How-to: Troubleshoot TV Reception Issues

Generally speaking, most digital TV reception issues are caused by antennas and cabling that are either old or have not been professionally installed.

If experiencing TV reception issues, you can try to determine what the cause might be and whether you can rectify the issue yourself by considering the following questions and completing the steps outlined below.

Are You Only Experiencing Reception Issues Across One or Two Channels?

If you have suddenly lost reception to a channel, visit the website of the relevant TV station or call up to ask whether they have planned maintenance, faults or outages that may be affecting your area. If the issue does not appear to be on the station’s end, continue through the steps below. 

Do You Have the Right Equipment and Set-up for your Area?

As Australia is a large country, vast in area and terrain, there is unfortunately no such thing as a one-size fits all antenna. Your location will therefore have a large influence on the aerial equipment you require and the way that it is set-up. 

You can check whether you have the right antenna and set-up for your area by checking whether:

  • your antenna is the correct frequency (UHF, VHF, Combination), 
  • has the correct gain,
  • and, is in an appropriate position and pointing in the correct direction

To help you assess the above considerations we have put together a series of guides with expert advice on how to select and position an antenna for each Australian capital city. 
If living in a rural area, or looking for a detailed analysis of the best signal available directly from your address, the mySwitch website is also a highly useful tool.

Is Your Equipment Up to Scratch?

Your aerial equipment may be the cause of reception issues if it is old or broken. To determine whether this is the case, check the following: 

Antenna

Cables and Fly Leads

  • Are you using the recommended quad-shield coaxial cable (RG6)?
  • Is your coax cable cracked or bent?
  • Is your cabling more than 20 years old?
  • Is your coaxial cabling clear of electrical cables (which can cause interference)?
  • Do you have a rusty splitter?
  • Are there any loose connections?

TV set-top box

  • Is your set-top box up to date?
  • has it been tuned correctly? (you can easily re-tune your TV by hitting the ‘auto-tune’ button on the Settings menu of your TV or set-top box)

Signal booster

  • Is your Signal Booster more than 15 years old?
  • Is your signal booster faulty?

While somewhat of an obvious solution, it is also worth checking the connection between your wall socket and TV, video recorder or set-top box.

Are your Reception Issues a Result of Interference?

When it comes to TV reception there are several potential causes of interference:

Physical obstructions

Reception issues here come back to location, if you have obstructions between your antenna and the transmitter (such as trees, hills or towers) this can cause the signal to bounce or weaken. By having your antenna professionally installed you can reduce interference caused by physical obstructions by ensuring that the best line of sight is achieved. 

External Interference

Ask your neighbours if they are experiencing similar reception issues at the same time as you. 

If so, this could be external power sources such as: 

  • Power lines (especially at night or during hot, dry and windy weather) 
  • Streetlights (when they turn on or off, or if they are broken) 
  • Equipment used by others in your neighbourhood 
  • Nearby mobile phone towers (if you suspect this is the case try installing an LTE/4G filter on your antenna) 

Internal Interference

Electrical appliances which send out high bursts of energy, such as microwaves, washing machines, LED lights, fridges and swimming pool pumps, can also interfere with TV reception. 

You can check for interference from devices within your home by turning off an appliance and seeing if your TV reception improves. If it does – turn on the appliance again and check whether the interference returns. If this is the case you should contact a professional to fix the application responsible for causing interference.

While there appear to be a plethora of causes for TV reception issues – these can generally be avoided by ensuring that your antenna system is up-to-date and has been properly installed by a professional. This article is therefore intended to help you identify the cause of your reception issues and determine whether you are able to troubleshoot these issues yourself or will require professional help. 

For further assistance identifying the source of interference issues or for help repairing or replacing part or all of your antenna system, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced and professional team at Jim’s Antennas on 131 546 or book here, to arrange your free onsite quote today.

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