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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, 20 October 2017

7:56 PM

Rodney Collins: 90% on a Humax is way too high - hence your problem. Search for the article 'too much of a good thing' on this site.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Michael Porter
9:19 AM

We lost BBC1 and 2 last night and now we have lost everything except one of the new local channels.. We have tried the suggested measures and checked cables and visually checked the aerial. Is there a problem with the hannington transmitter please?

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Michael Porter's 1 post GB flag
Saturday, 11 November 2017
Shiralee Mowbray
8:52 AM

I am still having trouble with Christmas Channel 62. I have reset the channels as was asked to do. This is standard procedure every year, if you want The Christmas Channel then you have to do a reset, I have and still no 62...Please help. It says all day everyday but not this time, It also says no signal but I don't know why.. what has changed.

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Shiralee Mowbray's 2 posts GB flag

11:52 AM

Shiralee Mowbray: Your previous post said that you had the channel will resume at 1pm message, which indicated that you had the channel correctly tuned. Have you retuned again since then? As per my earlier reply to you, True Christmas starts at 1pm each day on Freeview so it won't work in the mornings. Have you tried the channel after 1pm? If you're still having trouble, please provide a full postcode so we can see which transmitter you're using, where you are in relation to it and your predicted signal strength etc. Also, have you checked for any loose or damaged cables or connections behind your TV?

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StevensOnln1's 3,639 posts GB flag
11:34 PM
St. Neots

Michael Porter: I'm intermittently losing COM8 and have poor reception on COM4 from Hannington. This is with a new installation of a loft aerial. The fitters are coming back this week to look at it.

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druck's 1 post GB flag
druck's: mapD's Freeview map terrainD's terrain plot wavesD's frequency data D's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Thursday, 21 December 2017
10:23 PM

Can anyone explain why we have started to get interference and pixilated pictures again? We had booster boxes fitted after a 4G mast was erected in Leek

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Simon's 1 post GB flag

11:09 PM

Simon: We have no idea where you are in relation to the transmitter, but check signal strength - if its too high, that can lead to breakups on screen, etc.

If you have the possibility of 4G interference, then At800 will normally send you a filter, etc. Boosters near to a mast with a weak signal can make the chances of 4G interference worse, so you nedd to check if you are actually getting 4G problems at all. In reality, very few people have had a problem.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Monday, 25 December 2017
Chris Rolfe
3:32 PM

Is there problems in the Dover/Folkestone area?

At 12.30 reception was brilliant. Now at 3pm we switched on TV and reception is crap.
Every channel is breaking up. We tried retuning but still the same.

Has there been any other reports?

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Chris Rolfe's 1 post GB flag

7:12 PM

Chris Rolfe :

Have you checked all your aerial connections? A poor connection can cause loss, or poor reception, of one or more channels whilst other remain good.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Sunday, 31 December 2017
Paul Davies
10:25 AM

Recently my tv picture has started to pixelate. We have retuned the stations repeatedly but the problem recurs. The TVs plays DVDs and accesses Netflix, iPlayer etc with no problem and picture quality is consistently good.

I cannot perform the advised 'Freeview reset procedure because Freeview is an integral part of the TV.

My postcode is TA24 5DZ. My nearest transmitter is Carhampton which is listed as 'Variable'. The next nearest transmitter is in South Wales and the next which does cover the area is Mendip. The signal strength of the latter is "Strong".

So, as I cannot reset the Freeview installation, can I retune specifically to Mendip?

Also given the wide list of channels for this transmitter; 15 I think, which one do I tune to?

Thank you.

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Paul Davies's 1 post GB flag
Paul's: mapP's Freeview map terrainP's terrain plot wavesP's frequency data P's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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