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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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Thursday, 8 January 2015
Dave Lindsay

12:01 PM

shirley cooper: This is, as you say, a reception issue and as such the BBC is not responsible for your own system (aerial, TV, cable etc).

The most common reason for poor reception, and indeed the first thing to check is that you are tuned to the correct transmitter the one to which the aerial faces.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
3:19 PM

Two nights ago, reception was a bit dodgy - juddery, pixely, then about 11.00 it just stopped, all channels showing 'No or bad signal'. Next day, everything was back to normal. Until about 11.00, when the same thing happened again. Now it's back to normal.

I checked signal using the Humax when everything was down - signal strength & quality were down to 0-30%, give or take, as against the usual 80-100%.

Crystal Palace transmitter reports no problems or maintenance. I can see no obvious hardware problems (wires etc). The thing I find baffling is how sudden the stops & starts are. (Probably worth mentioning, the aerial feeds two tellies, via a junction box outside the (first floor) bedroom. Both had identical symptoms.

Everything I've found online seems to be the obvious - retune, check aerials, wires etc. None seems relevant, as far as I can see. Any ideas? Thanks.

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Alan's 1 post GB flag
Dave Lindsay

5:37 PM

Alan: It sounds like interference from a nearby electrical appliance which possibly runs by a timer. A battery-powered AM radio tuned away from a station might help locate the noise.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag

9:26 PM

Alan: In addition to that said by Dave Lindsay, should that reported be repeated this evening and you have drawn a complete blank as far as trying to find the cause of the problem, I would be inclined to give a company AT800 a quick phone call to find out if any 4G transmitters are being tested in your area, as your findings (re: Humax signal check) are in line with what would be expected if located in "close proximity" to a 4G transmitter, as these transmitters are capable of seriously affecting Freeview reception by swamping (desensitising) the input stage on Freeview receivers. Its not by any means a commonly experienced problem, but it can and does happen in certain situations.

The only reason I mention this aspect over that of possible interference from some domestic equipment operated via a timer, is that initial testing of a new 4G transmitter is not necessarily carried out during daytime hours.

That said, AT800 have up to date information on new 4G installations, and if you haven't received a "free" 4G filter though the post then the aforementioned is not likely to apply.

Just out of curiosity, are you using a roof mounted aerial?, also is the junction box referred to purely a passive (unpowered) device?

AT800 contact details can be seen on the link, should they be required!

Contact us | Advice or general enquiries | at800

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 10 February 2015
6:18 PM

intermittent interference on all channels?

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ERIC HOLLAND]'s 1 post GB flag
Wednesday, 11 February 2015
10:59 AM

Please can someone help?

We receive our TV signal from Belmont transmitter in Lincolnshire. We previously had a loft aerial but at the 'switchover' a few years ago we had the latest version of roof aerial fitted instead and all the new cabling to the internal TV points. Everything has worked fine ever since with our Freeview reception. Until this past month.

The main TVs are newish and do not need a STB. Reception quality is perfect, no problems there. However, the one in the dining room (which I watch daily) has now become a pain to watch. It is Panasonic (not all that old, with flatscreen etc) and I use a STB with it. I have not moved its location, fiddled about with the cables etc (except to reset as advised elsewhere and to check if they have been pulled loose when I'm cleaning) and there are no other electrical appliances nearby that have not always been in the vicinity.

Now the picture quality is terrible, pixilating every few minutes and wavy 'interference 'lines going across the picture at various places. The continuous strap of text on SKY News and BBC News 24 which scrolls continuously across the bottom of the screen with the latest news is unclear and difficult to read at all times. From time to time (about every couple of hours)the screen goes blank and the blue box saying 'NO SIGNAL' appears momentarily. The picture then resumes without me having to do anything. Sound quality is fine as are subtitles.

The STB is pretty old now and I wonder if that is causing the problem. I haven't another one available to swap it for to test .I wondered if there was something obvious I was missing that I could try before maybe buying a new STB. The TV serves my purpose well otherwise and I don't want to replace it until necessary.

Any suggestions will be gratefully received and acted on.
Thank you

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Jean's 7 posts GB flag
Jean's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

11:38 AM

Jean: It sounds like local interference I wouldn't assume it to be a faulty set-top box.

Have you or a neighbour had solar panels installed?

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
6:14 PM


Thanks very much for the suggestion but I can't see any solar panels anywhere nearby.

Also ,all other TVs in the house are working perfectly.It's just this one which is the only one with the STB.

Any other ideas please?

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Jean's 7 posts GB flag
Jean's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

7:20 PM

Jean: As I say, I suggest it's local interference. A battery-powered AM radio might help locate its source.

Replug the scart lead (unplug and plug in again) and do this at both ends. Does this make a difference?

I suggest you try the set-top box in other rooms, watching it for a period of a couple of hours to see if it goes "no signal" or the picture degrades in a similar interval.

If it's worse in its normal location, and good or better in the test location then consider what it's closer to in its normal location. Is this against or near to a party wall which might mean that the cause is from a neighbour? (These are ideas and the sort of thing I would be trying in order to work out the cause.)

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag

9:28 PM

Jean : Should the problem remain after having carried out the various tests as suggested by Dave Lindsay, could you please give an update on the brand model of the box in question.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
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