Hd Tv Channel Assignments

North American television frequencies are different for over-the-air (also called terrestrial) and cable television systems. Over-the-air television channels are divided into two bands: the VHF band which comprises channels 2 through 13 and occupies frequencies between 54 and 216 MHz, and the UHF band, which comprises channels 14 through 83 and occupies frequencies between 470 and 890 MHz. These bands are different enough in frequency that they often require separate antennas to receive (although many antennas cover both VHF and UHF), and separate tuning controls on the television set. The VHF band is further divided into two frequency ranges: VHF low band (Band I) between 54 and 88 MHz, containing channels 2 through 6, and VHF high band (Band III) between 174 and 216 MHz, containing channels 7 through 13. The wide spacing between these frequency bands is responsible for the complicated design of rooftop TV antennas. The UHF band has higher noise and greater attenuation, so higher gain antennas are often required for UHF.

Broadcast television[edit]


Further information: § Historical band plans

The VHF band plan was modified several times before 1948. The last of these changes was the deletion of channel 1, originally intended as a community channel. This allocation of the spectrum was given to two-way land-mobile radio.[1]

UHF channels 70-83 in the United States were reallocated in 1983. As of 2016,[clarification needed] channels 52-69 are not available for normal, high-power digital television broadcasting in the United States, but some channels are available for use as low-power or translator stations.[2]

In March 2008, the FCC requested public comment on turning the bandwidth currently occupied by analog television channels 5 and 6 (76–88 MHz) over to extending the FM broadcast band when the digital television transition was to be completed in February 2009 (ultimately delayed to June 2009).[3] This proposed allocation would effectively assign frequencies corresponding to the existing Japanese FM radio service (which begins at 76 MHz) for use as an extension to the existing North American FM broadcast band.[4][needs update]

700 MHz band[edit]

Wireless microphones and medicaltelemetry devices formerly shared some of the TV bands, but transmitted at a very low power. After the migration of digital television in 2009, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) banned these from using the 700 MHz band in the U.S., effective June 12, 2010. The 700 MHz band is now used for public safety communications and wireless broadband providers.[5]

600 MHz band[edit]

In 2015 the FCC has announced the possible auction of all remaining spectrum including and above channel 38.[6] Such decision would require the reconfiguration of channel allotment (known in the broadcast TV industry as the channel "repack"), and would allow for higher gain small antennas. This could preclude the auction of some or all remaining VHF or UHF spectrum, a decision that would then allow further yet smaller high gain antennas. In April 2017, it has since been decided that channels 38 and above will be deleted, but channel 37 remains reserved.

Channel frequencies[edit]

VHF band[edit]

 Channel  Lower edge  Video carrier  ATSC pilot  Audio carrier  Upper edge 
(Gap in band plan)
 Channel  Lower edge   Video carrier  ATSC pilot  Audio carrier  Upper edge 

UHF band[edit]

The following table lists over-the-air television channels in the ultra high frequency band. Some entries have a colored background, indicating that the channels have been reallocated for other use. The notes below the table explain the re-allocations.

 Channel  Lower edge  Video carrier  ATSC pilot  Audio carrier  Upper edge 


  • Channel 37 is reserved for radio astronomy in the United States, Canada, Bermuda and the Bahamas, thus there are no television stations assigned to it. Mexico also informally observes a ban on transmitters using this channel.
  • On August 22, 2011, the United States' Federal Communications Commission announced a freeze on all future applications for broadcast stations requesting to use channel 51,[7] to prevent adjacent-channel interference to the A-Block of the 700 MHz band. Later that year (on December 16, 2011), Industry Canada and the CRTC followed suit in placing a moratorium on future television stations using Channel 51 for broadcast use for the same reason.[8]
  • Channels 52 through 69 in the United States have been reallocated now that conversion to digital TV was completed on June 12, 2009, although some low-power and translator stations may still be in use on these channels.[2]
  • The frequencies used by UHF channels 70 through 83 were reallocated to the Land Mobile Radio System (Public Safety and Trunked Radio) and mobile phones in a CCIR worldwide convention in 1983.[2][additional citation(s) needed]
  • With the advent of digital television in 2009, stations are allowed to identify themselves by a virtual channel that may not necessarily be the same as the station's RF channel. Virtual channels 1, 37, and 70 to 99 can be assigned via PSIP even though there is no corresponding physical station on that RF channel.[9]
Cable television frequency issues
  • UHF channels 14 to 43 translate to common cable-ready channels 65 to 94 (add 51).
  • UHF channels 44 to 69 translate to rarely used cable TV channels 100 to 125 (add 56).
  • Cable-ready channels 6, 95, 96, and 97 have audio carriers which overlap FM radio stations (87.7 ,95.7, 101.7 and 107.7).

