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TV reception: problems and fixes

Troubles with your TV could be because of reception issues or interference. 

If you have a sudden reception issue with one TV station, call or visit the website of the TV station to find out if they have planned maintenance, faults or outages that could affect your location. 

Common reception issues

Follow these steps to check for common TV reception issues.


Step 1: check the set-up is right for your location

Where you live can affect the set-up you need.

Suggested fixes: 

Go to the mySwitch website and enter your address to find out:

  • the level of expected signal coverage in your area
  • the TV channel frequencies for your address
  • the TV transmitter with the strongest signals to your location
  • the direction to point your antenna and whether it should be vertical or horizontal
  • any known reception issues for your area.

You may not be tuned to the strongest signals for your location. Re-tune your TV or set-top box with a manual tune, rather than an ‘auto-scan’, using the frequencies provided on mySwitch.

mySwitch may show that you live in an area with poor reception, fortuitous reception or no free-to-air TV coverage. If so, you may be able to get viewer access satellite television (VAST)


Step 2: check your antenna

Many problems with TV reception are due to the antenna set-up. Antennas generally only last 10 to 15 years. 

Suggested fixes:

Get an experienced local antenna installer to inspect, repair or replace your antenna. They will check you have the right equipment in good condition for your location. They can also look at what else may be interfering with your TV reception.

Check the mySwitch website to make sure your TV antenna is:

  • the correct type for the TV channel frequencies in your area, with correct antenna gain
  • in the right position on your roof and pointing in the right direction.

Make sure your antenna is: 

  • in good condition without broken, missing or rusty parts
  • set up correctly – you should only have a single antenna installed on your roof (remove legacy or broken antennas and indoor TV antennas ('rabbit ears')).

Step 3: check your cabling and other equipment

If your antenna isn’t the issue, it may be caused by faulty cabling or if something is not installed properly.

Suggested fixes:

  • Check cables and fly leads are straight, not too long and in good condition.
  • Use a quad-shield coaxial cable (type RG6) to connect your antenna to your TV.  
  • Check the connection between your wall socket and TV, video recorder or set-top box.
  • Don’t use a connector or splitter to split the signal from your antenna to 2 or more TVs – it will reduce the signal level and may reduce reception quality.
  • Use a signal booster or amplifier only if necessary. They can overload your TV receiver with TV or mobile phone signals. They can also cause interference to your neighbours.

Step 4: check for geographic issues

Hilly or heavily forested areas can disrupt how TV signals reach you, as well as a phenomenon called atmospheric ducting. Ducting is when distant services interfere with local services during certain weather conditions. It is more common during warmer months and usually occurs (or is noticed) more often in the early evening. 

Suggested fixes:


Step 5: check if there are mobile phone towers close by

If you get a sudden change to TV reception quality (like pixilation on all channels or no reception), it could be signal overload from a mobile phone tower, especially if you are within 1 km of a phone tower and have a signal amplifier.

Suggested fix:

Get a local antenna installer. If a phone tower is the cause, they may install a 4G filter to your equipment, remove the signal booster or move your antenna.

Common interference issues

Sometimes a problem may not be about TV reception, but due to interference caused by things in or around your house. 

Follow these steps to check for common interference issues.


Step 1: check for interference from inside your house

Appliances with an electric motor, thermostat-controlled appliances and others can cause interference. These include:

  • swimming pool pumps
  • power tools
  • washing machines
  • hot water systems
  • refrigerators
  • pool chlorinators
  • LED lights
  • light switches and power boards
  • electric fences.

Suggested fix:

Turn off each appliance to see if your TV reception improves. If your reception improves when the appliance is switched off, the appliance is causing the interference problem. Call in a repairer.


Step 2: check for outside interference

External power sources can cause interference with your TV. This includes:

  • power lines – especially if it’s during hot, dry and windy weather or at night
  • streetlights – when they turn on or off or if they are broken or flashing on/off
  • mobile phone towers
  • equipment used in your neighbourhood, like amateur and CB radios or signal boosters.

Suggested fixes:

  • Check if your neighbours have the same problem at the same time you do.
  • If so, get an antenna installer to check for outside interference (see Step 3).

Step 3: get a local antenna installer

  • If the antenna installer confirms powerline or streetlight issues, report it to your local council or electricity company. 
  • For other confirmed external interference issues, ask the antenna installer to help you fill out the ACMA digital TV interference form to get our help (see Step 4).

Step 4: ask an antenna installer to help you contact the ACMA

If there is an interference problem outside your house, and not due to power lines, we may be able to help. 

We cannot investigate interference until an antenna installer checks your antenna and equipment set-up. They will also check to see if there is something else affecting your TV signal.

The antenna installer will need to provide technical information that must be included in the digital TV interference form you submit to us. We must have this form before we can help. 

Before you hire an antenna installer, ask if they have the proper equipment to assess digital TV signals and can help complete the ACMA form.

Location-specific TV reception

We have investigated and resolved reception issues in specific areas.


Communities affected

Shoalhaven Gerringong, Kiama Heights, Shoalhaven Heads
Cooloola Cove, Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay Cooloola Cove, Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay
Greater Newcastle Caves Beach, Belmont, Eleebana, Charlestown, Mount Hutton, Belmont North, Dudley
Halls Gap Halls Gap
Hunter Port Stephens area from Tea Gardens to Salt Ash, Anna Bay, Tanilba Bay, Karuah, Swan Bay, Medowie, Bulahdelah
Shoalhaven Shoalhaven Heads, Nowra, Jervis Bay, Kiama, Gerringong
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