the Internet. Unless you change the password, your TV should reconnect automatically.

Once you have established a connection, wait about 3-5 minutes before trying to turn on your television again.

If it still gives you the ‘Not Authorized’ message, contact Xfinity customer service to perform a hard reset on your modem.

Reason #2: The WiFi Is Disconnected

Make sure that your home’s WiFi is turned on. Otherwise, this could be causing the Comcast cable box to display a ‘Not Authorized’ message.

A simple way to check this is by going to your phone’s settings and seeing if it’s connected to WiFi too.

  • Go to ‘Settings.’
  • Click ‘Wi-Fi.’
  • Make sure the WiFi button is toggled ‘On’ or green.
  • Ensure that your WiFi network is connected by looking for a blue checkmark next to the network name.

You can also look for this symbol on the top right corner of your iPhone’s Home or Lock screen:

The Fix

To fix this issue, make sure that you have a strong connection from the wireless source to the Comcast cable box, which is connected via an ethernet cord.

You can reset the WiFi by doing the same modem reboot mentioned in the above solution.

To do so, all you have to do is:

  • Turn off your TV and unplug the modem.
  • Wait 60 seconds.
  • Plug the modem back into the wall, connect it to the router, and hit the ‘On’ button.
  • Alternatively, you can hold the modem’s ‘Reset’ button down for 3 seconds.

It will take a few minutes for the modem to fully reconnect to the Internet. Your TV should reconnect automatically.

If it still gives you the ‘Not Authorized’ message, contact Xfinity customer service to perform a hard reset on your modem.

Reason #3: A Digital Terminal Adaptor (DTA) Is Needed

This reason is most common in older televisions. If your internet connection isn’t the problem, maybe you just need a DTA to prevent your Comcast cable box from saying ‘Not Authorized.’

A DTA is short for Digital Terminal Adaptor. They are devices used to provide digital service from a cable company to analog or digital TVs using an RF input.

Digital terminal adapters are necessary to watch all basic and expanded subscription package channels that were migrated from analog to digital. By incorporating one, you can stream the extra media above channel 99.

The Fix

Purchase a DTA box to be delivered to your home.

An Xfinity technician will come to your house to set up the digital terminal adapter and show you the added features. Instead of charging a single fee for the box, Xfinity charges a monthly fee of $5.99 to use the adapter.

Reason #4: Your Subscription Package Is Limited

Another thing that may cause the Comcast cable box to show ‘Not Authorized’ is having a limited subscription package.

The cheapest 2021 special offering is the Choice Double Play + speed increase to Performance Pro Internet Plan for $55/month. The next level up is the Select+ Plan for $90/month with over 205 channels. The most comprehensive Signature+ Plan includes over 210 channels.

If you have the lowest subscription level, it’s possible that you need an upgrade to watch your favorite movie.

The Fix

If this is your problem, simply change your subscription level.

If the show you’re trying to play is not authorized, improve your subscription to get access to all the channels you want.

Reason #5: There Is a Software Malfunction

Software bugs or malfunctions can cause all sorts of problems- even your Comcast cable box saying ‘Not Authorized.’

Malfunctions could be anything from a failed update to a virus.

If you’re experiencing this issue, it could be because your Comcast cable box is on the fritz, or there’s something not quite right with your network settings.

The Fix

In some cases, resetting the Comcast cable box will fix the ‘Not Authorized’ problem if it’s been affected by software malfunctions.

If it doesn’t, check for a system update. Otherwise, you can swap out old equipment for state-of-the-art replacements.

  • Go to the Xfinity equipment update website.
  • Log in using your Xfinity ID and password.
  • Click ‘Get Started.’
  • Look over the ‘What You Have’ and ‘What You’ll Get’ fields to make sure everything is accurate.
  • Click ‘Continue’ when everything matches up.
  • Add your shipping and delivery address and submit the order.

Tracking info will be sent to the provided email address. Expect to get your replacement pieces in 2-3 business days, after which you’ll be required to turn in your old equipment.

If any problems arise after trying these methods to get rid of the ‘Not Authorized’ message, remember that you can always contact Xfinity customer service for more help.

Can I Update My Comcast Subscription Package Anytime?

The answer is yes; you don’t have to wait until the end of the month or end of your subscription period.

There are a variety of packages and price points for every customer to choose from at any time of the year!

Related Questions

Why does my Comcast cable keep freezing?

Comcast cable freezing is usually the result of a weak signal or signal interruption. Freezing will also be a frequent occurrence if you’re connected to an old or outdated cable box.To improve the signal, you can reboot your cable box and router by either unplugging them both for thirty seconds or by pressing the reset button on your cable box itself.If that doesn’t work, upgrade to a better Xfinity modem and router combo.

Why is my Comcast cable box blinking green?

Usually, a persistent, green blinking light on your Comcast cable box means that your equipment piece is not fully activated. Call the Xfinity customer service hotline to have them initiate a set-up.If it’s more of a drawn-out, continuous blink, your device is “looking for a connection” and will return to two short blinks when it’s ready to be authorized.Three short blinks mean your device is updating, and solid green indicates a fully functioning cable box!

How do I know if Comcast has a service outage?

Comcast has a really great resource for this- the Xfinity outage map.Visit their website and navigate to the Xfinity Status Center. Use your login info and input your zip code on the map to see if your area has detected outages.

Do You Need TV or Home Theater Accessory Repair?

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The Conclusion

If you are experiencing the ‘Not Authorized’ error message on your Comcast cable box, there’s usually a feasible solution.

Your problem is likely due to one of five things- service outage, disconnected WiFi, a software malfunction, needing a DTA, or a limited subscription package.

For $5.99/month, you can purchase a DTA and solve this issue right away. If that doesn’t work, consider upgrading your subscription and doing a reset on your modem.

If none of the above solve the problem, contact Comcast Support via phone or email so they can further troubleshoot the problem!

Emily Carr
Emily Carr

Emily is a copywriter with over five years of experience in crafting content for the home renovation and remodeling industry. She loves house projects, whether it be painting a room or tweaking small design elements to transform a space. Her favorite aesthetic is french modern because of its clean lines and airy feeling! When not writing, Emily loves to travel and check out architectural details all over the world.

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