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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, 20 November 2011
11:48 AM

Thanks you for your answer, however:
1.I did try a £18 indoor amplified antenna and I got 36 channels with on 3 channel 48, 53, 56, transmitter name North East (my postcode is SR4 6EF). The antenna NEEDS the amplifier to max position, otherwise nothing comes up. I live at ground floor and the antenna HAS to be oriented in the oposite direction as the antennas on rooftops of neighbours. It is also very sensitive to location, 3-4cm actually make a big difference.
If the indoors antennas wouldn't work, why would the local shops still sell them?
Anyway, as me being a student I NEED to use an indoor.
Is there a topic for indoor antennas/reception?

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Florian's 2 posts GB flag
Florian's: mapF's Freeview map terrainF's terrain plot wavesF's frequency data F's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Hans-Dieter Scholz
6:06 PM

For the last two weeks we have had frequent ^poor signal" or "no signal" on ITV & Channel 5. retuning the digital TV set does not help.
BBC channels are fine. We are in the centre of Salisbury.
What can we do about this?
Thank you.H.-D. Scholz

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Hans-Dieter Scholz's 1 post GB flag
Hans-Dieter's: mapH's Freeview map terrainH's terrain plot wavesH's frequency data H's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

7:14 PM

Hans-Dieter Scholz: What level of signal strength do you get on other channels?

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Michael Talbot
11:41 PM

I live in St Osyth near Clacton on Sea. following the switchover we received digital TV on three TV sets with three seperate digital set top boxes. About a fortnight ago was lost channel 12 'Yesterday' and channel 15 'Film 4'. When selected the text information about the programme appeared, but after about 30 seconds without a picture, the words 'No signal' appeared. When I retuned one of the set top boxes the channels were no longer selectable. So now I have a box where channels 12 & 15 do not appear at all and two digital boxes where those channels can be selected but report 'No Signal'.
What is the cause of my problem and how do I put it right?

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Michael Talbot's 2 posts GB flag
Michael's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 21 November 2011
Dave Lindsay

12:37 AM

Michael Talbot: Many many people are reporting the same issue. See here:

Sudbury Arqiva multiplex B changes 16 November - retune required | - independent free digital TV advice

The answer seems to be that you're going to have to wait until 27th June 2012 to get them back.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
8:54 PM

My post code NG22 0UR.
We appear to have lost a whole batch of stations including Film 4 and E4.
We have retuned - with and without the aerial connected. They are still missing.
Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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Adrian's 1 post GB flag
Adrian's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage
8:57 PM

TN19 Poastcode frm heathfield transmitor.
analogue has been poor or non-existent for weeks now and a didgital signal that has been fine for years, despite being told we are not in a digital area, has gone.
why can no-one ever admit something has changed? there is always "enginering works - poor signal" listed against heathfield, but no update. something that works for years & then stops working surely deserves a better answer than not being in a digital area. we were. this seems to be a stock-answer?

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ANDY's 1 post GB flag
ANDY's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Thursday, 24 November 2011
David Mummery
12:21 PM

Since Nov. 16th we have lost Ch. 12 (Yesterday) and Ch. 15 (Film 4). I have deleted all channels as directed and re-scanned. No channels between 1 and 20 are detected.
The lost channels were fine until 16/11.
I have double-checked all connections.
What has gone wrong? And why, please?
Thank you in advance for your advice.

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David Mummery's 1 post GB flag
Dave Lindsay

12:25 PM

David Mummery: Without any idea as to what transmitter you are receiving from or where you are, it's difficult to give an answer!

However, that date and the channels you mention are connected with respect to the Sudbury transmitter. Many many people have reported the same thing:

Sudbury Arqiva multiplex B changes 16 November - retune required | - independent free digital TV advice

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
9:44 PM

I live in East Ruston, North East Norfolk, NR12 9JL. Freeview channels received ok until 9th November when block of BBC channels dissapeared.Since final change at Talcolneston yesterday 23/11 we have no channels at all. Tried rescanning with and without booster, different leads etc.. However checking aerial position it is not pointing 214/216 sw as advised. but probably more towards 200 s sw. Would this be the cause of our problem?. as mentioned aerial position has not been changed and we had been receiving Freewview using a plug in booster.
Thank you

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Chris's 1 post GB flag
Chris's: mapC's Freeview map terrainC's terrain plot wavesC's frequency data C's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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