Missing channels via Freeview recorder

Plimsoulstudios

Novice Member
Hi all.

I was debating over the Manhattan TR3 & Humax Aura for weeks. I eventually bought them both to see how they compared, both have their plus points but I believe the Aura is the winner of the two from my tests so far.

However, when my rooftop Ariel is connected directly into the TV I am picking up an additional 7 SD & 6 HD channels, therefore I am picking up 13 less channels using the same Ariel connected straight into the Freeview box, both TR3 & Aura.

Does anyone know the reason as to why this would be? These channels are all listed on the Freeview postcode checker (with the exception of one, but my TV still picks it up).

Wondering if anyone would know why this would be and if anyone knows a way how I may be able to access these missing channels via the TR3/Humax. I wouldn’t want to access a number of them, but found it odd that my Ariel picks them up directly in TV & not on Freeview recorder.

The list of channels are;
#64 Freesports
#70 Quest Red+1
#76 Now Xmas
#86 More4+1
#87+1 PBS America
#91 That’s TV Xmas U.K. (not in location Freeview postcode list but my TV picks up the channel).
#96 Forces TV
#106 BBC Four HD
#107 BBC News HD
#111 QVC HD
#112 QVC Beauty HD
#113 RT HD
#114 Quest HD

Any help is well appreciated.

Cheers.
 

wongataa

Well-known Member
The tuner in your TV is probably more sensitive than the ones in the boxes. Those channels are on lower power broadcasts.

The only thing you could do is use an amplifier to boost the signal to see if that allows the boxes to pick up the channels.
 

mikej

Well-known Member
Yes - those channels are all transmitted on the (often-problematic) COM7 'mux', which is transmitted at a weaker power than the others and is also (I believe) subject to weather interference.

Based on the fact that I had exactly the same issue a while ago, my guess would be that the signal strength of COM7 for you is currently below the signal strength threshold that the PVRs will tolerate, but above that of the TV.

The first thing you need to do is investigate the signal strengths on the PVRs - you can normally do that somewhere within the tuning menu. See if it'll allow you to select Ch.55 and compare this to the others that you receive without issues.

Do you have TVs in other rooms and if so, how is the Freeview signal distributed round the house ?

One thing that is worth mentioning is that COM7 is due to close by June 2022 (at the latest), so this may not be an issue for you after that date.

 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
Just as likely to be hdmi-aerial signal interference self-induced by the boxes.

Try alternative fly lead aerial cables. (Ideally double screened versions).
Try alternative hdmi cables.
Keep the two cables well apart.

Re-make any hand made TV plugs as these can let in interference.

Does the TV receive the COM7 channels when using the RF loop-through from either PVR?
 
D

Deleted member 901590

Guest
Hello. Firstly FYI it is exactly the same for me. My TV shows some COM7 but my Humac doesn't.

Does anyone know where Freeview will be moving those channels to? And when?
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
Does anyone know where Freeview will be moving those channels to? And when?
Nothing to do with Freeview, the BROADCASTER will need to move them if they don't just stop transmission.
i.e. BBC will deal with BBC channels...

When is any time now, subject to a 3-month notice period from Ofcom; but expected to be around June next year at the latest.

The same suggestions as given above wrt your aerial system may help? It's probably not really worth spending money on aerial improvements for COM7? Albeit that imho the system is probably borderline inadequate for all reception.
 
D

Deleted member 901590

Guest
Thank you Rodders.

We're on Bilsdale so we had a decent com7 before and don't now (assume because it's not as good as it was before).

Already have a booster on ours!

But yes not the end of the world. Streaming NewsHD on iPlayer looks better than the SD signal we get!
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
We're on Bilsdale so we had a decent com7 before and don't now (assume because it's not as good as it was before).
Bilsdale Quarry COM7 coverage is likely reduced mostly by the lower transmit height of the temporary mast.
(Main 6 are 50kW erp and COM 7 25kW. Before the fire, the three PSBs were 100kW, three COMs 50kW and COM7 26kW).
 

Plimsoulstudios

Novice Member
Thanks all. I believe I am receiving channels via the Crystal Palace transmitter as I am based in Twickenham.

@wongataa Is there a chance that an amplifier may increase the number of channels? I have not used one before but was under the impression this was used to fix picture break ups.

