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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, 14 April 2014
Ian Gilbert
4:59 PM

I receive my 'Freeview' channels from the 'FOUR LANES' transmitter at Redruth in Cornwall.
In addition to jb38 comments concerning COM 5 channels have greatly effected my Panasonic DMR-EX85 Recorder.
The unit will receive all 'Freeview' TV channels with an excellent picture, BUT, the sound has lip-sync and/of garbled sound, on the following channels.
Channels effected 11 12 17 29 32 36 37 41 42 43 46 57 82.
Sent unit to West Yorkshire to test for this problem of sound on those (above) channels, the report was perfect sound and picture on all channels.
Have spoke to three TV/ Recorder repairers who said the same thing, there has been a fault detected since January (and still exists) on COM 5 'Freeview' channels.
I have also a two year old Toshiba television that has sound delay on some of these same channels, so problem effects ALL types of media receivers.

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Ian Gilbert's 4 posts GB
Ian Gilbert
5:01 PM

To quickly add, please leave short message if sound is effected to quantify how widespread the problem is..thank you.

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Ian Gilbert's 4 posts GB
Thursday, 17 April 2014
Ian Gilbert
4:19 PM

Ian Gilbert:
I do wish someone in authority would explain to me and others, how the same 13 channels have lip-syn or garbled sound on COM 5.
But, when my panasonic recorder is moved-out of the county, to Yorkshire, how all these 13 channels had perfect sound..??
Still waiting for someone to step-up to the plate with an answer, (not holding my breath.) LOL

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Ian Gilbert's 4 posts GB
Friday, 25 April 2014
Martin Gibbs
8:09 PM

My freeview was completely ok until this evening. Now all TV and radio are fine but all bbc channels are not available. We are in the b76 postcode area of Sutton Coldfield. Is there a problem with the bbc/freeview interface.?

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Martin Gibbs's 1 post GB

11:30 PM

Martin Gibbs: As no faults have been reported as far as Sutton Coldfield's BBC on mux C43 is concerned you should try and make one or two local enquiries to find out if others are being similarly affect to yourself.

I also noticed that B76 is an area of only 4 miles or so away from the powerful Sutton Coldfield transmitter, and as such purely out of curiosity I wondered what kind aerial system you use?

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
Monday, 28 April 2014
8:22 PM

My freeview signal suddenly was bad Friday afternoon 25/4, it soon disappeared completely. It was fine this weekend but now on Monday 28/4 it it went slowly from fine around 5pm to non existent an hour later. My postcode is BN3 1FT. Any idea why?

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Rachel's 1 post GB
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
John Watson
8:29 PM

TV Reception on BBC Channels are breaking up, signal is from Millburn Muir, my neighbours is the same. Ariel ok, post code is G838NA, can you let me know why please.

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John Watson's 6 posts GB
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
John Watson
12:39 PM

John Watson: As posted on 30th April 2014, I've had no reply as to the current status of the signal I'm getting from Millburn Muir. can you please advise.


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John Watson's 6 posts GB
Friday, 16 May 2014
David Paterson
5:20 PM

I've also been experiencing problems with the Millburn Muir transmitter with blocky break up's with only the BBC channels. I live in the G82 area. When we first got Freeview the BBC channels were fine and I was having problems with the ITV channels. After they did some maintenence work on the transmitter about a year ago it rectified it but only to create problems with the BBC channels. It has been very bad on occasions making the channels unwatchable, then just give the occasional glitch, but it's currently got really bad in the last 2wks again.

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David Paterson's 1 post GB
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