Fox 11 Los Angeles is requiring a ‘rescan’ for users who watch via antennas as it adds ATSC 3.0

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Fox’s KTTV in Los Angeles will become one of the largest TV stations in the country to adopt the ATSC 3.0Nextgen TV” signal format Dec. 7, 2021 — a change that will require over the air viewers to “rescan” for the updated signals that morning.

ATSC 3.0 is already in use by dozens of stations in multiple markets across the country, but KTTV’s implementation of the technology is the first major one in the Los Angeles market, which is also the second largest designated market area in the country.

At 10 a.m. Pacific (local) time Dec. 7, KTTV will start broadcasting over the air in both its current format and ATSC 3.0.

While the existing format will still be available on equipment not compatible with 3.0 technology, all over the air viewers will need to rescan to continue to receive the KTTV signal.

In simpler terms, anyone who views KTTV and other channels using an antenna, which could be a separate device or built into a TV, will need to rescan.

Instructions on how to rescan vary based on manufacturer, so it’s a good idea to check your user manual or search for the maker and model of your device and the word “rescan” to find out how.

The change will not affect cable, satellite and digital viewers because these signals do not go over the air.

ATSC 3.0 comes with a key ability that lets advertising be targeted to specific viewers while also providing enhanced ratings data. There has been some concern about privacy and tracking issues related to this type of implementation, though its actual implementation has yet to make a significant mark on the industry.

The transition to ATSC 3.0 is also voluntary, so TV and other device manufacturers are not required to be compatible with it.

The change will not affect KTTV’s call signs or what channel users tune to to view the channel.

“Rescanning” has become a requirement for over the air TV viewers in recent years due to changes in how the frequencies that cover how the public airwaves are assigned.

The FCC, which is the government body charged with regulating public airwaves, underwent a massive effort called spectrum reallocation and repacking to open up more of the airwaves for new wireless broadband technologies.

This required over the air TV stations to change frequencies by July 3, 2020 (cable and streaming channels were not affected unless they were simulcast on an over the air signal).

In addition, many TV stations opted to sell their portion of the spectrum to third parties, often for use in wireless broadcast — raking in billions of dollars from these sales — and switch to a different frequency, use a channel sharing arrangement or simply stop broadcasting over the air.

These factors all triggered many stations run “plan to rescan” PSAs to let viewers know of the requirement (with the exception of the few channels that went dark over the air and switched exclusive to cable or satellite distribution).

However, KTTV’s rescanning requirement is distinct from the spectrum reallocation and repacking effort, though it is similar in the sense that there is an adjustment to frequency its signals use, thus requiring the “rescan.”

With the rise of cable, satellite and streaming TV services, the number of viewers who watch channels over the air continues to shrink, so rescanning is typically not something that affects the majority of viewers, though this can vary from market to market based on cable, satellite and broadband availability.