How to Buy Used Freeview Aerials

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How to Buy Used Freeview Aerials

Freeview is a digital terrestrial TV service that works through a standard TV aerial and offers 50 digital channels and 24 radio stations with no monthly fee. This free to air service allows viewers to access a range of channels. Freeview has become more widely used as the UK continues the process of switching from analogue to digital signals for broadcasting. Freeview is accessed through a set top box which can be bought for a one-off cost.

A Freeview aerial is required to view Freeview channels. These aerials are available in different types and have an array of sizes and shapes. In order to cut the cost of purchasing an aerial, buyers should consider a used model. Used Freeview aerials are not only less expensive, but are environmentally friendly as they reuse resources. Many Freeview aerials can be found in a like new condition, especially indoor aerials which have been protected by not being exposed to adverse weather. When purchasing a used Freeview aerial, buyers should determine the coverage in their area, consider the various types of Freeview aerial signal, and familiarise themselves with the different types of Freeview aerial. Used Freeview aerials may be found at electronics retailers that sell second hand items and car boot sales, as well as online. A good place to shop for used Freeview aerials is eBay.

Area Coverage for Used Freeview Aerials

Before purchasing a Freeview aerial, buyers should ensure that the area that they live in has Freeview coverage. All TVs in the UK are required to switch over to digital, so the population that receives the Freeview signal will increase over time from 83 percent. Buyers can check to see if they live in an area that receives coverage by using an online postcode checker. The postcode checker also provides buyers with information about the type of aerial that they should have and in which direction it should be pointing.

Types of Freeview Aerial Signal

Buyers should consider whether they need an aerial that receives ultra high frequency (UHF) or very high frequency (VHF) signals. Some aerials are able to receive both types of signal, but are often more expensive. The type of aerial that best suits a buyer is determined by the area in which a buyer lives and the service provided to that area. All certified indoor aerials are capable of receiving both UHF and VHF signals. However, a choice needs to be made in relation to outdoor aerials.

UHF Freeview Aerials

UHF aerials are structured to pick up broadcast signals from channels that transmit on the ultra high frequency band. These aerials are less expensive than VHF aerials. There are several types of UHF aerial as seen in the chart below.

Type of UHF Aerial


Quarter wave aerial

A single metal rod or wire

Mounted vertically

Least efficient

Simple construction

Easy to attach to equipment

Able to receive signals from any direction

Half wave dipole aerial

Two metal rods or wires

Standard in UHF aerial design

Mounted horizontally

More efficient than quarter wave aerials

Often incorporated into other, more efficient aerial designs

Folded dipole aerial

Single piece of metal or wire folded or bent into a shape to bring the two ends close together

Similar to half wave dipole aerials, but less efficient

Easy to manufacture from inexpensive materials

Loop aerial

A length of wire wound many times around a ferrite core

Good reception

Not entirely omni-directional

Yagi aerials

A pair of metal rods arranged in parallel to each other

Common rooftop TV aerials

Extremely efficient

Often used where UHF signals are very weak

Extremely directional and often only capable of receiving signals in a beam 20 degrees wide

Rotated in different directions by a motor

The chart summarises the types of UHF aerial and their descriptions. When buying a used freeview aerial it is helpful to understand the different types available in order to make an informed choice.

VHF Freeview Aerials

VHF aerials are structured to pick up broadcast signals from channels that transmit on the very high frequency bandwave. These aerials are more expensive because the hardware needed to receive VHF signals is more complicated. VHF signals are more efficient than their UHF counterparts and less likely to be affected by adverse weather conditions. They are also less sensitive in terms of where they can be mounted for the best reception.

Types of Freeview Aerial

There are two main types of Freeview aerial: indoor and outdoor. Buyers searching for a Freeview aerial should consider the region where they live as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

Indoor Aerials

When considering an indoor aerial, buyers should bear in mind the distance from their home to the broadcast transmitting station and any obstacles that lie in-between. This obstacles includes hills, tall buildings, and other obstructions that can affect the TV signal, and thus the aerial’s ability to function properly. Indoor aerials have a shorter reception range, making them better suited for city and suburban use where there is likely to be a broadcast transmitting station within close proximity. Indoor aerials are easier to install and usually cost less than outdoor aerials. However, they take up space in the viewer’s home and are not aesthetically pleasing.

Outdoor Aerials

Outdoor aerials are installed on the viewer’s roof, in the loft, or on the side of the house. These aerials have two basic types: directional and multi-directional. In order to receive a signal, directional aerials must point towards the broadcast transmitting station. Multi-directional aerials are able to receive signals from all directions without the need to point towards the broadcast transmitting station. So, buyers who receive signals from multiple broadcast transmitting stations should opt for a multi-directional aerial. This ensures that all channels are received. In general, the higher the aerial is placed and the more metal in its construction, the more capable it is to pick up weaker signals. Outdoor aerials are best suited to rural areas and those that are located a greater distance from a broadcast transmitting station. However, they tend to need replacing more often as they are exposed to the elements and can become rusty with age.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Used Freeview Aerial

When buying a used Freeview aerial, shoppers should make sure that the item contains all of its original parts. The aerial should have an instruction manual to provide details of the installation. If this is missing, it is important to see if one is available on the manufacturer’s website before placing a bid on eBay. Outdoor aerials often include a mounting bracket. Replacement parts should be available readily for any missing screws, nuts, and bolts. Buyers should also consider the construction of the aerial. Many aerials require assembly, but other may be dispatched by the previous owner without being dismantled, which means that the aerial can be installed straight out of the packaging.


While Freeview works through a standard TV aerial and has no associated monthly cost, there is an initial cost of installation. To help to reduce these costs, buyers should consider buying a used Freeview aerial. Choosing the right aerial is an important decision. With the switchover to digital TV services, Freeview aerials have become increasingly necessary. When choosing the best type, buyers should consider where they live: buyers living in areas that are in close proximity to a broadcast transmitting station should opt for an indoor Freeview aerial that offers easy installation and a smaller cost; buyers who live far away from a broadcast transmitting station should consider an outdoor Freeview aerial which provides greater coverage. Buyers should also determine if they live in an area that provides UHF or VHF services: some areas may provide both. eBay offers buyers a selection of used Freeview aerials to fit any budget.

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