Why it's time to rescan your TV antenna

SAN ANTONIO – As more people cut the cord to save money, TV antennas have made a comeback.  

But it's important for antenna users to rescan from time to time.

Depending on where you live, antennas let you tune in to local broadcast channels for free. 
However, if you use an antenna, it's important to regularly rescan for channels.

"Rescanning really is simply just having your TV tuner do an update to see if there are more channels that are available," said Consumer Reports tech editor Jim Willcox.

Rescanning has always been a good idea, but it's more important now because many stations either have changed or will be changing the frequencies of their broadcasts over the next two years.  

Rescanning will allow your TV to find your favorite channels at their new frequencies. Although the frequency may change, the channel numbers won't.

Why are stations moving? 

Several years ago, Congress authorized the Federal Communications Commission to hold a spectrum auction, freeing up some over-the-air broadcast TV frequencies to make room for new high-speed wireless services. As a result, about 1,000 have had to change their frequencies. In addition, about a dozen stations will go off the air entirely. And some new stations may come on line.

That's not the only reason to rescan about every month. 

If you did your original channel scan during a cloudy or rainy day, you might not be receiving all the channels available to you. And, many stations have been adding sub-channels, in addition to the main program you're tuned to. A rescan will help you capture any of those new sub-channels.

How do you rescan? 

The process varies depending on your TV, but ultimately you're looking for a control that says Channel Scan or Channel Tuning.

If you can't find it, Willcox said to hit the source button on your remote and select antenna. Hitting autoscan will automatically look for the available channels.

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