menuMENU    UK Free TV logo Freeview



Click to see updates

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

Saturday, 20 August 2011
David Liddell
12:12 PM

ever since waltham did an update on the 17th I now cannot recieve bbc1,bbc2,itv1,channel4 and channel5. before this date everthing was ok. I have carried out numerous rescans but to no avail the other channels seem fine. Has waltham reduced its signal strength? I am using a logik single scart digital tv receiver with a matsumi receiver.

link to this comment
David Liddell's 1 post GB flag
David's: mapD's Freeview map terrainD's terrain plot wavesD's frequency data D's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
7:17 PM

Hello, Im hopingyou might be able to give some advice. Up until a couple of weeks ago I had a Sharp LCD tv receiving all freeview channels fine. Then I bought aSamsu ng LED 3D tv a couple of weeks ago and since then I have picture and sound breaking up on ITV, CH4, CH5 etc (what I now see appears to be multiplex 2). I have checked all cables, and bought heavily shielded aerial cable in case there was interference from the power cable. All other cables appear to be fine. The aerial is external and on the rooftop. My posecode is KT10 8EN I thought it might be the internal freeview tuner so I returned it today and got a new TV. Ive just plugged it in and scanned and have the same issue. Ive done the rescan / retune and it has made no difference. All other channels are received clear and fine. What is REALLY confusing me is that by swapping the tv i thought I would eliminate any tuner issues, but I have plugged another slightly older Panasonic LCD tv into the same aerial plug and the picture is fine on all channels. Are there different capabilities in terms of different internal tuners? Could you suggest and possible fix? Many thanks in advance for any help!

link to this comment
David's 4 posts GB flag
David's: mapD's Freeview map terrainD's terrain plot wavesD's frequency data D's Freeview Detailed Coverage

8:41 PM

David: No two brands of sets have tuners with exactly the same sensitivity with Panasonic being one of the best, this being the most likely reason why you find that it works OK.

If a low signal is the cause of the problem, then the Samsung should be able to do likewise if a booster is fitted in line with its aerial socket.

Maybe though before you do anything you could carry out a signal level / quality check on the Panasonic (accessed via tuning menu) whilst its on ITV, giving an update on what's indicated. (Crystal Palace ITV on Mux Ch22)

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag

9:23 PM

David Liddell: The signals at Waltham changed for the multiplex BBCA (was 1) service, all the others are 100% as they were before.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,902 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Mike Dimmick

11:47 AM

David Liddell: It's most likely that the signal levels from Belmont - which is broadcasting at high power - are sufficient for the box to store them, but not to work reliably. See Digital Region Overlap for suggestions on how to resolve the problem.

Check whether there is a working version of the missing channels somewhere else in the channel list, often around 800. If there are, these are probably the versions from Waltham.

If you have ITV1, C4 and C5 in the 800s but not BBC, check the lists at…ment and…tnit to see if your box is one that is known not to be compatible after switchover.

link to this comment
Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
Thursday, 25 August 2011
2:54 PM

jb38: Thank you very much for taking the time to respond. Greatly appreciated. I did the test on the Panasonic on ITV (Ch22) - the signal quality was 5/6 (moving between the two) and the signal strength was 7.

Im not sure if its of any additional help (its possibly another issue altogether) but the Samsung has a Freeview HD tuner but I also cant get any of the HD channels I should be able to see without a satellite dish / cable.

Happy to try a booster if that may rectify things - would I be able to pick one up at somewhere like Maplins?

Thanks very much again

link to this comment
David's 4 posts GB flag

4:16 PM

David: These signal test indications aren't really that good considering they are been seen on a Panasonic, most of usually indicating more than on anything else, so your problem is suggestive of the signal being a bit on the weak side, albeit of course that the reception predictor (as usual!) does give glowing reports for reception at your location.

If your roof aerial is in order then a booster would help the situation, these obtainable from as you mention Maplins, although numerous choices can be found on e-bay, one example seen on the link.

By the way HD is on Mux Ch31, but could you indicate the model of your TV, this to enable its tuner spec to be checked on.

2 Way TV Aerial Signal Booster Amplifier Freeview | eBay

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
4:26 PM

jb38: Thank you very much for your response once again. The Samsung model is UE32D6530. Thank you for the link for the booster. I will give it a try and report back on how it goes.

link to this comment
David's 4 posts GB flag

4:34 PM

David: This is another one that I can actually recommend for reliability, its four way but you could just leave two of the outputs unconnected, irrespective of what the purists would maintain.

4 Way TV Aerial Distribution Amplifier/Booster Splitter | eBay pt=UK_ConEle_SatCableFreeview_RL&hash=item35ae216caf

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag

4:57 PM

David: Just had a look at the spec and it would appear as though it does have a Freeview HD compatible tuner fitted, this being DVB-T2.

It wouldn't do any harm though for you to check your user manual / tuner details for DVB-T2 being seen, as even some quite sophisticated TV's with Freesat HD etc doesnt have an HD capability on Freeview.

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Select more comments

Your comment please
Please post a question, answer or commentUK Free TV is here to help people. If you are rude or disrespectful all of your posts will be deleted and you will be banned.

Privacy policy: UK Free Privacy policy.