menuMENU    UK Free TV logo Freeview



Click to see updates

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, 8 January 2011

1:02 PM

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

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,844 posts GB

1:04 PM

Breathless: Try connecting the aerial direct to the set, and then use a Y-splitter to feed the signal to the set and the Freeview recorder.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Sunday, 9 January 2011
lee holt
12:34 PM

why is the channel frequency for itv1 and other channels is this band so low? all other 5 frequencies are excellent but just itv 1 cant be aerial as we have just added a new high gain aerial and all tv set are the same so must be sending the weak signal out from there end. i am connecting to east midlands transmitter used to be walthamstow i think... any answers?

link to this comment
lee holt's 1 post GB

2:41 PM

lee holt: The transmitter you are using is Waltham (Waltham in the Wolds).It is quite possible that the performance of the aerial on Mux2 (C23)is not as good as it is on the other frequencies as some wideband aerials do not work very well at the lowest frequencies. It is also possible that the position of the aerial needs a slight adjustment to pick up the Mux2 signal, or you are getting interference on C23. You might notice an improvement on 13th April 2011 when Mux 2 changes to a temporary frequency (C31). This will be used until DSO stage2 on 31st August 2011.

link to this comment
KMJ,Derby's 1,811 posts GB
Thursday, 13 January 2011
Steve Hawkins
9:34 AM
Bognor Regis

Hi My post code is PO22 6BU so we see the Rowridge transmitter. Digial reception has always been acceptable but suddenly in about Oct 2010 the picture became pixalated and the sound drops out. Worse on ITV mux but increasingly now on other channels as well so much so that we usually now swich to analogue. Affects both TVs, one using built in Freeview the other through a Would any engineering work have caused this.

link to this comment
Steve Hawkins's 3 posts GB

9:35 AM

Steve Hawkins: No, there is no engineering work. Please can you see the suggestions at the top of the page?

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Steve Hawkins
10:19 AM

Thanks and yes I have checked everything mentioned above but my worry is that this problem affects both TVs. Both are fed from one roof aerial with a splitter in the loft, these connections seem fine. Is there anything else I can check?

link to this comment
Steve Hawkins's 3 posts GB

10:21 AM

Steve Hawkins: I would suggest your disconnect (bypass to a single set) the splitter in the loft. You can then determine where the fault is.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Steve Hawkins
10:26 AM

Yep thanks I'll try this.

link to this comment
Steve Hawkins's 3 posts GB
Jane Smith
3:58 PM

Hi, My Mom has a Freeview box, it has worked fine for at least 18 months. 2 days ago she switched it on and box was dead. We tried to reinstall with no luck, saying Transmitter Overload. We bought a new box, tried to install and the same thing comes up. Any ideas? Analogue works OK.


link to this comment
Jane Smith's 1 post GB
Select more comments

Your comment please
Please post a question, answer or commentUK Free TV is here to help people. If you are rude or disrespectful all of your posts will be deleted and you will be banned.

Privacy policy: UK Free Privacy policy.