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This is why your TV signal keeps breaking up

PUBLISHED: 11:37 26 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:40 26 February 2019

TV reception problems irritate viewers in East Norfolk Picture:  John Hocknell

TV reception problems irritate viewers in East Norfolk Picture: John Hocknell

The unusually warm weather is being blamed for widespread issues with poor TV reception, pixelated images and missing channels.

The bright green areas shown where the signal from this transmitter is strong, dark green areas are poorer signals. Those parts shown in yellow may have interference on the same frequency from other masts Picture: UK Free.TVThe bright green areas shown where the signal from this transmitter is strong, dark green areas are poorer signals. Those parts shown in yellow may have interference on the same frequency from other masts Picture: UK Free.TV

Television engineers across East Norfolk have been inundated with complaints about picture quality in the last few days.

Ian Jacobs of JK Electronics in Gorleston High Street said he was struggling to keep up with calls as people tried to re-tune their sets and work out what was wrong.

He said high pressure was to blame and he understood there had been an upgrade at Tacolneston - the mast which serves 330,000 homes in Norfolk.

A post on the UK Free TV website for Freeview customers said there had been problems with the Great Yarmouth transmitter affecting picture quality.

The Tacolneston transmitter. Picture: Mustard TVThe Tacolneston transmitter. Picture: Mustard TV

According to a map on the site a large swathe of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston is affected, although people in Burgh Castle, Caister, Ormesby, Hemsby, and Lowestoft have also reported problems via social media.

Mr Jacobs said it was the worst he had known it in 32 years and that with the readings he was getting people were lucky to be picking up anything at all.

He said households using streaming services, satellite or cable providers were not affected.

But the signal was extremely weak and that even those with really good aerials were struggling.

Atmospheric conditions and particularly the high pressure meant a weak signal and the possibility of picking up signals from other regions on different frequencies.

Re-tuning could offer a solution, but the signal could drop out again when the weather changed.

Overall there was little to be done other that wait for the weather to change.

“My advice,” he said. “Read a book, do some pilates or maybe start the couch to 5k.”

David Rushbrooke, a service engineer with Snellings in Blofield, said he understood atmospheric conditions were to blame and that it could be an issue with “too much” signal.

Re-tuning could mean you pick up the wrong transmitter leading to problems further down the line.

That even near-neighbours were having different experiences was to do with a range of factors including the quality of the aerial and proximity of trees and tall buildings.

Generally there needed to be a “sweet spot” that was just right to provide a perfect picture, he said.

Switching to an HD channel on Freeview could help, he said.

“When the air pressure drops it will settle down again,” he added.

Freeview Advice on its Twitter page tells viewers not to re-tune their TV as reception should improve once conditions return to normal.

Dr Phil Garner of Norwich-based Weatherquest, said: “It used to be a well-known thing of summers’ past but we have a very similar set up today where the signal gets trapped underneath a temperature inversion.

“The high pressure looks set to be with us tomorrow (Wednesday) but out of the way by Thursday.”

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