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My ITV/C4 Freeview channels have disappeared - what can I do? Is it my SCART ca

My ITV/C4 Freeview channels have disappeared - what can I do? Is it my SCART cable?

My ITV/C4 Freeview channels have disappeared - what can I do?
published on UK Free TV

It is a feature of television signals that they can be effected by the weather. Aside from the obvious damaged that can be caused by wind or torrential rain, the onset of summer can cause a more intriguing problem called "inversion".

Basically, when the sun heats up the land, the hot air can get trapped below cold air at high level. This creates an "inversion layer" which acts like a polished mirror to TV signals. This causes two problems: you can receive both the original and a reflected signal from your own transmitter (on analogue TV this appears as "ghosting") or interference from TV transmitters that are normally too far distant.

The ITV/C4 multiplex of channels (ITV-1, ITV-2, ITV-3, ITV-4, CITV, C4, More4, E4, Quizcall) use a transmission "mode" called 64QAM, and it is sadly much more prone to these problems.

So, whilst a loft-mounted aerial will provide reception at some time, it will fail at others. The only real solution is to mount the aerial (or a new Class I aerial) outside on a pole, but some people report that changing the cable from the aerial to the set-top box to the high-grade satellite cable can also help.

The SCART connection, by the way, only carries a single TV picture, not the Freeview transmission multiplexes, so if this is disconnected it will result in degradation to every channel at once.

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Thursday, 6 November 2014

5:27 PM

John: I've just realised why you might be having such problems - your connecting things up as though the Philips PVR was a Sky box. A Sky box is just that - its the central point for everything else, incvluding any DVD recorder, etc. And if its Sky plus, you'll use scart.

However, your now using Freeview, and thats far more flexible. The PVR does apparently have a an aerial coming into it, but remember that your TV and the Panasonic recorder also have digital tuners, and you can connect them all up to the aerial, and use them totally independently of each other.

The simplest way to do it (which I'm sure is in your manuals) is to put the aerial lead into the back of the Philips PVR, and then take another aerial lead, connecting one end to the 'out' connection on the back of the Philips PVR, and the other to the back of the TV. Its called 'looping through', and thats totally standard. That way, you can watch the Sony without anything else on, and if you want to watch something you've recorded earlier, or just want to use it to watch HD (your TV just has a SD digital tuner). At the moment, your using just the Philips, which means your not getting your moneys worth.

You have no need for scarts at all. HDMI tends to be more reliable, and has extra functions, like upscaling. The only time you might use scarts is if your using the Panasonic recorder (which is SD), and your tight for HDMI connections on the TV.

The same goes for the RCA's - why use them when you have something better?

I'm slight confused as to whats being plugged in via Ethernet, but its good that your using Iplayer. However, even if your streaming using your laptop, why use VGA when you could use HDMI? If your laptop is 4 years old or less, it should have an HDMI port on the side (mine does). Use that, its better.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Friday, 7 November 2014
12:57 PM

Hello Mike,
I'm getting it now thanks to your help.

Looks like:
Aerial into the Philips Freeview like now. I found a loopback aerial in with the old Sky box so will use that. to connect from the Freeview Out to TV In.

Remove the SCARTs from TV to Panasonic DVD Recorder and from DVD Recorder to Freeview box. Replace with HDMI cable from TV to DVD Recorder and keep HDMI from TV to Freeview.

Sound: Remove the RCA white/red phonos from Denon Soundbar to Freeview box. Keep Optical from TV to Denon Soundbar Digital2 in place.

Replace VGA/Phono from Laptop to TV with another HDMI on the side called AV7 by Sony.

Keep green Ethernet cable from Router to Freeview box so I can get iPlayer from Freeview box.

Just a couple of miscellaneous things I'm afraid:
- Should I connect HDMI 4 from Sony TV to Freeview and HDMI 5 from TV to DVD Recorder or vice versa? Or does it matter?
- I have a spare optical cable. would that be useful between the Panasonic DVD Recorder and the Denon Soundbar DVD optical plug or forget it as will not add anything to the set up?
- Or use it to connect Freeview SP/DIF connector to the Denon Soundbar? Again would it add anything?

Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate it.

John Seager.

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John's 6 posts GB flag
John's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage

2:10 PM

John: Good stuff. I'm not sure what you mean by a 'loopback aerial', but if you mean a bog standard aerial lead going from the back of the Philips PVR (keep thinking of it as a PVR, not a Freeview box - it will make life easier for you) into the back of the Sony TV., then thats exactly right.

Yes, clear out all the scarts, you dont need them, and just use the optical from the Sony to the Denon (make sure that the Sony knows thats its outputting audio to it).

And yes, use HDMI to connect your laptop to the TV. The PVR is smart, and so connecting to the net via Ethernet is excellent.

I'm not sure what you mean by HDMI 4 & 5 - I suspect its the numbers the Sony describes them as inputs. Think of it this way - the PVR is the most often used thing, so have it as the first HDMI the TV finds. The Panasonic will be used next, so have it as the second one. The Sony, like a lot of TV's of its age, will generally find (or number) scarts or other analogue connections first, rather than HDMI's. In fact Panasonics only changed over to starting with HDMI about 2-3 years ago. However, since there are no scarts etc in use, it should go straight to a live HDMI.

