FCC Pushing 'Double Re-scan'

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The Federal Communications Commission says some stations in Chicago and Philadelphia may have to apply for power boosts, and they are in discussions with stations there about their various technical issues,

However, the commission is currently focused on consumer-based fixes for reception problems, including promoting what it is calling the "double-rescan."

That is having consumers clear out their boxes' memories before re-scanning, a process the commission says is having success, particularly in Chicago. Are teams are beginning to put the word out on the technique, according to FCC spokesman Rick Kaplan.

Kaplan said that some consumers experiencing problems with both channel 2 and channel 7 in Chicago, for example, were  having difficulties with their boxes because both those stations went from a high UHF to a low VHF channel.

"There are some converter boxes that, if you just do a normal re-scan, they won't be able to replace the old digital channel with the new one. So, you actually just have to clear the box out," he said.

The FCC spokesman said that the double re-scan has worked "very well" in Chicago with channel 2. The FCC has a person from the D.C. office now in the market, who reported that the call center has been able to resolve "about 90% of the calls that way," according to Kaplan. He said L.A. has had success with the double re-scan as well, where according to field staffers there, KTLA 80%-90% of calls about KTLA reception have been resolved..

To double re-scan, says Kaplan, viewers need to unplug the antenna, then scan so it picks up nothing, then unplug the converter or DTV set, plug it back in, then rescan.

But for viewers still having trouble, says Kaplan, the FCC is talking with stations about possible long-term solutions from their end. If stations have to officially ask for more power, the FCC will take that seriously, he said. But that will also include figuring out who the boosted power might interfere with, and what dominoes that might trigger elsewhere.

"We want to figure out how to get it right," he says. "We don't want to rush, but don't want to delay, either." But while the commission is working with stations on their end, a process that won't be immediate if it involves adjusting power levels, the FCC "wants to make sure all consumer avenues are exhausted."

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