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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, 8 June 2011
Richard Wiseman
6:41 PM

My mother has a Grundig GU19W digital TV. She seems to be able to access all channels, but cannot access live sport on the red button. I have tried to retune for her, but the menu button on her remote does not offer the settings/ installations route. It just says Video / Picture Mode.
I've tried phoning the helpline number but no operators are available.
Any ideas ?

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Richard Wiseman's 1 post GB flag
Mike Dimmick

7:30 PM

Richard Wiseman: The BBC's interactive stream on Freeview (301) moved from Mux B to Mux 1 about a month ago. If you haven't retuned then it won't work.

I'm afraid I can't find any support documents for this box. Check for a DTV Setup button on the remote?

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
10:15 PM

i have lost all freeview channels on all intergrated tvs, cannot check analogue as its been switched off. I live in South Wales. Can i fix this myself? Sky is not affected. Thanx

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Jackie's 1 post GB flag
Saturday, 11 June 2011
5:42 PM

Analogue is near perfect...I've just fiddled with the aerial, and now ITV, 4 and 5 are brilliant, but I've lost BBC! I'm less than 20 miles from Belmont - in fact at night I can see the lights!

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Chris's 1 post GB flag
Chris's: mapC's Freeview map terrainC's terrain plot wavesC's frequency data C's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 13 June 2011

7:34 PM

Chris: Is the aerial on the roof? A roof top aerial is require for reliable Freeview reception.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
11:53 PM

Just moved to Nether Poppleton in York and gobsmacked at how poor signals for everything is. One state of the art TV that only picks up the BBC channels, another in the bedroom that doesn't even get a signal. Phone signals constantly dropping and not a chance of 3G for longer than a few seconds.

Have I moved to some sort of blackspot??? Maybe the freeview is so poor because I'm on the edge of the transmitter coverage?

Incredibly frustrating and infuriating.

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AJ's 1 post GB flag
AJ's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Mike Dimmick

3:16 PM

AJ: For that postcode, Digital UK gives a very good chance of reliable reception from Bilsdale both now and after switchover, while the predictions from Emley Moor are good on muxes 1, B, C, D and the early HD service, and variable on Mux 2 and A. After switchover in September, all muxes are very good to excellent.

Bilsdale switches some time in Autumn 2012 - we don't know exactly when yet.

Get the aerial system checked out. If there's an amplifier or booster in there, try taking it out.

If you're using an indoor aerial, it may be that the construction of the house blocks radio signals. You will almost always get best results with a rooftop aerial.

Phone signals - while the main transmitter masts do often carry mobile phone signals as well, generally the power levels are far lower and only cover locations very close to the transmitter. There will be other mobile phone base stations much closer to your house.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
Saturday, 18 June 2011
Bryan Williams
1:50 PM

In the last my BBC1 and 2 signal has lost quality and whereas it used to be a fairly low strength (30%) the quality was a steady 100%, it is now a variable strength from 40-100%.

This causes break of the picture and is really annoying.
I am in the Eastleigh area and have a loft wideband aerial which points to the Rowbridge transmitter.

I've retuned mux 1 using my humax PVR using channel 34, but to no avail.

Can anyone explain why the reception has recently become worse?

I may have to have an external aerial installed and that is not going to be cheap!

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Bryan Williams's 1 post GB flag
Bryan's: mapB's Freeview map terrainB's terrain plot wavesB's frequency data B's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 20 June 2011
Julia Keene
4:32 PM

I purchased a freeview TV a couple of weeks ago and despite being in a good reception area and having received all freeview channels with my previous ordinary tv wired to a freeview digi-box; I cannot now pick up ITV 3, ITV2+1, Quest, 5USA, 5* and QVC. I have re-tuned a couple of times but still cannot pick them up and my picture breaks up more on the freeview tv. I had an excellent picture on my old tv. Why is this and would a booster help. It is obviously not an aerial problem more like the tuner within the new tv I would have thought???

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Julia Keene's 1 post GB flag

5:12 PM

Julia how old is your aerial it could have gone faulty have your aerial checked out by a local aerial rigger who knows your area

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Mazbar's 384 posts GB flag
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