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Freeview intermittent interference

When you get occasional sound loss or picture freezes

When you get occasional sound loss or picture freezes
published on UK Free TV

There are several different types of interference that cause problems. This page deals with the situation where:

  • Freeview reception is perfect or near-perfect most of the time
  • The audio on TV and radio channels mutes momentarily a few times each minute
  • The picture on a Freeview channel freezes a few times each minute

There are two main causes of this type of intermittent interference:
  • 'Induction' interference
  • Mobile phone interference

Induction interference

Induction interference is caused by mains-powered household devices that contain a large motor, such as:
  • Washing machine;
  • Tumble dryer;
  • Central heating pump or combination boiler;
  • Fridge;
  • Freezer;
  • Power tools (drills, jigsaws etc)
  • Vacuum cleaners;
  • Water pumps;
  • Automatic doors

You can identify if one or more of these devices is causing the Freeview reception problem by powering off the devices.

If one of these devices is causing the problem, then the reception problem can usually be solved by using a mains filter device and use it on the Freeview boxes mains connection.

Such as device is this: Maplin: 6-Way Flat Screen and HDTV Surge Protector and Mains Filter.

Mobile phone interference

If you keep a mobile phone by your Freeview box or digital television, keep it further away!

This also applies to other transmitters such as baby monitors, video senders, walkie talkies, and portable phones.

Help with Freeview, aerials?
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In this section
Official aerial installers guide to the TV spectrum future1
Which free digital TV system will give me the most reliable reception?2
High pressure causing channel loss through "Inversion"3
Digital Region Overlap4
Freeview reception has changed?5
Two frequency interference 6

Friday, 16 September 2011

8:01 AM

Angela: I'm glad that you found a way of fixing the problem.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
8:12 PM

Our tv viewing has been fine since the switchover, but we have been recording all the early morning rugby world cup matches and quite often get interference where the picture and sound freezes for a while. Most of the matches have been on ITV1 but this morning we recorded ITV4 (Canada v Japan) and the interference is unbearable.We have a Sony Bravia TV and Sony digital recorder, both retuned last Wednesday when switchover happened in our area. Our postcode is WR8 0SQ.

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Angie's 7 posts GB flag
Angie's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage
9:37 PM

We have just been experimenting, and have found that there is almost no interference when we watch tv directly, only when we view via the digital recorder (and therefore also when we watch the recordings). We have also found that the channels most affected are ITV4, Quest and Viva. I hope this helps! Thanks, Angie

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Angie's 7 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 28 September 2011

3:16 PM

Angie I know the feeling, in my experiments in the loft, Lark Stoke, or Sutton Coldfield, new cable today, copper screening and changed amplifier from one that came with the log Periodic aerial, boosting it better, but still every now and then pixels, etc.

I was thinking at first, overload, but you say fine since switchover and only on this recorder.
I'd heard, rather read something about loss through them, or interference, cause of that, along those lines, and with it direct from box to TV it is fine.

Compared to say 12 years or so ago, when I was prepared to put up with it every few seconds, it's out of this world.
On the other hand, having been spoiled by awesome satellite the last 8 years or so, this is crap, so to speak.

Using amps, and other appliances it seems still encourages interference, :(.

Alternative, massive pole over 10 feet with aerial on, costs the earth, and still get problems with winds and given I've read, cable only lasts about 5 years, makes you question is it all worth it.
Unless on a main transmitter, not relay and want top up tv, cheapest way for Sky sports etc, I'd recommend always go satellite, freesat any day over freeview.

But depends, where you are, if lucky, unlike me and have line of sight and close, say within 15 miles, and have a good aerial, no need to use any amplifier, or booster, than cool, go for freeview.

But from what I keep reading on here, seems a lot of people are getting peed off at it, and can not say I blame them.

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Billy's 50 posts GB flag
Thursday, 29 September 2011

10:32 PM

Billy: Move the aerial to the roof and you will get perfect Freeview reception, loft aerials are always going to perform poorly...

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Friday, 30 September 2011
9:46 PM

Hi Brian, thanks for your help. We did have a signal booster, so I switched everything off, unplugged the booster and reconnected the aerial using a F-F adapter as per your link. Unfortunately we still get the same problem (if anything it seems worse?). I flicked through loads of channels (viewing through the HDD recorder) and the following were hopeless: ITV3, Film 4, 4Music, VIVA, Ideal World, BidTV, ITV4, ITV2+1, 5*. I stopped there, but then also checked Quest as that had been bad before... and it was still bad. Viewing just through the TV is still fine, but I still can't record to the HDD. I wonder why BBC is ok? (not that I'm complaining about that!).

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Angie's 7 posts GB flag
Sunday, 2 October 2011
8:13 PM

Brian, I found out yesterday how to check the signal strength & quality for each channel; what I discovered was that the signal & quality were lower for ITV4 etc than BBC and ITV1, but most significantly they were drammatically lower on the HDD than they were on the TV. Without the aerial booster, ITV4 had literally zero signal on the HDD, whereas with the booster it was about 30%. On the TV though it was about 78%. Presumably this means the aerial is fine (otherwise the TV wouldn't work), but for some reason the signal is not getting to the HDD? The outside aerial goes directly to the HDD though, and is then linked from there to the TV. I'm confused!

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Angie's 7 posts GB flag
Angie's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
7:55 PM

i bought a freeview recorder as my old itv digital box from 2001 would not retune the new channels on sept 21st. the stations on the box kept breaking up picture/sound about every 5-10 mins---the freeview on the tv were ok from SUTTON COLDFIELD . I changed the scart lead from video to freeview box and switched video recorder off--maybe feedback?, also i read HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM ON THE CONTINENT, CAN CAUSE receded away last night--now LOW PRESSURE from atlantic--all picture on freeview box/recorder all ok now.

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michael's 1 post GB flag
Wednesday, 19 October 2011

8:02 AM

Angie: The signal indicating a different level on your recorder to that on the TV should not really be considered as a fault, because signal indications are very seldom ever the same when viewed on different devices, as they are only intended as a reference point to reception strength / quality on that particular device.

The thing I would check though is that your TV and recorder are both picking up from the same station, as you are forecast as being able to pick up signals of roughly similar strengths from both Malvern and Sutton Coldfield, and although Malvern does have the edge and your aerial might (?) well be facing it (aerial mounted vertically) but because Sutton Coldfield is so powerful one of your devices might be picking it up even although its at a different angle as well as it being horizontally polarised.

Carry out a signal check on both devices noting the Mux channel shown, ITV4 on Malvern being on Mux Ch55, whereas on Sutton its Mux Ch39. I would also add that the signal strengths given aren't really that particularly good, although you might possibly be in a bad spot for reception hence your use of the booster, but it would be of interest to know your aerial set up.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
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