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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

Thursday, 25 August 2016
John H
3:22 PM

Hi MikeP,
I'll dig out my user manual - providing I can find the disk :-D As to aerial direction - mine's internal, so that might limit what I can receive.
In any event, thanks to you and StevensOnln1 for taking the time to answer my questions. Much appreciated.

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John H's 14 posts GB
Friday, 26 August 2016

12:54 AM

John H: Your location is indicated as being able to have excellent reception from the Rowridge transmitter @ 13 miles / 169 degrees, (horizontal polarity only) albeit that the terrain indicator shows the signal running close to ground level from approximately 0.5 miles prior to your location, something which can sometimes result in slight picture glitching problems dependant on what's on the surface of said ground, e.g: trees etc.

If your equipment is capable of receiving DVB-T2 transmissions?, i.e: able to receive BBCHD 101, if yes?, then go into your TV (or boxes) tuning menu / selecting "manual" tune followed by entering C31 (COM7) but "not" followed by search or scan, as this mode has the effect of causing your tuner to act like a form of signal meter, indicating the slightest traces of any signal being received no matter how low it might be, which of course according to that seen, should not apply in your area.

That said, a quick rooftop search did reveal an aerial facing towards the Hannington transmitter @ 31 miles / 13 degrees, COM7 from Hannington being on C32.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
John H
11:57 AM

Good morning jb38,
Thank you for your recommendation. I am surrounded by trees, so that might cause problems with lower-powered muxes. My television is the Samsung 24E390. Doing a search through the manual I can't find any reference to DVB-T2. It is an HD television and the reception of the available HD channels - includding BBC1HD on channel 101 - via my indoor aerial is excellent. I'm not sure how to 'enter' C31 (COM7). I'll have a look later on this evening.

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John H's 14 posts GB
John H
11:57 AM

Oops - can't spell :-D - it should say "including".

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John H's 14 posts GB
Sunday, 28 August 2016

11:24 PM

John H: Re your Samsung 24E390, according to my info this model is indeed fitted with a DVB-T2 tuner, as of course it would have to be otherwise BBC1 HD (101) would not be receivable.

However, on the subject of reception from COM7 / COM8. Although signals from lower powered transmitters are more susceptible to partial blocking etc by such as dense trees etc, and so if the loft aerial referred to have been self-install, reception of these two muxes "might" possibly be improved by either, (1) : trying a test by turning the aerial a few degrees to the left or right, or if no improvement is evident, (2) : physically moving the aerial a little to the left or right (or even up or down) of its present mounting position, as in areas such as yours its frequently found that aligning / positioning an aerial for peak performance on one multiplex does not necessarily hold for another, and so they have to be averaged / balanced out for satisfactory reception across all multiplexes received, but though with an obvious bias towards reception of the weakest signal.

This being where the aforementioned "manual tune" test comes into the equation, as said adjustments could be made / tested out / whilst the TV is left sitting on the signal test screen.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
Monday, 5 September 2016
Richard Cooper

10:40 AM

John H: Hi, John. Not only must your tv set be able to display its picture in HD, but it must also have an HD tuner/decoder built into it, or you need a separate Freeview HD set-top box connected to your tv using an HDMI lead. Then and only then will you be successful in receiving COM7 & COM 8 channels. Also remember that these multiplexes are transmitted at lower power than the other multiplexes, so using an indoor aerial is not the best plan if you want to pick up COM 7 and COM 8. Remember too that these two multiplexes are only temporary and will disappear within four or five years when we have DSO2 and everyone will need to have HD equipment. You're correct to state that you need a clear view between the trees so that you are in line of sight of your transmitter. FreeSAT is clearly another option for you but requires a dish with its LNB (s), satellite cabling and F-connectors, as well as a television with a built-in Freesat HD receiver such as the Panasonic Viera. Hope this info may be of some assistance, Richard, Norwich.

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Richard Cooper's 466 posts GB
Wednesday, 7 September 2016
Angela Thompson
1:56 PM


I have been having problems with my Freeview reception for a few weeks now, it comes and goes, disappears for a while then comes back, some channels not being available at all and getting a "no signal" message. However, since this Monday, 5th Sept, I have absolutely nothing, everything has gone off. I thought it may have been my Bush set top box/recorder had broken down so went out and bought another one yesterday afternoon, 129.99. However, spent all yesterday evening trying to set it up, have tried 2 different TVs and it won't even install (they are old tvs not HD etc). I have been on email to Freeview and also have phoned the help line of the store where I bought the new box but they're telling me the box isn't talking to the TV for some reason. i even bought a new scart plug to make sure in case the old one was damaged.

However, I see from your interactive map that the area I live in, Harrow, is covered in a grey patch where as the whole of Middlesex/London is bright green, so my question is why is Harrow grey and what does that mean on your map?

You're help would be greatly appreciated before I tear my hair out or throw both set top boxes through the window! Thanks very much.


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Angela Thompson's 15 posts GB

4:35 PM

Angela Thompson: Firstly, we need a postcode, so we know what transmitter you should be able to get and what quality, etc.

Next, the most likely cause for your problem is the simplest - your aerial system has a problem. Start with the aerial lead from the back of the TV, and work back to the aerial. A dodgy connection, broken cable, etc is the most likely cause. If its more than one TV, then the cause is common to both - do you have a splitter/booster in the roof?

As to your new PVR - if the aerial is your problem, then you dont need it. Frankly, you could have got a Humax PVR (which is much better than the Bush) for not much more than 130, but thats another moatter. As for the TV's not talking to the box:
1) Is the box just HDMI, or does it have scart as well?
2) have you selected the correct inputs on the TV's?
3) Is the box connected up to the aerial etc properly?
4) Since your getting no signal to anything, the box probably cannot work properly in any case.

Start with the aerial and your existing box - connecting it up in the way you did before. And then check the cables.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB
Richard Cooper

4:49 PM

Angela Thompson: Having just checked with 'Digital UK', Harrow is definitely within the coverage area for the Crystal Palace main full Freeview transmitter and so the questions I would ask would refer to your aerial installation. Is it pointing towards Crystal Palace, to your East-South-East? Is it in good condition and less than ten years old? Is the cabling from the aerial and into the house all in good condition? Is there a good connection between the cable coming down the wall and the back of the wall plate to which it connects? Is there a good connection from the wall plate to the fly lead which goes from the wall plate / aerial socket to your set top box? By the way, why did you buy a new set-top box when you could have bought a brand new Freeview tv for the same money? When you say, "it won't even install, do you mean that the new box will not carry out a first-time installation tune in procedure? Obviously, if there is no signal coming down from your aerial, you'll not receive any television whatever box you try to use, so check you aerial installation as the next step. Richard, Norwich.

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Richard Cooper's 466 posts GB
Richard Cooper

4:54 PM

Angela Thompson: Harrow is in green on Brian's UKFree TV coverage map for Crystal Palace. It is Harlow, with an 'l' in Essex which is in a grey patch area for Crystal Palace coverage! Richard.

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Richard Cooper's 466 posts GB
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