@mikej very interesting, thanks. I have just ran a search on Ch.55 but no channels found. The strength is 9% and the quality 0%. Is Ch.55 the frequency that runs the COM7 multiplex?

What will happen to the channels once COM7 shuts down? I guess the channels will move to another mux?

There is only one connected TV in our house.

I have tried 3 HMDI cables with the same result across all picking up 147 channels in total.

Probably a silly question, but what is the RF loop for? The Aura comes with an RF Loop cable but I only have the main Ariel fitted to the box connected using a 4K HDMI cable to the TV.
 

wongataa

Well-known Member
Thanks all. I believe I am receiving channels via the Crystal Palace transmitter as I am based in Twickenham.

@wongataa Is there a chance that an amplifier may increase the number of channels? I have not used one before but was under the impression this was used to fix picture break ups.
Yes they can do that
Probably a silly question, but what is the RF loop for? The Aura comes with an RF Loop cable but I only have the main Ariel fitted to the box connected using a 4K HDMI cable to the TV.
The loop cable is to connect the aerial out on the box to the aerial in on the TV so you can watch TV using the television's tuner and not need the box on to watch broadcast TV.
 

Plimsoulstudios

Novice Member
Thanks.

I only have an ariel input on the LGTV (2013 model), so I can only have the main ariel inputted into the TV or Freeview recorder. Does the TV need to have a loop output to enable this function to work?

I checked signals on a varying channels across both Manhattan and Humax boxes. All signal strengths are good apart from London Live (Channel 8, Multiple 35) which has 24% of signal strength. Manhattan explained that as COM7 would be even lower. They expressed I may need to upgrade the roof ariel to a wide angle ariel.

Does anyone have any links to any decent wide angle ariels? This is a whole new ball game to me so not sure where to start. Any advice/help on this would be much appreciated.
 

Plimsoulstudios

Novice Member
Sorry, forgot to add the image of the in/outputs of my TV in relation to the signal loop.
2DD3B946-209E-4ED6-B3D3-3A638B829DA1.jpeg
 
D

Deleted member 901590

Guest
The Humax I have boosts the signal out of the loop connection. So the Aura probably does.
Some channels on the tv only show a picture when the Humax is powered on!
 

mikej

Well-known Member
@mikej very interesting, thanks. I have just ran a search on Ch.55 but no channels found. The strength is 9% and the quality 0%. Is Ch.55 the frequency that runs the COM7 multiplex?
Yes, the channels you listed are all on COM7 which is transmitted on UHF channel 55. I'm no expert, but a signal strength that low suggests to me your aerial probably isn't suitable, however that would be at odds with your TV being able to pick it up. Odd. Are the coax cables you're using of decent quality and have you tried separating them from any HDMI cables, as Rodders suggested ?

FWIW, my signal strength for COM7 used to be around 70% - my Humax PVR wouldn't pick it up at all and my TV would, but quality was sporadic. In my case, replacing an aging length of 1970s coax between the loft and the lounge gave me a 5-10% signal strength boost which then allowed both the PVR and TV to pick it up.

What will happen to the channels once COM7 shuts down? I guess the channels will move to another mux?
The hope is that at least some of the better channels will be found new homes elsewhere. With so few HD channels currently available on Freeview, the loss of 6 of them would be a big blow... well, BBC Four, BBC News and Quest at least - I'm sure most of us can live without HD shopping channels !
 
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mikej

Well-known Member
I only have an ariel input on the LGTV (2013 model), so I can only have the main ariel inputted into the TV or Freeview recorder. Does the TV need to have a loop output to enable this function to work?
You connect the aerial coax to the PVR and then a short coax 'fly-lead' from the PVR's RF-out to the TV's aerial input socket.

This is only necessary if you want to watch the TV's Freeview channels without turning on the PVR but, in your case, this could be useful for watching the channels you listed using the TV's tuner if your PVR isn't able to pick them up. You might have to disable any 'Eco' settings on the PVR in order to be able to do this, because the facility that allows this is normally disabled in Eco mode.

I checked signals on a varying channels across both Manhattan and Humax boxes. All signal strengths are good apart from London Live (Channel 8, Multiple 35) which has 24% of signal strength. Manhattan explained that as COM7 would be even lower. They expressed I may need to upgrade the roof ariel to a wide angle ariel.

