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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

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

10:16 AM

c adams: Which transmitter are you using? Have you checked for any loose or damaged cables or connections behind your TV? Retuning will never fix a sudden loss or signal and is the worst thing to do as all you are doing is deleting all of your correctly tuned channels and searching for them again.

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StevensOnln1's 3,553 posts GB flag
Thursday, 19 July 2018
Robert Jones
5:14 PM

Carried out a re-tuning as advertised on all channels. what a shambles!!!!. virtually all channels have interference either picture or sound and a good twenty programs have gone missing. Re-tuned again with no change.

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Robert Jones's 1 post GB flag
Friday, 20 July 2018
Angela Thompson
3:19 PM

Robert J

i had the same problem in March and lost all of my channels for about 3 days except for 2, London (8) and 81. It seemed to be a huge problem in the south east at that time so work must have been in process on one of the transmitters. They all suddenly came on after 3 days, however, then went off again after about 20 minutes and I followed the instructions from a previous post as follows:

Try disconnecting the aerial feed to the troubled TV, turn the TV off from the wall and refit all the plugs and sockets (poor contact can cause this problem). Then do a retune without the aerial connected followed by a retune with the aerial plugged in. Then check the signal strengths for all the channels, it needs to be between 60% and 85%. Any higher or lower will cause problems. Remember that different make/model sets have different tuners, some being more susceptible to overload than other or being less sensitive so needing more signal.

You may have done all of the above but I thought I would post it anyway.

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Angela Thompson's 15 posts GB flag
Saturday, 28 July 2018
Stephen gadd
5:05 PM

this year one of the rowridge masts has been taken down, and some changes have taken place. Gradually we have lost more and more chanels, We have fitted a new wideband ariel with 4g supression as we had dropped to only 20 chanels. We are now up to 45, but 4 months ago we had well in excess of 100. We have lost com4, com5, com6, com7, com8, and LSO. Any advise would be apreciated. We have a direct sight to the mast which is less than 8km away. post code po382ae, ps we also have no dab reception.

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Stephen gadd's 3 posts GB flag
Stephen's: mapS's Freeview map terrainS's terrain plot wavesS's frequency data S's Freeview Detailed Coverage

6:53 PM

Stephen gadd: Is your aerial horizontal (little rods going left to right) or vertical (rods going up and down)? If you click the Digital UK Trade link underneath your post it shows that you should get good reception of PSB1-3 & COM4-6 using vertical polarity, whereas COM4/5 are not predicted to be available and COM6 is predicted to be weaker using horizontal.

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StevensOnln1's 3,553 posts GB flag
Sunday, 29 July 2018
Stephen gadd
11:35 AM

Stephen gadd: I switched it to vertical and yes we are back to 145 chanels thanks

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Stephen gadd's 3 posts GB flag
Stephen's: mapS's Freeview map terrainS's terrain plot wavesS's frequency data S's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Saturday, 22 December 2018
9:33 PM

On Saturday 22/12/2018, I am unable to receive any commercial channel. BBC channels are okay,
but no itv, e4, ch4 and ch5. Xmas viewing is ruined

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dennis's 2 posts GB flag
Sunday, 23 December 2018

10:30 AM


Please provide a full posyt code so that we can look up the expected reception at your location. Without that we have no idea which of the over 1100 transmitters your might be trying to use.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 26 December 2018
Kay Coleman
2:44 AM

I hope you can help. I have a fairly new TV with built-in Freeview. Up until 3 weeks ago, I lived in location DE75 7EX, & received Yorkshire tv through the Emley Moor transmitter. I always received good reception, & the full list of channels. When I moved, just 3 miles, to DE5 3FT, which I have learned is on the Sutton Coldfield transmitter, my tv asked for a rescan, where it changed to East Midlands. When the scan was completed, at least 9 channels were missing, including Pick, Sony Crime, Really, & Quest Red. I tried several rescans, to no avail. I called Freeview support, & they tried a few things, & talked me the through trying a few things, but nothing worked. After almost an hour, they said they were "stumped", & could not help. This is very frustrating. Otherwise, the reception is perfect on the channels I can still get. I do hope someone here can help. I am beginning to think I might have to relent & get Sky, which I can ill afford.

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Kay Coleman's 8 posts US flag
Kay's: mapK's Freeview map terrainK's terrain plot wavesK's frequency data K's Freeview Detailed Coverage

10:59 AM

Kay Coleman:

If you are getting East Midlands programmes then you are receiving from the Waltham transmitter and not Sutton Coldfield as that only broadcasts West Midlands programming. The coverage prediction for your new location shows that all the available transmitters are unlikely to give you anything like reliable or even full range of channels. Though Ripley is a very nice location, it is not ideal for TV reception (I used to live in the Vale of Belvoir so knew the area quite well.)

My suggestion would be to use Freesat for which there is no subscription. You will need a satellite dish to be fitted, in your location is should be a 60cm size as anything smaller will give problems. It should be fitted with a good quality LNB with at least two feed cables to the location of a new Freesat receiver. That will give you almost all of the programmes available on Freeview, it will not require any subscription (unlike Sky) and allow you to view the programmes you want. Have the dish professionally installed but don't accpet a small 45cm dish else you will have reception problems when it rains or snows.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
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