Over-the-air viewers must rescan TV channels Friday

Chicago (AP Photo)

For roughly half a million television homes in the Chicago area, Friday will be a very big day.

That’s when over-the-air viewers will have to rescan their TVs or converter boxes if they want to continue to receive local TV stations for free.

Cable and satellite viewers, including those using paid services such as Comcast, AT&T U-verse, DirecTV and Dish TV, will not be affected. They make up about 82 percent of television households in the metropolitan area.

But for the other 18 percent — or about 586,000 households — it will be a relatively simple process to realign their receivers to new over-the-air digital frequencies. All you need is your remote control. (Here is a link for instructions.)

The following stations will be impacted by the rescan Friday:

  • WMAQ-Channel 5 (NBC)
  • WLS-Channel 7 (ABC)
  • WTTW-Channel 11 (PBS)
  • WCIU-Channel 26 (CW)
  • WFLD-Channel 32 (Fox)
  • WCPX-Channel 38 (Ion)
  • WSNS-Channel 44 (Telemundo)
  • WXFT -Channel 60 (UniMas)
  • WGBO-Channel 66 (Univision)

They’re among nearly 1,000 stations nationwide changing their frequencies to comply with the spectrum reallocation mandated by the Federal Communications Commission. Mainly it’s being done to make additional airwaves available for wireless internet services.

Here’s a simple video explaining the process from the National Association of Broadcasters:

Monday’s comment of the day: Michael Vicari: Well, if central among their reasoning [at WBEZ] is to increase non-broadcast listening they’re going about it the right way: local content in midday. That’s when people stream.