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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

Friday, 2 September 2011

9:33 PM

Jeff: Possibly yes, especially as the HD service is on relatively low power. The only way I see you getting over the problem is by carefully positioning the aerial, this not meaning as high as possible but preferably somewhere that an element of screening can be achieved from the offending transmitter.

Sandy at 22 miles on a bearing of 11 degrees, Crystal Palace at 30 miles on a bearing of 155 degrees.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Thursday, 8 September 2011
1:50 PM

i live in b15 2sh high rise flat near near QE hospital and have had poor or no signal for years. i was looking forward to this switch over, how wrong was i? i cannot pick up any digital signals at all and only 4 analogue, which changes every time i do a full re-scan. Please advise i am at my wits end. i have built in freeview with no channels on it and freeview records box, with no channels so unable to record for appx 12 months now.

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gail's 2 posts GB flag
gail's: ...

1:57 PM

gail: As switchover has not yet happened I would not be too concerned. However, you should have the BBC channels on Freeview now if you did not have them before.

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Briantist's 38,906 posts GB flag

2:01 PM

gail: I meant "completed" rather than "happened".

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Briantist's 38,906 posts GB flag
4:50 PM

thank you for your reply. I do not have any channels on my freeview, i cannot even pick up the time for the clock! However, as you say not completed yet and, as i have waited almost a year i am sure i can wait a few more weeks. thanks again.

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gail's 2 posts GB flag

7:08 PM

gail: I would check, however, that your equipment is not on the "won't work" list - see TVs and boxes that do not support the 8k-mode | - independent free digital TV advice .

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Briantist's 38,906 posts GB flag
Saturday, 10 September 2011
roderick gregory
8:09 PM
Sutton Coldfield

until the 7th sept i received dvb bbc1,2,3 and 4 now i can only receive bbc4 on the main tv this has a loft ariel connected to it. I live 3.5 miles from the sutton coldfield transmiter. However i can receive all of the bbc above channels on our second tv with a portable ariel.can you please advise.

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roderick gregory's 1 post GB flag
roderick's: mapR's Freeview map terrainR's terrain plot wavesR's frequency data R's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 12 September 2011

3:59 PM

roderick gregory: The most likely explanation is that you have a receiver on the "condemned" list - TVs and boxes that do not support the 8k-mode | - independent free digital TV advice .

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Briantist's 38,906 posts GB flag
Thursday, 15 September 2011
1:18 PM

I have two tv's,a new Sony HD 40" and an older Phillips 22" both running off the same rooftop ariel. Until recently they both received BBC central local news but since about 3 weeks ago the Phillips now picks up East Midlands news. Can you tell me why and how I get central back? My postcode is CV10 7 LR


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Steve's 1 post GB flag
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