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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

Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Josie Gurnsey
4:37 PM

Hello Briantist, I tried that earlier today, that is when the channels changed to 801, 802 etc. but I still can't get to view them.

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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
Thursday, 3 November 2011
3:45 PM

loss of most freeview channels
01.00 am 03-11-2011
croydon .
freesat tv
pvr1 pvr2 pvr3......all lost service
no mention of this ???
any info on future switch offs or do we just live with shopping channels..

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keef's 2 posts GB flag

3:59 PM

keef: The Crystal Palace transmitter was off from midnight to 6am for testing of the post-DSO services. It's listed on the Freeview on Crystal Palace TV transmitter | - independent free digital TV advice page. The same will happen tonight.

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Briantist's 38,899 posts GB flag
Friday, 4 November 2011
7:40 PM


Lost the Sky News mux yesterday, did all the resets, scans etc, channel re-appears, goes off again, ok if aerial cable goes straight into freeview Tv but poor or lost through BT vision+ box.....postcode cf15 8aa, would like to be receiving Wenvoe. Any ideas??


Mike in Cardiff

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mike's 2 posts GB flag
mike's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Saturday, 5 November 2011
1:46 PM

Hi Briantist,

Think it was a poor end connection to the aerial in cable, strange it only seemed to affect the Sky News mux though.

Thanks again


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mike's 2 posts GB flag
mike's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage

4:09 PM

mike: I'm glad to hear you found the problem. Yes, I agree it was strange, but with digital reception it is all-or-nothing on each multiplex and something a cable fault can reduce just one multiplex - as you have found.

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Briantist's 38,899 posts GB flag
Chris Perkins
5:13 PM


I have lost all channels using the 746000 frequency (BBC1 CBBC, etc) since yesterday. I live in Hove and apparently receive freeview from the Whitehawk Hill transmitter. As far as I can find there is no maintenance scheduled at present. All other channels seem to be fine, although there is occasional pixellation.

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Chris Perkins's 1 post GB flag

5:37 PM

Chris Perkins: C55 (746.0MHz) is multiplex A, not multiplex 1.

1 BBC One South, 2 BBC Two England, 7 BBC Three, 70 CBBC Channel, 80 BBC News, 105 BBC Red Button, 301 301 as a digital multiplex is transmitted on frequency C66 (834.0MHz).

I am using a TV in Hove right now at multiplex 1 is broadcasting normally.

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Briantist's 38,899 posts GB flag
Sunday, 6 November 2011
Vic Newy
11:37 AM

We live in Redditch, Worc's, our TV has a built in HD tuner so we get the 4 freeview HD channels, however the quality of the HD channels has gone poor so I checked the signal strength.
It says the main channels are 80% strength & West midlands but the HD channels show really bad 10% from Gloucester transmitter. Why are we picking up two different signals ? During the Summer the HD channels worked reasonably fine but now they just break up & pixelate

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Vic Newy's 2 posts GB flag
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