Does anyone have any links to any decent wide angle ariels? This is a whole new ball game to me so not sure where to start. Any advice/help on this would be much appreciated.
Yes, it's possible that you would need a wideband aerial in order to pick up all the channels at the moment but, as COM7 is an outlier at UHF 55, there's a chance that you won't necessarily need a wideband aerial after COM7 is turned off in June next year. So the question is - is it worth going to the trouble of upgrading your aerial just so you can record the channels you listed for the next 7 months ? Especially when some of those channels are available in both SD form and via the various catch-up services, not to mention 'live' via the TV itself, by the sounds of it.

Rather than considering an aerial upgrade at this stage, I would concentrate on making sure that your connections (cables, plugs, sockets) are all sound. Are any cables routed through the loft or are they all external ? If cables go from your aerial into the loft, it would be worth getting up there and checking there aren't any dodgy connections or anything else going on up there that might affect signal strengths.

What is the signal strength for those COM7 (UHF 55) channels on your TV, out of interest ?
 

Plimsoulstudios

Novice Member
I wouldn’t know whether the coax cable is good or not. We had to have a TV Ariel man come and re-connect the wires as the Ariel was on the roof but the cables were disconnected. He didn’t alert us to any issues regarding the cables. It could be a good idea to get in touch with him and let him know this issue to see if he may be able to assist on whether the cables/need updating or whether a wide angle ariel would fix the problem.

Well exactly, and as I say I wouldn’t watch many of them, but I do enjoy archive content on channels such as ‘That’s TV, Forces TV which don’t offer a CU/SVOD service, and also BBC FOUR HD, but I use IPlayer for that.

The COM7 channels can be flakey at times when on the TV, in fact I have just checked and all of these channels have a black screen with the Ariel plugged in directly to the TV. I can see a flicker of transmission trying to squeeze through. They often work on an evening mind apart (strange I know). I am not sure I know exactly how to check the strength on these channels via the TV, but it’s safe to say that the signal is currently weak.

Freeview does state that I should be receiving these, so there must be a way, where thats through upgrading the roof Ariel of cables - although maybe I should just bite the bullet and wait until the Summer to see what happens instead of getting someone round to look into it at a cost.
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
Almost certainly you have a group A aerial for CP and COM7/8 would have been in group up until the 700 MHz clearance happened on 18th March 2018.
That's over three years ago!

You might have qualified for a free wideband aerial install when that happened, but that boat has long gone.

NB freq.ch 35 is the London Local TV mux transmitted at 34 kW cf 200 kW for the others (except COM7, 85 kW) and accounts for that being lower.
Freq.ch 25, however also looks lower than it ought - check out what the set reports for freq.ch 23 (BBC SD multiplex), if lower still it suggests to me your aerial is maybe nearing end of life.

Try an unamplified set top aerial? Make your own out of a bit of old coaxial cable Problem watching TV via satellite dish
 

mikej

Well-known Member
There is a signal there for 55 on the TV, but it's nowhere near strong enough to be reliable enough for watching those channels without issues - the difference is that the PVR refuses to tune into such a weak signal at all whereas the TV does, despite the poor results it gives.

With such a big difference in signal strengths, I would guess that your aerial isn't suitable. You can see a drop-off when you get to 35 and by the time you get to 55, it's almost non-existent.

Here's a good graphic from this aerialandtv.com page to illustrate how different aerials are designed to work with the different UHF channels (frequencies).

Grouped-and-wideband-aerial-gain-curves-500H-L10.jpg


As you're picking up UHF 25-30 without any issues and not 55, you could well have a Group A or Group K aerial. While a wideband aerial might solve your problem now, it'll cost you money to sort out and, after June 2022, may not be needed. In fact, there's a chance that a Group A or K aerial would give you better results than a wideband aerial, because they are more specifically suited for the other frequencies you're receiving.

This is just my instinct though, as I'm no expert on this - hopefully @Rodders53 wouldn't mind chipping in if I've got anything wrong.
 

Plimsoulstudios

Novice Member
I tried using a standard indoor Ariel and the results were worse.

