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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

Friday, 13 May 2011

8:09 PM

John Carson: I'm not clear what you mean by "it still stayed on C67 no change".

Did you totally erase the channel list before you first scanned?

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
John Carson
8:31 PM
Port Glasgow

My BBC channels are tuned to C67 and not to C61 as you suggested. I didn't know I had to erase the channel list first. will see if I can do that.

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John Carson's 9 posts GB flag
John's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 16 May 2011
julia briggs
1:34 PM

Hi I got a new dvd recorder and have lost several channels since installing it. I have done all the disconnect ariel and plugs etc and retuned as advised.....
film four is a particular favourite but has gone and this was six months ago......i have retuned several times and to no avail. Is it an issue with the dvd recorder as I have retuned the tv and recorder and still not got the missing channels back.

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julia briggs's 1 post GB flag

5:23 PM

julia briggs: What is your postcode please? There are some places where multiplex D/ArqB reception is lost following switchover for a few months.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
mrs kathy farrell
7:37 PM

really fed up now do not get change over untill september for six weeks we have not had itv channels at all sutton coldfield mast

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mrs kathy farrell's 2 posts GB flag
mrs's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage

8:03 PM

mrs kathy farrell: Please see Single frequency interference | - independent free digital TV advice for help. You should have perfect reception, if there is a fault there is no reason to think that switchover will clear it.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Friday, 20 May 2011
Brian Taylor
8:51 PM

As a touring caravaner do I need to retune my receiver when visiting different areas, the same as the old analouge systems, and also is it still nessesary to have the correct ariel orientation i.e. horizontal or vertical.

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Brian Taylor's 1 post GB flag

10:24 PM

Brian Taylor: The answer to both questions is yes. In most areas after switchover the digital PSB services use the same frequencies and polarisation as the former analogue service. Note that the COM muxes are only available from main stations and some former relay sites which serve larger populations.In some locations it may be necessary to change aerial polarisation when changing between local PSB channels and distant COM services.

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KMJ,Derby's 1,811 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
david butler
11:03 AM

hi for the last 2 months or so i am breaking up on bbc and itv channels other freeview channels are ok what could this be.

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david butler's 1 post GB flag
david's: mapD's Freeview map terrainD's terrain plot wavesD's frequency data D's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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