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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

Monday, 6 June 2011
Heather Railton
12:37 PM

Hi, hope someone can help.
I had a power cut yesterday and have lost the majority of my freeview channels. I lost a few when i moved in last year so think the signal isn't great but now i only have a few that work I have retuned the box a couple of times and tried a different box but nothing appears to be working? I live in the north east.
Can anyone help please (I'm not great with technology!) .

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Heather Railton's 1 post GB flag

4:37 PM

Heather Railton: Have you checked everything at the top of the page? Also, can you provide you full postcode please?

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
5:56 PM

Did somethin change with Belmont over the past couple of days? I've lost Mux2, now retuend and have poor signal quality and strength. This is the same with all my digiboxes. The analogue signal is fine. Any ideas?

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Chris's 2 posts GB flag

6:15 PM

Chris: Belmont is operating normally at the moment. Please can you see Single frequency interference | - independent free digital TV advice .

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
6:38 PM

Thanks for the response. Everything was fine up to a few days ago, and it is affecting every digibox in the house. Nothing is is plugged in on RF loop. The aerial still points the right way. I'm at a dead end..

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Chris's 2 posts GB flag
Chris's: mapC's Freeview map terrainC's terrain plot wavesC's frequency data C's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
12:37 AM


I live in LS18 4JF, and have had no digital channels for the last 2 weeks, and very poor, unwatchable quality analogue channels. I have a Samsung TV with built-in Freeview. We have checked the cables and the aerial outside - nothing seems damaged, and I have tried autotuning the TV several times to no avail......what could be the problem? Please help!

Thank you.

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Lauren's 2 posts GB flag
Lauren's: mapL's Freeview map terrainL's terrain plot wavesL's frequency data L's Freeview Detailed Coverage

7:47 AM

Lauren: Have you also lost the analogue TV?

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag

7:49 AM

Chris: If everything has failed then either your aerial has failed, or perhaps you have a powered booster/splitter somewhere that has blown a fuse.

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
11:17 AM

We have not totally lost the analogue channels, but they are so fuzzy/jumpy that we cannot watch them.

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Lauren's 2 posts GB flag
Lauren's: mapL's Freeview map terrainL's terrain plot wavesL's frequency data L's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Mike Dimmick

12:22 PM

Lauren: The most likely explanation is a broken or disconnected cable, or that the aerial has rotated.

If there is a booster or amplifier in the system, it's also possible that the power supply has failed.

The aerial should point more or less due south to use Emley Moor, which is the most likely transmitter. There is a local relay at Beecroft Hill which does not yet transmit digital signals - after switchover in September it will be a 'Freeview Lite' transmitter, only transmitting the PSB services.

You have a very high probability of reliable service already on everything but the early HD service, so boosters should not be necessary if the aerial and cables are in good working order.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
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