I will check the frequency of Ch: 23 later this evening to check the signal strength.

Interesting. So there’s a chance a wideband ariels may back up UHF 55, but going forwards a Group A ariel will be better at picking up various frequencies and therefore better to stick with what I have?

Just to check, is the ariel on the right in the image attached a wideband? I ask as I went to my neighbours and tested the box there with the same results.


6004E06F-3E5D-4801-A357-76FEAF657A94.jpeg
 

mikej

Well-known Member
I have a wideband aerial and, when I was having issues, my Humax PVR still ignored my COM7 signal despite it being around 70%.

If your neighbours have a wideband aerial and your Humax doesn't pick up COM7 when connected to it, then that's even more reason for you not to bother upgrading your aerial IMO, at least not if it's just for that reason alone. It's evidence that an aerial upgrade may not necessarily solve your problem.
 

Plimsoulstudios

Novice Member
I think it seems best to stay with the Ariel and see what happens come June 2022. If I run into any further issues down the line I can revisit.

FYI - added another image to highlight the strength of Freq C23.
B7D36F1C-6111-43F1-8A96-ABF875EF491A.jpeg


Thanks so much for your all your help.
 

mikej

Well-known Member
I think it seems best to stay with the Ariel and see what happens come June 2022. If I run into any further issues down the line I can revisit.
If you're able to receive all the other channels without any issues, then I would inclined to do the same. I would like to think that at least some of the BBC HD channels on COM7 / UHF 55 would be found new homes once it closes, but there are no guarantees.
 

mikej

Well-known Member
Incidentally - if you want a bit more info on suitable aerial types or to check the predicted Freeview coverage for your area, then put your postcode and house number into this checker on the Freeview site, hit 'check' and it'll give you a table of your nearest transmitters, along with separate tables below that of the UHF frequencies they each broadcast.

Do you know which transmitter you're using ? If you don't, then it'll either be the 'most likely transmitter' from the table or (if that's just a local relay transmitter) it could be the next nearest. In my case, my local transmitter is listed at the top of the table as 'most likely' presumably because it's the closest (a few miles away), but I know for a fact that my aerial is actually aligned to Winter Hill. Due to the number of UHF channels you're receiving it's likely that you are not using a local relay transmitter, as I believe these only tend to broadcast the bare minimum number of channels (in my case, 3 muxes rather than the 7 I get from Winter Hill)

Once you think you've sussed your transmitter, then first check the 'Aerial Group Now & After' columns. The first letter of each pair is the recommended aerial type and the second letter will either be H for Horizontal or V for Vertical (alignment).

In my case, I have A H, T, H in each column so the recommended aerials for me both now and in the future are Group A (for UHF 21-37) or Group T (UHF 21-60) and both Horizontally aligned. A Group A wouldn't properly receive COM (UHF 55) at the moment whereas the (wideband) Group T should. After COM7 closes, both aerials will still be fine but a Group A would be better suited to the remaining frequencies. I would only consider changing my wideband aerial to a Group A though if I had any reception problems in the future or the aerial reaches the end of it's working life.

Next, scroll down to the appropriate Coverage Prediction table for your transmitter. When I check the predicted status of COM7 from Winter Hill in my area, it's orange which is 'variable reception'. Yours might be the same, or even red (poor reception).
 

Plimsoulstudios

Novice Member
It states that I am likely receiving TV from the Crystal Palace Transmitter, alternatively Guildford or Reigate, but the Ariel needed differs between transmitters (see image).

Interestingly all of these transmitters do not show any negative signs towards COM7 unless I am reading it incorrectly? (See images below).


Has it 100% been confirmed that the COM7 frequency will be closing down? Asking again as according the results it looks like COM7 should be received, but again, do not want to update the Ariel of the frequency is closing as all other channels/picture are good.

01B955BD-F102-4116-BFBB-99B933FEDD62.png
821C9455-73A5-4B17-9DBC-22E5F1DB76BB.png
F07F1260-4A01-46F7-94AC-48612494855A.png
B8448469-8AFD-4A0F-8A1D-C237C848B1D8.png
2B7F724D-771D-4D03-B43C-A37AC717F428.png
AF77BF24-5F5C-4B78-8ACC-952EAA8287F3.png
 

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