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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

Sunday, 2 October 2011
Paul Springate
11:37 AM

What has happened in the Cirencester area this week? I am at GL7 5PX and, being advised by the press to retune at the beginning of the week, the perfect reception that we have had since going digital has now degenerated in the BBC and ITV programmes being occasionally unwatchable and mainly with broken picture. UP to this week our reception was near perfect.

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Paul Springate's 1 post GB flag
Paul's: mapP's Freeview map terrainP's terrain plot wavesP's frequency data P's Freeview Detailed Coverage

12:21 PM

Paul Springate: It depends on where you are receiving your signal from, as although further away Mendip (@ 45mls) and Oxford (@ 32mls) are forecast as being better than Cirencester in both cases.

"If" though you are on Cirencester, and although the aerial alignment will be out, you should try a test by removing the aerial and carry out a factory retune without it connected, then as soon as the scanning process starts watch the channels rising in the progress bar, immediately reconnecting the aerial when they get to Mux Ch45 which will eliminate Cirencester and allow either Mendip of Oxford to load, if though you are already on one of these two then manually tuning the one required will be about the only option.

Info supplied if requested!

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Monday, 3 October 2011
11:25 AM

Hiya my full postcode is bn1 8yp. Have been trying daily to get all the channels I had but still no luck.

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Martina's 2 posts GB flag
Martina's: ...
kevin robinson
8:16 PM

hi there, i am new to this site.
i live in bs21 area and use mendip transmitter.
following works on 29 sept i have retuned my 2 freeview boxes and cannot get ANY bbc channels at all, also have lost some of the other channels as well. i have tried the reset procedure and checked all cables. any ideas? are there ongoing problems with mendip?
any help would be greatly appreciated.

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kevin robinson's 1 post GB flag
kevin's: mapK's Freeview map terrainK's terrain plot wavesK's frequency data K's Freeview Detailed Coverage
8:49 PM

I live at ba6 9pj. Had low or poor signal, did a retune and am now getting bbc Wales and the reception is awful Have to tune into 800 for bbc1, 801 bbc2... please will you tell me how I can just get back to pressing 1, 2 etc?? Not really clued up with this technical stuff!

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Jude's 1 post GB flag
Jude's: ...
Wednesday, 5 October 2011

2:00 PM

kevin robinson: Can you have a look at the Single frequency interference | - independent free digital TV advice page?

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag

2:12 PM

Martina: Have you checked everything at the top of the page?

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Thursday, 6 October 2011
8:31 AM

Hi all, I have a built in freeview tele and have found since the switch over I need to re tune all the tv's in the house on a daily basis. I live in Highworth and p/code is sn6 7hn.The aerial was installed specifically to receive digital free view channels. Once the tuning is complete I will have most channels, although some channels keep breaking away,but if I turn the telly off, when I come to turn it on again,I will have lost some channels again. Do I need to install a satelite dish to improve the signal or is this something we have to live with? If the answer is to install a dish then so be it, but do not want to incur an unnecessary expense.Is there anyone out there with an answer for me? Your help in this regard will be greatly appreciated.


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Pierre's 1 post GB flag
Pierre's: ...
Jim F

10:36 AM

Pierre: Transmitter of choice at your location appears to be Oxford, and reception should be rock solid according to DUK.
Losing channels when you switch off your TV is more likely to be a problem with the TV that with reception - your TVs may need a software update.
Can you try a digibox and see if that works OK? If it does, you may have to talk to the service folk for your telly(s).

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Jim F's 141 posts GB flag
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