Historical band plans[edit]

 Channel  Lower edge  Video carrier  Audio carrier  Upper edge  Current U.S. use 
15051.2555.7556Amateur band, TV ch. 2 (deprecated)
(Break in band plan)
26667.2571.7572TV ch. 4 (deprecated)
37273.2577.7578Radio-controlled car/plane hobby, TV ch. 5
47879.2583.7584TV ch. 5
58485.2589.7590TV ch. 6, FM radio
(Break in band plan)
69697.25101.75102FM radio
7102103.25107.75108FM radio
 Channel  Lower edge  Video carrier  Audio carrier  Upper edge  Current U.S. use 
8162163.25167.75168NOAA Weather Radio (162)
(Break in band plan)
9180181.25185.75186TV ch. 8
10186187.25191.75192TV ch. 9
(Break in band plan)
11204205.25209.75210TV ch. 12
12210211.25215.75216TV ch. 13
(Break in band plan)
(Break in band plan)
(Break in band plan)

Cable television[edit]

Harmonically-related carriers (HRC)[edit]

Harmonically-related carriers (HRC) is a system for assigning television channel numbers to bands of frequencies over a cable TV network.[citation needed] William Grant, in his book,[10] states:

"By harmonically relating the carrier frequencies themselves it is … possible to improve system performance. This does not reduce the beats produced, but positions them within the system transmission spectrum, such that they are more tolerable. In effect, all signal carriers are spaced precisely at 6 MHz apart, and thus, all beats generated are at 6 MHz increments." "Since the television signals are vestigial sideband modulation, if the beat products can be manipulated to fall on or near the RF carriers themselves, they are much less offensive."

Incrementally-related carriers (IRC)[edit]

Incrementally-related carriers (IRC) is a system for assigning television channel numbers to bands of frequencies over a cable TV network.[11] The IRC plan attempts to minimize distortion products by deriving all video carrier signals from a common source.[12] The IRC system assigns channel frequencies (for the North American NTSC-M system) spaced 6 MHz apart. In an IRC system, the VHF channels are at their off-air frequencies except for channels 5 and 6, which will be 2 MHz higher than usual.[13]

Channel frequencies[edit]

These frequencies are used for both NTSC-based analog television and QAM-based digital television. Band plans for North American cable television systems are standardized in EIA standard 542-B.[14]

Channels 57 to 61, and 143 to 145, are used in amateur television.

