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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, 23 June 2017
Barbara Pledger
9:12 AM

many of our residents are having problems with signal and oblong shaped boxes in many colours popping up all the time this interference has been going on for about 2 weeks

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Barbara Pledger's 1 post GB flag

11:53 AM

Barbara Pledger:

From your description it would seem that you are a group served by a communal aerial. That is the responsibility of the management agency for your premises and you should contact them to have the problem investigated as it could be a fault in the system.

A full post code would help us to identify the reception conditions at your locality and hence help to determine whether there are other possible causes.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Monday, 10 July 2017
1:08 PM

Hi There
I have lost my BBC/HD Freeview Channels for over a week now.Have retunned on auto/manually, replaced with new wide band ariel, cabling etc.Checked ariel strength which is down to about 4 and ariel quality zero.Bought a Booster about a year ago which did bring i more channels but does not appear to do anything now.
I live down in a dip and there is a large tree in garden (50 mtrs arpox from house, but does not appear to be blocking the line of site to the ariel. My neighbour has no problem at all with their reception.
We use the Redruth transmitter ,but I notice Caradon Hill may be an alternative,offering potentially more channels and supports HD? I have heard about filters that can be attached to the ariel in doors which seem to solve this problem,is it worth a try?.Trying not to call out specialist yet just in case its something that just needs tweeking. My postcode is TR2 5SF

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Annie's 1 post GB flag
Annie's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage

2:37 PM

Annie: Since your 30km from a main transmitter with a clear line of sight, you should be getting a decent signal. So your system is evidently the problem. Almost certainly you have an existing severe problem which the booster vaguely helped, but now the system has died.

Call out a professional.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
MikeB's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 7 August 2017
Paul Cave
10:46 AM


My neighbour and I have had the same problem for about 6 weeks now. We have independent systems and separate aerials, but the symptoms are exactly the same.

We point to the Dover transmitter from postcode TN35 4SX and until the problem started, had had perfect reception.

All HD channels and some other ones such as Food Network & Dave, now have predictably poor signal quality (around 4/10).

I have re-tuned a couple of times (yesterday being the latest), with no improvement.

The defective programs all show as on CH22, CH23 and CH59 which I find odd since online info suggests Dover transmits HD programs on CH53. I have tried a manual tune of CH53 and get no signal at all.

All other CHs show 9/10 & 9/10 Strength & Quality, so 'line-of--sight' may not be the cause.

Any advice gratefully received.


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Paul Cave's 1 post GB flag
Paul's: mapP's Freeview map terrainP's terrain plot wavesP's frequency data P's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 14 August 2017
12:07 PM

You sent a message on 6 August 2017 to retune my Digibox (Human PVR-9300T.

Now it tunes in to BBC Wales and not BBC West

Please advise reason.

Thank you


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Tony's 1 post GB flag
Tony's: mapT's Freeview map terrainT's terrain plot wavesT's frequency data T's Freeview Detailed Coverage

2:23 PM

Tony: This website did not send you any message to retune your Humax PVR (this website is independent and has nothing to do with any broadcaster or transmitter company). Although not showing as covering your postcode, the most likely explanation is that your PVR has picked up the Wenvoe transmitter in South Wales when it retuned rather than Mendip. Carry out a manual retune on C49 and BBC West should be restored.

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StevensOnln1's 3,553 posts GB flag
Sunday, 10 September 2017
John Bowker
10:34 AM

Why am I being constantly bombarded with channel updates and nothing appears to change anyway. I find this to be very frustrating.

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John Bowker's 1 post GB flag

11:19 AM

John Bowker:

Without knowing your location, by you providing a full post code, we have no way of knowing which transmitter you are using nor what the reception conditions locally are like. It is very rare for retune instructions to be given unless there are actual changes made to the transmissions.

The messages are generated, normally, by your TV set when it detects what it thinks are changes, so please check all your aerial connections, unplugging and re-inserting where possible (poor connections are a common cause).

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Friday, 20 October 2017
Rodney Collins
10:40 AM

My TV pictures breaks up when watching through a Humax PVR on the following Mux channels, SDN, ARQA and ARQB it is OK on Mux D3&4. The signal strength on the poor reception channels is 90%+ but the quality varies rapidly between 20% and 98%. I have tried adding attenuators without any success. Have you any suggestions on how this can be rectified. My aerial is tuned to Winter Hill.
Watching the same channels directly through the TV does not cause the same degree of picture breakdown.

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Rodney Collins's 1 post GB flag
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