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

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Rescan for Digital TV Channels Guide (pdf)

Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Thursday, November 5, 2015