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Freeview reception has changed?

Why should my Freeview reception change when I have not changed anything?

Why should my Freeview reception change when I have not changed
published on UK Free TV

From time to time people find that their Freeview box, integrated set (idTV) or Personal Video Recorder (PVR) has lost many channels without any apparent changes.

There are a number of factors to consider

Freeview is broadcast on digital multiplexes. This means that, once broken down into a stream of bits, each television channel is combined into a single transmission of 1s and 0s. This means that reception is of the multiplex first if this is lost it affects all the channels in the multiplex in the same way.

The signal strength received by the box or TV for a particular multiplex from a given transmitter determines if the data can be received or not. So, a poor signal results in no data, an adequate signal in perfect data and a low signal in either none or all.

Poor digital signal levels do not result, as they do with old-fashioned analogue television, in a sub-standard picture or sound. Poor signals often result in a perfect data-stream, but are prone to periods of no reception. Sometimes this will be for hours, but can also be several times a minute when caused by induction from fridges, freezers, central heating systems, two-stroke scooters, baby monitors and so on.

If you have lost ALL your Freeview channels

First disconnect the aerial lead from the Freeview box or TV set and reconnect it and then follow this reset procedure to scan for channels again. If this does not result in services being restored, check the Freeview transmitters page to see if there are any engineering problems with your local transmitter.

How to check all cables, connectors and aerials

The RF connectors need to be in very good condition to work. There are two general types:

Factory-fitted connectors are very reliable as they cannot easily be taken apart, but they can be damaged by wear and tear. On the female-type the central section is often composed of two parts which can often be forced apart, resulting in a poor connection you can push them back together if this has happened with a pair of tweezers. On male connectors if the central pin is damaged, you will need a new cable. If there are any loose partials in the connector, remove them.

Another problem with these cables is that quite easy to sprain the connector at the back which causes little obvious external damage, but disconnects the internal connection. This happens often when a set-top box is pushed backwards into a cabinet.

Hand made cables can also suffer from similar problems to factory made ones and they are also prone to accidental damage from a cable being pulled. If such a connector is not firmly attached to the cable, the connector may need refitting.


Make a visual check of the cables. There are a few basic checks:

If the cable has been slashed or cut, it will not be very effective or reliable. If such a cable is fitted externally, this can allow rainwater to enter the cable and this will reduce the signal levels.

You can easily damage an RF cable by crushing it, for example in a door. If the outside of the cable has a permanent kink in the cable or has been very tightly looped, this could be the site of damage.


For reliable and effective Freeview reception, a rooftop aerial is required. It is hard to make a visual check of such an aerial without putting yourself in potential danger.

You can make a visual check of the route between the aerial and the transmitter. Any form of obstruction will damage the digital signals. In particular trees coming into leaf, as these will leech the signal before it reaches your aerial. This applies to both trees adjacent to the aerial and at a distance.

Another common problem in cities is building work. A large crane will often change position many times during the day, and if this is between your aerial and the transmitter this can reduce the signal levels in an unpredictable way.

If your system uses a booster, the power may have failed. Check the fuse to the power to the booster.

Weather problems

There are two main weather problems that effect Freeview reception.

The Inversion Effect: please see What is the Inversion Effect and why does it effect my Freeview TV reception?

Wind: high winds sometime can dislodge the aerial this results in a poor signal.

Rain: poor or old cables can fill with water and this results in a poor signal. If this happens, the cables will require replacement.

Help with Freeview, aerials?
How do I get a test card with Freeview1
I would like to know if it is possible to receive UK terrestrial Freeview servic2
I have been told I would receive too much singal from my Freeview tansmitter as 3
Can my Freeview box receive more than one BBC and ITV region?4
Is it true that my 87 year old mother is entitled to a FREE upgrade when the ana5
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
Two frequency interference 5
Single frequency interference6

Saturday, 1 January 2011
J Taylor
1:45 PM

I live 7 miles from the Lichfield HD transmitter and since 30th December 2010 all HD signals have vanished but all SD Freeview channels and analog are OK. No one seems to know why. Any advice appreciated.

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J Taylor's 6 posts GB flag
J's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Sunday, 2 January 2011
C Bailey
1:46 PM

I have just bought a new tv with freeview and dvd for my bedroom and cannot get any reception on either digital or analogue. I have tried a oneforall flat aerial with booster, and an SLX signal booster. I live in a ground floor flat of a house. My old analogue tv with freeview box use to work ok. I live right in the middle of Croydon C5 and Croydon (old town) transmitters. Help!

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C Bailey's 1 post GB flag
C's: mapC's Freeview map terrainC's terrain plot wavesC's frequency data C's Freeview Detailed Coverage
11:01 PM

Bought a sony 40" with built-in freeview HD on 31st December. We have been enjoying it very much until this evening itv, channel 4 and a handful of others stopped working. No signal problems reported. They had been working fine until this point.
Really annoying that there is no apparent reason.
Anyone having a similar problem in the Reading area, or anywhere??

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Kay's 1 post GB flag
Monday, 3 January 2011
Trudi Arnold
5:49 PM

We live within sight of the Wenvoe transmitter in South ~Wales. We get guide on the freeview and the timer button seems to work, but the programme itself doesn't record. This is only happening on BBC Wales 1. All the other channels record fine

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Trudi Arnold's 1 post GB flag
Thursday, 6 January 2011
mark smith
10:51 PM

have had my sony kdl 40 ex 403 u for 3 days .for 2 days had all hd freeview channels.then suddenly no signal on hd channels.all other freeveiw channels are perfect.anybody any ideas.have tried autoretune and checked the connections

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mark smith's 1 post GB flag
Saturday, 8 January 2011

12:59 PM

mark smith: I would check Single frequency interference | - independent free digital TV advice if you've tried everything above.

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag

1:01 PM

Kay: Have you checked everything listed at the top of the page? If so, see Single frequency interference | - independent free digital TV advice .

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag

1:02 PM

C Bailey: Freeview reception requires the use of a rooftop aerial, indoor aerials are unsuitable.

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag

1:02 PM

J Taylor: Check the list at the top of the page, then see Single frequency interference | - independent free digital TV advice .

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
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