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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, 22 June 2011
1:43 PM

We have been receiving freeview for years with no problems. Over the last month or two dave, e4, pick tv and all the channels on the same multiplex - i looked this up somewhere cannot remember where! They break up but it only seems to be from about 9:45 ish onwards. After this time they became unwatchable. For instance last night watching e4 in bed so nothing else going on electrically to interfere the signal started to degrade from about 9:45 to an unwatchable state.
Now to reign everyone in sending me problems about my installation I know 2 other people in the same area that experience EXACTLY the same problem! Are they doing night time test to the crystal palace transmitter? anyone have any ideas?

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Paul's 3 posts GB flag
6:09 PM

I just bought a new Toshiba full HD LCD and I also missing Dave, et al. Works fine on upstairs digi box, retuned both sets. No Dave on the on-board one in the new telly.

Darvel transmitter is a good strong signal here. Will try swapping aerials.

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Robert's 1 post GB flag
7:57 PM

Hi I'm in glasgow woke up this morning to no channels knew it was the switchover so retuned my freeview box only 2 get my channels back but no signal :( tried retunin a few times still same now I have a mixed up picture ( don't know how else to put it sorry) no sound either n some channels are just a black screen. Any help appreciated thanks

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melissa's 1 post GB flag
melissa's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Les Nicol

10:14 PM

Melissa - Unplug the Freeview box from the wall also disconnect the aerial connection from your box as well. Give it a couple of minutes or so then plug your box power cable back in leaving the aerial cable out. Re-scan with the aerial cable out and this will clear the receiver channel memory. Plug your aerial cable back in and select initial or first time install this then should set up the available chennels correctly.

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Les Nicol's 991 posts GB flag
Thursday, 23 June 2011
1:44 AM

the sutton tx is shutting down intermittantly @ night . it shut dwn all channels other than HD & those lited in band D such as film 4 itv 4 4 music . 2night at around 12.50 .
there is no warning , no posteed advise , just shut dwn till following morning . the area is inondated with pointless info on switch over in three mths time but absoltly no info or schedule of these shut dwns .

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BOB's 1 post GB flag
BOB's: mapB's Freeview map terrainB's terrain plot wavesB's frequency data B's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Sunday, 26 June 2011
tommy g
8:35 AM

have a sharp tv with biult in freeview,i olso have sky but after re tuning my set i cant get any sky chanels,

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tommy g's 3 posts GB flag

9:37 AM

tommy g: "If" you are feeding the RF output on the Sky box into the Sharps aerial input, then you have to remember that "analogue" has to be selected on the TV before tuning same.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
tommy g
5:38 PM

tommy g: thanks jb 38 , ive just re tuned analogue but still no sky

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tommy g's 3 posts GB flag
tommy g
5:47 PM

tommy g: jb38 thanks mate ive got sky now .your a gem thanks again.

tam g

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tommy g's 3 posts GB flag
Friday, 1 July 2011
9:38 PM


I have a strong digital signal on all but the BBC channels. BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, etc. BBC4 is ok though. We are tuned to the Hannington mast . I have tried a rescan several times recently with no joy.
On the channel set up screen BBC1 is showing as Channel 50. I tried retuning to Channel 39 but no joy.

Can anyone help?

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kennycoppers's 1 post GB flag
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