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A Buying Guide for Freeview Aerials

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A Buying Guide for Freeview Aerials
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A Buying Guide for Freeview Aerials

A Freeview aerial is for digital and analogue TV. With countries turning away from analogue TV and moving towards digital TV, some upgrading of the existing aerial may be required. Freeview aerial requirements vary by region. This is because of the different transmitter frequencies. The ability to receive all of the Freeview transmissions depends on the suitability of the aerial, the design style, TV channel group, and its physical location.

A new aerial is only required at the time of switchover if the consumer’s current aerial is very old or in poor condition or if the current signal the consumer receives is poor. However, there is a chance that consumers can pick up more channels if they do upgrade their aerial. Unless an aerial gets damaged in a storm, there really is no need for consumers to purchase an aerial. Many consumers go a lifetime without the need to buy an aerial. With the lack of experience consumers have in this department, it is imperative that a consumer knows all of his or her options before committing to anything.

The right aerial can mean the difference between a great picture and a picture that has so much interference, it is hardly worth watching. A good aerial also increases the opportunity for consumers to have access to more Freeview channels opposed to less. Whether a consumer is looking for an indoor or an outdoor aerial, they should consider all the options and learn how to make the best decision.

Types of Freeview Aerials

The CAI, the organisation that represents aerial installers, has certain standards for digital TV aerials. One is the highest standard, and it is for homes on the fringes of the areas with coverage. Intermediate or number 2 is suitable for use by people in the coverage area, and 3 is for good coverage areas. These aerials can be either wideband aerials or receive only selected frequencies. It is important that consumer know what region they belong to. There are many types of aerials available for sale, and each has it pros and cons, which affect the different regions differently.

Yagi Antennas or the Standard Type

The vast majority of aerials are Yagi or standard type. This aerial type is mounted on a pole and consists of a reflector at the back and multiple spiky elements at the front. These aerials work by focussing the radio frequency waves coming towards them onto the dipole. As more elements are added to the Yagi aerials and with the correct tuning, the acceptance level narrows and the amount of signal collected increases. However, a wideband aerial is designed to work over a large section of the band, meaning it cannot be tuned precisely, and therefore, its gain and directivity are lower, meaning the picture may be of a lesser quality. A standard type aerial is all that is required for analogue TV in most places, but it is not recommended for good digital television reception. It nevertheless more often than not functions normally in areas with good reception.

Log Periodic TV Aerials

A log periodic TV aerial is the perfect aerial for digital television. The log periodic aerial rejects impulse noise, which is a major cause of picture freezing with digital TV. Log periodic TV aerials offer improved rejection of unwanted signals emitted from other transmitters. A good quality log periodic TV aerial works well for all U.K. TV channels. These aerials are light and easy to install. They can be mounted with both vertical and horizontal polarisation.

Digital High Gain Aerials

These aerials are the ones to purchase if the area has poor digital reception. The digital high gain aerial has two reflectors and up to 100 elements for maximum signal strength. These aerials are more expensive and are only required where the signal strength is low; however, they often provide Freeview reception to areas where it would be otherwise impossible to get it.

Grid Aerials

A grid aerial is mostly used to improve analogue reception in poor reception areas. These aerials are generally unsuitable for Freeview reception; however, some installations have been known to work. If a current grid aerial is not picking up Freeview, it may need to be upgraded to a different aerial.

Indoor Aerials

An indoor aerial is not the best choice of an aerial for Freeview television. In areas with good signal coverage, an indoor aerial has been known to receive some Freeview transmissions.

Loft Mounted Aerials

Roof tiles and plumbing have been known to degrade the quality of the signal of loft mounted aerials. Using satellite grade cable when connecting the aerial to the set top box can compensate somewhat for this loss.

Shared Aerials

People who live in flats or other grouped housing usually have a communal aerial. As a shared aerial has to do more work than an unshared aerial does as it provides decent picture quality to multiple homes, there is a good chance it may need to be replaced before the digital switchover. Be sure to talk to a landlord or building owner before it is too late.

Positioning Freeview Aerials

Positioning is highly important when it comes to aerials. The best position for an aerial is as high as possible, pointing directly at the transmitter. The aerial signal is easily blocked by tall buildings, and hills, and it should not be positioned near any other aerials.

Horizontal or Vertical

A Freeview aerial can be positioned both up and down or level with the ground. Different aerials work with different types of transmitters. If receiving reception from a main transmitter in the area, then the aerial requires horizontal polarisation or positioning. To receive reception from a relay or repeater transmitters in the area, the aerial needs a vertical polarisation. Where the consumer resides and the type of aerial they have dictates where they can get their signal from.

Freeview Frequency Chart

In most parts on the United Kingdom, TV channels are transmitted in groups to stop interference with other transmitters. The below chart gives a breakdown of the different groups and the channels those groups can receive.

Group

Frequency Channels

A

21-37

B

35-53

C/D

48-68

E

35-68

K

21-47

Wideband

21-68

Depending on which group a consumer falls into depends on the available TV channels. Both digital and analogue TV transmit the same group of transmission frequencies or channels. A coloured marking on the aerial shows the group that particular aerial will transmit.

How to Purchase Freeview Aerials on eBay

There is an abundance of Freeview aerials for sale on eBay. The first thing is figuring out what sort of aerial you need. Once that decision has been made, you can begin your search. Start with a keyword search, something like "Freeview aerials&". Also, you can be as detailed or as broad when it comes to a keyword search. From here on out, you need to gather as much information as you can about the items you are interested in. Consumers also need to gather information about the seller and the experiences other people have had with this person. Aerials are quite a large item so if you are purchasing 1 from an overseas seller get confirmation on the shipping as the cost to ship these items can be quite expensive. Once you are happy with the item, the seller and the shipping costs, purchase the item. To make a payment, follow the payment options listed in the seller’s advertisement. Payment should be made to the seller within three days of the purchase. All items usually ship within 48 hours of payment.

Conclusion

The two main types of Freeview aerials are the Yagi or standard aerial and the log periodic aerial. It is important to know which one is required before making any purchasing decisions. The log periodic aerials work better for people in regions with poor TV reception. If a consumer is aware of the region they live in, this can help them figure out which aerial is the best for them and their region. Moreover, consumers can find Freeview aerials at electrical stores and online.

With some great deals to be had on eBay, more and more consumers are turning to eBay for their purchases. Buying an aerial online is often cheaper and therefore more appealing to consumers. Once a consumer has made their online purchase, it is best to seek the services of a professional for installation. A professional installer knows which transmitter the aerial needs to point to and if the aerial needs horizontal or vertical polarisation. It is therefore recommended that a professional perform the installation.

A consumer should only need a new Freeview aerial if their current one is very old or damaged or if their current Freeview reception is poor. There is a lot of information out there for a consumer to digest before being able to make an informed decision. As an aerial should last just about a lifetime; therefore, this is a purchase consumers should only have to make once.

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