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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.

Cables

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.

Aerial

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
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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

Comments
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Dave Lindsay
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

3:09 PM

John Dyas: I looked on Streetview and concur that aerials face Hastings transmitter. I know a few people have posted over the last 12 or so hours reporting problems with some channels from Heathfield, which is obviously an adjacent transmitter, so it might be something to do with the transmitter or its feed.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
J
John Dyas
3:51 PM
St. Leonards-on-sea

Dave Lindsay: thanks promptness. Retuning (for umpteenth time) on built in tuner noticed nothing up from ch28 which I think should carry some channels? We have loft aerial with amp feeding two TVs but if some channels OK then would guess that our hardware OK. Is that a fair assumption?

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John Dyas's 6 posts GB
Dave Lindsay
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

4:36 PM

John Dyas: Whilst it's possible, don't assume that because one or more channels are working that they all would be expected to be. This is because different frequencies get affected differently.

What you should do is bypass your amplifier by connecting the feed from the aerial to the feed going to one of the rooms.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
M
malcolm james
5:42 PM
East Grinstead

no freeview channels 1-9

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malcolm james's 2 posts GB
L
Linda
6:30 PM

I have also lost channels 1-9. Tried retuning 3 times without success. (North Norfolk area, main transmitter Belmont) (NR257HL#).

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Linda's 1 post GB
J
John Dyas
7:31 PM
St. Leonards-on-sea

Dave Lindsay: Managed to get a connector in order to bypass amp. The TV downloaded all channels except HD ones and including a load of French ones! (Ch802-807) Reconnect via amp and weaker channels like them don't play so looks like amp on the blink. Guessing signal needs boost to get HD channels although most signals being received are strong except for some like Film4 +1. So rather than call someone out I'll put in a new amp myself. Thanks for help unless you think my thinking wrong about HD needing amp. Regards.

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John Dyas's 6 posts GB
Dave Lindsay
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

8:24 PM

John Dyas: Reception of French channels suggests that there are lift conditions. I know we have had a lot of reports of issues with reception from all across the east of the country.

Perhaps it would be wise to wait and see if it starts to work again, with the suspicion that the conditions could be the cause of your issue.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
Dave Lindsay
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

8:34 PM

John Dyas: Your aerial is set vertically isn't it?

If not then this might explain the inconsistent strength on different channels. High power transmitters in France, which are those that at times might be available in the UK, are horizontally polarised, which makes me wonder if you have your aerial incorrectly set horizontally.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
Thursday, 12 December 2013
J
John Dyas
10:44 AM
St. Leonards-on-sea

And today switched on tv, it had message that new channels available and hey presto everything back to normal with HD channels and no French ones. COuld it have been the weather? Didn't seem extreme in any way. Fingers crossed all stays as is. Homes under the hammer in HD. Joy, maybe!!

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John Dyas's 6 posts GB
J
John Dyas
10:46 AM
St. Leonards-on-sea

PS thanks for your guidance.

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John Dyas's 6 posts GB
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