Tablo Blog

Three Reasons Why You Should Regularly Rescan for OTA Channels

We hope you enjoy the following guest post from Michael Heiss, technology strategist, consultant, CEDIA FELLOW, contributing editor to Residential Systems Magazine, cord cutting enthusiast, and Tablo’s subchannel observer.


As Tablo’s Over-the-Air digital subchannel expert, it’s my duty to make sure that you not only know about these hidden gems, but that your Tablo DVR continues to find them. 

That’s why I want to talk to you about the three reasons you’ll want to run a fresh channel scan on a regular basis:

three reasons rescan


Reason #1 - Your Local Channels May be Moving

Over the past few years, the FCC conducted an auction where TV stations were able to sell the broadcast ‘space’ (AKA spectrum) their channel occupied, back to the government. 

Frequencies that were freed up were resold to cellular carriers and public service agencies. The results of this channel repack auction are now starting to take effect.

In most cases, programming from the channels that were sold will reappear as a digital subchannel under another station. That means during this transition some of the stations you watch may switch to a new ‘physical channel’ over which the signal is transmitted, even though the channel number that shows on your screen may stay the same.

If one of your local stations is making a switch, you’ll typically see announcements advising you to rescan, as well as links and ’how to‘ videos on the station’s web sites.


Reason #2 – Your Local Broadcaster May Be Changing Equipment


Sometimes broadcasters make equipment or other technical changes that can impact your ability to receive your local channels. 

For example, next week the broadcast location for NBC New York’s main channel (NBC 4.1) as well as its subchannel (Cozi TV 4.2) will move from the Empire State Building to a new transmission tower on the new One World Trade Center.

This move should result in increased transmission coverage which will reach fringe area viewers, as well those in the caverns of Manhattan who might not have been able to get these channels in recent years.


Reason #3 – Brand New OTA Subchannels

Here in Los Angeles the number of subchannels is constantly growing, and you may find that where you live, as well. Over the past few months, many TV markets have added sports network Stadium as well as Quest TV which features lots of great shows that first aired on the Discovery Channel.

Taking the time to do a channel rescan might mean finding new main channels or cool subchannels you didn’t previously know about!


How To Do a Channel Rescan


So if a station you watch regularly suddenly disappears, or you hear about a new station coming to your area, here’s what you need to do… 

If you use a Tablo, you can run a fresh channel can anytime via the settings screen on the web app at Check out full instructions here.

Scared about losing your recording schedules? Don’t worry, your Tablo will keep these for you in most cases, even if your channel is moving.

If your antenna is connected directly to your TV take the following steps:

  • Press 'menu' on your television remote
  • Find either “channel” or “antenna”, depending your TV’s menu
  • Select either “auto-tune” or “rescan”, depending your TV’s menu
  • Let the TV automatically adjust (this will take between 5 and 15 minutes)


The bottom line is that a periodic rescan keeps your OTA TV viewing up to date.

I recommend that you do a rescan once every three or four months just to make certain that you don’t miss out on your favorite shows!  


Michael Heiss is a technology strategist, consultant, CEDIA Fellow. a contributing editor to Residential Systems Magazine and proud wearer of test pattern suits. Follow him on Twitter @captnvid



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