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FCC Urges Viewers to "Remember to Rescan" Your TV

Jean Kiddoo
Federal Communications Commission
Rescanning only applies to people who receive their local channels using a TV antenna.

The Federal Communications Commission Incentive Auction Taskforce reminds TV viewers who receive broadcasting through an antenna to regularly rescan for new channels. Some local TV channels are repackaging over-the-air broadcast frequencies between now and July 2020.

TV band repackaging affects viewers of free over-the-air broadcasting, not cable or satellite viewers. While the changes often will not require new equipment, viewers need to rescan their TV to continue receiving certain channels. Jean Kiddoo, Chair of the FCC Incentive Auction Taskforce, says the changes come as "part of the FCC's work to make more airwaves available for high-speed mobile broadband and internet services like 5G and other wireless services."

To make these changes, the FCC looks at the spectrum of airwaves in use and determines which are not being used as effectively as possible or are in disuse. Repackaging makes these TV airwaves more efficient and opens up newly available airwaves for "the kind of mobile services consumers are demanding more and more every day," according to Kiddoo.

In most cases, no new equipment is required, just a rescan. Kiddoo explains, "If you watch TV for free with an antenna, you'll need to rescan your TV to continue to see the local channels that switched frequencies." TV viewers may already be familiar with the process of rescanning; it's the same process as setting up a TV or converter box to search for local broadcasting for the first time. If not, the FCC posted this tutorial:

More information about the changes happening to broadcast TV transmission is available here. To see which stations are affected in your local area, search by zip code here.