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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

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

8:09 AM

Lee Oxley: Thanks for the update regarding the tree location, which is a bit close and as such very likely to be affecting the signal.

As you mention that a new aerial has been bought for "one" of the TV's without it making any difference, I have to say that it could just be that the overall signal level you are receiving is not terribly far above the threshold level of reception, and if the Mux 2 level is slightly lower than Mux 1, and this is coupled to the TV used being less sensitive than the other(s?) then this could possibly be the cause of the problem.

Of course this is easily proven or otherwise by checking the signal level / quality received whilst on BBC1 compared to that on ITV1, Pontop Pikes BBC1 Mux Ch45 - ITV1 Mux Ch55 and giving an update on what's found.

Although if what's been said can be discounted, then depending on the aerial system being used its quite possible that the problem could only be solved by moving the aerial to another part of the building, it being fully appreciated that this is only feasible if being loft or gutter mounted.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
s hugh-jones
10:34 AM

I have an analogue/digital set, getting freeview. I get signals from the Midhurst transmitter. I may be screened by nearby trees but for three years, at any season, reception has been fine.

NOW suddenly:
(1)on digital freeview channel 10---ITV 3---I can get no SOUND.
(2) on ALL digital channels I can get no TELETEXT, whether using the 'red button' on my remote or the 'text' button. not the button's fault, I'm pretty sure: (a) it works fine for analogue, and (b) when, while digital, I press it while the sub titles are on I get the usual warning box that "you can't use interactive services while subtitles are on, do you want to switch them off?" which shows that my demand for text is operating---just I'm not getting any text when I do switch the subtitles off

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s hugh-jones's 1 post GB flag
Mike Dimmick

4:05 PM

s hugh-jones: I suggest you do a full retune.

It's possible that changes have been made to the Packet Identifiers (PIDs) which tell the box which bits of the transmitted data-stream contain the sound and teletext data. The video and audio, and subtitles, are carried in separate datastreams, so the first stage of decoding has to know which one contains what information for which service.

Boxes are supposed to check the Program Map Table every time, so they pick up the associations properly even if the broadcasters have changed something. Yours may not be doing this and may be expecting to find the audio and teletext data at an old location. As I said, retuning should fix this problem.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
Thursday, 4 August 2011
Alan Gibson
10:43 AM

On recently insytalling a new frreview box, I find I am unable to receive ITV3.

Is this in connection with engineeriring works at Robridge and if so, are you please able to advise when this will be resolved ?

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Alan Gibson's 1 post GB flag
Alan's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage
C Lloyd
7:30 PM

I have an analogue TV with a digital PVR (Humax) which has worked fine for years. Over the last few months the ITV3 reception has become more erratic and now is completely broken up. The message No or bad reception usually appears. Nothing has changed at my end and I understood the signals come from the Belmont transmitter which is only 15 miles away and is actually visible from my house. On checking the UK Free TV website the ITV3 and asociated channels are shown as very low signal strength.Has something changed lately and is this what is to be expected from digital TV in the future? What progress!

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C Lloyd's 1 post GB flag
C's: mapC's Freeview map terrainC's terrain plot wavesC's frequency data C's Freeview Detailed Coverage

9:43 PM

C Lloyd: All should change on the 17th of this month (Switchover) as far as the channel you have mentioned is concerned, as I very much doubt if you will experience any problems after then.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Monday, 8 August 2011
4:04 AM

Hi, I am trying to get freeview HD from FK6 5HX
when I first used the service in May 2011, I was getting a good hd picture with a set top antenna and built in booster. I have recently tried to use the system and I do not seem to be getting all the mux's , however my main problem is that I cannot get any hd signal at all. I am using a large antenna in the attic (cant do rooftoop ant) trying for the Blackhill transmitter. ant almost new , using new sat cable. any advice appreciated John

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glencarron's 2 posts GB flag
glencarron's: mapG's Freeview map terrainG's terrain plot wavesG's frequency data G's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
9:16 AM

glencarron: Hi further to reading advice given on the forum, I did a factory reset and rescan,
I now have 85 tv channels including 4 HD channels using the loft antenna.

much appreciated. :)

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glencarron's 2 posts GB flag
glencarron's: mapG's Freeview map terrainG's terrain plot wavesG's frequency data G's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Anthony Calder
2:50 PM

All my channels work except on the multiplexes 2, A and C. I'm based in London, so don't understand why I would have a signal problem.

The channels break up and the sppech doesn't come through correctly, any ideas what I can do to fix this?

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Anthony Calder's 1 post GB flag
Thursday, 18 August 2011

8:31 AM

Anthony Calder: It's a bit hard to comment without a full postcode. Have you done everything shown at the top of the page?

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Briantist's 38,901 posts GB flag
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