Originally Posted by justdigitalized
I don't understand "virtual channels"?? If I try to add any channel that is not memorized in the auto scan all I get is a fuzzy screen.
Television stations broadcast on RF channels... 6MHZ of space allotted to them. Some VHF, some UHF. With the switch to digital and repacking of the broadcast portion of the spectrum, many stations are no longer on the same frequency they originally started with. To maintain legacy branding, their digital stream uses virtual channel numbers. In Tampa, WFLA, known as "NewsChannel 8" actually broadcasts on the frequency originally known as Channel 7. We use "RF 7" to indicate what the actual channel is because typing out the frequencies all the time can be confusing.
The television stations broadcast one big stream of data. Within that stream can be one or many program streams. We call those "subchannels." On your screen, they show up with virtual channel numbers such as 8.1, 8.2, etc. Again, using Tampa's NBC affiliate as an example, station WFLA, broadcasting on RF 7 includes:
8.1 - WFLA
8.2 - MeTV
8.3 - Escape
38.1 - WTTA (sister station to WFLA)
38.2 - Cozi
All of that is broadcast on RF 7. The virtual channel numbers are what you see onscreen and used with station marketing and identifying.
This is why we prefer members use call letters when discussing reception issues.
WAAAY back when, I picked up (and still have) a Samsung OTA set top box. It was nice in that you could key in any RF channel it didn't pick up in the scan. It'd read the RF channel, add it and place it according to the virtual channel number. I still use it when looking for channels with marginal signals or DXing distant stations. The tuner light flashes when it has a signal, but it's not quite strong enough to lock. Big help in antenna positioning.