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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

Wednesday, 16 November 2011
John Beeston
8:25 AM

I live in TN19 7LH & receive signals from bluebell hill. For the last 2 days reception has been patchy on itv & ch.4. This morning BBC similarly affected - complete blank. Sky news still good. Have retuned both TVs & PVR, to no avail it would seem.
Aerial still where it should be. This is becoming more & more common. Would I be better off with Freesat or will it improve after switchover?
Anyone lee in the area having same problems?

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John Beeston's 8 posts GB flag
John's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
9:40 AM

I live in RH10 6EP and have been having problems mainly with ITV and the Channel 4 channels. We have 2 boxes in the house and both play up at exactly the same time so it's not the boxes. I also know of other households and businesses in the local area that have been experiencing the same issues recently. Noone can find an answer to it though, it's very frustrating.

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Amanda's 1 post GB flag
Amanda's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage
7:29 PM

The problems with poor signal from Whitehawk continue both for me in Sompting BN15 and my father in Worthing BN14. I see over at Freeview on Whitehawk Hill TV transmitter | - independent free digital TV advice other people in the Whitehawk area are complaining about the same issue and saying it started after the engineering works.

Who did the engineering works and who can we contact as the problem would seem widespread with reports of the same issue from Sompting, Worthing and Brighton?.

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Craig's 7 posts GB flag
Thursday, 17 November 2011
2:42 PM

we have an idtv and live in G61 area. We have been enjoying lots of Freeview channels for several years, and at the digital switchover in June noticed no difference. (we did obviously need to retune, but still had lots of channels). In the past month or so, we have lost a whole batch of channels - obviously on the one transmitter although according to your maps there are no transmitter problems. We have lost Freeview 11, 12 etc. My mother a mile away has also lost programmes - but she has lost BBC 1,2,3 etc. Any ideas please?

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Alison's 1 post GB flag
Alison's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Friday, 18 November 2011
9:15 PM

I am not familiar with tv in England, as I am a student, living in Sunderland, SR4 6EF.
1. Do you think I could succesfully use an in-room Dvb antenna for freeview? and if so, which one shoud i choose? I have an integrated dvb-t and dvb-t inside my monitor.
2. There is a sky dish left unused, what is needed to get it to work? is freesat better then freeview? Is it totally free? Which is the cheapest equipment needed?
Thank you!

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Florian's 2 posts SE flag
Florian's: mapF's Freeview map terrainF's terrain plot wavesF's frequency data F's Freeview Detailed Coverage

9:59 PM

Florian: 1) No. A rooftop aerial is required for Freeview.

2) You need a FreeSAT box and a couple of minutes.

See Compare Freeview and Freesat TV | - independent free digital TV advice .

Yes, it's free, thus the name.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Sunday, 20 November 2011
1:07 AM

I note that Mrs M Strick has posted that she has lost channels in same area as me. I live in Hayle Cornwall postcode TR27 4LZ and have lost all channels except bands A and B for about three weeks or so. I have tried clearing the channels and rescaning to no avail. I have two humax freeview boxes working tvs off of two different aerials. One a one for all indoor aerial and the other an old roof aerial in my loft. Any ideas?

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Jennymaria's 2 posts GB flag
Jennymaria's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
1:20 AM

Sorry. Correction to my earlier comment. The channels I can get are on bands 1&2 not A and B.

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Jennymaria's 2 posts GB flag
Dave Lindsay

10:30 AM

Jennymaria: The commercial multiplexes (groups of channels) are on low power from the transmitter and will remain so until 2012. From what you describe, it is these which you are now not getting.

Perhaps there has been a change in atmospherics which means that the signal is now not as strong where you are.

I would try manually tuning them. They are on UHF channels 48, 52 and 56.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Peter P
10:42 AM

My post code is NN11 2JS, I run a wide band aerial on the highest point of my property with a 4 way booster and have replaced all my cables with foil encase co axial (satellite) cable. I have been able to get all the Freeveiw channels for 99% of the time but, in the last 2/3 weeks I am getting a "no or poor signal" message every night when I want to watch TV and this is infuriating me as they are the channels I like to watch most. The channels affected are 11,19,20,29,37,43,46 & 82, amongst others. I was told by a lady at Digital TV that this is due to engineers working on the Sandy Heath transmitter. I find this difficult to believe especially at 11pm at night. I am inundated with customers at my local electrical shop complaining about the same problems. I have aligned with Sandy rather than Sutton Coalfields as this is recommended for my location and Sutton C does not cover Northamptonshire local news.
I do hope after all the changes we have, and are still, going through (retune on the 23rd) and the hype about digital TV this standard of reception is not going to be the norm, or is it?

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Peter P's 2 posts GB flag
Peter's: mapP's Freeview map terrainP's terrain plot wavesP's frequency data P's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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