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

Thursday, 24 November 2011
Dave Lindsay

11:00 PM

Chris: Try carrying out this procedure:

My Freeview box has no EPG, is blank on FIVE, ITV3, ITV4, ITV2+1, has no sound or the channel line up is wrong | - independent free digital TV advice

What is the model of your TV or box? Have you got another in the house that you can try? Do you only have the one TV?

link to this comment
Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Friday, 25 November 2011
Steph Harris
9:01 PM

Since the switchover we have only got 25 channels, none 'mainstream' (BBC etc), We have retuned, done everything suggested and still only 25 channels. We were fine beforehand - any advice please. We have a sony KDL32W5500, post code NR20 4AJ

link to this comment
Steph Harris's 1 post GB flag
Steph's: mapS's Freeview map terrainS's terrain plot wavesS's frequency data S's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

9:07 PM

Steph Harris: What is the signal strength showing on the channels you have?

If you have a signal booster, remove it.

link to this comment
Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
8:03 PM

I have a Logik L19LDVB19 combined TV/DVD with integrated freeview. TV was bought last christmas. I also had a digital aerial fitted in January.
I have not been able to retune for the digital switchover (postcode CM1 3HH) I have tried deleting all channels and retuning as first installation, but get no channels at all. Can anyone help??

link to this comment
Rachael's 1 post GB flag
Rachael's: mapR's Freeview map terrainR's terrain plot wavesR's frequency data R's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

8:19 PM

Rachael: Do you have another television with another aerial socket that is known to work? For example, in the lounge. If so, take the TV there and try tuning it in using the lead known to work (because it feeds another TV).

Is your aerial pointing at Sudbury (36 degrees) as I looked on Google Streetview and found quite a few on Crystal Palace (224 degrees) with some on Sudbury? Do you get Anglia regional programming or London regional programming?

Does the aerial feed other TVs and if so, how is the signal distributed?

link to this comment
Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
John Beeston
12:21 PM

I live in TN19 & get free view from Bluebell Hill. After the Sudbury change over I noticed that on the signal received via my PVR the BBC local news was 'Look East'.The TV was still receiving SouthEast Today though.

link to this comment
John Beeston's 8 posts GB flag
Dave Lindsay

1:22 PM

John Beeston: See here:

Digital Region Overlap | - independent free digital TV advice

Sudbury is only a few degrees from the direction of Bluebell Hill at your location.

Bluebell Hill's digital broadcasts are lower power than they will be after switchover and Sudbury's are high power as it has switched.

You will probably be able to see which your TV has tuned to by looking for the UHF channel number on the signal strength/quality screen.

link to this comment
Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Saturday, 3 December 2011
John Jones
1:41 PM

Before Septembet I could receive most freeview channels. Since the last retune I cannot get the following channels 8,10,12,15-18,21-24,30-35. on my Goodmans set top box I have a channel test facility this shows Level and Quality for each channel channels 23,29,61,and 67 all have levels of Yellow (40%) and Quality Green (60%) However Channel 54 (738,000Khz) has Level Red (5%?) and Quality Green.
My aerials are roof top one to Mendip and the other to Cirencester, and are connected via an "old" Amplifier to both my televisions which give the same results.
I have carried our your instructions to clear the channels and reinstal.
Anything else I can do I'm disapointed as the all used to work well.?

John Jones

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

2:29 PM

John Jones: I am wondering if the "old amplifier" is actually a diplexer, which combines the signals from the two aerials, the crossover frequency being C54. You are now missing muxes SDN on C48 and ArqB on C52 which if there is such a diplexer are being blocked by the filter. Try using an aerial pointing to Mendip fed directly to your box and see if reception is restored to all muxes. The aerial on Cirencester gives C23 and C29 which are relays of C61 and C54, so as long as the reception of the Mendip signal is good you do not need to have the Cirencester aerial linked in. (I would still keep it as a second aerial though, I am a firm believer in back-up to cover unforeseen circumstances.) Do a manual tune if possible on C48 and C52 to check if there really is no signal before doing any alterations. Additional info,it may be of interest that C61 will be changed to C49 at Mendip probably in 2013 after this frequency has been released at Wenvoe.

link to this comment
KMJ,Derby's 1,811 posts GB flag
5:08 PM

I have two aerials on two different parts of the house; both point in the same direction. One is getting BBC1 and 2 (mux1?) from transmitter 'Kent' with good reception, the other is getting BBC from 'Bluebell Hill; with unusable reception as of about 6 weeks ago. I am in TN12 0AJ. Is it possible to 'tune' my TV to a different transmitter.

link to this comment
Roy's 6 posts GB flag
Roy's: mapR's Freeview map terrainR's terrain plot wavesR's frequency data R's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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.