How to Stop Cellphone & Digital TV Interference
By Irene A. Blake
Many cellphones and digital TVs experience symptoms of electromagnetic interference when exposed to other devices and objects that use radio frequencies. Many cellphones and TVs can cause interference issues in other electronics, as well. The types of issues that may appear include audio symptoms such as snapping, crackling, buzzing and hissing, or screen symptoms such as snow, lines and color distortion. As you are surrounded by electronics every day, stopping the interference is difficult, but not impossible.
Contact your cellular, cable or satellite service provider to check if the issue is on the provider's end. If so, follow the instructions provided to you to deal with the issues such as waiting until a line, cable or network update or maintenance is completed.
Move your phone or TV away from other electronics such as microwaves, computers, touch lamps, radios, copiers, fluorescent lights, wireless devices or from each other if the issue is likely on your end. If you have your cable or satellite receiver near your TV, move it as far away as possible and don’t stack it on other equipment such as VCRs, DVRs or home theater systems.
Turn off wireless devices located near your phone or TV or in the same room, one device at a time, to see if doing so stops the interference. If you have a wireless device in the next room, turn it off to see if it doing so has an effect.
Hire professional technicians to check the electric, phone and cable lines in your home or office if moving various electronics around didn't solve the issue. If necessary, install or hire a technician to install line filters, shielded lines and cables or shielding materials to prevent interference.
Wrap your phone with household aluminum foil. If you don't want to wrap the entire phone, cut a one to two inch square of foil, move it around on your phone until the interference stops and then tape it in place. If you have an accessory such as a vehicle adapter or charger attached to the phone, wrap the cord where it attaches to the phone to try to stop the interference.
Ask your neighbors if they’re also experiencing issues, as nearby power lines or a cell tower can cause interference. If others have experienced the same problems, or your location is close to lines or towers, contact the power or cellular company and ask for assistance. If the company can’t provide a resolution, make a formal complaint to the Federal Communications Commission at 888-225-5322.
- ZDNet: FAQ: The 411 On Radio Frequency Interference
- National Association for Amateur Radio - Cable Television Interference
- Federal Communications Commission: Guide - Interference - Defining the Source
- TechTarget: Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
- The New York Times: Gadgetwise - Stopping That Dreaded Cellphone Buzz
- Youtube.com: iPhone - Stop Annoying Interference
- Gizmodo: Aluminum Foil Stops iPhone Car Tape Adapter Buzz
- Phone Scoop: Flight Mode
- If you want to use your cellphone on an airplane, turn on your phone’s “airplane” or “flight” mode to prevent interference to the plane’s electronics. If you’ve never used this mode, contact your phone manufacturer or cellular service provider for assistance with learning the correct way to turn the mode on in your specific brand and model of phone.
- Check the cables and cords attached to the phone or TV before moving the equipment around, as a damaged or loose cable can cause symptoms similar to those caused by electromagnetic interference.
- Total removal of all interference may not be possible. It depends entirely on your specific situation and the factors you're dealing with, such as the geographic location, distance from lines and towers, sources of interference, number of electronics and wireless devices and the brand of your phone or TV.
Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.