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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

Sunday, 5 January 2014
8:31 AM

Thank you for you help with the limited information I gave you. We have not got a signal booster. We only noticed the tree problem through very slow progression of its growth.
Since retuning after the removal of the tree with have perfect reception on all the channels we receive. We just cannot pick up anything when scanning C52.
We had decent C52 reception before removing the tree this week. Would a booster or 4G filter help ?

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Heather's 3 posts GB

9:35 AM

Heather: With regards to your reference to scanning C52 are you in effect saying that you manually scanned this channel? if you are then I would like you to do it again but pause after entering the channel number into the manual tune box, the reason being that on most Freeview equipment if the channel number is entered without pressing search or scan the signal strength of the channel you are about to scan will be indicated on the level bars.

Further info dependant on outcome of this test.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB

9:46 AM

Heather : Another question that I meant to add being, as most people in your area will be receiving Freeview from the Sandy transmitter have you as yet made any local enquiries to determine if others are being similarly affected as far being able to view (11) Pick TV / (12) Dave / (82) Sky news etc? all of those mentioned being on the ArqA C52 mux.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
2:13 PM

Yes, others close by have told me today that they have not had Dave for several months. We were receiving Dave perfectly until our reception for the BBC channels was restored after chopping down a big conifer. Do you think The restoration of signal strength is in some way affecting COM5 reception.

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Heather's 3 posts GB

7:29 PM

Heather: I feel that COM5 reception having vanishing at around the same time as the tree was chopped down was purely coincidental, that is unless the tree was reflecting COM5 towards your aerial, the complete opposite effect to what tree foliage generally does of blocking a signal.

However, the fact of others located close by experiencing similar problems with their COM5 reception is inclined to point to difficulties caused by seasonal weather related changes to the surface of the terrain, as although you are indicated as having a clear line-of-sight to the Sandy transmitter other factors located at roughly six miles out from you could possibly affect the signal through reflective type problems.

By the way, at 18 miles away from the transmitter I very much doubt that an overly strong signal comes into the equation, although I would still like you to carry out the aforementioned signal test.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
Monday, 6 January 2014
8:20 AM

Anyone know how to remove me from email updates?

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steve's 3 posts GB

12:36 PM

steve: Click the link in the email.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
steve marshall
2:11 PM

My 83year old friend is having some strange rece ption problems, now and again he loses all BBC channels we have tried system resets ,have called in professional assistance (he cant understand whats going on either, recently the new Beauly /Denny 4oo kv line was energised could this have an effect on the reception. The line from Fasnakyle sub station crosses the line of sight of the signal.could variations in load from the power station cause this intermittent loss (BBC only}

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steve marshall's 1 post GB
Friday, 17 January 2014
rachel scriven
5:20 PM

Hi I have a portable tv with built in vhs just given to me for my bedroom. It did not e th a remote. I have an old freeview box so I set that up. I have used the main ariel. My problem thati have a great signal on the freeview, but there is no pic or sound. It is doing my head in trying to find the solution on line.

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rachel scriven's 1 post GB

8:54 PM

rachel scriven: Rachel - if the TV has a scart, then just connect that to the freeview box, and use the box's remote - the TV is just a screen. You should get a picture, but you need to select the scart as the source you want to watch. Otherwise your just watching the static from the analogue tuner in the TV, which of course no longer works.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB
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