Plan to Rescan: Broadcast TV Changes

Nearly 1,000 TV stations across the country will be moving, or changing their frequencies, between 2018 and 2020.  Here’s what you need to do to be prepared.

How will I get my channels after the frequency migration?

If you watch TV for free, over the air with an antenna, you will need to rescan your TV or converter box when stations move channels to continue receiving your local stations. This move is happening behind the scenes, so the channel number you know will not change.  Once your rescan is complete you will still find your favorite programs and content on the same channel number as before.  You should not have to buy any new equipment to retain access to your channels.

If you pay a monthly fee to subscribe to a television service – such as cable or satellite – you do not need to take action.

When is this happening?

The channels will migrate gradually between September 2018 and July 2020.  You can find out if/when channels in your area are migrating by checking TVAnswers.org and entering your zip code.  Your local stations that are changing frequencies will also alert you about the timing of their moves before they happen.

Keep in mind you may need to rescan more than once, since some stations in your area may move at different times.

How do I rescan my TV or converter box?

If you can’t figure out how to rescan your device, TVAnswers.org has put together a list of some popular manufacturers’ online support pages:  http://tvanswers.org/rescan.asp#manufacturers

I re-scanned and I can’t find one or more of my stations anymore.  What do I do?

Contact the station directly.  Some stations may have moved broadcast tower locations or temporarily reduced their signal strength.  You may need to reposition your antenna to receive some broadcasters. In some rare cases, your antenna may not be able to access a new frequency.  You can check https://antennaweb.org/Address to find out what frequencies your local stations use, what direction they broadcast from, and what types of antennas can receive them.  

The FCC also has a mapping service to show the over-the-air channels available in your area and provide information about their broadcast transition.  It can be found here.

For the FCC’s FAQ on this process, which includes translations in Spanish, Tagalog, Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese, click here.