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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, 25 July 2013
7:18 PM

Is the Millburn Muir transmitter completely down?? No signal in the G83 area

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steph's 1 post GB flag
steph's: mapS's Freeview map terrainS's terrain plot wavesS's frequency data S's Freeview Detailed Coverage

8:42 PM

G Brown: As satellite signals can to all intents be taken as always being there then the problem has to be caused by a defect in your installation, "if" you are on a communal dish system then check with a neighbour to find out if they are also being similarly affected.

Should on the other hand you be using your own dish, then it might have been accidentally knocked against by some object thereby moving it slightly of alignment, this resulting in the signal level received being reduced to under that required to produce a picture.

Being unaware as to the type of box (Sky or Freesat) you are using I am unable to provide more precise instructions, but no matter what it might be carry out a signal strength / quality test and check that both indications are seen as being around 50% minimum.

Further advice dependant of feedback.

By the way, the only thing that could link a Freeview and Satellite problem occurring at the same time is if the aerial as well as the dish was facing into a large tree, or alternatively that both were being provided via a communal aerial system.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag

8:51 PM

steph: Yes. All TV and FM/DAB radio services are shown as off air since 16.19 today, 25th July 2013.

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KMJ,Derby's 1,811 posts GB flag
Thursday, 1 August 2013
Penny Johns
9:26 AM

I have a problem getting TV programmes on my Samsung PVR digibox recorder which is connected to the TV with an hdmi cable. It says poor signal or check aeriel cable. I have done this, with no success. I have inserted the aeriel cable direct into the TV aeriel socket and the reception seems good and all channels work. I have also retuned the TV digital channels and am in the process of retuning the digibox (which is taking forever to retune and I've now had to come to work!) Can you give me any advice please

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Penny Johns's 2 posts GB flag
Penny's: mapP's Freeview map terrainP's terrain plot wavesP's frequency data P's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Penny Johns
9:47 AM

Penny Johns: By the way, I can get the channels when the source is selected as TV with the signal coming through the digibox hdmi cable, but not with the digibox/recorder as the source.

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Penny Johns's 2 posts GB flag
Penny's: mapP's Freeview map terrainP's terrain plot wavesP's frequency data P's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

1:16 PM

Penny Johns: Try moving the HDMI lead away from the incoming aerial lead and see if it makes a difference. It could be interference being picked up.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Thursday, 29 August 2013
10:33 AM

i live in tewkesbury, gloucestershire. i have re tuned my tv and done first time installation and film 4 is still not working. my other tv in the front room never asked to re tune and both film 4 and +1 are working. i am a bit annoyed now that my other tv is not working. has anyone got any other suggestions.

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gemma's 1 post GB flag

8:40 PM

gemma: If your other TV did not display the retune caption at the top of the screen then its operating system is most likely programmed to carry out regular automatic channel updates, because this caption is only transmitted on Film 4's original location on the COM6 multiplex and which is for a limited time only before it vanishes.

The "first time installation" should normally have rectified your problem and so its a bit strange that it hasn't, however try removing your aerial connection and then carry out an auto-tune without it as this should blank out anything stored in the tuners memory, test to make sure that it has by reconnecting the aerial followed going into the programme guide and which should be blank with a message indicating "no channels stored" or "no signal", should this situation apply then carry out another auto-tune and check if this procedure has cured the problem,

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Sunday, 3 November 2013
Colin Grossart
7:13 PM

Has anybody any idea what is going on at Craigkelly?
The weekend of the 26/27th November we had severe break up and pixelation of the BBC programs (PSB1 C27), that eventually cleared over the next few days, but we couldn't get some other channels.
Checking tonight, it seems that COM4 (C42) and COM5 (C45) are off air.

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Colin Grossart's 1 post GB flag

11:19 PM

Colin Grossart: All muxes are most definitely on the air from Craigkelly, not noticed any problems recently.

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Michael's 358 posts GB flag
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