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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, 29 October 2011
Steve Warner
10:17 AM

Hi, during September 2011 we have seen a significant reduction in our signal strength in the Dorset area , I have checked the cables, connectors and amplifiers and they seem to be working fine, previous to September we were able to run all 4 TV's fine but now only when you unplug 2 out of 4 does the signal become strong enough to be watchable, even Analogue has reduced, please can you help

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Steve Warner's 1 post GB flag
Steve's: mapS's Freeview map terrainS's terrain plot wavesS's frequency data S's Freeview Detailed Coverage

12:36 PM

Steve Warner: If you have a reduction in the quality of the analogue picture then that suggests that the aerial has either moved or had become damaged.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Monday, 31 October 2011
6:26 PM

i live in far cotton, northampton,
i couldnt get on the roof so i installed a high gain digital ariel in the loft with a good amp.
when pointed at sandy heath i get the 3 stronger signal channels a, b & d3+4 i cant get the other channels as they are weaker.
when i point the ariel to dallington i get full signal & quality but they only transmit a, b & d3+4
my question is will dallington ever give me c & d, ie dave and viva?
also will sandy heath ever up the strengh for c & d?

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br's 3 posts GB flag
br's: mapB's Freeview map terrainB's terrain plot wavesB's frequency data B's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Darren Evans
11:21 AM

We've lost all our BBC channels to our HD integrated Freeview TV. The other channels seem OK and we still get BBC1 HD & BBC HD

Has anything changed? Have treied to re-tune and this does not help

We get our reception from Wenvoe

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Darren Evans's 1 post GB flag

1:50 PM

Darren Evans: Can you please have a look at, in the first instance, Single frequency interference | - independent free digital TV advice ?

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
John Hard
1:56 PM

I have just installed a Humax PVR9300T and loaded all Freeview channels. Channels 3, 4 & 5 (ITV1 and channels 4 &5) are not watchable. However they are duplicated as channels 800, 801 and 802. Although these are entirely watchable, it is inconvenient not having quick access through the keys for 3,4 & 5. Do not have this problem with other TV using same arial system. Any ideas please?

link to this comment
John Hard's 1 post GB flag
John's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Josie Gurnsey
4:19 PM

I bought a Humax PVR9300 freeview HD box in July, it has been fine until a couple of weeks ago when we started having trouble with Sky News plus some other channels such as PickTV, Dave, E4+1 and a few others. The picture and sound break up and the message 'No or bad signal' appears for a coujple of seconds, then the TV just switches to another channel, usually BBC1. I have done all the things that have been suggested in previous comments but it doesn't work. Now these channels have disappeared from the usual place and come up as 801, 802 etc. but still no reception. What can I do?

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Josie Gurnsey's 2 posts GB flag
Josie's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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