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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 October 2014
Pete Dilloway
2:27 PM

For the last week or so BBC & ITV SD Channels from Tacolneston have suffered contiual digital break-up. (Channell 55 predominantly) all the others are fine. TV's report signal strength high, signal quality poor. It also seems slightly intermittent getting worse in the evening.
It could of course be one of my boosters packing up!
any reported problems?

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Pete Dilloway's 12 posts GB flag

9:36 PM

Pete Dilloway: You havn't given a postcode, so we are reduced to guesswork, but since you report high signal strength with low quality, it sounds like your signal is too strong. Try bypassing any booster, etc. You could try and find the 'too much of a good thing' page on this site, but the search function is currently disabled!

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Friday, 24 October 2014
Alan Cooper
5:26 PM

I appear to have lost the Dave and Pick channels. They disappeared a couple of weeks ago (blue screen saying no signal) and when I retuned they disappeared from the epg list.

I have tried turning tv off and unplugging aeriel and retuning with no aerial to clear the information and then retuning with aerial but no change. postcode is 0X16 2AP and I am on the Oxford transmitter.

Any suggestions welcome


Alan Cooper

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Alan Cooper's 1 post NO flag

6:43 PM

Alan Cooper: The channels referred to along with Sky news (132) are transmitted on Oxfords COM5 Mux Ch59, if Sky news is also missing? go into your TV or boxes tuning menu / manual tune and enter Ch 59 into the box, but pause at this point to see if anything is indicated on the strength / quality bars, if it is press scan or search.

By the way, the pause procedure does not work on some brands of equipment, and so press search (or scan) even if nothing is indicated.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Sunday, 26 October 2014
3:45 PM

I am in the ffestiniog area and have lost reception. Is there a regional fault with Freeview?

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Eve's 1 post GB flag
Wednesday, 12 November 2014
1:46 PM

I suddenly lost all my BBC and radio channels, I have tried retuning but to no avail. I am in the Chatton reception area.

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Maggie's 1 post GB flag
Maggie's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 1 December 2014
Helen Lee
2:23 PM


please can you help just recently my freeview keeps breaking up and going off also we can never get channel 120. I have tried re scanning my tv but this dosent seem to help. I just wondered if something had gone wrong with the caldbeck transmitter
please could you advise

My post code is CA7 3LN

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Helen Lee's 1 post GB flag
Helen's: mapH's Freeview map terrainH's terrain plot wavesH's frequency data H's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

3:35 PM

Helen Lee: At just under 9 miles from the transmitter you would be expected to have excellent reception, if not perhaps an excessive signal. There is apparent clear line-of-sight, barring the terrain within the first half a mile from you which may be in the way (or objects such as trees or buildings on it).

I suggest that you might have a signal level which is too high and that you might try reducing it. The effects seen on a receiver whose signal is too high is much the same as that of one too low, making the unwary think that the signal is too low.

Go to the manual tune screen and enter/select UHF channel 25 which is for BBC standard definition TV and radio. Do this but do not press the button to add services/scan as in such circumstances the device usually acts like a basic signal meter. Observe what strength and quality is like over at least 30 seconds or more.

Some devices are better than others at this. Indeed, some don't even bother to offer manual tuning. So you might find that it's worth looking at the different devices you have to see which might be most useful here.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
2:01 PM

I have 100 percent signal and quality when aerial direct to tv. When attached via a panasonic record able box signal strength is 100 percent but quality fluctuates between 100 and zero percent and I lose picture on hd channels. Does the panasonic box deal with signal differently to tv ' s and could too much signal be the problem ?

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michael's 3 posts GB flag

2:10 PM

michael: Sounds exactly the same problem as my father in law - the TV was just a little too sensitive, but its only had an occasional problem. The PVR certainly had a problem with signal stength. Since their masthead amp is an all or nothing affair (switch it off, everything is off), I advised them to buy some attenuators, and just kill the signal strength a bit on both, and the PVR more than a bit. I havn't heard anything since, so I assume everything is now alright!

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
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