Leave the extra opiticals alone! Seriously, all the audio, from whatever source, should all come into the TV, and then go to the Denon. If you output from the PVR, etc, you can possibly set up a sync problem, where the audio gets slightly ahead of the video. Actually, people do it a lot with Sky boxes, and its not normally a problem, but its not best practice, and its gains you nothing.

The only thing I would add is what do you want to do with the Panasonic recorder? The way you connecting it up is fine as a DVD/VCR player, and if thats all your using it for, leave it as it is (I'd replace it with a blu-ray in the long term anyway). If you want to record with it, your going to have to connect to an aerial. Yo just need to add an extra link in the aerial chain from wall socket, to PVR, to Panasonic, to TV.

However, if your happy as you outlined, leave it be, and enjoy watching everything!

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Monday, 10 November 2014
12:32 PM

Hi Mike I hope you had a good weekend. I connected everything up earlier today. I had to get another fly lead as I now have aerial from wall to Philips VCR In. Flt lead from Philips VCR Out to Panasonic DVD recorder In and another fly lead from Pansanic DVD recorder Out to Sony TV.

All Scarts are gone and red/white also removed (just optical from TV to Denon soundbar).

HDMI from TV to Philips VCR (Sony call it AV4). Another HDMI from TV to Philips VCR. Also put a spare between PC to the side of the TV (this is what Sony call AV7 in the manual),

The result: I can see TV channels through the TV and the sound is better.

The Philips VCR is not working at all in that it streams nothing to the TV. I just see its presence as an AV1 VCR (Sony Scart).

The DVD will play if I switch to AV5 (an HDMI connection in Sony manual).

It is really the VCR that doesn't seem to want to play. It is as if it is expecting scart again.

Anything of note would be great.

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John's 6 posts GB flag
John's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage

3:42 PM

John: Its great that you've got a signal through to your TV, etc, and that your sound is better, as is the Panasonic working fine.

The fact that your Philips PVR is not recognised by the TV is odd, though.

Ok - If its attached via HDMI into AV4, you need to check the following:

Make sure the PVR is switched on (not just in standby) - otherwise the TV wont see it.

Check the HDMI cable is firmly attached into the sockets on both the PVR and the TV

Check the the HDMI cable is working properly by perhaps switching it over to another machine that you know works properly. Since the PVR worked fine before, you can alwasy use the cable you previously used - you know it works. You can alwasy buy another cable for another box, or even use scart for the DVD, but you need to use HDMI for the PVR.

If the cable is fine, check the socket. Again, put it into the socket you were using before - it worked then! If its a different one, make sure its not a duff HDMI socket.

Basically, its a process of elimination. But it should work, because it did before.

There is no good reason for the TV thinking the PVR is on AV1 (scart) - you've removed all scarts (?), in which case it shouldn't pick up anything. The only thing I can think of is that you have left it attached to a scart, and therefore it has two imputs, with the HDMI being duff. Remove all scarts - you have no need of the them.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
6:35 PM

Hi Mike,
I started again and now there is a solution with the VCR Philips freeview on HDMI 7 on the side of the Sony TV and the Panasonic DVD Recorder in HDMI 5. I can get to either of them via the Menu on the TV remote. The sound is good too now from the Denon bar if I crank it up.

It looks like the HDMI 4 I was using could be duff as nothing seems to work going into it so that was probably a lot of the problem.

I may look into putting a SCART between the DVD Recorder and the TV though to use AV2 instead of the HDMI 5. It looks like the Panasonic never goes above 576p resolution anyway. I can then attach a laptop to HDMI and stream.

Thank you for pointing out a lot of the pitfalls. The aerial fly leads and extraneous cables were very useful tips. I hope that these messages may help others as well.

I will be checking in the future as well as there are really useful posts, stories and articles here.

Yours truly,
John S.

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John's 6 posts GB flag
John's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage

8:58 PM

John: Great news! If you really wanted to, you could swap over the HDMI's, so that the Philips PVR is the first HDMI, but if it works, why worry. Dodgy HDMI's do happen, but at least you've found the problem.

And yes, the Panasonic DVD is SD, so scart wouldn't be the end of the world. As far as the volume is concerned, have a look at the Sony setup - there should be a Volume Offset, so you can give a standard volume to the audio output. Have a look at the manual.

Enjoy your new setup!

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Saturday, 15 November 2014
S L Chaytors
5:25 PM

we have lost all BBC programs and radio channels does anyone have any advice we live in Coventry Tile Hill area

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S L Chaytors's 1 post GB flag
S's: mapS's Freeview map terrainS's terrain plot wavesS's frequency data S's Freeview Detailed Coverage

7:41 PM

S L Chaytors: If you check on the R & T link, everything seems fine with the transmitter, so it must be your system.

Check back from the TV, but its probably a broken cable, water in the system, etc

See this page: I have now lost all signal can you tell me what the problem might be?

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Sunday, 30 November 2014
D Hawthornthwaite
12:35 PM

During the week of 17/11 our TV started to pixelate badly and sound was breaking badly. We checked and saw there was engineering work that week for the Grenada area.Since then our reception has remained the same, even though engineering work is over. We have tried retuning but to no avail. Can you advise please?

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D Hawthornthwaite's 2 posts GB flag
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