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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, 13 May 2013
12:36 PM

Since a few weeks ago reception of all the HD channels available from the IOW transmitter have disappeared. I have tried retuning my TV (Sony 46HX853) but they have not come back. I am still receiving the ordinary channels on CH24 & CH27. Any help would be gratefully received.

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Simon's 1 post GB
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
Richard Cullen
3:26 PM

I get good reception on BBC A and D3+4, with unpredictable reception on SDN - today it is just about OK, with slight, occasional picture break-up. BBC B, ARQA and ARQB have disappeared completely in the last three weeks or so.

There used to be good coverage on all for the three TVs in the house. I have been re-tuning from time to time. Two of the three TVs are digital e.g. Panasonic TX L24E3B; the other has a digibox/ recorder.

What can have changed?

The signal from a 52 element digital aerial aerial (which I installed in July 2009, located firmly inside the roof space and aimed at the Oxford transmitter) is split into 3 separate cables - one for each TV - with a Labgear UH141 UHF antenna distribution amplifier. I have a separate 12V DC masthead power supply near the aerial, powered by a nearby mains socket. This appears to be working.

Any suggestions please?

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Richard Cullen's 7 posts GB
Dave Lindsay

4:36 PM

Richard Cullen: Queries such as this can only really be answered with knowledge of the location, preferably in the form of postcode or nearby postcode such as that of a shop, this being for the purposes of checking the expected signals in the area.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
Richard Cullen
10:04 PM

Sorry about that - I had meant to say that I live in OX2 6RB.

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Richard Cullen's 7 posts GB
Dave Lindsay

11:43 PM

Richard Cullen: At 4.4 miles from such a high power transmitter it sounds as though your aerial is way OTT!


Freeview signals: too much of a good thing is bad for you | Digital switchover | - 10 years of independent, free digital TV advice

Even prior to switchover I wouldn't have thought you would have needed such a high gain aerial.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Richard Cullen
9:27 AM

Thanks. I've just realised I got this wrong: I bought a 52 element aerial and found it far too big for the loft space; returned it and bought a "30 element high gain wide band digital aerial" which - until very recently - worked very well. I can't help thinking that something has changed, or that some component isn't working.
Have you any ideas?
Thanks for your thoughts so far.

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Richard Cullen's 7 posts GB
Sunday, 16 June 2013
Sarah mills
11:33 AM

Since my signal in okehampton went down yesterday morning I can not get any channels back where it seems everyone else has, I have tried all the procedures explained on here and it will not find any channels, can any one help please?

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Sarah mills's 1 post GB
Sunday, 21 July 2013
darren kerry
6:00 PM

hi can someone please tell how to sort my built in freeview i can most channels but no matter what i do i cannot get any HD channels.please help me.i can get them on my LG but no joy on technika.please help.

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darren kerry's 1 post GB

6:05 PM

darren kerry: Is the "technika" set equipped with Freeview HD (called "DVB-T2") reception?

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Thursday, 25 July 2013
G Brown
6:59 PM

I suddenly cannot receive any satellite signal, I have not changed anything, but just no signal, also my Freeview is very intermittent, today I cannot receive anything.

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G Brown's 1 post GB
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