NOTE: Frequencies given are for luminance carriers. For channel center frequencies, add 1.75 MHz.
Channel numberChannel letterStandard video carrier (MHz)Harmonically-related video carrier (MHz)Incrementally-related video carrier (MHz)QAM / CDSREF carrier (MHz)Audio carrier (MHz)
Subband "T" channels
(Break in band plan)
55 (or A-7)77.2578.003979.2579.00 or 81.0081.75 or 83.75
66 (or A-6)83.2584.004285.2585.00 or 87.0087.75 or 89.75
37AA or W+1301.25300.0150301.25303.00305.75
38BB or W+2307.25306.0153307.25309.00311.75
39CC or W+3313.25312.0156313.25315.00317.75
40DD or W+4319.25318.0159319.25321.00323.75
41EE or W+5325.25324.0162325.25327.00329.75
42FF or W+6331.25330.0165331.25333.00335.75
43GG or W+7337.25336.0168337.25339.00341.75
44HH or W+8343.25342.0171343.25345.00347.75
45II or W+9349.25348.0174349.25351.00353.75
46JJ or W+10355.25354.0177355.25357.00359.75
47KK or W+11361.25360.0180361.25363.00365.75
48LL or W+12367.25366.0183367.25369.00371.75
49MM or W+13373.25372.0186373.25375.00377.75
50NN or W+14379.25378.0189379.25381.00383.75
51OO or W+15385.25384.0192385.25387.00389.75
52PP or W+16391.25390.0195391.25393.00395.75
53QQ or W+17397.25396.0198397.25399.00401.75
54RR or W+18403.25402.0201403.25405.00407.75
55SS or W+19409.25408.0204409.25411.00413.75
56TT or W+20415.25414.0207415.25417.00419.75
57UU or W+21421.25420.0210421.25423.00425.75
58VV or W+22427.25426.0213427.25429.00431.75
59WW or W+23433.25432.0216433.25435.00437.75
60XX or W+24439.25438.0219439.25441.00443.75
61YY or W+25445.25444.0222445.25447.00449.75
62ZZ or W+26451.25450.0225451.25453.00455.75
63AAA or W+27457.25456.0228457.25459.00461.75
64BBB or W+28463.25462.0231463.25465.00467.75
65CCC or W+29469.25468.0234469.25471.00473.75
66DDD or W+30475.25474.0237475.25477.00479.75
67EEE or W+31481.25480.0240481.25483.00485.75
68FFF or W+32487.25486.0243487.25489.00491.75
69GGG or W+33493.25492.0246493.25495.00497.75
70HHH or W+34499.25498.0249499.25501.00503.75
71III or W+35505.25504.0252505.25507.00509.75
72JJJ or W+36511.25510.0255511.25513.00515.75
73KKK or W+37517.25516.0258517.25519.00521.75
74LLL or W+38523.25522.0261523.25525.00527.75
75MMM or W+39529.25528.0264529.25531.00533.75
76NNN or W+40535.25534.0267535.25537.00539.75
77OOO or W+41541.25540.0270541.25543.00545.75
78PPP or W+42547.25546.0273547.25549.00551.75
79QQQ or W+43553.25552.0276553.25555.00557.75
80RRR or W+44559.25558.0279559.25561.00563.75
81SSS or W+45565.25564.0282565.25567.00569.75
82TTT or W+46571.25570.0285571.25573.00575.75
83UUU or W+47577.25576.0288577.25579.00581.75
84VVV or W+48583.25582.0291583.25585.00587.75
85WWW or W+49589.25588.0294589.25591.00593.75
86XXX or W+50595.25594.0297595.25597.00599.75
87YYY or W+51601.25600.0300601.25603.00605.75
88ZZZ or W+52607.25606.0303607.25609.00611.75
8989 or W+53613.25612.0306613.25615.00617.75
9090 or W+54619.25618.0309619.25621.00623.75
9191 or W+55625.25624.0312625.25627.00629.75
9292 or W+56631.25630.0315631.25633.00635.75
9393 or W+57637.25636.0318637.25639.00641.75
9494 or W+58643.25642.0321643.25645.00647.75
100100 or W+59649.25648.0324649.25651.00653.75
101101 or W+60655.25654.0327655.25657.00659.75
102102 or W+61661.25660.0330661.25663.00665.75
103103 or W+62667.25666.0333667.25669.00671.75
104104 or W+63673.25672.0336673.25675.00677.75
105105 or W+64679.25678.0339679.25681.00683.75
106106 or W+65685.25684.0342685.25687.00689.75
107107 or W+66691.25690.0345691.25693.00695.75
108108 or W+67697.25696.0348697.25699.00701.75
109109 or W+68703.25702.0351703.25705.00707.75
110110 or W+69709.25708.0354709.25711.00713.75
111111 or W+70715.25714.0357715.25717.00719.75
112112 or W+71721.25720.0360721.25723.00725.75
113113 or W+72727.25726.0363727.25729.00731.75
114114 or W+73733.25732.0366733.25735.00737.75
115115 or W+74739.25738.0369739.25741.00743.75
116116 or W+75745.25744.0372745.25747.00749.75
117117 or W+76751.25750.0375751.25753.00755.75
118118 or W+77757.25756.0378757.25759.00761.75
119119 or W+78763.25762.0381763.25765.00767.75
120120 or W+79769.25768.0384769.25771.00773.75
121121 or W+80775.25774.0387775.25777.00779.75
122122 or W+81781.25780.0390781.25783.00785.75
123123 or W+82787.25786.0393787.25789.00791.75
124124 or W+83793.25792.0396793.25795.00797.75
125125 or W+84799.25798.0399799.25801.00803.75
126126 or W+85805.25804.0402805.25807.00809.75
127127 or W+86811.25810.0405811.25813.00815.75
128128 or W+87817.25816.0408817.25819.00821.75
129129 or W+88823.25822.0411823.25825.00827.75
130130 or W+89829.25828.0414829.25831.00833.75
131131 or W+90835.25834.0417835.25837.00839.75
132132 or W+91841.25840.0420841.25843.00845.75
133133 or W+92847.25846.0423847.25849.00851.75
134134 or W+93853.25852.0426853.25855.00857.75
135135 or W+94859.25858.0429859.25861.00863.75
136136 or W+95865.25864.0432865.25867.00869.75
137137 or W+96871.25870.0435871.25873.00875.75
138138 or W+97877.25876.0438877.25879.00881.75
139139 or W+98883.25882.0441883.25885.00887.75
140140 or W+99889.25888.0444889.25891.00893.75
141141 or W+100895.25894.0447895.25897.00899.75
142142 or W+101901.25900.0450901.25903.00905.75
143143 or W+102907.25906.0453907.25909.00911.75
144144 or W+103913.25912.0456913.25915.00917.75
145145 or W+104919.25918.0459919.25921.00923.75
146146 or W+105925.25924.0462925.25927.00929.75
147147 or W+106931.25930.0465931.25933.00935.75
148148 or W+107937.25936.0468937.25939.00941.75
149149 or W+108943.25942.0471943.25945.00947.75
150150 or W+109949.25948.0474949.25951.00953.75
151151 or W+110955.25954.0477955.25957.00959.75
152152 or W+111961.25960.0480961.25963.00965.75
153153 or W+112967.25966.0483967.25969.00971.75
154154 or W+113973.25972.0486973.25975.00977.75
155155 or W+114979.25978.0489979.25981.00983.75
156156 or W+115985.25984.0492985.25987.00989.75
157157 or W+116991.25990.0495991.25993.00995.75
158158 or W+117997.25996.0498997.25999.001001.75

