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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.

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In this section
Official aerial installers guide to the TV spectrum future1
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Two frequency interference 6

Sunday, 11 March 2012
5:31 PM

hi for ages now we kept getting interferance on the 2 tvs upstairs tryed loads of things even bought a new tv!!! then just on the off chance i swithched my smartphone on and off and yep it was that all along!!!
why is this??? its fine downstairs and apart from switching it off how can i stop this i even hid the phone under the pilows lol
thanks jane

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jane's 5 posts GB flag
KB Aerials

6:09 PM

Jane - you may have a faulty amplifier that is picking up the radio signal from your smart phone - I assume the aerial goes into a sky box then out of a sky box into an amplifier (I'm guessing here ) - the amplifier then feeds the 2 tv's upstairs - possibly amp is behind the tv , outside on the wall or in the loft - - and the reason the lounge tv is un affected is because the aerial goes to the tv without the amplifier being involved - ie the amp feeds the 2 tv's upstairs picks up your phones output and degrades the signal quality

Only way of knowing for sure is bypassing the amp - or if it was me I'd get some test equipment on it - might be worth involving an aerial rigger to fault find for you - we could check the signal and find the problem

Kb aerials

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KB Aerials's 274 posts GB flag
Saturday, 17 March 2012
9:45 AM

Some guidance please ----
I have been using a bog standard freeview box for a couple of years - no problems or interference from any source. With the on-going freeview changes I've recently "upgraded" to a Goodmans 320 recorder.
Problem now is interference via the Goodmans - so picture breakup/total loss.

A variety of sources can cause the problem; 2 android mobiles, laptop wifi connection to internet (via BT), and dongle (GPRS/3G/HPSA) can all cause interference to the point of unwatchability.

The Goodmans sits exactly where the old box was; swap back in the old box and there is no interference at all - so do I take the Goodmans back? is this a common problem with this make?

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Steve's 4 posts GB flag
Steve's: mapS's Freeview map terrainS's terrain plot wavesS's frequency data S's Freeview Detailed Coverage
12:29 PM

For the past twelve months or so I have been unable top receive BBC4 television programmes in Cork, Ireland.

For the past month or so I have been unable to receive Channel Five either.

I have a satellite dish which enables me to see a very large number of broadcasts in English.

Can you please advise how I can view the missing channels?.

Perhaps there is a way they can be viewed on my computer?

Many thanks


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Keith's 1 post IE flag

5:44 PM

Steve: Your problem can really be looked at from various angles, insomuch that although some Goodman's boxes can be troublesome interference wise it has to be said that this problem is usually only experienced when the box is being used to loop the aerial through before feeding it into a TV's aerial socket, and "not" if the TV concerned is being viewed via a scart (or any) cable between the box and it.

That said though, in cases where the TV is being viewed directly and not via a scart cable the loop through problem can in some instances be really bad unless the two aerial cables (in & out) are taken straight away from the boxes aerial sockets and not allowed to rest anywhere on the plastic casing, the underside of where the seemingly high levels of processor noise interference radiates from.

However the other angle that needs checked on is this is, as you are predicted to be able to receive signals from more that one source you should check to make sure that the Goodman's has picked up channels from the same station as the other Freeview box you were using, the way to do this being to carry out a signal check on the programme channel numbers you have the trouble with, noting the mux channel number being shown that always accompanies the strength / quality levels.

Do that on a few programmes, BBC1 / ITV1 / ITV3 / PickTV / Film 4 then put the old Freeview box back in position and carry out the aforementioned procedure on it always using the same programme test channels as previously used on the Goodman's, then once completed compare the mux channel numbers obtained from the two boxes to ensure both are the same, if not it means the two boxes are on different transmitters and which will necessitate a manual re-tune being carried out to rectify the problem.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag

5:46 PM

Keith: What are you using to view the English broadcasts on?

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
9:00 PM

thanks for your reply...this is all over my head lol im in dorset,would it be very expensive to get someone out to fault find?? thinking back we had a new booster fitted its possible it happend around that time regards jane

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jane's 5 posts GB flag
Thursday, 22 March 2012
9:55 PM

I AM IN NORFOLK AT NR20 5RA has anyone an answer please.

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DON WRIGHT's 1 post GB flag
DON's: mapD's Freeview map terrainD's terrain plot wavesD's frequency data D's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Saturday, 24 March 2012
Jan Clay
8:42 PM

We live in Grimston, Norfolk and have a Humax Freeview system that has worked perfectly until today. We have intermitant BBC channels now and although the tv works fine, when on the Humax system it keeps breaking up.
We also now have a choice of receiving from: East Midlands; Yorkshire & Humberside, Anglia, Cambridge Bedford - more choices than before! Help!

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Jan Clay's 2 posts GB flag
Dave Lindsay

9:02 PM

Jan Clay: The choice is region is simply a choice of which transmitter to tune to.

Because the Fens are flat, signals from multiple transmitters are available.

If you have selected the wrong region, then it is not surprising that you are experiencing poor reception. What you are doing is receiving signals from a direction to which your aerial doesn't face.

The signals from other transmitters may be sufficient to make your receiver aware that they are there (and therefore add them to the Regions list), but they aren't good enough to produce uninterrupted reception.

In order to work out which region you need to select, we need to know which transmitter your aerial is pointing at. If you do not know, then what direction is it pointing in? And are the elements of the aerial horizontal or vertical?

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
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