All full power television stations in the U.S. are now broadcasting in digital only. A consumer has three options for watching a digital broadcast: 1. get a digital to analog converter box to connect to an existing older analog set along with your antenna; 2. subscribe to cable, satellite, or other pay TV service; 3. have a digital television set with an antenna. What is a Channel Scan?
Installing a converter box or setting up a DTV-ready television is only the first part of the process. After hooking up a converter box to your TV set or installing a new digital television, you will need to scan for new channels to ensure you receive all the digital stations broadcasting in your area. While some boxes do this automatically, you may need to select “scan” manually.
You should rescan on a periodic basis to get all of the digital programming available. How do I Perform a Channel Scan?
Run the “scan” function on your converter box or digital television set, usually on the remote control, labeled “set-up” or “menu” or some similar term. Consult the owner’s manual for more detailed instructions on how to run a channel scan.
Once the scan is complete, you should be receiving digital channels through your antenna.
Perform a channel scan periodically to check for new digital channels in your area. Consumer Help Center
For more information on this and other consumer issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer Help Center at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.
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Digital Television (DTV) is an advanced broadcasting technology that has transformed the television viewing experience. DTV enables broadcasters to offer television with better picture and sound quality, and multiple channels of programming. Since June 13, 2009, full-power television stations nationwide have been required to broadcast exclusively in a digital format.
The switch from analog to digital broadcast television is known as the Digital Television Transition. In 1996, Congress authorized the distribution of an additional broadcast channel to every full-power TV station so that each station could launch a digital broadcast channel while simultaneously continuing analog broadcasting. Later, Congress set June 12, 2009 as the deadline for full power television stations to stop broadcasting analog signals.
An important benefit of the switch to all-digital broadcasting is that parts of the valuable broadcast spectrum have been freed up for public safety communications by groups such as police, fire departments and rescue squads. Also, some of the spectrum has been auctioned to companies that will be able to provide consumers with advanced wireless services, such as wireless broadband.
DTV Transition and LPTV - Class A - Translator Stations
The FCC has established September 1, 2015 date for the termination of all analog low power television service. After that date, analog television will no longer be broadcast in the United States. Until that time, low power television stations may continue to operate their analog facilities.
Low power television stations have the opportunity to seek either an on-channel digital conversion of their existing analog facilities (“flash cut”) or may construct and operate a second digital companion channel during the remainder of the digital transition. However, all low power television stations will be required to decide a single digital channel to continue to operate after the September 1, 2015 transition date.
If you have an analog-only television that receives free over-the-air programming (with a roof-top antenna or "rabbit ears" on the TV), you will need to purchase a digital-to-analog (“D-to-A”) converter box in order to watch digital broadcast television. If you purchase a D-to-A converter box to watch digital broadcasts on an analog TV and also wish to continue watching analog LPTV, Class A or TV translator stations, you should purchase a converter box with "analog pass-through" capability, which allows analog broadcast signals to pass through the converter box to be tuned by your analog TV. Converter boxes are still sold at some department and electronics stores and online. When shopping for a converter box, check to make sure the converter box you are purchasing has analog pass-through capability.
If you purchase a digital-to-analog converter box without analog pass-through capability, you can use an "A-B switch" and/or a "signal splitter" and some extra cable to route the analog signals around the converter box in order to watch analog channels. A set-up guide is available at www.fcc.gov/guides/digital-analog-converter-box-setup-viewing-analog-and-digital-broadcasts. Alternatively, you can disconnect the antenna from the converter box and re-connect it directly to the TV to watch analog broadcasts. Check with the manufacturer of the digital-to-analog converter box and your retailer if you need additional instructions on how to connect the box to view broadcasts from both analog and digital stations.
Consumer Help Center
For more information on consumer issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer Help Center at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.
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Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Setup (For Viewing Analog and Digital Broadcasts)