Freeview Disruptions: Weather To Ruin More TV Nights

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Merely a week after similar atmospheric conditions caused disruptions, Freeview users across the UK are once again likely to experience service disturbances.

From June 13 to June 18, an expected surge in atmospheric pressure could potentially cause interference with Freeview signals, potentially affecting viewers across the country.

Homes affected by this could temporarily lose some of the Freeview channels they usually enjoy, with extreme cases potentially losing Freeview reception completely.

In light of these predicted disruptions, Freeview has issued guidance on what you should and shouldn’t do if you are affected (see below).

Man bearded with TV remote confused

Freeview viewers have been suffering with these issues for several weeks now – due to the ongoing heatwave. But why does this happen?

Understanding The Freeview Weather Disruptions

Freeview, which has been available since 2002, offers TV channels and radio stations via airwaves. The primary method of receiving these free channels is through an aerial connected to a Freeview box or directly to your TV.

The disruptions are a result of high atmospheric pressure, causing what’s known as tropospheric ducting.

This phenomenon bends TV and radio signals, allowing them to travel much further than they usually would. A temperature inversion, where a layer of warmer air forms above a layer of cooler air, is a key factor in this process.

TV Transmitter aerial communications tower

As a result, signals from distant transmitters can interfere with your local Freeview reception, and you might even find foreign stations appearing on your TV.

The impact of this phenomenon isn’t entirely predictable, but it’s likely that a significant number of Freeview users will experience some level of disruption when it happens.

These disruptions can vary from a slight weakening of the signal, to the appearance of “ghost” images from distant transmitters, or even a total loss of certain channels.

Fortunately, these disruptions are temporary, and your service should return to normal once the weather conditions finally change.

Freeview and the YouView service are both susceptible to these disruptions, but they shouldn’t affect Freesat reception, which relies on different types of signals.

Similarly, these problems also won’t affect viewers who are getting Freeview channels via broadband, on Sky’s streaming TV – Sky Glass, Sky’s Stream box, or the Stream box from Virgin Media.

Do Not Retune Freeview This Week

When reception and channels are problematic, Freeview viewers are often advised to retune their devices. However, in this case, it’s the opposite.

Freeview and the BBC strongly advise viewers NOT to retune their Freeview devices while the situation persists, even if your reception is poor. This is because you’ll have to retune again once the problem is resolved.

Manhattan-T2R Channel Scan

The disruption should pass once the atmospheric conditions return to normal.

If you retune during this period, you’ll have to wait until June 18, when the high-pressure conditions are expected to pass, and then you should retune again (assuming the weather conditions don’t repeat themselves yet again).

What Can I Watch If My Freeview Channels Are Down?

If you can’t access some or all Freeview channels properly, you can still watch some of the channels via broadband.

If you have a Freeview Play device that’s connected to the internet, such as the Manhattan T-3R, Humax Aura, or a Freeview Play TV, you can watch the streaming versions of the main broadcast channels, via apps like BBC iPlayer, ITVX, My5, etc.

Humax Aura 4k freeview recorder on window
The Humax Aura Freeview Recorder

Alternatively, you can watch Freeview via the mobile app which is available to download for free (though keep in mind, the app can only help you watch Freeview Play channels that have their own apps on your phone – so again, BBC iPlayer, ITVX and the other big broadcasters).

Freeview Play app
The Freeview Play smartphone app

You can also find streaming apps for all the public broadcasters, and several other big Freeview channels, on streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TV and Roku, and on most Smart TVs.

And as always, other TV services shouldn’t be affected by this issue – so you can continue to watch streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Paramount+ and all the others.

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