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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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Tuesday, 18 December 2012
7:13 PM


Thanks for your full reply.

My postcode is BH21 - a Bournemouth postcode.

Many in my area who live in residential parts have no problem at all (trees notwithstanding!). I am right in the middle of the town and am surrounded by shops, pubs etc. Busy traffic at times too. I remain curious as to why certain times of day affect my reception. definitely one of them!

Any other suggestions would be terrific - my neighbour is told her boiler is causing trouble with the TV!

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VALERIE's 7 posts GB flag

8:20 PM

VALERIE: If you find that the problem is occurring at regular times of the day it might be worth keeping a diary of each occasion, noting the time and channel(s) affected. It may be that a pattern will emerge which coincides with events in the area such as a shop opening, or a neighbour returning home. Boiler ignitions and thermostats are of particular importance when looking for interference sources. To reduce the chance of interference being picked up the use of double screened coax (including flyleads) together with an aerial (if using a yagi type)that incorporates a balun is recommended. However, if the aerial is pointing at the interference source there is really no effective solution short of repairing or replacement of the offending equipment.

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KMJ,Derby's 1,811 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 15 January 2013

11:44 PM

I am trying to work out whether my signal problems are simply that I dont have good enough signal or whether it is interference. I live in GU52, so only received any freeview channels as switch over neared completion.

We have tried various things, including realigning the ariel. The signal does not arrive with enough strength for one device, I do not have a splitter on it or anything else.

On a bad day I get PBS1, Com 4 and com 5. I get PBS2 on a good day.

What I am trying to get is an explanation (if it isnt interference) as to why most of the time PBS2 is unwatchable (usually that is good, much of the time it simply says no signal), but from time to time I will turn it on and it will work perfectly. Yet PBS1 which is meant to go out from Hannington at the same strength, is always great quality signal. By the same reasoning, why do I almost always get com5, but com4 only occasionally and com6 not at all, when again these are all at the same strength.

I would be grateful for anyone explaining this for me. thanks

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tim's 40 posts GB flag

11:48 PM

Looking back, I appear to have posted this before (afraid I have a terrible memory). Anyway, any thoughts?

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tim's 40 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Dave Lindsay

9:41 AM

tim: I am wondering if this could be an issue with quality rather than strength.

I see that there are quite a few trees in your area in the direction of Hannington. This could explain the signal coming and going, seemingly at random intervals.

Also, when signals hit objects different frequencies get affected (refracted, attenuated, reflected etc) to differing degrees which often explains why different channels are received differently where they are being broadcast from the same transmitting station at the same power. This was easiest to see in the days of analogue. If you ever used a set-top aerial to receive analogue you will know that sometimes it was tricky to find a spot where all channels could be picked up sufficiently.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Wilson Laidlaw
10:37 PM

I just bought a pair of Zyxel Powerline adapters to supply internet to my new Philips Smart TV, which is nearly out of range of my WiFi. A range extender and +7dB aerials on the router helped but not a lot. The morning after installing these, which worked just fine, I turned on my iMac with a Terratec T2 DVB-T receiver to listen to radio 3 and the interference was awful - totally not listenable to. One day later (today), one of the Zyxel units failed and I have returned them to the supplier for replacement. However, this evening, Freeview reception of BBC R3 is back to normal. QED. I think I may ask for my money back instead of a replacement.

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Wilson Laidlaw's 1 post GB flag
Dave Lindsay

11:05 PM

Wilson Laidlaw: Mains cables are not meant for passing signals over because they are not screened. There is also no filter to ensure that the noise these wretched things generate doesn't get into appliances.

Your house wiring becomes an antenna to distribute the signal far and wide (its effectiveness depending on how well it happens to be designed for the frequencies concerned).


Welcome to Ban Power Line Technology

Consider re-siting your wifi router or running cat 5 cable between rooms. Flat cat 5 leads are available to put under carpets if there is really no other way or you can buy cable protector such as in this example:

Cable Protector

Obviously ideally you shouldn't really stand on the cable, so if you do put it somewhere that it is likely to get trodden on on a regular basis, then it could always need replacing at some point.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Saturday, 19 January 2013
Mrs watts
9:43 AM

Hi I'm hoping you can help we recently bought a tv for our bedroom which we have plugged straight into an aerial socket but when we turn it on the tv downstairs goes all distorted until you turn the upstairs one off, why does this happen ? My sons tv in his bedroom works fine with a portable aerial and doesn't interfere with other tv's

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Mrs watts's 1 post GB flag
Monday, 4 March 2013
Norman Cherrie
4:44 PM

For the past two months, in the evening after dark, my tv picture goes off then comes on again. Sometimes it is off for long periods and sometimes just for a few minutes.
Initially only ITV was affected but now it is both ITV and BBC. I have a good quality modern roof arial although one leaf on the horizontal bar is bent back towards the reflector. I receive ITV West and BBC West.
I should be grateful for any help.

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Norman Cherrie's 2 posts GB flag
Norman's: mapN's Freeview map terrainN's terrain plot wavesN's frequency data N's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

4:55 PM

Norman Cherrie: Have you confirmed that you are receiving BBC and ITV from Mendip and not the Cirencester relay transmitter? The latter does not broadcast the Commercial channels (ITV3, ITV4, Pick TV, Dave, Yesterday and quite a few others), so these aren't likely to be wrong.

The signal strength screen on BBC One should say that you are tuned to C61 for Mendip and not C23 which is Cirencester. For ITV, Mendip is on C54 and Cirencester is on C29.

By the way, on 27th March there is a retune for Mendip when BBC will move from C61 to C49.

If either is tuned to Cirencester, then having the aerial unplugged for the first 30% of the scan (or until past C30 if it gives channel numbers during the scan) should miss out scanning of Cirencester channels.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
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