menuMENU    UK Free TV logo Freeview



Click to see updates

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

Friday, 11 November 2011

8:20 PM

It is ok again today - Maybe they were working on something or something.
I dunno been a horrific day for me anyways RIP to my beloved cat <3
Hope freeview continues to work ok now

link to this comment
sue's 38 posts GB flag

8:27 PM

sue: Sorry to hear about your cat.

Let me know if you have any more Freeview problems.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
9:26 PM

For 4 yrs had faultless Freeview reception, my postcode is BN15 0QP.

For approx 2 weeks the reception has been very bad, lots of pixellation, TV says sig strength 90%, sig quality 0%, worse on BBC1, BBC2 and BBC News24. My equipments has not changed and neither has the landscape.

Father 3 miles away at postcode BN14 9LT has same problem.

Anyone know what had changed or is going on? (BN15 0QP)

link to this comment
Craig's 7 posts GB flag
Craig's: mapC's Freeview map terrainC's terrain plot wavesC's frequency data C's Freeview Detailed Coverage
9:34 PM

I should add to the above that both properties have aerials pointing to Whitehawk and have not had issues in the past. We both started having the issues around the same time so can't be our own equipment.

link to this comment
Craig's 7 posts GB flag

10:00 PM

Craig: Just checked and there is definitely a signal from Whitehawk Hill on C66.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
11:11 PM

Thanks Mike
My sister lives in Ub5 area and she has same problem on same channels so whoever decided the strength was enough is wrong.Is there a number I can call to complain though I doubt anything would be done anyway but if I have to live without these channels It may make me feel better.Once again thanks for your input


link to this comment
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
Saturday, 12 November 2011
Matt Donovan
2:08 PM

I live in Watford, Herts (WD24) and on Thursday we lost ITV1, C4, C4+1, ITV2 and BBC4 (which we have had problems recieving for a while). WE can't get these on our digital freeview set-top box, nor on the digital tv itself however I can get channels 1-5 on my normal tv using an indoor analogue ariel (even if the picture is a bit fuzzy sometimes). We have had a digital tv for over a year and also have the digital freeview set top box which we can record too but despite retuning both we have not been able to get the channels back. We did get them back on Friday afternoon but since about 7.3opm on Friday they have gone again. One of our neighbours appear to have no problem with her reception (although I don't know if she has freeview) so why do we? Can anyone help sort this out and get our channels back please?

link to this comment
Matt Donovan's 1 post GB flag
Matt's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
5:44 PM
Bury St. Edmunds

We live in Bury St Edmunds IP29 and last night got home to find only BBC channels on one digibox and no channels on our BT Vision Box. The switchover was on 9th November and we rescanned then and all was fine. The aerial is 2 years old and is chimney mounted. Late last night all the channels came back and they were still working this morning with a strong signal. Now they have all gone again on BT Vision and again only have BBC on the other digibox. Can anyone please help with advice on what is happening and what we need to do? Thanks.

link to this comment
Jack's 1 post GB flag
Jack's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

7:53 PM

Jack: Do you use adaptors such these that you plug a network cable in?:

BT Vision Powerline Adapter notice

If so, try turning them off and then try your digibox and try Freeview on your BT Vision box. (DN31NJ)

link to this comment
Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Select more comments

Your comment please
Please post a question, answer or commentUK Free TV is here to help people. If you are rude or disrespectful all of your posts will be deleted and you will be banned.

Privacy policy: UK Free Privacy policy.