Channel usage[edit]

Cable channels 98 and 99 (A2 and A1, 108-120 MHz), if used, have appeared as channel 00 and 01 respectively on some cable boxes.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^http://www.tech-notes.tv/History&Trivia/Channel%20One/Channel_1.htm
  2. ^ abc"FCC Online Table of Frequency Allocations 47 C.F.R. § 2.106"(PDF). Federal Communications Commission. 2016-08-31. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2016-10-30. 
  3. ^Federal Communications Commission (2008-05-16). "In the Matter of Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting Services". Retrieved 2013-07-03.   73 FR28400, 73 FR28403
  4. ^Could EXB Band Be Your New Home?RadioWorld September 10, 2008
  5. ^"Distribution, Sale and Use of Wireless Microphones Operating in the 700 MHz Band Prohibited". FCC. 
  6. ^http://www.tvtechnology.com/news/0002/fcc-releases-incentive-auction-clearing-target/278576
  7. ^ abFCC Public Notice DA-11-1428A1:
  8. ^ abIndustry Canada Advisory Letter - Moratorium on the Use of Television Channel 51
  9. ^"What is the difference between a RF channel and a virtual channel?". ChannelMaster. Retrieved 2014-12-22. 
  10. ^Cable Television, 2nd edition, GWG Associates, Schoharie, NY, 1988, page 82
  11. ^http://www.jneuhaus.com/fccindex/cablech.html#irc
  12. ^Walter S. Ciciora (ed), Modern cable television technology: video, voice, and data communications , Morgan Kaufmann, 2004 ISBN 1-55860-828-1, page 399
  13. ^http://www.hackerscatalog.com/Services/TECH_Notes/eleven.html
  14. ^Walter S. Ciciora, Modern cable television technology: video, voice, and data communications Morgan Kaufmann, 2004 ISBN 1-55860-828-1, pages 397-402
  15. ^"Technical Notes". HackersCatalog.com. Extreme Media. 2012. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 

External links[edit]

Q: What is OTA television and how does it work?

