If you are having issues with the reception on your digital TV, here's some steps you can take to try and rectify the problem.
Most TV reception issues are caused by antenna and cabling that
- is old and has not been serviced and maintained for a long time
- has not been professionally installed
Problems can eventuate also if your receiver is not correctly tuned. You may also be located in an area that receives inadequate coverage from the closest available DTV transmission site.
Do the following to check if your reception problems might be caused by your reception equipment
1. Check if your equipment is adequate for your location
You need your reception equipment professionally set up for the transmission site that provides the strongest signal to your location.
Visit the mySwitch website. By entering and searching by your address you can find out:
- the TV transmitter you should be pointing to
- the geolocation to point your antenna to
- the expected signal coverage in your area
- the TV channel frequencies available from the selected transmission site
- if your antenna orientation should be vertical or horizontal
- if there are any known reception issues for your area
If mySwitch shows that you are located in a poor reception, fortuitous reception or no coverage area, you can apply for the VAST (Viewer Access Satellite TV) service provided by the Australian Government to get stable reception of all the available free to air channels through satellite.
2. Physically check your equipment for visible issues
The TV reception equipment you are using may be causing your reception problems. You should check:
- antennas – are there broken elements or is the antenna inside the house or out of alignment
- cables and fly leads – old or cracked coax, rusty splitters, loose connections
- TV or set top box receivers – very old or poorly tuned receivers
- signal boosters – old or faulty and causing spurious emissions
Your TV antenna must be:
- the correct type for the frequencies available in your area and with the appropriate gain
- located in the best possible position on your roof
- pointing in the right direction
- in working condition
- set up correctly
It is strongly recommended also to have a LTE/4G filter installed to avoid interference caused by mobile phone towers.
You can get all most of the above information for your location by visiting and searching mySwitch. You will also be able to find details on antenna orientation and recommended antenna height.
TV antennas can last up to 10 to 15 years. However, bad weather or wildlife can cause substantial damage. Check for problems that can impact your TV reception:
- broken or rusty elements
- missing components
- wrong type for your area
- line of sight obstructed by the roof or other obstacles, including other buildings or trees.
- Located in the wrong spot on the roof
Visually inspect the antenna from a safe location on the ground. If there is visible damage get a qualified, local antenna technician to examine, repair or replace the antenna.
There should be only one antenna installed on your roof. Not in use or broken antennas should be removed. Multiple antennas do not increase your TV reception. They will cause reception problems.
We do not recommend or support indoor TV antennas in any shape or form. They are likely to provide unreliable reception and cause problems.
Cables and fly leads
Make sure you are using functional cables and fly leads for every TV in your house.
Cables and fly leads should be:
- straight, not bent
- not too long
- in good condition – updated at least every 5 years
To meet Australian standards, all the cables that connect your antenna to your TV should be quad-shield coaxial cable (type RG6).
Make sure the connection between the wall socket and TV, video recorder or set-top box are solid
If you have installed a connector or splitter to split the signal from your antenna to multiple outlets without taking appropriate measurements, expect issues as the available signal level will be equally split between outlets and may no longer be adequate to provide proper reception to all connected receivers
TV or set top box receivers
Make sure your TV or set top box receiver is tuned to the correct physical channels and frequencies for your location. Visit the mySwitch website for the list of frequencies available at your location.
Use your remote control to manually tune your receiver to the appropriate physical channels and frequencies. See the “manual tuning” instructions in your TV user manual for step by step procedure.
We do not recommend the use of signal amplifiers (boosters) unless deemed necessary and professionally installed by a qualified antenna technician. If not required or badly installed, signal amplifiers can cause reception problems by overloading TV receivers or boosting a variety of unwanted signals. They can also cause interference to others in your neighbourhood.
3. Check for mobile phone towers in the vicinity
Established or new mobile phone stations can cause interference to TV reception. If you suspect the interference is caused by a close by mobile phone repeater, check with your neighbours if they have the same issue. If they do, you may need to get an LTE/4G filter installed.
In any case, and especially if your reception equipment has not been serviced for more than 5 years, we recommend to contact a qualified antenna technician. The technician will check if you have the right equipment for your location, take signal measurements, including signal levels and signal error rate, and be able to advise you accordingly on next steps.