From time to time you may experience issues with your TV reception, like a blocky or pixelated picture, or missing channels. In many cases, these are temporary problems or have a simple remedy.
On some occasions, you may need some help from a qualified aerial installer, who will have experience working at heights and information on transmitters in your area. Visit the following websites to find one local to you. And remember, it's always a good idea to get more than one quote.
- GetMeViewing.org.uk (Confederation of Aerial Industries)
- GetMeDigital.com (Registered Digital Installers)
But most problems can be easily fixed. Here are our tips to help you improve your reception:
Aerials and cables
Make sure your aerial is secure and in good condition. You should also check your external cabling and plugs and sockets, along with any cables connecting your TV and recorder. Always get a professional aerial installer to check cables where connections are not easily accessible, such as a rooftop (see above).
Bad reception can occur if your external aerial is out of position and no longer pointing directly at the correct transmitter. Over a period of time, bad weather and water can damage your aerial.
Amplifiers and splitters
If you bought an aerial amplifier before the digital switchover because of a weak signal or reception problems, there’s a good chance you don’t need it anymore.
In fact, aerial amplifiers and splitters are a common cause of reception problems and can overload equipment. Try removing it and see if this improves the situation.
Occasionally, routine engineering work is required on transmitters in order to improve terrestrial TV services. While every effort is made to minimise the impact on viewers, this can cause temporary disruption to reception. Our TV changes checker will tell you what changes are taking place that may affect your service and viewing – just enter your postcode.
In-home and local external interference
Some home appliances, including fridges, washing machines, tumble dryers, fluorescent lighting systems, lawnmowers, central heating systems and water pumps, can disrupt your reception.
This happens because of power fluctuations at the mains. Try switching off other appliances around the home and also moving devices like mobiles, cordless phones and baby monitors away from your TV, and see if this fixes the problem.
Traffic, road works and radios used by the police or taxis can also interfere with your reception.
To prevent these kinds of interference, keep your aerial and cables away from other electrical cables and check all the cables are in good condition.
Channels on Freeview can change from time to time; some may be removed, others added and channel numbers can change. Try retuning your TV equipment once in a while to make sure you have the latest channel line-up for your area.
Trees, tall buildings and even hills can block signals from your transmitter to your home. If this occurs, get in touch with a qualified aerial installer (see above), who should be able to advise on possible solutions, such as redirecting your aerial to an alternative transmitter.
Transmitters and signal overlaps
Depending on where you live, you may be able to receive signals from more than one TV transmitter, so, for example, you might not get your preferred regional news.
One way to resolve this is to manually retune your device and select your preferred frequencies if available. Follow our step-by-step guide here.
In some cases, aerials aren’t aligned to the best transmitter. For example, your aerial might be pointed at a large main transmitter, but actually receive a much better signal from a smaller one that’s local. Get in touch with a professional aerial installer (see above) to redirect your aerial and improve reception.
Some weather conditions like high pressure, which is associated with fine weather (and morning fog) can affect your reception. However, interference caused by atmospheric conditions is temporary and should clear once the weather changes, so just wait for it to clear and hopefully the problem will, too.
Sometimes 4G mobile broadband services can interfere with TV signals in some areas. A company called at800 has been established by mobile phone operators to help resolve these reception issues for Freeview users.
You can use its tool to check if there's 4G interference in your area – if there is it can usually be resolved by fitting a 4G filter between your aerial cable and your TV. You can get a free one from at800 - see its 4G filters guide for more information, or call its support team on 0808 131 3800.