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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?
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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
Monday, 26 September 2011
J
jb38
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

4:13 PM

Dennis Wilson: At that distance from Belmont you should really have any problems, except maybe by the signal being over powerful to the extent that its overloading some devices tuner, as this will cause picture break up in exactly the same way as a weak signal would.

I would leave your distribution amp in circuit so as to guarantee each TV is receiving the same signal as well as isolate them from each other, but do as you have suggested by fitting an attenuator in line with the input to the distribution amp.

This being said provided that the aerial itself doesn't have an amp powered from the distribution one.

Your aerial by the way should be perfectly OK, as the Freeview channels are roughly in the same range as was used by the analogue ones.

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB
J
jb38
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

4:21 PM

Dennis Wilson: Meant to add, remember that Mux Channels 53 & 60 are on low power (4kw) until November 23rd, and so they will indicate considerably less signal strength when compared to the other main Muxes on 150Kw. (SDN Mux Ch30 on 50Kw)

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB
S
Steve P
sentiment_satisfiedGold

4:50 PM

DW do the channels that don't work without the amp work with the amp?

Where in your wiring is the amp?

Does it have adjustable gain?

If dunno, quote model number for the experts here.

link to this comment
Steve P's 1,172 posts GB
J
john
5:43 PM

i live in dn15 aera which aerial would you suggest thanks

link to this comment
john's 1 post GB
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

7:14 PM

john: Please provide a full postcode.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Thursday, 29 September 2011
J
John J
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

7:13 AM

My Pioneer TV's clock is set by linking it to an analogue channel which has now obviously gone. Has anyone found a way of stopping the clock set warning screen constantly coming up? I've been through the menus but think it's impossible.

link to this comment
John J's 29 posts GB
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

8:40 AM

John J: If you need an analogue signal and there are none then I suspect that "it's impossible" is the correct diagnosis.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
J
John J
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

8:37 PM

Braintist. You are probably right but sometimes there are some hidden menus in TV's, freeview boxes etc. so it was worth a punt but I'll just have to live with cancelling the message box each time it pops up.

link to this comment
John J's 29 posts GB
S
Steve P
sentiment_satisfiedGold

9:37 PM

John J - surely a question for the manufacturers?

Or google the full model number - others must have the same problem.

link to this comment
Steve P's 1,172 posts GB
Monday, 3 October 2011
D
Des Collier
sentiment_satisfiedSilver

8:06 PM

Steve P:- That's correct,that's the transmitter i receive here in Scawby,just used it as an illustration.this way can also be used if you can receive more than one transmitter.

link to this comment
Des Collier's 171 posts GB
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