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

Sunday, 24 July 2011
Shaun Nelson
11:08 AM


Thanks for you response. I mis-typed the box name its is DV3 not VD3.

I will try your suggestions.

With regard to signal strength - I assumed that since all the other channels on the same mux 5 are working correctly that it was OK.

It will be next weekend before I get to visit them, but I will let you know how I get on. Thanks.

link to this comment
Shaun Nelson's 2 posts GB
Monday, 25 July 2011
4:06 PM

HELP ME! I was busy half watching ITV2 on 20th July at around 4ish when the picture dropped out and a "no signal" flashing icon appeared. I turned the tv off for a while and on turning it back on around 5ish to watch ITV1, this channel was displaying the same "no signal" icon, as was Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV1+1. Channels missing appeared to be part of the group 2 ch68 listing (as per my postcode on DigitalUK's website). I am not sure of the significance of this, if any?

I waited a while and then decided to re-tune my tv (LG LCD, about two years old) using auto tune. It removed all the channels that were displaying no signal and following the auto tune my EPG looked something like this: BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, ITV3, Pick TV, Yesterday, Film4, QVC, 4Music, Dave, VIVA, bid tv and other small channels.

I then checked my bedroom tv where I have a cheap old Alba digital receiver plugged into a Sharp LCD tv and find that all the channels are still available on there?!

I came back to my main LG tv in the lounge and carried out another auto tune. The EPG has put all the original channels back on (ITV1, Channel 4, Channel 5 etc) but now I have an occasional intermittent flickering of highly pixelised imagery and "no signal" icon.

I emailed Digital UK who suggested I do a manual re-tune. I have done this. I have also done a factory reset followed by an auto re-tune and a factory reset followed by a manual re-tune. It is still the same. I have switched off equipment and I have swapped all cables around.

I swapped the equipment over between the bedroom and the lounge and find that the Sharp tv and Alba digibox work fine in the lounge as well as in the bedroom. I tried to tune in the LG tv in the bedroom and it did the same thing as it does in the lounge (missing channels/group 2 ch68).

I immediately came to the conclusion that my LG tv must be at fault somehow, even though it is picking up almost all other channels. I called Richer Sounds for advice as I have a 5 year warranty on my tv and they say they get about two calls a week regarding this. There is nothing wrong with my tv - it's a signal issue. That I will have to wait until the full switchover and everything will be resolved/I will get all channels back. That seems a bit lame to me. Is that really true?

I am totally baffled and in need of assistance and advice please. How can the channels be there one minute, then gone the next? And how can they be available on one piece of equipment and not the other?

My postcode is OX2 6AQ and I live on the third floor of a relatively new development of flats (four years old I think?).

Thanking anyone, in frustration and anticipation! Nicci

link to this comment
Nicci's 7 posts GB

6:05 PM

Nicci: The difficulties you are experiencing can be caused by a few separate things, the first being that when the signal disappeared it was more likely to have been caused through external reasons rather than your equipment, as although nothing was officially listed as affecting digital transmissions there was work going on at the transmitter affecting analogue, and so its not beyond possibility that something connected with the work also affected the digital service, albeit this not being "officially" reported by the engineers involved if only a short term interruption.

What compounded the problem was you having rescanned your TV, as all you achieved by doing that was to lose everything you had stored in its memory, although I fully appreciate that immediately carrying out a rescan is something that most people have the tendency to do, which of course is bad policy as it necessitates constant further rescans to recover what has been lost, whereas if nothing was touched the channels would have returned themselves, as was the case with the bedroom TV/box.

As far as one device receiving something the other doesn't is concerned, this isn't really that uncommon when the signal being received is on the low side, as no two devices have the same sensitivity and its obvious that the most sensitive one will respond to the signal better than the less sensitive device, which appears to be your LG TV.

What I suggest you do is to carry out a manual scan on Ch68 to see what's picked up, and if ITV1 etc does come in then select "store" and it should add them to your EPG list, however if still nothing, then whilst still on the channel check to see what the signal strength / quality is showing as, note it then cross check it with the indications shown using the same test but on Ch51. (ITV3 etc)

Finally, In low signal areas its not advisable for TV's to share the one aerial down lead, so does the bedroom have its own separate aerial feed from a powered splitter?

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB

6:19 PM

Nicci: Just been having a check at the distance you are from the transmitter, which is only 4 miles, so just in case its the opposite to what has been assumed as being the cause of the problem, meaning the signal being a little too strong on Mux Ch68, if you find that there is no picture again on ITV1 (Ch68) "very slowly" pull the aerial plug out whilst observing the screen to see if the picture suddenly flashes on at the point the plug leaves the aerial socket.

