If you’re among the 31% of American households that use an antenna to watch free, over-the-air TV, you’ll need to rescan your TV or converter box this week to find the new homes for your channels.
That’s because nearly 1,000 over-the-air TV stations are changing frequencies over the next year to open up bandwidth for new 5G internet and other mobile broadband services. You can get a full list of when the channels in your area are moving by entering your ZIP code here.
Many stations were scheduled to make the move on Friday, but the FCC has pushed back the changes to 3 a.m. Wednesday, September 11 in many areas.
This move has been in the works since 2017 when 175 broadcasters sold parts of their broadcast spectrum for nearly $20 billion.
To see if any of your stations are moving, put in your ZIP code or address on AntennaWeb. Under the “FCC TV Channel Repack” section, you’ll see which of your channels are affected, along with when they’ll be moving.
How to rescan your TV
Fortunately, rescanning your TV for your new channels is incredibly simple.
- Look for a button labeled “scan” or “autotune” on your TV or converter box control menu. This will start the scanning process.
- Wait a few minutes for the TV to complete the process. Once it’s done, your favorite channels should have the same numbers you’re used to.
Because different stations will be moving at different times throughout the next year, you may have to repeat this process more than once.
Rescanning your antenna every few months is a good idea regardless. You may get new channels you didn’t know were available, while others may change frequencies or stop broadcasting entirely. Some converter boxes will do this automatically for you, but if yours does not, make sure to rescan your TV periodically.
If you’re still having trouble rescanning your TV or converter box, TVAnswers.org has a full list of some of the most common manufacturers here. You can also contact the FCC’s consumer hotline by calling 1.888.225.5322 and pressing prompt number 6.