menuMENU    UK Free TV logo Freeview



Click to see updates

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, 16 July 2019
Dave Baker
12:24 PM

Hi, my postcode is PL5 3EX and Im on Caradon Hill TX with an external aerial. This feeds to a 4-way amp to feed 4 TVs

Signal strength and quality is good on PSB1, 2 & 3, and COM 4,5 & 6, but no signal on COM 7 & 8.
Is this because the transmitter power is much lower on COM 7 & 8 or do I need a different aerial?

link to this comment
Dave Baker's 1 post GB flag
Dave's: mapD's Freeview map terrainD's terrain plot wavesD's frequency data D's Freeview Detailed Coverage

3:47 PM

Dave Baker: COM7 & COM8 have closed at Caradon Hill last month and are no longer available anywhere in Devon or Cornwall.

link to this comment
StevensOnln1's 3,639 posts GB flag
Thursday, 12 September 2019
Malcolm Rankin
8:35 AM

I live at Flat 31, Cressbrook Mill, SK17 8SA, and I believe the nearest Freeview transmitter is at Stanton Moor.

I would also like to listen to LBC, but can only receive BBC radio channels, so please confirm which radio channels are broadcast from this transmitter.

link to this comment
Malcolm Rankin's 1 post GB flag
Malcolm's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage

10:23 AM

Malcolm Rankin: Stanton Moor is a Freeview Lite transmitter, the only radio stations carried are the BBC National and a few BBC local stations. There is no DAB coverage predicted to LBC at your postcode, so your best option is to listen either online or via satellite.

link to this comment
StevensOnln1's 3,639 posts GB flag
Monday, 16 September 2019
Richard White
7:16 AM

Dover transmitter had an apparent change-over, for BBC A, on 22nd August (from Channel 50, to 33). The Channel 50 transmissions did not stop, but yesterday (15th September), the 'new' (Channel 33) mux switched off, so had to retune to 50.
Why was this necessary, and how long before "normal service is resumed", please?

link to this comment
Richard White's 1 post GB flag

9:17 AM

Richard White: According to engineering notices on the Dover page, the transmitter was off air for around 3 hours yesterday morning (no reason is given). Have you checked again since then to see if UHF channel 33 has returned?

link to this comment
StevensOnln1's 3,639 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 17 September 2019

12:29 AM

Richard White:

To add to what StevensOnln1 has already said, there is planned engineering work this week at Dover with "Possible service interruptions" and a further retune event on October 16th where all the multiplexes will move and the simulcast on UHF50 will be turned off. If you have an old C/D group aerial you MAY need a new group K or T/Wideband aerial to receive all the channels satisfactorily. If so, providing you don't have Cable or Satellite, you can get one free by contacting the Freeview advice line 0808-100-0288. You may be best to make further posts on the Dover specific page.

link to this comment
Chris.SE's 4,201 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 2 October 2019
ruth watkins
12:42 PM

I have no signal on my tv. I tried to retune to no avail ,I have checked all connections and my aerial on my roof.all appears to be in order. I live at postcode ex17 5lq. Is there a problem with transmission please.

link to this comment
ruth watkins's 1 post GB flag
ruth's: ...

4:14 PM

ruth watkins:

Retuning when you have no signal is not the best of ideas, it merely clear all you correct current tuning.
DigitalUK don't have any Planned Engineering listed at present and they and the BBC aren't listing any faults currently.

As it's now several hours since your previous post, I'd try a further retune as whatever the issue was, it will now be hopefully resolved. If you still have no signal try the Freeview advice line 0808-100-0288. If it continues, post back with more detail about your installation eg. do you have an aerial amplifier, it's location etc., any splitters any other TVs/boxes on the same aerial? etc.

link to this comment
Chris.SE's 4,201 posts GB flag
Monday, 7 October 2019
Barry Wilson
4:49 PM

I live in Sutton on Sea LN12 2JB and are suffering from picture/sound break-up on Sky news plus a few other freeview channels e.g. 23, 85 etc. I have a BT Youview box. I have three tv's in the bungalow all are are affected. I have a signal amplifier in the loft.

I fitted a new aerial 3 years ago with heavy duty cabling, it has been fine until the last few weeks. I have retuned the tv's and the BT box, I have checked all plugs and connectors in the loft. The aerial is pointing to the West as are all others around us. Belmont is the closest transmitter.

I get Lincs/East Yorkshire tv channels. When I retune, most channels show maximum strength, some are 90%.

Any suggestions I might try now ?

link to this comment
Barry Wilson's 2 posts GB flag
Barry's: mapB's Freeview map terrainB's terrain plot wavesB's frequency data B's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Select more comments

Your comment please
Please post a question, answer or commentUK Free TV is here to help people. If you are rude or disrespectful all of your posts will be deleted and you will be banned.

Privacy policy: UK Free Privacy policy.