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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

Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Mr G Collins
11:51 PM

On a couple of times l have lost freeview signal with fault message no signal and a poor picture on analogue tv.

The system was installed 3 months ago with new ariel, 12 - way distribution amp in loft and all new down leads installed.

Could the amp be faulty,

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Mr G Collins's 4 posts GB
Wednesday, 23 February 2011

7:38 AM

Mr G Collins: Yes. If that is the case I would ask the people who installed it to come back and make good their work.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Sunday, 27 February 2011
Janet Shaw
2:42 PM

I live in Warwickshire and have analogue tvs which receive some channels for a sky freeview box. The one digital ty (despite new aerial) will only pick up bbc channels. Others detail no signal. Can I tune digital tv to channel (6 in our case) to pick up other channels through sky box? The property is an old mill and aerial cables disappear under floors into walls as all work was done many years efore I moved in.

Janet S

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Janet Shaw's 1 post GB

4:15 PM

Janet Shaw: There is no such thing as a "sky freeview box", please can you clarify what you mean.

Also, I need your full postcode to assist.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Monday, 28 February 2011
6:40 PM

we are able to receive most digital channels without problem upstairs, but downstairs all but the bbc channels breakdown with the message that
'digital channel strength is low' this situation has got worse over the last few weeks.
when is reception from the sutton coldfield transmitter going to improve.

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william's 1 post GB

8:06 PM

william: Please see Single frequency interference | - independent free digital TV advice , and Wednesday 21st September 2011.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Saturday, 5 March 2011
Roger McDonald
4:26 PM

Hi, I live in Cornwall and receive freeview through an aerial. All channels related to multiplex D, Film4 ITV4 etc which have been fine for sveral months, have all become unwatchable in the last couple of weeks. Could be weather, an inversion, or have they tweaked the signal down, maybe across the Nation?
Roger McD

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Roger McDonald's 1 post GB

4:57 PM

Roger McDonald: No, the signals are not changed for any reason anywhere at all. I would see Single frequency interference | - independent free digital TV advice . I can't say more without a full postcode.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Saturday, 26 March 2011
George Monaghan
12:32 PM


Any known problems with the Council digital service in the Drumchapel area of Glasgow? G15 postcode. Might have been ongoing for a few weeks now.

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George Monaghan's 1 post GB
Sunday, 27 March 2011
12:36 AM

I have a Freesat dish abd have been receiving Freeview it no problems until 3 days ago when S4C , CBS Reality and some other channels kept showing "no signal".
Postcode is CF40. Is anyone els having similar problems?

Dish has not been moved or affected by weather as far as I can tell.

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Janet's 1 post GB
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