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Freeview reception - all about aerials

Your ability to receive all the Freeview transmissions depends on the suitability of aerial: the design style, "group" and its physical location.

Your ability to receive all the Freeview transmissions depends
published on UK Free TV

Updated 8th January 2014.

Your ability of receive all the Freeview transmissions depends on the suitability of aerial

  • the design style,
  • the "group", and
  • its physical location.

Standard type - Yagi aerial

The standard type of TV aerial is known as the Yagi aerial. It is mounted on a pole, and consists of a rod with a reflector (shown green) at the back and many spiky elements (in grey) at the front. The connecting cable connects to the element nearest the reflector, known as the driver (shown in blue).

These Yagi aerials are directional and so pick up signals best from a transmitter that the rod points towards. The more elements the aerial has, the better it picks up a signal and becomes more directional.

A standard-type aerial is all that is required for digital TV reception in most places. These antennae have between 10 and 18 elements and a single reflector. These are recommended for new installations for good digital television reception, but will more often than not function perfectly in good reception areas.

Typically these aerials are designed to receive only some transmission frequencies - see "groups" below.

High Gain aerials

These aerials are designed for poor digital reception areas, and have two reflectors. For maximum signal strength, some digital high gain aerials have up to 100 elements. Since the switchover to digital-only transmissions back in October 2012, most UK households now have good quality digital TV signals.

A more expensive aerial is only required where the signal strength is low, but can often provide the whole Freeview reception where it might otherwise be impossible.

The CAI (that represents aerial installers) has four standards for digital TV aerials. The highest standard "1" is for homes on the fringes of coverage areas, intermediate standard "2" is suitable for use within the coverage area; minimum standard "3" is for good coverage conditions.

These aerials can be either wideband, or receive only selected frequencies - see "groups" below.


You may haved used a 'Grid aerial' for analogue reception, but as they are generally unsuitable for Freeview reception, they have now generally been replaced by the Yagi type. However in some places a Grid aerial installation may work for Freeview: otherwise replace with a standard Yagi aerial.


Indoor aerials are generally not suitable for Freeview reception. In areas of good signal strength it is often possible to receive some transmissions. Even where an aerial works, people often find that may get interruptions to their viewing (or recording).

Loft mounted

Loft mounted arrivals are not generally recommended for Freeview reception, as the roof tiles and plumbing will degrade the signal. Some compensation for this loss of signal can be made by using satellite-grade cable to connect the set top box to the aerial.


The best position for a TV aerial is mounted outdoors, as high from the ground as possible, pointing directly at the transmitter. The signal can be blocked by hills and tall buildings. It should be positioned away from any other aerials.

Horizontal or vertical?

The transmitter will either use vertical mode which requires the elements of your aerial to be up-down, or horizontal mode which requires them to be level with the ground.


Both analogue and digital television is transmitted the same group of transmission frequencies (known as channel 21 through to 60). A coloured marking on the aerial shows the group.

To create the best possible analogue picture, TV transmissions from adjacent transmitters have been designated to several different groups of frequencies. By using an aerial that receives only the channels in the correct group, the analogue picture can be kept free from interference.

To receive Freeview transmissions from the same transmitter it has been sometimes necessary to use frequencies that are not part of the transmitter's normal group. When this has occurred, the aerial will need to be replaced with a "wideband" aerial (also known as group W) - one that covers every group.

As Ofcom is planning to move the TV frequencies again - perhaps as soon as 2018 - it may be wise to use a wideband aerial if you can to ensure you can keep viewing Freeview for many years to come.

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In this section
Loft aerials1
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Indoor aerials4
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Monday, 13 June 2011
Ruth Broadfield
8:15 PM

We cannot receive a picture on ITV 1, & 2 channel 4 5 channel 4+1 and More 4. All the other channel reception is good, the picture has been very pixilated and freezes over the last couple of weeks but today have no picture atall have tried rescanning the channels to no avail. Can you help please our postcode is WR2 4ND we live in Worcester

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Ruth Broadfield's 1 post GB
Tuesday, 14 June 2011

12:13 PM

- Freeview on Malvern TV transmitter | - independent free digital TV advice -
will show you that your problems are all on one "Mux", which is using 64QAM to get more out of same strength signal as BBC1 etc. Do you get the other muxes?
Probably best to repost there for other locals to see/comment. Are neighbours having/not having same trouble?

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Steve's 1,173 posts GB
Friday, 17 June 2011
6:55 PM


i have an outside aerial which was replaced about 15 years ago. i now have a hd ready tv but still unable to receive all freeview channels but i can get all freeview channels on my tv upstairs via a box. i have been told that it is not my aerial but the cabling. i live in the chesterfield area and have never been able to receive all freeview channels downstairs. will i need a new aerial in order to receive a stronger signal to get all the freeview channels?

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mandy's 1 post GB

9:43 PM

If you plug in your postcode top right it will link to much info.

But if you get Freeview OK upstairs you will do downstairs too with a suitable aerial and cable.

Does upstairs use same aerial?

If so, problem must be wiring.

See if upstairs TV will work downstairs!

And new one upstairs.

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Steve's 1,173 posts GB
Friday, 24 June 2011
10:15 AM

Hi, have just purchased a lcd digital t.v and having many problems receiving a signal on itv and channel 4, our old t.v worked fine and had no problems.

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PAULINE's 3 posts EU

10:59 AM

PAULINE: When you say that your old TV worked fine was that on "exactly" the same
system as far as the aerial is concerned? and likewise this applying to the channels you are finding difficulty in receiving?

What brand / model of LCD TV you have purchased, this to enable checking of its tuners specification.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
Saturday, 25 June 2011
2:28 PM

Jb 38 yes our old t.v.( panasonic quintrix freewiew ).was on exactly the same system as far as aerial is concerned. aerial looks like digitial high gain class 1 ( approx 6 years old). with booster at rear of t.v. downstairs. our old t.v. is working perfectly upstairs. there May be what looks like a booster box on aerial pole, but this May be a standard connector.

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PAULINE's 3 posts EU
2:58 PM

our New TV is a lg32ld450.hd ready.

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PAULINE's 3 posts EU

4:23 PM

Pauline - you seem to have a choice of two transmitters - at similar strengths - so you may be getting conflict - NB the * - where the field strength is asterisked, there is a possibility of multipath reception effects. It might be worth trying again with a greater antenna height.

UK digital TV reception predictor

Which channels are you getting on your old set? And is it the same on the new one?

Which are you using?

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Steve's 1,173 posts GB

7:24 PM

PAULINE: As Steve has mentioned, you appear to have two possibilities for reception, however as Leicester is quite a complex area for reception with the possibilities changing dependant on test post codes entered, in the interests of accuracy (or at least a bit nearer to) you really have to provide your post code, or at the minimum the first part of it.

Thanks for the info on the TV, which appears OK, but it should be remembered that although HD is not as yet being transmitted from any of the two possibilities seen, (Waltham and Sutton Coldfield) you have to remember that when this does happen unfortunately this LG model is not capable of receiving HD due to the type of tuner it uses.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
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