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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

Wednesday, 20 April 2011
7:50 PM

Lost channels itv1,chan4,chan5 and some others on April 13th. Re tuned television, the tried a booster box but still no joy, can anyone help?

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Walt's 1 post GB flag
Thursday, 21 April 2011

4:34 AM

Walt: Very hard to help without a postcode.

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Briantist's 38,902 posts GB flag
8:57 AM

We have lost ITV, CH4, CH5 amongst a host of other channels but still have bbc channels and a few others. Our postcode is me7 3pf. It is not a TV problem as it has happened on both tvs and we have tried retuning a number of times. Any ideas?

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Andy's 2 posts GB flag
Andy's: ...
10:37 AM

Hi I live in HG5 postcode and yesterday we suddenly have no digital signal - We have an aerial booster and we have been able to receive all channels before - any ideas????

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Helen's 3 posts GB flag
Mike Dimmick

2:39 PM

Helen: Your most likely transmitters are Emley Moor or Bilsdale. Do you get ITV1's Calendar (Yorkshire) or North East Tonight (Tyne Tees) news programme? A full postcode would help us to pinpoint the problem.

Predictions from both transmitters suggest that you should not need a booster for reliable results. They are of limited use with modern equipment, and can be the cause of problems if signals are already large.

High-power tests were run at Belmont between midnight and 6am on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, which could have introduced more signal than expected. DUK do predict that you would have a reasonable service on some multiplexes from Belmont, after it switches over.

For Emley Moor, your aerial would point roughly south-west. For Bilsdale, it's north-east. For Belmont, it's south-east.

If your aerial is pointing at Belmont, you'll be getting fringe reception of one of the other two (probably Emley Moor). You would get much better results by pointing the aerial to Emley Moor itself. If the aerial wasn't changed for Freeview it would be a Group A type, and it won't work well for Emley Moor, which uses Group B frequencies.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
3:26 PM

Thank Mike we can get both yorkshire and Tyne Tee and my full postcode is HG5 9DJ. I have rescanned and we now have BBC Channels but nothing else - I will remove the booster and scan again to see if this makes any difference :) We did have the aerial checked when we had aerial points added in the bedrooms any we were told it was ok - mind the aerial must be over 10 years old - It was just a shock one minute all seemed fine and we could watch everything and now practically nothing :(

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Helen's 3 posts GB flag
Helen's: mapH's Freeview map terrainH's terrain plot wavesH's frequency data H's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Friday, 22 April 2011
10:27 AM

Tried rescanning without booster - got nothing :( With booster we have BBC Stations only and the region is teeside. This is becoming a real pain - I thought the digital switch over wasn't going to cause any hassle! Looks like we are going to have to spend more money we don't have on a new aerial -great!

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Helen's 3 posts GB flag
6:11 PM

i have a built in freeview tv, last night all the channels were there and fine and today I've woken up to nothing at all and it saying that there is 0 signal strength. my postcode is HD1 if thats needed..any help would be greatly appreciated its awfully quiet without the tv to keep me company.

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maria's 1 post GB flag
8:54 PM

the same thing has just occurred again.... frustrating as we were actually watching something.....we`are in ME7 3PF any guidance would be appreciated ?

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Andy's 2 posts GB flag
Andy's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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