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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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Saturday, 18 March 2017

11:31 PM

Charles King: Since your problem appears to be a classic example of 'single source interference', you might need to hunt around some more. Apparently an AM radio can help you find the source (google within the site), but remember that it might be some equipment that you havn't thought about, or in another dwelling close to you.

A couple of years back someone had a problem with a TV, which turned out to be a duff Virgin box of the people on the other side of a flats wall.

Dont bother retuning - it just means your set will have potentially lost the transmitter. Its also worth checking your aerial cables - something with some shielding might help, but its best to hunt down what it could be first. BTW - check signal strength - could be that the signal is too strong/weak, although it would very odd to be so regular!

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Sunday, 7 May 2017
Ken Robottom
9:11 AM

For the past week or so we have a very poor reception on all but BBC channels, I've done all the usual checks with no improvement. We have a professionally installed outdoor aerial with a splitter in the attic which has a signal booster..
This also happened last year and it just suddenly improved - any ideas? could there be a drop in signal strength?

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Ken Robottom's 1 post GB flag

9:41 AM

Ken Robottom:

To offer any meaningful advice we need a full post code so we can look at the reception conditions as well as whether there is any engineering work currently. Transmitters do not normally have a reduction in signal strength unless there is engineering work being done.

You should carefully check all the aerial connections and cables.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 9 May 2017
Ros Fitzner
12:52 PM

During the last week I have experienced issues with Freeview channels dropping in batches. Last week intermittent problems with Frequency CH 54 and 56 during the evening, the signal was fine the following day. The last two evenings I have had the same problem but with Frequency CH 48 and CH 49, the signal starts to break up then totally goes down, this is happening at just after 19.30. Today the channels 48 and 49 came back on full signal at approximately 11.15am. Can you please give me an indication as to what is causing this issue, all other areas eg. Arial, 4G, speaking to Freeview have been covered. This is happening in B10 7RT area.

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Ros Fitzner's 4 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Ros Fitzner
1:19 PM

Further to my post yesterday at 12.52, last night channels 48 and 49 went down again at 6.15PM and were off all evening. All other channels were working fine. Can you please give me an indication what the problem might be caused by?

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Ros Fitzner's 4 posts GB flag

4:18 PM

Ros Fitzner: Your signal is breaking up, but you havn't told us what your signal strength or quality is. And if you put your postcode into the website, you can see for yourself the distance to the transmitter and if there are any problems, and can give us easily usable links.

But best guess is that there is something up with your system, so check your cables.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Ros Fitzner
5:51 PM

MikeB: When CH 49 is working I have full signal quality ie 10/10, signal strength is fluctuating between 8.5 to 9 out of 10 on frequency 698.00MHz , CH 48 is full signal quality 10/10, signal strength is 9/10, on 690 MHz. All Freeview channels are fine all day but this problem seems to start between 6PM and 7.15PM.

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Ros Fitzner's 4 posts GB flag
Ros Fitzner
6:58 PM

MikeB: Sorry MikeB my last message seems to have gone through to yourself more than once and thank you for your reply earlier today.

As an addition to my previous mail, at 6.15PM this evening again Frequency CH54 went down and returned after a few minutes albeit now on low signal quality with signal strength 5 on 738.00MHz. As soon as CH 54 returned CH48 and 49 have dropped so I have no TV picture for BBC1 etc again! CH 49 is showing no signal quality and about 2.5 signal strength on 698.00 MHz, CH 48 is the same.. I do have HD TV and all HD channels are fine so if there was an aerial problem surely those channels would be affected and when checking the signal strength on station 102 ITV HD on CH58 that signal has also stayed low since it dropped earlier but picture is fine. I cannot see what is causing this problem of No Signal at the same time every day, the weather has not changesd within the last couple of hours, there is no outside disturbances, it is countryside so no city disruption and this issue has only just started within the last week?

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Ros Fitzner's 4 posts GB flag

7:44 PM

Ros Fitzner: Firstly, you can check the status of the transmitter yourself - but if nothing has changed, then logically the problem is within your own home.

Next, while its possibly not the main problem, 90-100% signal strength is generally too high - 75% is spot on.

Dont assume that all channels get hit in the same way if there is a system fault - a coax cable might be hanging on by a thread, and a damaged connection can let one mux through fine, but not another.

One thing does stand out - you say that the problem starts at 6-7.15pm. That sounds like single source interference (look up that phrase on this site), where some bit of equipment is causing problems, perhaps a dodgy thermostat, etc. You can use an AM radio to hunt down the problem, but if you can think of what might be switching on at that time in yor house or nearby, that might be it.

And if your cables are damaged or are not well shielded, then that might be the answer.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Saturday, 22 July 2017
Louise Tunnadine
3:14 PM

I have a humax for-4000t I have programmes on schedule recordings but when one programme is on twice a night at different times I can only see the second recording first and the first recording after which is not helpful. Have read tha mannual but nothing is telling how to see the first episode first.

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Louise Tunnadine's 1 post GB flag
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