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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

Wednesday, 30 November 2016
9:09 PM

Anyone else having signal problems tonight from Hannington

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AndyH's 3 posts GB flag
9:53 PM

AndyH: if it transmits to Farnham then yes, next to nothing.

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Kk's 1 post GB flag
Sunday, 15 January 2017
Michael Brookes
1:01 PM

Tv freezes and looses sound quite often mainly on anight time .Aerial is inthe loft but it has been there for some year and the problem has only started about 6 month ago .can you help

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Michael Brookes's 1 post GB flag

4:40 PM

Michael Brookes:

Though you have not given a full post code, which is needed to determine which transmitter you use and what the reception conditions are like, it rather sounds as if you have a problem with either your aerial system or the TV set. Start by checking what the signal strengths are on the multiplexes used by your chosen transmitter. If they are over 85% then they are probably too strong, which gives the symptoms you describe. Then check all the connection between the TV and the aerial. They must be in good condition and tight.

Further advice depends on your full post code and the test results.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Sunday, 5 February 2017
10:40 PM

Is there issues with Emley Moor cannot get any Yorkshire or itv4 channels at all .

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Janet's 1 post GB flag
Saturday, 11 February 2017
John Cone
7:30 PM

i have recently moved my Ariel from the Tacolston transmittter to the Sudbury one because of interference from my local Fire stations transmitter. My TV has picked up all of the stations yet my PVR will only receive 21 stations. I have tried reprogramming several times to no avail. It does give me the choice to manually program but i don't know which frequencies to select, can you help please. Thank you.

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John Cone's 1 post GB flag

9:47 PM

John Cone:

I presume that your aerial is a Group C/D for Sudbury? Tacolnston needs a wide band aerial to get all the services, or preferably a log-periodic type. But you may find that Tacolnston is unreliable as it hardly serves Sudbury, we can't tell for certain until you supply a full post code.

The reason for the difference is that different tuners have different sensitivity, so you TV tuner has greater sensitivity than your PVR. Plus, as stated earlier, you are in a poor area for Tacolnston signals unless you are very lucky. Have a look at Which Freeview channels does the Tacolneston transmitter broadcast? to see the coverage map for Tacolnston and Which Freeview channels does the Sudbury transmitter broadcast? for the map for Sudbury.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag

9:47 PM

John Cone: You havn't given us a postcode, but logically your PVR is tuning into a Light transmitter. If you look at the Sunbury page, it will tell you the channels you need to find. But the other thing you can do, if the Light Transmitter channels get found by the PVR first, is to not connect the aerial for the first third of the scan, and then plug it back in.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Monday, 17 April 2017
Elizabeth M. Morgan
2:29 PM

I am recently having a lot of interference on certain channels on my Freeview TV whereas about a month ago they were all perfect. My aerial is in the attic and I've had no problem with it up until now. Can you help. My signal comes from the Carmel transmitter. SA174TW .

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Elizabeth M. Morgan's 1 post GB flag

2:53 PM

Elizabeth M. Morgan: The frequencies used by Carmel are close to those used by 4G mobile broadband, so it's possible the interference is being caused by a recently upgraded phone mast nearby. There is an organisation called at800 ( was was setup in order to resolve these problems on behalf of the mobile operators. If you contact them they will check if there are any 4G masts that may be causing a problem and send you out a free filter to connect to the aerial cable behind your TV.

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StevensOnln1's 3,653 posts GB flag
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