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Freeview intermittent interference

When you get occasional sound loss or picture freezes

When you get occasional sound loss or picture freezes
published on UK Free TV

There are several different types of interference that cause problems. This page deals with the situation where:

  • Freeview reception is perfect or near-perfect most of the time
  • The audio on TV and radio channels mutes momentarily a few times each minute
  • The picture on a Freeview channel freezes a few times each minute

There are two main causes of this type of intermittent interference:
  • 'Induction' interference
  • Mobile phone interference

Induction interference

Induction interference is caused by mains-powered household devices that contain a large motor, such as:
  • Washing machine;
  • Tumble dryer;
  • Central heating pump or combination boiler;
  • Fridge;
  • Freezer;
  • Power tools (drills, jigsaws etc)
  • Vacuum cleaners;
  • Water pumps;
  • Automatic doors

You can identify if one or more of these devices is causing the Freeview reception problem by powering off the devices.

If one of these devices is causing the problem, then the reception problem can usually be solved by using a mains filter device and use it on the Freeview boxes mains connection.

Such as device is this: Maplin: 6-Way Flat Screen and HDTV Surge Protector and Mains Filter.

Mobile phone interference

If you keep a mobile phone by your Freeview box or digital television, keep it further away!

This also applies to other transmitters such as baby monitors, video senders, walkie talkies, and portable phones.

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
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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
Freeview reception has changed?5
Two frequency interference 6

Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Kevin Ross
11:08 PM

Hi mike. Thanks. But my signal strength is 70-76% for most channels with the HD oNes all being 76 so too strong a signal would not seem to be the problem especially as my problem only started 4 weeks ago. Any other suggestions?

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Kevin Ross's 5 posts GB
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Dave Lindsay

12:30 AM

Kevin Ross: Have you checked that you are tuned to Black Hill rather than Darvel, assuming your aerial points to it? Darvel's channels are lower down and will therefore be picked up before Black Hill's.


BBC One = C22
STV = C25
BBC One HD = C28
ITV3 = C23
Pick = C26
4Music = C29

Black Hill's six channels are 46, 43, 40(HD), 41, 44 ,47

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
Kevin Ross
6:43 PM

Dave. Can I choose which transmitter I can pick UK? It's a communal aerial. Also, it's a problem that's only just started 3 weeks ago and almost always only on hd channels and very rarely SD

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Kevin Ross's 5 posts GB
Dave Lindsay

8:28 PM

Kevin Ross: The UHF channel numbers I gave above are normally given on the signal strength screen. Confirm that those of Black Hill are tuned rather than those of Darvel.(I assume here that your aerial points to Black Hill which is due east.)

If you find that it is tuned incorrectly then you need to retune, either by:

- clearing what's already stored and manually tuning the five (six if it's HD) channels, or;
- having the aerial unplugged for the first portion of the scan where Darvel's channels are one way to avoid it. Plug in at 30% or once it's scanned UHF channel 30 if it gives channel numbers.

However, this only need be done if it's tuned incorrectly.

Communal aerial systems are often filtered so as to only allow through from the aerial the frequencies used by the designated transmitter. Therefore, under such circumstances it's not possible to pick up the "wrong" transmitter.

Any 4G 800MHz filter should be fitted before any signal amplifer/booster as the 4G signal can overload it. As it's a communal system then it will have an amplifier and so fitting the filter in your dwelling won't stop the 4G signal from going through the amp.

See if others in the block have the same issue. The fact that they don't doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't an aerial system problem but the fact that you have been provided with a 4G filter suggests that your address could be expected to issues. In which case you need to contact the party responsible for the aerial system to get it put right.

You will not need a filter adjacent to your TV/box as the system will be filtered, so it will serve no purpose.

My advice would be to keep it. at800 (the organisation giving out these filters) is only giving one per address. If you know someone who needs two you might like to donate your unwanted one, rather than throwing it in the bin.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
Kevin Ross
10:15 PM

Thanks Dave. My tv and youview box are tuned into black hill but when I check the quality of signal on hd channels the bar fluctuates wildly! What do you think is the cause?

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Kevin Ross's 5 posts GB
Friday, 21 November 2014
Dave Lindsay

12:02 AM

Kevin Ross: Try a different lead from wall socket to Youview box. If the problem remains then it rather points to the issue being with the signal that is coming out of the wall socket, in which case it doesn't actually matter what the issue is as it's not your job to fix it - you simply report it to the responsible party.

But the fact that the 4G filter arrived and that the signal is poor suggests that it could be a 4G signal overloading the amplifier, which needs an engineer sort it.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
Monday, 24 November 2014
8:13 PM

Michael: Thank you everyone for your comments. I have since tried a TV with inbuilt freeview which worked fine, suggesting that the signal quality etc is good. But we realised that my old box was not picking up at least some of the HD channels. So it appears that the problem might be my old box, being unable to receive HD, with the problem now very much with the non-HD channels BBC1 and 2 when we often get no picture at all, while channel 3 and others are generally reasonable.Could it be that non-HD BBC1 and 2 have become weaker over the past few weeks, and now are weaker in some way than other non-HD channels? Not sure about the correct terminology by the way.

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Michael's 5 posts GB

9:22 PM

Michael: You tried in with another device - what was the transmitter the TV was tuned into, and what where the signal/quality levels?

Assuming they were fine, and it was to Sandy Heath, two things occur to me.

Firstly, your problems are still with BBC1 & 2. They tend to be more powerful signals, so if you do have too high a signal strength (and you are really pretty close to the transmitter), they will be the first ones to really have a problem. The TV you tested might just have a rather less sensitive tuner than the box.

There is no reason why BBC1 & 2 might have become weaker suddenly, so logically, if the signal is weaker, it must be something in your system at fault. Since the TV you tested was fine (it would be nice to know the make and model, as well as the readings), I suspect that its the box, and its simply a bit more sensitive, hence the no signal problems, etc.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB
Friday, 12 December 2014
12:45 PM

Michael: Thank you for the further suggestions. I have since noted that the reception problems occur with, and only with, all BBC SD channels i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, News and RB1, and no other channels. I have just tried a new Freeview SD receiver (cheap Nikkai just for testing, perhaps not a good idea) and I am bemused that it does not even detect these BBC channels, and picture quality for the other SD channels is not impressive as my other older box. The type of tuner/receiver now seems to be significant for the BBC channels reception, ranging from good with the 5 year old tv with built-in freeview HD, to intermittent with my older non-HD freeview box, to not detected at all by the cheaper Nikkai freeview SD box. I'm thinking that a new freeview HD box may be the answer, or at least the next step?

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Michael's 5 posts GB
Thursday, 8 January 2015
shirley cooper
9:38 AM

Hi Michael,
i have been having intermittent reception problems on all bbc channels for some time. i have complained to the bbc and low and behold the problem was fixed; for a while. now it is as bad and getting worse. i have tried to complain again but cannot find the same complaints site. all i can find is options that ask which programme and what day and time. i know the bbc don't like being complained to from the condescending email i received from them. i might be 70 years old and not technically minded but won't be thought of as an idiot! can you please help me to find the appropriate complaint site? thank you Michael.
Shirley from Cromer, Norfolk

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shirley cooper's 2 posts GB
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