FCC releases consumer DTV advisory


People having difficulty picking up off air signals may have a simple fix at their fingertips, and the FCC has a step-by-step guide out now that will help them to help themselves. The two most common problems involve using the scan function on converter boxes and resolving various antenna issues.

Consumers are advised to use a double rescanning technique to make sure converter boxes are pulling in all the TV stations they should be. This process will erase old info data stored in the box that may no longer be accurate. Here are the steps to execute a double rescan:

1. Disconnect the antenna from the box or digital TV

2. Re-scan the box or digital TV without the antenna connected.  As with any scan follow the on-screeninstructions or owner’s manual for your device

3. Unplug the box or digital TV from the electrical outlet for at least one minute

4. Reconnect the antenna to the box or digital TV and plug the unit into the electrical outlet.

5. Rescan the box or digital TV one more time.

The advisory also gets into antenna issues. It notes that VHF stations require rabbit ear, or rod receptors, while UHF uses hoop or bow tie receptors. Most units include both, but consumers need to make sure that is the case for their unit.

The FCC acknowledges that the most popular location for the unit is on top of the television set. However, this may not be the ideal location to pull in signals. The FCC urges experimentation, emphasizing putting the unit near a window, at a greater height, and/or away from other electronic equipment, including computers, VCRs, DVD players, converter boxes, and the television itself.

RBR/TVBR observation: The FCC’s piece is concise and easy to follow. The only thing we wonder about is how it gets to consumers. This information is prominently available at website dtv.gov, so it will behoove local television stations to continue to direct people with questions to that location.