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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, 6 November 2011
mrs m.strick
9:51 PM

ihave lost several of my free view channels and cannot get them back . i live in penzance cornwall.can you help?

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mrs m.strick's 1 post GB flag
Monday, 7 November 2011

7:37 PM

mrs m.strick: Please can you provide a full postcode? You might find Single frequency interference | - independent free digital TV advice a useful page to check.

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Briantist's 38,899 posts GB flag

7:38 PM

Vic Newy: Can you please provide a full postcode?

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Briantist's 38,899 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
4:51 PM

I live in KT15 2HP and have trouble with the channels in the no.2 list above.The picture is pixelated and the sound is distorted or not there at all and often get a low digital signal strength warning come up.It has been going on for a few months and also happened last year,it seems to be the worst I can remember right now, any reason for that.I live in a block of flats and one aerial.Was told it was because of signal strength at crystal palace. Can you confirm and possibly tell me a solution as I dont want to have this until april changeover.Any advice would be very grateful thank you

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Brian's 2 posts GB flag
Brian's: mapB's Freeview map terrainB's terrain plot wavesB's frequency data B's Freeview Detailed Coverage
8:38 PM

I understood they were going to boost the free view single in london Noivember time.Well they might like to boost it, up here as in Northamton I now e lost a third of my channels these last few days..this veiw stuff is a joke..Can anyone help boost it and stop all this messing around as I have had 24 months of up and down wih channels coming and going.

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desmond's 1 post GB flag
10:02 PM

hi,my post code is nn5 freeview box thomson dt16300 is missing channels dave,sky news,e4+1 etc: picking up cambs and beds transmitter. I've had all channels avalible in the past,but keep losing a signal on some.Have tried re-tune and factory defaults. Have only got frequencies 24,27,31 and 48. please help if poss.

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mike's 1 post GB flag
mike's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage

10:50 PM

desmond: I don't know where you get that idea from, switchover in London is Wednesday 18th April 2012. Nothing changes before then.

If you could please provide a full postcode.

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Briantist's 38,899 posts GB flag
Mike Dimmick

11:24 PM

mike: Did you have digital TV before switchover? If not, you may still have a Group A aerial. For all channels from the Sandy Heath transmitter, you will probably need to change to a wideband type.

The signal levels are expected to be sufficient even with the SDN and ArqA multiplexes still on low power. ArqA will go to its final location and power level on 23 November after Tacolneston finishes switchover on that date.

If you had reliable digital reception before switchover, you should already have a wideband aerial. I'd then suspect too much signal - see Freeview signals: too much of a good thing is bad for you | - independent free digital TV advice for more information.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
Mike Dimmick

11:26 PM

Brian: Contact your landlord or management agent. The signal levels are expected to be sufficient for a very good chance of reliable reception at that postcode, which means that probably there's too much loss in the building's distribution cabling.

They will have to be prepared to recalibrate and possibly retune the system at switchover anyway, depending on how it's constructed.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
3:06 PM

Hi. I live in hemel hempstead. My dad has just retuned my tv (with freeview) as i had lost bbc. Now i have lost bbc 1+2. Itv and ch4+5. Please help. Thanks

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heidi's 1 post GB flag
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