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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

Monday, 23 January 2012
9:48 PM

We have lost all our MUX 2 channels, live in Guildford. Have tried the scan with the ariel out, then scan with ariel in, but still no joy, checked cables etc so presume it must be weak signal/weather, is anyone else in guildford having similar problems?

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susie's 1 post GB
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Sunday, 5 February 2012
9:57 AM

I tried to set up my sister's new Humax FV recorder, it auto tuned to Haywards Heath transmitter but ITV AND CH4 were unwatchable. Humax sent instructions to retune manually to the Heathfield transmitter which I did, ITV & CH4 now perfect but BBC1 and 2 can't be found! Ch 34 (and I think 54 too) both found nothing on the search, whereas 29, 47, 48 & 51 were all ok. Can anyone suggest how I can find the missing channels for her please?

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Bridget's 1 post GB
Monday, 6 February 2012

8:39 AM

Bridget: Can you please provide a full postcode for the location where you are having reception issues?

Haywards Heath has no digital channels until 30th May 2012/13th June 2012.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
2:30 PM

I've just upgraded my old Phillips freeview box which worked absolutely fine to a Samsung Freeview HD PVR and Now I get no signal at all. I'm connecting it via HDMI but all I get is a 'Weak or No Signal' message which I find a bit weird as the outdoor aerial was upgraded a year ago and I get a good strong signal from it. Could it be a problem with the freeview box itself? I've tried it with 2 different TV's and also tried a non HDMI connection but to no avail. My old set top box still gets a full reception with the same aerial. What's going on?!!

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Leigh's 1 post GB
Dave Lindsay

2:53 PM

Leigh: In cases such as this, a location might be helpful, preferrably in the form of post code.

In general terms though, I wonder if the problem could be:

Freeview signals: too much of a good thing is bad for you | - independent free digital TV advice

I wonder if your "upgraded" aerial was fitted prior to switchover and now that your signal is strong, it is OTT and pulling in too much signal (see above link).

As I say, a post code might help shed some light on the likely issue.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB

4:42 PM

leigh, i brought a samsung tv with built in freeview few years back and i had the same problem,i returned it back and got a sony tv with no problems at all.

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sharealam's 225 posts GB
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
12:08 AM

We have a Ferguson Freeview+ box attached to our television, the last few days when I've finished watching recordings (around 11.30pm) I've put it back on television and the channels are totally blank, then "service is not running" comes on screen. Why? PS: I get my signal from Emley Moor

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Brenda's 1 post GB
Thursday, 9 February 2012
6:14 AM

I have a Sanyo CE26LD81-B/UK tv, and recently this has stopped showing Freeview channels. I have recently added a cable HD box to the system, but don't think that is the issue.The arial signal is fine as it has successfully retuned a second tv we have. When I try and tune the freeview channels to the Sanyo no channels are down loaded at all. It is as though something inside the tv has switched off freeview.
Anybody had a similar experience or has a solution?

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johnbuoy's 1 post GB
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