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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.

Grid



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

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.

Positioning

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.

Groups

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.

Help with Television sets?
Why are all TVs on sale not digital?1
Do I still have to pay for a TV licence?2
I had perfect channel 5 reception - until I got a digital TV box!3
I Have a Pocket Tv For taking out so I can keep up with news and sport. Will thi4
The pictures from my digital box are all green!5
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In this section
Loft aerials1
Do I need to buy a booster?2
How to receive Freeview on your PC3
Indoor aerials4
Whole house digital TV5
Connecting it all up6

Comments
Saturday, 23 July 2011
J
jb38
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

6:08 PM

Graham Harris: I take it you are meaning the full switchover? as you say you are already getting all Freeview channels which of course IS digital.

You haven't mentioned your location, however as you are already receiving Freeview OK then about the only thing that could go wrong after full switchover is receiving too powerful a signal, this easily rectified by removing the booster or fitting an attenuator in line with the TV's aerial socket.

I dont think you have anything to worry about though as your aerial should be fine.

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB
M
mich
10:08 PM
Braintree

i had bad signal using my freeview box until the anglian area (sudbury)switch over took place last week, now i have perfect pictures and no interference, but have lost my favourite channels, itv+1 and film 4 and maybe a couple others?

link to this comment
mich's 1 post GB
Sunday, 24 July 2011
J
jb38
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

9:53 AM

mich: As far as ITV1+1 is concerned you should still be able to get that OK as its on the same Mux transmitter as ITV1, the only point being that its not +1 of Anglia East but Meridian.(Southampton)

However on the issue of Film 4 (and a few others), you must have been previously receiving this just above the reception threshold and not much more, but technical changes made to the transmission mode has had the effect of causing the signal to drop slightly, and so even although its still there its possibly now under the threshold for reception on your TV or box

In November when it temporarily moves to channel 63 it does increase in power (erp) from 1.1Kw - 2.2Kw, but its not until mid 2012 when it changes again to Ch56 that it adopts its full power.

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB
Monday, 25 July 2011
S
Steve op
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

12:29 AM

carl bari - I don't think there is much expertise on US TV here!

Graham H - If you are getting all now you will probably have no problem on switchover unless you are unlucky with details.

You may find you need to remove your booster - digital does not like too strong a signal either!

link to this comment
Steve op's 24 posts GB
Monday, 1 August 2011
G
Graham
12:54 PM
Liverpool

Does anyone know please who owns the large Hope Mountain Transmitter mast?

link to this comment
Graham's 1 post GB
john cahill
4:22 PM

i live in dudley west midlands ive got loft ariel and freeview tv any idea what transmitter do i point at to get sky news . Do i need ariel upgrade as im sure im missing a lot of channels plse contact me (fone or txt) 07878459501 thanks

link to this comment
john cahill's 1 post GB
Mark A.
sentiment_satisfiedGold

4:49 PM
Haywards Heath

john cahill:
Most of the transmitters only show the BBC channels ITV1, ITV2, Channel4, More4, E4, Channel 5.
Only 81 out of 1,000 plus transmitters transmit Sky News.
You can get Sky News free on 'Free Sat From Sky' or Freesat.
If you give us your postcode or town we can see if you can get TV from any local transmitters.

link to this comment
Mark A.'s 368 posts GB
Mark A.
sentiment_satisfiedGold

5:12 PM

John Cahill:
Sky News is on Multiplex C / Aqr A
DY1 1HF lists the following transmitters:
(See Find out how to receive Freeview and Freeview HD at DY11HF | ukfree.tv - independent free digital TV advice )
Brierley Hill Channel 56+
Kidderminster N/A
Moel-Y-Parc Channel 52+
Ridge Hill Channel 24
Sutton Coldfield Channel 52+
The Wrekin Channel 44
Waltham Channel 45
Winter Hill Channel 61
I wish I lived in the range of 7 transmitters with this TV channel. (RH163LB)

link to this comment
Mark A.'s 368 posts GB
N
NottsUK
sentiment_satisfiedGold

6:50 PM

Mark A.:
Sky News isn't available on Freesat. It is only available on the other channels list.

link to this comment
NottsUK's 345 posts GB
Tuesday, 2 August 2011
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