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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, 6 July 2014
Dr. S. Day
6:51 AM

I live in PR5 8JT and Freeview on certain channels has deteriorated over the last few days whereby today I have totally lost all channels on Multiplex D3+4 and SDN (All others are fine). There appears to be no transmitter problem in the area, the tv co-axial lead is fine and ditto the aerial, (despite being communal) is also fine and I have carried out a full factory reset on my freeview tv all to no avail. There is no building work in the area nor are there any high trees or anything else that I can possibly think of which is causing this anomaly. Any help would be most welcome, thanks in advance.

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Dr. S. Day's 4 posts GB
Dr. S. Day
6:55 AM

Footnote to previous post: - Sorry I forgot to mention that, in relation to Channels on both D3+4 and SDN, I get the message "Service is not running"?????

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Dr. S. Day's 4 posts GB

5:41 PM

Dr. S. Day: As you point out, there seems to be no transmitter problems, etc, so the problem is likely to be at your end. If you are tuned into Winter Hill (click on the various links for find which transmitter, etc), your only 13km away - so you should be getting a very strong signal (is it too high?).

Check if other people in your block are having the same problem. Since its a communal aerial, if it is a problem with the block system, it shouldn't be just you. Also check the aerial lead - is it fitting properly, etc? I would normally suggest buying an aerial lead from a pound shop, but try it. If everything is fine, then its the cable, if not, you havn't lost much.

Something similar was reported not long ago. The person changed the aerial lead, and it was fine. Might not be that, but its an easy change.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB
Monday, 7 July 2014
Dr. S. Day
6:48 AM

MikeB: Thank you for your response which I shall answer in point order: -

Winter Hill signal strength is fine, ditto 100% the tv (just 3 months old) and the co-ax lead (Belkin gold plated connectors), both of which have been tried at a different property and work fine. Everyone else in the block are on either Sky or Virgin and never use standard terestial therefore it is not possible to confirm or deny that this may be the problem.
What concerns me, as per my initial email is why I am unable to receive only certain Freeview channels whereas others are fine?

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Dr. S. Day's 4 posts GB

6:30 PM

Dr. S. Day: I think this might be one for the reception guru's, but there is one thing that comes to mind. If your TV had found Walton Le Dale first on RF channel 27), then that would explain no SDN, but it still wouldn't explain the loss of D3 & 4.

The only other thing it might be is that your signal is far too strong (strength should be about 75-80%, not 100%), and the TV is blanking out the other mux's totally - but I'm not sure that even makes sense. I think its time for JB38 or David Lindsay to have a think...

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Dave Lindsay

1:18 PM

Dr. S. Day: It may be worth noting that the two "lost" multiplexes are on C58 and C59, which are the two closest to any 4G signals operating in the 800MHz band, which have been allocated C60 upwards.

So it may be the case that a 800MHz 4G signal has come on air and is affecting either your TV or the amplifier within the aerial system. Either way, it's outside your control and should be reported to the party which maintains the aerial system (it needs filtering at the input so that the 4G signal doesn't enter the amplifier).

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
Friday, 11 July 2014
Dr. S. Day
9:44 AM

MikeB & Dave Lindsay: - Amazingly I have solved the problem by purchasing a digital satellite co-axial cable, despite having (supposedly) one of the best co-ax cables known to man (Belkin with gold plated connectors!) this is inadequate for some very strange reason! So, the end result for less than £4 now brings me all Freeview channels crystal clear with perfect sound so, I guess the moral of the story is, despite expensive co-ax leads with gold connectors and all their claims, go right back down to basics instead of delving into high tech area's. Many thanks to everyone who posted their comments and hope that this post may be of benefit to others.

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Dr. S. Day's 4 posts GB

2:06 PM

Dr. S. Day: Great - sometimes it is the small things in life which work...

Frankly, Belkin isn't a brand I think of immediately when someone asks for a top quality connection, and the gold plating is something of a waste of time, although its difficult finding a lead which isn't gold plated these days. Sat. cable has to be of good quality, and hopefully decently shielded, which is what your after. Glad everything now works.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
John Martin
9:11 PM

Anyone know what's going on. We've got two freeview televisions and two freeview VHS/DVD recorders in our house, both connected to one aerial on the roof. Recently we've lost all channels on the SDN & ARQA multiplexes on all the system. Can anyone help?

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John Martin's 10 posts GB
Friday, 25 July 2014
12:10 AM

why is that All BBC channels keep freezing when I turn on my freeviwe box or turn over to a BBC channel?
I do not want ot here it the wether as the box as been working ok when the wether was like this a few ago

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M's 1 post GB
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