A:  Over-the-air television is a term used to describe television signals that are broadcast by your local television broadcast towers (as opposed to a cable or satellite signal). Since 2007, these signals are broadcast using digital signals, as opposed to the analog signals, which were in use prior to 2009. There are currently 3 ways to pick up your local stations:

  1. The first is an OTA digital receiver which will receive your local channels. These digital tuners with HD outputs can be purchased at any electronics chain for about $99-$199. They can be added to almost any television and there will be no monthly fees. 
  2. The second is an HDTV with a built-in digital tuner. All TVs made after 2007 should have an ATSC (HDTV tuner) already built-in. (Note: If your TV says “HD ready” it does not have a digital tuner built in. "HD Ready" refers to any display that is capable of accepting and displaying a high-definition signal at either 720p, 1080i or 1080p using a component video or digital input, but does not have a built-in HD-capable tuner.)
  3. The third is an HD satellite tuner. Both Dish Network and Direct TV offer HDTV satellite receivers with the over-the-air tuner built into the same unit. The advantage of using this method is that there is no need to utilize separate equipment to receive premium HD networks like HBO HD and ShowTime HD. Also, the local and satellite channels can both be integrated into the program guide, to make it seamless for the viewer when switching between local and satellite. You will need an over-the-air antenna, (like the ones we sell), as well as the dish being connected to the receiver.

Q: Are all Digital Channels on UHF?

A: No, not all channels are on UHF. While Many DTV stations are occupying UHF broadcast channels, there are many stations providing VHF broadcast channels as well. For more information, please visit www.antennapoint.com.

Q: How is reception in distant or "fringe" areas? Will I get a fuzzy picture?

A: When it comes to digital television, it's an "all or nothing at all" proposition. Once the signal is acquired, a steady stream of data assures you'll get a perfect picture and great audio. If that bit stream is interrupted, however, there will be nothing - just a blank screen. In areas with lots of buildings or obstacles, multi-path distortion can cause a "cliff effect" to kick in. The fix is to use a higher-gain antenna assuming the multi-path can be tamed. Work is being done to determine the optimal designs for improving error correction in set-top receivers.

As far as distance is concerned, getting reliable UHF DTV reception beyond the curvature of the earth (approximately 70 miles) is difficult. Terrain has a major impact on reception. Going over water is the best-case-scenario since water is generally flat and has positive impacts on temperature for sending the signal along. That being said, beyond 70 miles, unless you can get direct line-of-sight to the transmitters, obstacles which impact reception negatively are inevitable.

Q: Getting VHF stations is a problem for me. I get everything else fine.

A: Many stations that have reverted to VHF assignments have dramatically cut their transmitter power, in some cases by over 90%! Some stations mistakenly thought they could save money by cutting their power while reaching the same number of viewers. In other cases the FCC imposed reduced power limits to stations that reverted to their old VHF assignments in order to prevent interference with adjacent markets. There has been a misperception among some station owners that while dramatically lowering DTV transmitter power, they could serve the same coverage area as analog, and this has turned out to be incorrect. Many stations who have reverted back to VHF are now finding themselves with significantly reduced coverage areas and fewer viewers after switching to VHF. 

One potential problem with re-using low VHF (2-6) and high VHF (7-13) TV channels for DTV is the possibility of interference from other signals during certain times of the year. "Skip" may bring in distant broadcasts on the same channel and create interference. Low VHF (2-6) digital broadcasts are particularly prone to interference and are often hard to receive reliably, regardless of what model of antenna is used. Note: The physical size of low VHF and high VHF antennas is much larger than that of a UHF antenna.