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB

6:27 PM

Nicci a number if years ago i came accros a number of lg tv's thay would not work on high channel numbers this was a tv fault not aerial to get you by conect the freeview box to th lg tv and use it as your tuner.

link to this comment
Mazbar's 384 posts GB
7:32 PM

Thanks so much for your replies jb38 & Mazbar. Ok, I've done the manual scan again. I noted that the signal strength for ch68 is between "bad" and "normal" and the signal strength for ch51 is between "normal" and "good". Ch68 picks up nothing on manual scan most of the time and same again now when I did it. Ch51 picks up 23 tv channels and other stuff (radio?). I tried pulling out the aerial lead slowly as you suggested. This didn't do anything different. On an occasional auto tune, the tv tuning will pick up the channels (ch68) again, but they still show a black screen with "no signal" icon along with intermittent flickering of highly pixelised imagery. I have just checked again and the pixelised imagery is more frequent, with a little bit of sound (odd words). The channels are clearly there but the signal is so bad all I am getting is a constant flickering of black screen/pixelisation :/ Probably around one or two seconds of black screen, one second of imagery. Which is better than it was but still unwatchable! Mazbar - I plugged the Alba digibox into the LG tv and for some reason it didn't like it and just froze the tv frames for long periods of time, sometimes not moving off the first frame. I don't know why, but it certainly wasn't watchable so I unplugged it again. As mentioned, I spoke to Richer Sounds but apparently this has been going on since switchover started a few years back and they get regular calls on the same subject. If they send my tv away for repair it will come back as being fine. They also said that Oxford Transmitter signal had been turned down to 50% or something and was constantly being turned down and different sets of channels were running at different signal strengths and that would explain why my BBC channels were unaffected and those listed in ch68 were not available. They said that if my tv was not receiving any channels at all then it would definitely be a fault with the tv... :/ What next? Do I have to wait it out until September's switchover? I will have to watch tv in bed now! Who is responsible for this state of affairs? Is it the transmitter (is that government run - I couldn't find an official website for it). Or is it DigitalUK? Feeling slightly robbed of my TV licence fee right now! Thanks so much again for your help so far...

link to this comment
Nicci's 7 posts GB
7:50 PM

ps Just knocked on my neighbours door - so same building, same floor and I assume sharing same communal aerial and she has had no problems at all...

link to this comment
Nicci's 7 posts GB
7:53 PM

pps - sorry forgot to answer this question, jb38 "Finally, In low signal areas its not advisable for TV's to share the one aerial down lead, so does the bedroom have its own separate aerial feed from a powered splitter?"

Struggling a bit with this one. How do I know if I am sharing one aerial down lead? I have an aerial point in the bedroom. How can I provide this answer? What should I look for? It doesn't mean much to me, I'm afraid :/ <blush> !

link to this comment
Nicci's 7 posts GB

9:28 PM

Nicci: Thanks for your various updates, the reason I added the extra comment to my main posting was that great as digital television might be as far as its ability to provide many more additional channels is concerned, however this plus point is somewhat offset by it bringing a complete new range of reception problems into the equation.

One potentially misleading one being, that although a signal cutting out (or not received at all!) is generally associated with a weak signal which is hovering around the reception threshold level of the receiving device, however it can on the other hand also be caused by a signal that too strong, as both problems show "exactly" the same symptoms on the receiving device, with even the signal test indications not always giving a true picture of what's happening as an overly powerful signal can completely upset this part of the circuitry.

About the only thing that can give a reasonably accurate indication of the situation being the trying out a set top aerial on the TV or box, (set top aerial of the non-boosted type) as a signal that is too powerful will generally always show a picture, albeit this maybe slightly pixelated, but if nothing is seen then the chances are that the signal isn't too strong.

Of course that said, your problem seems to centre around your LG television, and so it would be of assistance to know its model number.

On the issue of the aerial down lead, bedroom sockets etc, I appreciate that you probably wont have any way of knowing this, its just that "if" the sockets have been installed by the electrician that wired the flats up, he (or she to be PC) "may" have just adopted a power socket procedure of looping one to the other, not always a good policy when dealing with digital TV signals unless in a strong signal area.

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB
10:23 PM

Hmmmmmm. Knowing how greedy developers are, I am sure they would use the cheapest option which would be the power socket! :/ Interesting that both strong and weak signals display the same symptoms. Thank you for the set top aerial suggestion. I suppose I would be willing to try this out on the basis I could return the item for a refund if it had no effect. I will ask the question before making a purchase. My tv is the LG323000 purchased in April 2009. I've maybe had a problem once before with the signal dropping out but it was only brief - maybe an hour or two tops. I did not need to re-scan/re-tune. Richer Sounds suggested that if I re-tuned the Alba digibox the Group 2/Ch68 would probably drop out also, so that goes with what you were saying earlier about not re-scanning for channels if channels drop out. Learnt my lesson, albeit a little late! I know when I moved in (April 2009) there were some problems with the reception in the bedroom (couldn't pick up any digital channels at all with the Alba box). When the aerial guy came to look at it, he said the wiring was a bit odd and he did some different/more direct wiring and then I had a signal in the bedroom. Sorry to be vague. I have no idea what he did and what was behind that socket and that probably means nothing to anyone! I was just happy to have a signal in the bedroom. Do you think it's a possible fault with the tv? Richer Sounds are adamant it isn't... Richer Sounds also said that some parts of Oxford are notoriously bad for signal, the guy I spoke to lived in Headington (OX3) and could only get five digital channels. I just don't get how they are there one minute and then they are not, especially after being told that there was no reported maintenance on the transmitter (although I know you answered this in your earlier message). I wish they would sort it out, whoever is responsible!

link to this comment
Nicci's 7 posts GB
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.