While TV reception problems can strike at any time they usually strike at the worst time. Mostly it seems to be in the middle of our favourite shows or at the crucial point in a film. Digital TV reception problems, or no digital TV signal, are relatively common and most solutions are also straightforward. Although rare, you may find that your TV reception has completely disappeared but the most common problems tend to be with a variety of picture issues. Sometimes you’ll notice that increased pixilation and freezing is occurring on a regular basis or that the screen goes blank and displays a poor reception message. Problems can be intermittent or develop into a constant issue. Before ringing the BBC (responsible for terrestrial TV transmissions) here are a few simple checks to consider.
Basic Wiring Checks
In the old days, when TV equipment consisted of little more than the TV and a connection to an aerial problems were less frequent. Today, there’s more electronic kit involved and the more kit you have the more sources of problems or faults there are. In the case of digital TV you’ll have either a set top box or a fully integrated digital TV. The most common problem behind reception issues tends to be down to all that cabling between boxes and aerials. If you’ve noticed that picture pixelates, or freezes from time to time, problems with your cables can often be the cause. Before checking the cables switch everything off and then check all and any cables for damage, wear and tear or loose connections to sockets. Worn or damaged cables are likely to cause problems, so if you notice any wear and tear you may find that replacing the cables will solve the problem. Unplug and re-plug the cables to ensure they’ve not worked themselves loose or been knocked or disturbed. Once you’re happy the cables are back in place, turn everything back on and see how things go.
Delete Your Channels (the Retune Option)
Retuning is recommended for digital TV on a regular basis. Channel information is updated far more frequently with digital TV than with the old analogue service. Installers and broadcasters recommend a full retune every three to six months – your TV may even display a message telling you that a retune is required. You may need your manufacturer’s instructions to complete the retune but these will be available online if you’ve lost them! In most cases the retune process is simple and follows (roughly) the following options. Switch everything on and on your remote press menu; pick the ‘set-up’ option followed by ‘retune’. You’ll need to agree to ‘delete all channels’ when promoted. Don’t worry; this is normal, as the set needs to clear its old settings before reinstalling the new ones. In most cases this will then happen automatically, taking only a few minutes. This process will generally resolve issues including missing channels. If you live in an area served by transmitters for two different broadcasting areas you may find that after a retune you’ll pick up a different local news channel. In this case you’ll have to retune using the manual, not auto, option, and pick the local channels you require. Again, this process should be outlined in your manufacturer’s instructions.
Has Your Aerial Taken Flight?
Your aerial installation may, of course, be behind the problems. Certainly after the high winds of recent months several aerials have been left facing in the wrong direction (if not having flown off for pastures new). If you have an external aerial check it’s pointing in the right direction for your local transmitter (see which way others in the area point as a very rough guide). A TV aerial engineer can help to replace, repair or reposition aerials if you’re not confident doing so yourself and/or aren’t sure of the best position for the aerial. Internal aerials in the loft are less likely to have been damaged in the winds recently but they can be worth checking if you’re having reception problems. Indoor aerials are not as effective as external ones – the signal is compromised by walls and roofing materials. Try to position, securely, at the best angle for reception. Also avoid water pipes, tanks and electrical cables – these can de-tune a digital signal. Fit, or ask an aerial engineer to fit, a high-gain aerial in the loft, if the problems persist.
If you continue to suffer poor reception and all of the above issues have been checked, contact the BBC to report disrupted digital TV services. For cable and satellite services you’ll need to contact your provider, as the BBC only cover terrestrial TV transmission. In most cases, however, checking internal cables, your aerial installation and performing a retune from time to time, should resolve any issues with digital TV reception!
While digital TV problems can strike at any time, they usually strike at the most inconvenient, writes TV fan Jack Shepherd. Most can be resolved simply, however and this post looks at how to resolve most common problems with TV reception.