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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, 14 November 2013
7:18 PM


It's back on...


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John's 2 posts GB
Sunday, 1 December 2013
suzanne reay
9:15 PM
Bishop Auckland

back on in dl13

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suzanne reay's 1 post GB
Friday, 6 December 2013
deirdre thompson
1:54 PM
Newcastle Upon Tyne

My freeview is very disrupted, I have BT vision and I've lost sky news. I live in Newcastle upon Tyne

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deirdre thompson's 1 post GB
Dave Lindsay

2:21 PM

deirdre thompson: It is worth giving at800 a ring to see if any 4G base stations operating at 800MHz have started up and whose introduction coincided with your issue.

There is a mobile base station 100m away from you on Chillingham Road. It is next to the bus stop adjacent to Warton Terrace, and outside Motor World. This does not mean that it "is" the issue, but raises the possibility due to the close proximity.

at800 is the organisation set-up by the 4G mobile phone operators and is responsible for rectifying viewers' reception issues caused by their signals.

at800's contact details are here:

Contact at800 / DMSL | General Enquiries | at800

Have you received a filter through the post from at800?

If you have a Freeview TV or other Freeview device, you may find that can show Sky News - this being a temporary workaround until a perminant solution is found.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
Sunday, 8 December 2013
Mrs A Hemmings
5:17 PM

We have a tv on the wall in the kitchen which can be swung round depending on where you are working/sitting. It was fine until just over a month ago. Now the aerial has be constantly fiddled with and signal strength is absolutely hopeless most of the time. What has happened? Please don't tell me it's the weather as it hasn't been that bad for so long. It appears to be since the maintenance work carried out in October!

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Mrs A Hemmings's 2 posts GB

9:02 PM

Mrs A Hemmings: You havn't put in your postcode when you asked the question, so we have no idea which trasmitter your probably using. However, signal strength would tend to have gone up after any engineering work, so perhaps you should look at your own system, which is where most problems tend to be.

If you have the TV connected to a roof aerial, check all the connections, since corrosion or fraying can lead to signal loss, and obviously a loose aerial connection is possible when your moving a TV back and fro. If you have a portable aerial, again check it, but since they are generally rubbish, I'd invest in an aerial that was higher with a clear view of the transmitter.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB

9:12 PM

Mrs A Hemmings:
I wonder if the clue is in the fact that the TV can be swung around? It may be that the aerial input socket on the back has worn and worked lose so the plug is no longer a tight fit? Worth checking that both the inner pin and the out colalar are tight in the aerial socket and that the cables themselves are unbroken internally. Perhaps try a new flylead to be sure it is in good condition.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
1:12 PM

Wed 11th December.
TV ok at 7:30 this morning but by 9:00 all BBC channels lost on two tv's in different rooms.
Location Whitstable Kent using Bluebell transmitter I think.
Is there a transmission problem?

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Kenneth's 2 posts GB
2:40 PM

14:30 - the missing channels have returned as if by magic

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Kenneth's 2 posts GB
John Dyas
3:01 PM
St. Leonards-on-sea

Kenneth: last night we lost most channels except Pick TV, drama and some shopping channels. This am BBC and quite a few others back but not ITV or channel 4 or strangely Pick TV amongst others. Think we are on Hastings transmitter but no problems or maintenance reported. Any ideas?

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John Dyas's 6 posts GB
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