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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

Monday, 18 August 2014
8:10 PM

MikeB: Thank you very much that is helpful.

However there is no chance of me getting into loft - I have enough trouble getting in the bath ha ha, and I have no-one able-bodied to do it for me, so professional TV reception engineer/aerial person it will have to be. I will however now be aware it is more likely to be a new lead needed or a new splitter and won't get talked into a new aerial!!

I think the splitter is in the loft, don't know if that is powered, aerial is on chimney stack on roof. I do not understand the route or 'circuitry' of the booster in lounge, but all I know is, if it was switched off at plug, you could get no freeview except v poor signal on any other TV in house.

I did what you suggested re trying to get channels installed without booster but it was a no go. I am beginning to wonder if booster itself is so old it's needing replacement. Or splitter.

Anyway thanks for your time, forewarned is forearmed and I know what to expect, thanks again.

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Chrissy's 5 posts GB flag
Chrissy's: mapC's Freeview map terrainC's terrain plot wavesC's frequency data C's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Tuesday, 19 August 2014
11:14 PM

Chrissy: Well this morning I retuned again and all my channels are back!! So was it atmospherics or what? Very weird.

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Chrissy's 5 posts GB flag
Chrissy's: mapC's Freeview map terrainC's terrain plot wavesC's frequency data C's Freeview Detailed Coverage

11:40 PM

Chrissy: You are located at exactly the same distance from the Sutton Coldfield transmitter to that from Waltham, although all aerials seen in your area are pointing towards the latter.

As no engineering work has been taking place at either station, your problem "might" have been connected with atmospheric conditions, but though, should it arise again at any time your best policy by far would be to make an enquiry with a neighbour or someone else nearby to find out if they are also being affected, as it would save you the hassle of checking your equipment.

Of course, that is provided that they "are" being affected, otherwise its a case of fault finding on yours.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Sunday, 7 September 2014
Mr bower
12:09 AM

My goodmans freeview box freezes or locks only on BBC channel s. Help!!!

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Mr bower's 2 posts GB flag
Mr bower
12:12 AM

Ps I live at sr8

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Mr bower's 2 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
Bob Longhurst
11:26 AM

Why since the latest Freeview Channels re-shuffle has the Forest Row Transmitter stopped transmitting "Yesterday" and several other TV Progs we used to view?? Will more Muxes be brought into service to compensate?

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Bob Longhurst's 1 post GB flag
Dave Lindsay

5:47 PM

Bob Longhurst: It hasn't - Yesterday has never, and won't ever, be transmitted from Forest Row, and over 1,000 other similar "Freeview Lite" transmitters. I've set out the reasons for the two-tier terrestrial television transmitter network here: Londonderry (Northern Ireland) Freeview Light transmitter | - 12 years of independent, free digital TV advice If you were receiving Yesterday via an aerial directed to the Forest Row transmitter then the signal was not coming from that transmitter. If you are in an area where you can receive from a full-service transmitter then in order to stand you in the best stead to receive the COM (Commercial) multiplexes (those which Forest Row doesn't carry) is to install an aerial directed to said transmitter. In the mean time you could try a manual scan of the UHF channels (frequencies) of the full-service transmitter you were picking up previously. Knowledge of your location, preferably in the form of postcode or that of a nearby property such as a shop, will allow some idea as to your options to be gained.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Saturday, 4 October 2014
Brian Anderson
10:24 PM

Hi. Since having had to retune recently for the relocation of some BBC channels I have been experiencing a deterioration in reception of some 'non BBC channels' e.g. ITV4 signal was poor and picture quality could be lost without warning or the display very 'patchy'. I have this evening reset my TV several times and can now receive only 22 TV and radio channels, all BBC TV and Radio. Picture quality is good but why can I not receive all other Non BBC channels? NB I am using an external rooftop located Antenna directed to the Ridge Hill Transmitter.

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Brian Anderson's 1 post GB flag
Brian's: mapB's Freeview map terrainB's terrain plot wavesB's frequency data B's Freeview Detailed Coverage

10:55 PM

Brian Anderson: Are you sure that you've tuned into Ridge Hill? I notice that The Wrekin and Bromsgrove are both on a slightly lower RF channel than Ridge Hill, and the bearings are not so vastly different - you could have picked them up by mistake.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
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