Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rescan Your DTV tuner

Did any of your local TV stations disappear last night? Officially, all regular television stations in the United States stopped broadcasting analog TV signals and switched exclusively to digital broadcasting as of yesterday, June 12th. Because some digital stations have moved to different channel numbers, everybody should re-scan their DTV tuners to ensure that you will receive all of the digital stations broadcasting in your area. This is usually a straightforward procedure.

My DTV converter box is an Insignia NS-DXA1-APT, but it is very similar to the Insignia NS-DXA1 as well as the Zenith DTT901 and DTT900 models. On these models, I push the Menu button on the remote control to get into the setup menu. From there I would select either Auto Tuning, or EZ Add, and follow the on-screen directions to scan for new channels. If you have any difficulty doing this on your DTV converter, then you should consult the manual that came with your DTV box.

For some background information, the switch to digital TV is not as simple as just turning off analog TV broadcasts. Until June 12, 2009, TV broadcasts were received on channels 2-69. After the digital transition is complete channels 52-69 will be reallocated for other uses. In Silicon Valley, where I live, the digital TV station KTEH is on channel 54-1. KTEH is really broadcast on digital channel 50, but shows up as 54-1 through a process known as virtual channel numbering. The analog channel 54 will disappear after the DTV transition.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, KGO broadcasts analog TV on channel 7, and digital TV on channel 24. After switching off the analog channel, they will return the digital broadcast to channel 7. More complex is the case of KTVU which broadcasts analog on Channel 2, and digital on channel 56. After the switch off, they will broadcast on channel 44. However until June 12th, Channel 44 was used by KBCW (the old KBHK). For obvious reasons KBCW needs to shutdown their analog transmitter before KTVU can take over this channel. Is this confusing enough for you?

In addition to my DTV converter box, I also bought a DVD/VCR recorder with a built-in digital tuner. If I use an antenna with this device, I will also have to rescan the channels to receive over-the-air (OTA) TV broadcasts.