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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

Thursday, 29 December 2011
7:03 PM

Hi, I wonder if anyone can help. I have a TVonics freeview TV recorder. Have done the reset etc. All TV channels seem to be fine. It tells me it has also found 26 radio channels, but they don't get listed, either in the channel list or the EPG. I have found out that most radio channels do not get broadcast during BBC Alba broadcast times. But that does not explain to me why I simply cannot see any radio channel at all. I used to listen to the radio through the TV, but cannot do this now. Any help would be much appreciated.

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I.Oberski's 1 post GB flag

9:11 PM

I.Oberski: Just out of interest, did you carry out the re-set / scan during the morning or early afternoon whilst the radio channels were actually in operation? because as you obviously realise BBC Alba takes over from 17.00 until 12.00 or thereabouts and any scans done during that period will not find a signal to store.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Friday, 30 December 2011
10:24 PM

i have a free view hd box and i have weak signal from itv bilsdale transmitter my signal is normaly 69% but drops to 13% even with a booster in line. can you help me ??

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brogon's 1 post GB flag
Saturday, 31 December 2011
Dave Lindsay

3:24 AM

brogon: Whereabouts are you? A post code would be of help.

What is the signal quality like? 69% signal strength is perfectly fine providing that it is 100% quality. It is the quality that dictates the picture quality.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Monday, 9 January 2012
Peter Brewer
7:36 AM

I have a 3 1/2 year old Panasonic TH-42PZ81B television with intenal HD Freeview and external dish to match. Recently (I can't say when) my HD channels have stopped working and all I get is a "No Signal" message on the screen. All other Freeview channels appear to be working normally. Can anyone help please?

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Peter Brewer's 1 post GB flag

1:06 PM

Peter Brewer: That model of TV was one of the first sets to be able to receive Freesat HD transmissions, and indeed designed before they even started, so "if" you are referring to it not being able to receive HD via satellite it might be because the set is not capable of receiving the new S2 transmissions which started last June, something that caused chaos to not only many users of Freesat TV's but also a range of Sky boxes.

Should you be indeed referring to Freesat, then the best policy is to return the set to its shipping condition, as in some cases the new symbol rate will automatically appear after its scanned "if" it has the rate required stored in its hidden menu, as unfortunately a number of TV's dont.

If though on the other hand you are referring to Freeview via a normal aerial, I cannot see that model being listed as having HD capabilities on Freeview.

Maybe you could clarify on this.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
9:00 AM

I recieve from Huntshaw Cross and the BBC channels are constantly breaking up. As I only watch BBC this is somewhat annoying. I monitor Huntshaw at work and notice data packet losses sometimes up to 9500 in an hour at around 1830 almost every night on BBC channels this aerial system is line of sight to Huntshaw and no reflections! At home this is the time that BBC becomes sometimes unwatchable. Yet other channels are fine. It would seem PSB1 has a problem in this area?

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gaudios's 1 post GB flag
Sara Rose
4:27 PM

Our aerial is set for the Stockland Hill transmitter. We started to experience pixellation problems just before Christmas. We bought a new booster splitter but still experience minor pixellation on most channels and have lost channels on multiplex D completely. The roof aerial was replaced 3 years ago and appears to be aligned in the same direction as our neighbours. What to do next?

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Sara Rose's 2 posts GB flag
Sara's: mapS's Freeview map terrainS's terrain plot wavesS's frequency data S's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

5:29 PM

Sara Rose: I think that you will probably have to live with it as these services are currently on low power (that is lower than their final power). There would seem little point in doing anything because the power of the commercial multiplexes goes up on 18th April.

Note that all three commercial multiplexes are on the same low power, so the one you don't have has (to your TV) probably dropped just below the threshold that your TV needs to show a picture. That could be to do with a drop in the level getting to your location from the transmitter. A look on the signal strength screen might tell you that there is a weak signal there.

The only thing that you can do is check you cables. Further guidance here:

Freeview reception has changed? | - independent free digital TV advice

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Dave Lindsay

5:35 PM

Sara Rose: Silly me. I gave you a link to this page!

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
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