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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

Sunday, 13 February 2011
11:06 AM

Forgot to say, I live in the West Sussex area which apparently doesn't lose analogue until 2012.

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Stephanie's 2 posts GB

11:10 AM

Stephanie: Can you please see the information at the top of the page - if you had Freeview before you should have it now.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
K I Moore
11:46 AM

Hi, Our TV is a Sony Bravia 40" with built in freeview which works very well, My son has given us a Bush Freesat HD box and I believe it only needs a dish to receive HD channels. If I do this will I still be able to get all my freeview channels alongside any new ones the HD box gives me. Yours comments would be appreciated. Irving.

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K I Moore's 3 posts GB

11:51 AM

K I Moore: Yes, you can use Freeview and Freesat HD together with no problems at all.

This is the best way to get ALL of the free channels as there are some that are only free on Freeview, such as Dave, and plenty that are only on satellite - see the All free-to-watch channels | - independent free digital TV advice page.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
9:53 PM

Hi Brian
Tried re-installing, no joy keeps coming up with no or bad signal. Cannot understand it as all was well on Friday. Tried a brand new aerial still the same.

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Bob's 2 posts GB

9:56 PM

Bob: It could be the receiver that has failed if you have lost everything.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Saturday, 19 February 2011
11:44 AM

Hi Brian

I bought a Technika HD ready with built in DVD and freeview (15.4") for my caravan. I have tried several times to tune it in through my sky aerial in the house but no channels are being picked up. Have also tried using an indoor aerial. can you help please

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Dave's 1 post GB

12:28 PM

Dave: You can't attach a Freeview device to a satellite dish, only an aerial.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Sunday, 20 February 2011
Andy Dewhurst
8:54 PM

I am having problems with my BUSH tv with built in freeview, I get good signal most of the time but recently soom or most channels keep going off and i have to press the channel number on the remote again and as the day/night goes on it gets worse to the effect that we have to watch channel 3 on analogue....oh well could this be the arial, the cable, or even the tv itself? thanks Andy

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Andy Dewhurst's 1 post GB
Monday, 21 February 2011
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