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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

Friday, 16 May 2014
Dave Hagen
5:51 PM

Channels 33,49,50,54,55,56,& 58 all good signal strength & quality but channel 59 from the Pontop Pike transmitter shows good signal strength but poor signal quality, could this be a 4G problem or something else? Any ideas anyone.

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Dave Hagen's 19 posts GB flag
John Gray
8:08 PM

The sun's come out the TV signal goes on holiday.

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John Gray's 1 post GB flag
John's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage

8:59 PM

John Gray: Yes, the sun comes out and those damn trees come into leaf and leach all the TV signals from the air.

Which provides three options: 1) fire, 2) a chainsaw or 3) mounting the aerial so it doesn't point at a tree.

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
Thursday, 29 May 2014
4:42 PM

My freeview has always gotten perfect reception. It has suddenly just stopped and says 'no signal'. I've bought a new antenna in case this was the problem. It has picked up some channels now, but a bunch have disappeared. Help!

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melissa's 1 post GB flag

6:07 PM

melissa: OK - a postcode would help, so we can see what channels your supposed to be getting.
However, your TV is telling you there is 'no signal', which points to a fault in your system - perhaps a break, water in a loose connection, etc. Dont retune if you can help it, but check each bit of your system, however, you might need to call a professional.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 4 June 2014
Ricky Barr
9:52 PM

Post code EH26 8DF
problems over past few weeks Loss of freeview channels. Used to be 104 now down to 46 on retune, BBC and ITV seem ok but other channels varying from ok to complete breakup
Signal strength seems to be good but signal quality low to zero
Seems to get worse as day progresses.
Aerial pointing to Turrif transmitter Aberdeen or Dundee Transmitter.
Freeview reception used to be reasonably stable, as I said with about 104 TV channels
Checked cables and connections
seem ok. Using TV built in Freeview Any Ideas >

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Ricky Barr's 1 post GB flag
Ricky's: mapR's Freeview map terrainR's terrain plot wavesR's frequency data R's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

10:34 PM

Ricky Barr: There's probably little you can do.

In the UK there are two types of broadcaster: Public Service (PSB) and Commercial (COM). The PSB networks carry BBC, STV, Channel 4, Channel 5 etc. The COM networks are the ones I think you are having difficulty with.

Whilst the coverage of the PSBs is as the former four-channel analogue, the COMs fit in where possible and in some places aren't available at all or are likely to intermittent.

At your location if your aerial points to Angus (Dundee) then its COMs use the same frequencies (channels) as the PSBs of Penocuik, so intermittent or no reception is likely. The Angus PSBs don't share channels with other transmitters so should be available.

If you receive from Durris (Turriff) then there are no channel clashes, although its COMs are lower power than its PSBs. It's 86 miles away and the Fife peninsula blocks your view.

A couple of thoughts spring to mind:

1. If you are receiving from Angus then you might find that mounting the aerial below the roof line will help block the signal from Penicuik, it being in the opposite direction. This isn't forced to work and there may always be times when the unwanted signal bends or gets reflected back to your aerial.

2. Check that you are tuned to the transmitter your aerial faces by viewing the signal strength screen on the following:

PSB1 - BBC One
COM5 - Pick
COM6 - 4Music

The six channels of Angus are: 60, 53, 57(HD), 54, 58, 49

Those of Durris are: 28, 25, 22(HD), 23, 26, 29

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 10 June 2014
10:01 PM

I have no freeview channels except BBC channels. This happened sometime yesterday between 7.00 am and 10.00 pm. It kept says no signal. I have re-tuned it several times and can only get BBC channels. I have two TV working from one aerial and another from a separate aerial. What is wrong?

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Kayde's 1 post GB flag
Kayde's: mapK's Freeview map terrainK's terrain plot wavesK's frequency data K's Freeview Detailed Coverage

11:06 PM

Kayde: It sounds like your aerial has a problem, if its only happening to one or two TV's (if its all of them, then someone else will have to come up with an answer). BBC channels are the strongest, so if there is a problem with your aerial, such as a break, corrosion, etc, then the others are possibly more likely to go first.

'No signal' means just that - the TV cant find a signal, which points to the aerial being the problem. Which TV's have the problem?

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 11 June 2014
9:26 PM

EX4 6JP Have been using Freeview with absolutely no problems for several years. For over a week have only been able to access 9 ITV channels - no BBC or radio reception. Have re-tuned daily with no success (also tried reset procedure). Help!

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D I L's 1 post GB flag
D's: mapD's Freeview map terrainD's terrain plot wavesD's frequency data D's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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