If you watch free over-the-air television with an antenna, you should rescan your TV set periodically to make sure you're receiving all the available channels in your area. This is the same scan that you did to find your local channels when you set up your TV or converter box for the first time. If you haven't scanned your TV recently, you might be surprised at how many stations are now available.

You can check the FCC's DTV reception map to check for channels available at your location. For more information on antennas, check out the FCC consumer guide on antennas and digital television.

You do not need to rescan if you are a subscriber to cable or satellite TV. Your provider will update your local channels for you.

Some local TV stations across the country changed their over-the-air broadcast frequencies from 2018-2020 as part of a plan to open airwaves for new high-speed wireless services. If this occurred where you live, the actual channel number on your TV would not have changed. However, you would need to rescan to ensure your TV continues to receive that channel. Except in rare circumstances, no new equipment or services are required.

Rescanning with Your Remote Control

The terminology for rescanning differs somewhat across manufacturers. Rescanning may also be referred to as auto-tuning, channel set-up, channel scan, channel search, auto-scan, auto-program, or other terminology, depending on your TV make and model. Instructions are similar for most remote controls. While the terminology may differ, the process for rescanning is fairly simple.

Consult your TV or converter box owner's manual, or visit the manufacturer's website, for instructions and customer service contact information. The following chart provides step-by-step instructions for several television brands.

TV BRAND

STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Haier

Click the "Menu" button.
Select "Channels".
Click "Auto Tuning".

Hitachi

Click the "Menu" button.
Select "Channels".
Then click "Air".
You will be asked "Are you sure you want to auto channel scan?"
Click the "Yes" button.

Insignia

Click the "Menu" button.
Select "Antenna" as your source.
Then click "Scan".

LG

Click the "Home" button.
Hit the "Settings" button.
Then the "Channels" button.
Click the "AutoTuning" button.

Panasonic

Click the "Menu" button.
From the menu, click the "Set-Up" button.
Select "Antenna".
Click the "Scan" button.

Philips

Click the "Home" button.
Use the left/right button to select "Set Up".
Use the directional buttons to select "Search for Channels".
Hit the "OK" button.

Samsung

Click the "Menu" button.
From the menu, select "Channel".
Click the "Auto Program" button.
Some Samsung models require you to then click the "Air" button. Others will just immediately begin scanning.

Sharp

Click the "Quick Setup Menu" button.
From that menu, select "Channel".
Then click "Auto Channel Scan".

Toshiba

Click the "Menu" button.
Using the up/down buttons, click into the "Set Up" menu.
Using the up/down buttons, select "Auto Tune".

Vizio

Press the "Menu" button.
Use the up/down buttons to click into "Set-Up" menu.
Use the up/down buttons to select "Re-Tune".
Click the "OK" button.

For brands not listed in the chart, instructions are often similar and typically include these steps:

  1. Press "set-up" or "menu" on the TV remote control or converter box.
  2. Select "channels," "antenna," or other similar terminology.
  3. Click "scan," "auto-tune," "channel search," "auto-program," or other similar terminology.
  4. The TV will do the rest. The process usually takes just a few minutes.

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Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Monday, November 2, 2020