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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

Monday, 1 April 2013
Dave Lindsay

6:24 PM

Julian Parker: This page lists services by multiplex:

DTG :: DTT Services by Multiplex

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
Sunday, 7 April 2013
11:21 AM

I live in postcode G61 2LU. I fitted and ran the Antenna / cables myself and also a booster. Every now and then I get a poor reception on BBC. (Perfect through Virgin box. I now also get a pooer reception on other channels. I will check the connection @ antenna but do you think I need a high gain one.

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Martin's 1 post GB

9:26 PM

Martin: I am inclined to think that the reason your problem is more likely to be caused by the signal reaching you suffering from intermittent periods of being partially obstructed by trees, these being in abundance in your area, and should this apply then a high gain aerial is the last thing you want as its sharper focus would make the situation worse.

However, I wouldn't as yet try altering anything until you verify if others in your "immediate" vicinity (no more than a couple of houses away) are also suffering from the problem as its very likely that they are and so its worth checking.

Further advice dependant on findings.

By the way the Virgin box will not be affected as its a cable device.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
Thursday, 11 April 2013
9:55 AM

I have a Samsung tv with built in freeview - my problem is that when I turn the tv on it takes about 30 minutes or more for me to receive a picture - any ideas - I have tried retuning several times.

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Ronnie's 1 post GB
Mo McKenzie
10:39 AM

Hi, I cannot pick up BBC channels since April 10th on the 15" Technika TV in the bedroom, even when I used the main aerial downstairs I had the same effect. The other freeview channels seem unaffected.

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Mo McKenzie's 1 post GB
8:01 PM

After the 10th April changes, my old Freeview box will not store the channels. This means that I have to "tune" it every time I turn it on. This never happened before 10th April, but it happens every time now. There were various messages on screen about 10th April, but surely, I do not have to retune it each time I turn it on? It takes me back to 1960 when I had to wait for ages before one of the two stations was selected!

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Peter's 1 post GB

9:14 PM

Peter: This could possibly be caused by the common reason of a box having picked up more channels than its memory capacity can store hence they are lost every time the box is switched off.

To make sure that nothing is stored go into the boxes set up menu and look for either factory reset / default setting / first time installation and press on whatever is seen, then after completion of same carry out another auto-tune.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
9:29 PM

Bbc 1 and 2 have started to break up, the picture and sound just drift in and out. All other channels work fine.
Also bbc 1 has disappeared from its channel 1 on the channel listing as has bbc 2 only to be found on channel 823 but as a bad picture.

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Steve's 1 post GB
Sunday, 14 April 2013
4:53 PM

My Technika 19" Freeview TV needed re-tuning every time after being switched off since the 10th April upgrade. After re-tuning via 'First time installation' problem solved!

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Pam's 1 post GB

8:21 PM

Pam: Yes, this was because your TV had picked up more channels that its tuners memory capacity could store hence they dropped out again when the set was switched off, "first time installation" before tuning having cleaned out the tuners memory thereby allowing more storage capacity for the channels actually required.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
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