How to Rescan Your TV

Family watching TV

According to Forbes, 15 million people in the USA use an indoor or outdoor antenna for TV. You may be one of the 15 million, whom for many years, received local channels without any problems. However, the channels have either disappeared or don’t come in as strongly as they once did.  Unless your TV antenna is broken, this is a good indication it’s time to rescan your TV. Moreover, periodically rescanning your TV is recommended because you may pick up additional channels you didn’t know existed.   

TV Channels are Moving

According to the FCC, between now and July 2020, many local TV stations across the country will be changing their over-the-air frequencies to make space for high speed wireless services.  These changes require broadcasters to provide at least 30 days of notice to consumers. You may see these public announcements notices on TV, hear them on radio or see them in your print publications. These announcements will let you know what to expect and when to rescan your TV. You can also see if and when the changes impact your zip code here.

During this change, some channels go off air for a few days before they are restored.  If they are missing for an extended period, call the TV provider. 

The process of rescanning isn’t necessary if your local channels are provided by your cable or satellite dish provider.  They automatically do it for you. 

When to Rescan

A few reasons it might be time to rescan is when you buy a new TV, upgraded your antenna or the channels moved. Either way, it doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. Generally, it’s the same scan you did the first time you installed an antenna. 

Rescanning by a Different Name

Depending on the type of TV, some of the terms used in the settings to describe rescanning include auto-program, auto-scan, channel search, channel scan, channel set-up or auto-tuning. Note, some TV’s also use the word “air” instead of antenna.

It’s easier to do a rescan if you have the original remote control to the TV.  If you don’t, some TV’s provide the menu controls directly on the side, front or back of the TV. You can find a remote for the more popular brands here. If not, you will have to purchase a universal remote. 

Remote Controls

How to Rescan

Here are 4 possible ways to rescan a TV.

2009 Philips 47” 1080P

  1. Press Menu
  2. Select Installation
  3. Press Channels
  4. Select Autoprogram
  5. Press Start Now
  6. Select Antenna

Vizio 24” HDTV

  1. Press Menu
  2. Select Channels
  3. Press Channel Source and make sure it says Antenna.
  4. Select Find Channels

2017 TCL Roku TV  

  1. Press Menu
  2. Select Settings
  3. Press TV Inputs
  4. Select Antenna TV
  5. Press Scan for Channels
  6. Select Start finding Channels

Non Specific TV

  1. Press Setup or Menu
  2. Select Channels, Antenna, Air or other similar words.
  3. Press Auto-Program, Auto-Scan, Channel Search, Channel Scan, Channel Set-Up, Auto-Tuning or similar words.

What You Can Expect

In most cases, the process could take between 3-5 minutes.  The good news is once the rescan is completed, you will be able or continue to watch your favorite shows.  The channels are automatically stored in your TV’s memory even if the TV is unplugged for an extended period of time. 

Additional Resources

You can get more help at www.tvanswers.org.  You can also contact the FCC call center toll free at 1-888-CALLFCC or 1-888-225-5322.  They are available from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Eastern time, 7 days a week. 

You can also see which stations are changing frequencies in your area with this TV coverage map.

See our previous blog on the 4 things cable companies don’t want you to know about TV antennas.

Have you rescanned your TV?

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