Q: What is a Yagi?

A: The Yagi antenna is credited to Hidetsugu Yagi (although not the original inventor), A Japanese physicist. The Yagi was designed to improve the gain of the antenna concentrated in one direction. The directivity is accomplished with added elements called directors and reflectors. The Yagi has high Gain, is very directional, and has narrow bandwidth. In simple unidirectional antennas like the Yagi, frequency bandwidth is inversely proportional to antenna gain. One way to increase the frequency bandwidth of a simple antenna like a Yagi, is to increase the diameter of the antenna conductors. The greater the conductor diameter, the wider the band with increased conductor diameter also has a second benefit, it increases the physical strength of the antennas.

Q: What is the difference between UHF and VHF antennas?

A: The most obvious difference between VHF and UHF antennas is the size. A half wave dipole for channel 2 will be 10 times longer than for channel 28. This means that a much more elaborate UHF antenna can be constructed without the antenna becoming physically unmanageable. With more elements added to the UHF antenna, higher gain and directivity can be obtained.

Q: What is a Bowtie Antenna?

A: A bowtie antenna is another name for a UHF fan dipole antenna. By using triangular elements instead of rods, the bandwidth is greatly increased, to cover the entire UHF band. Additionally, the mesh reflector of the bowtie is more efficient than the rod reflector. It is also lighter in weight and has less wind resistance.


Q: What makes a ClearStream™ antenna different from other antennas?

A: Whenever you design an antenna for a narrower range of frequencies, you can expect dramatic improvements in performance. Our ClearStream™ series of antennas are tuned specifically for the core DTV channels. ClearStream™ antennas are also less prone to interference and will ensure the best signal reception. 

Q: Can I install an antenna in the attic?

A: Sometimes, for various reasons, it is necessary to install your antenna in the attic. However, keep in mind that one layer of asphalt shingles + roof felt + ¾" plywood roof deck = at least a 50% reduction in signal strength. Plus, if you have metal or aluminum-backed insulation in the walls or under the roof, the signal will most likely be blocked. You'll have to remove the insulation or install the antenna in a different place. In addition, although the antenna is inside, you'll still need to make sure that your antenna is pointing toward your local TV broadcast towers. Visit antennapoint.com to find your nearest towers, and visit our page Attic Installation Tips for more information.

Q: My Homeowners association prohibits antennas on the roof, what can I do?

A: In 1996, The FCC affirmed the rights of homeowners to place antennas on property they own or control.* You can read the FCC ruling here: http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html*. The law basically states that homeowner association covenants cannot prevent you from installing antennas or dishes. The rule "prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming."

*Masts higher than 12 feet above the roofline may be subject to local permitting requirements.

Q: I have read ads for an antenna that can pick up stations 200 miles away. Is this possible?

A: Under extremely rare circumstances, a television antenna could possibly pick up stations 200 miles away. However, an antenna is only very rarely going to get terrestrial television broadcasts over such a distance.

Theoretically, it would be possible if you lived on top of a mountain and the broadcast towers were also on a mountain. At normal elevations, however, the curvature of the earth pretty much limits effectiveness to about 70 miles for UHF band signals. Low VHF band (2-6) can bounce further than this, but currently, only about 7% of digital TV channels are on the VHF band. Most Digital TV channels are on the UHF band - which is line-of-sight transmission.

Q: My TV channels display as 2.1, 5.1, 7.1 etc. So I need a VHF antenna, right?

A: A TV channel, such as 2.1, 4.1, or 5.1, might be displayed on your TV, but that does not mean it is a VHF frequency. You can locate the actual broadcast frequency channel at www.tvfool.com. Select the TV Signal Locator and enter your home address. The actual broadcast frequency channel will be shown along with the virtual channel in parentheses. For example, KMOV 24 (4.1). The call sign for the TV station is KMOV, the broadcast frequency channel is 24, and the virtual channel is 4.1. Therefore, in this example, the TV station is broadcasting on frequency channel 24, so it is not a VHF frequency.

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