Television reception problems are normally caused by either a weak signal or an interfering signal. Both types of reception problems will exhibit the same effect on your television screen. Unlike analogue interference, where you can see the effect, you may not be able to determine that you are having reception problems. Generally, with digital you either have an excellent picture or you have no picture at all. However, at the threshold point you may notice a break up of the picture into multi-coloured squares of varying screen coverage and the audio will usually become broken and disjointed.
What causes reception problems?
Reception problems may be caused by:
- the signal may be reduced by an obstruction blocking your antenna from the signal e.g. trees (hills, severe weather
- multi path signals causing cancellation of the primary signal
- being too far away from the transmitter
- your television being faulty, or antenna system is a low-gain type or faulty
- periods of bad weather or periods of hot dry very stable weather which cause signals to temporally fade and/or be affected by incidental reception of unwanted signals from a distant station
- interference – radio or electrical.
What can I do about reception problems?
Television reception problems are mostly caused by:
- faulty receiving equipment (including poor installations e.g. antenna, satellite dish, cabling)
Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) recommends that your installations are serviced or checked for faults prior to taking any further action.
For a more detailed description of what you can do to address your reception problems visit what can I do about my reception problems.
How can I avoid interference?
Look for the RCM on your electrical and electronic equipment
The RCM is a mark indicating an electrical or electronic product is declared by the supplier to comply with New Zealand’s electromagnetic standards for radio interference. This means the product has been tested to international standards and is less likely to cause or receive interference.
Replace or modify your audio equipment
Interference caused by a land mobile transmitter to telephones and associated units, computers, and other electronic equipment or to land mobile receivers is normally seen to be a deficiency of the audio equipment and the responsibility of the owner/provider of the audio equipment to resolve. This may involve the replacement of inferior equipment with equipment known to have immunity to high levels of radio frequency radiation.
Move your aerial away from electrical noise
Electrical noise from electrical and electronic apparatus (including domestic appliances and power lines) may interfere with reception. Locating the aerial away from these sources will assist in reducing interference. These devices are normally required to meet international standards aimed at limiting the radiation of noise. Further, house wiring conducts this noise so keep the antenna well away from wiring.
How can I register an interference complaint?
Experience has shown that very often the cause of interference will be found in the household affected, and may be solved by the householder. Please ensure your reception problems are caused by external interference and not by incorrectly installed equipment or interfering equipment installed in your home.
If you cannot resolve the problem yourself, we recommend you contact your local service technician in the first instance. If your local service technician is unable to resolve the problem for you, RSM can provide an interference investigation service for television reception problems within the coverage area of the television station affected.
In this case, please contact us.
Interference complaints will be responded to, and remedial action commenced within two working days of being lodged for 95% of domestic interference complaints.
An illustration of what television interference looks like in comparison to a normal signal.
A guide to help fix television interference problems. A checklist of problems and possible solutions.