DTV Transition: Remember to Rescan

Full-power analog television broadcasts in the U.S. may or may not end in two weeks, but when they do, there will be some additional changes. If you look at www.antennaweb.org to see which digital channels you can receive, you may see that some are assigned to one frequency now, and will have another frequency after the transition. You’ll have to get your digital tuner (television or converter box) to rescan to find the channels again after the change.

These frequency changes will be like a game of musical chairs in some markets, as one station will move to another frequency that is currently used by a different station, which in turn will move to yet another frequency. This is one reason why a delay in the transition date that allows stations to switch early will cause such confusion and difficulty. A station may want to switch, but won’t be able to because some other station is occupying its frequency.

Also, some of the stations may come in better after the transition. One reason is that some are not using full power transmitters for their digital broadcasts yet. For example, the PBS network stations WNET in New York City and WHYY in Philadelphia are both using lower power transmitters for now. After the transition, they will switch to a full power transmitter. The additional power will expand their coverage area considerably.

So whenever the transition takes place (and the sooner the better), remember to rescan all your digital tuners so that they can find the channels again on their new frequencies.