Remember to Rescan

MARCH 13, 2020

On MARCH 132020, if you use an antenna to watch PBS on your television over-the-air, then you may need to rescan to continue watching PBS. A recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determined that nearly 1000 TV stations needed to change frequencies. If your station is affected and has notified you to rescan, you can follow the directions in this article.

If you are a cable or satellite viewer, then you do not need to rescan.

Below are the instructions for rescanning:

  • Press the menu button on your remote.
  • In your TV’s menu, look for the channel setup option.
  • Select antenna or tuner.
  • Start a new scan.
  • Every TV is different, so what you see on your screen may not exactly match the steps above. If you run into trouble, please refer to your TV’s product manual, or contact the TV manufacturer for clearer directions specific to your device.

How-To Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

What is happening?
By law, nearly 1,000 TV stations must move frequencies to make room for wireless services. Detroit Public TV and other local Detroit stations will be moving during the spring of 2020.

When is this happening?
This process started in 2018 for some TV stations around the country, but the move will take place on March 13, 2020 for Detroit Public TV and other Detroit stations, which is when you will need to rescan your TV.

All of Detroit Public TV’s four channels will be affected by the rescan including Detroit Public TV’s main channel 56.1 and three sub-channels 56.2 Detroit PBS Kids, 56.3 Create, and 56.4 WORLD.

Why is this happening?
Congress authorized the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – the agency that governs the public airwaves – to auction off broadcast TV frequencies (or airwaves) to make more channels available for wireless services. The auction has concluded and now nearly 1,000 TV stations are required by the FCC to move frequencies to make room for wireless companies that purchased the broadcast airwaves.

Will cable and satellite still carry my local TV stations?
DPTV will keep their current arrangements with cable and satellite TV systems to carry the stations’ broadcasts.

How does it impact me?
If you rely on an antenna to receive free, over-the-air TV, rescan your TV any time after Detroit Public TV moves on March 13th. You do not need to purchase new equipment or services to rescan. If you pay to subscribe to a television service – such as cable or satellite – you do not need to take action.

The actual channel number that you see will not change. TV stations including Detroit Public TV have been assigned different timeframes to move frequencies, so you may need to rescan your TV more than once. You do not need to purchase new equipment or services to rescan your TV.

What is rescanning?
Rescanning is when your TV or converter box finds all of the available channels in your area. If you haven’t rescanned your TV recently, you may discover TV channels that you didn’t know you were missing.

What does a station move entail?
Detroit Public TV will be moving frequencies. We are not moving to a new tower. We are just adjusting our Oak Park antenna and transmitter so we can broadcast on channel 20 instead of channel 43. We share this tower with WMYD (20) and CBS (62), along with a handful of small radio stations including DPTV’s classical and jazz radio station, WRCJ 90.9FM.

Will Detroit Public TV get new numbers?
After you rescan your TV set, Detroit Public TV’s main channel 56.1 and three sub-channels 56.2 Detroit PBS Kids, 56.3 Create, and 56.4 WORLD will still be found at their usual channel numbers.

If I need help rescanning, who do I call?
If you have difficulty, consult the owner’s manual for your television or converter box for more detailed instructions on how to run a channel scan, or contact customer service for your TV or converter box manufacturer. You do not need to purchase new equipment or services to rescan your TV. For additional assistance, contact Detroit Public TV’s members services at (248) 305-3900 or email dptv.org.  You can reach out to the FCC’s consumer hotline at 1-888-225-5322 and press prompt number 6.

I rescanned my TV as suggested and am still missing channels. What should I do?
If you are missing channels after your initial rescan, try to rescan your set again. If multiple rescans are not solving the problem, you may want to clear the memory of your TV by following these steps:

  1. Disconnect the antenna from the TV or converter box.
  2. Rescan the TV or converter box without the antenna connected. As with any scan follow the on-screen instructions or owner’s manual for your TV.
  3. Unplug the TV or converter box from the electrical outlet for one minute.
  4. Reconnect the antenna to the TV or converter box and plug the unit into the electrical outlet.
  5. Rescan the TV or converter box again.

Also keep in mind the location of an indoor antenna is key. Try moving your antenna near a window and position it as high as possible. Keep it away from other electronic equipment, including computers, DVD players, converter boxes, etc. You may want to change the direction the antenna is facing if you are not getting reception.

Do I need to buy a new antenna?
Probably not, but in a few cases, your local station may have moved from broadcasting in ultra-high frequency (UHF) to broadcasting in very high frequency (VHF). In these few instances, you may need to either adjust your antenna manually or purchase a new antenna in order to receive the signal. Our partners at AntennaWeb.org may be able to provide you with more precise information regarding signal strength and what type of antenna may work for you.

I lost my original TV remote, what do I do?
If you cannot find the remote control for your television or converter box, try using your universal remote to rescan or check the TV for controls located on the side or back of the unit. If you do not see controls on the TV, contact your set manufacturer for assistance.

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