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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

Saturday, 24 September 2011
Jim F

9:22 PM

Tim: Would it be possible to try connecting your aerial directly to one TV only (i.e. bypass the distribution amplifier)?
This would give an indication on one TV of the signal strength / quality direct from the aerial.
I don't know if you have a masthead amplifier (which could be powered by your distribution amplifier). If you are then the masthead amp would need power (otherwise you'll get nothing at all). The combination of a masthead amp and a distribution amp might just have too much gain, which can give the effect you describe.

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Jim F's 141 posts GB flag
Sunday, 25 September 2011
12:34 AM

Hi guys,

I live in Boardwalk Place E14 5SE and since this morning can't tune freeview channels on my Sony Bravia KDL24ex320 TV (build in freeview).

I checked your website and found out that I am receiving signal from Crystal Palace transmitter. When I search for channels it shows me only channels 800-819 and message poor signal quality. I also tried connect TV in other room with similar results.

I contacted my concierge but was told that no one else complained about TV signal.

It happened to me already twice, but it was for 2 hours maximum.

Any idea what could be wrong ??? (51.5056,-0.0107) 

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Richard's 1 post GB flag
12:34 AM
St. Austell

It was driving me mad, so I ended up taking the aerial down and found the centre core had snapped off, still no idea why C25+ continued working whilst I lost all the others but I've got everything back again now, thanks for the replies.

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Tim's 3 posts GB flag
Tim's: mapT's Freeview map terrainT's terrain plot wavesT's frequency data T's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 26 September 2011
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Griffin Patterson
8:34 PM

I am located at S10 3BA and have an internal aerial in the wall. We recently had a land line installed through the same port and have been experiencing loss of data since then. Sometimes, we don't need to rescan for days, but other times, we'll not get more than 20 channels (many including Rocks & Co. and AlJazeera as well as most of the babes stations V.V ) We were told that by rescanning a few times, we'd get more channels, but recently it's nothing more than 50 (which lasts for no more than 5 minutes) and many channels from the listed groups aren't showing. The weather seems fine, but we can't seem to get anything. Could this be the landline installer placing something that is causing interferences or is this s common digital problem?

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Griffin Patterson's 1 post GB flag
Griffin's: mapG's Freeview map terrainG's terrain plot wavesG's frequency data G's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
9:30 PM
Market Drayton

Hi, I'm at tf9 3dp I've lost most of my channels after a retune. Tried factory reset on my Sony Bravia. Any ideas be gratefully received!!

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Steve's 1 post GB flag
Steve's: ...
Thursday, 29 September 2011
10:52 AM

In Patcham (BN1) I know that the transmitter had some engineering work done, for about a week after this was done I could recieve all the freeview channels including some new ones. Since yesterday I now cant get ITV CH5 CH4 and a few others, how is it one minute I can get all the channels perfectly but the next limited channels. I have tried the full system reset as instructed, I have a upgraded ariel and a professional booster, this was put in due to the poor reception that has always been a issue in Patcham. Will we have to wait until the switchover in March? Or will this always be a issue in this area?

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martina's 2 posts GB flag

6:26 PM

martina: Can you please provide a full postcode?

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Friday, 30 September 2011
9:22 PM

The signal on channel 43 is low all other channels are ok . is it possible to boost the signal on this channel please ? I have done a channel scan but it has not improved the signal on this channel.

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MIKE's 4 posts GB flag
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