TV Aerial Buying Guide

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TV Aerial Buying Guide

Many people across the UK require a new TV aerial because of the switchover from analogue to digital  broadcasting. Purchasing a new TV aerial also helps to improve picture quality in many areas. Often, buyers choose to purchase a high quality expensive TV, yet neglect their aerial. Regardless of the quality of the TV, without a good, well positioned aerial the picture quality may be poor. Buying a TV aerial can be an easy task when the process is broken down into the most simple and important steps. Buyers need to know what kind of signal coverage they have in their area. If they are in a fringe area, they are most likely to have poor reception. To get the best performance in these areas and access to the maximum number of channels, buyers need to invest in a high gain aerial. It may also be necessary to mount it on an extra long mast. Buyers in high coverage areas have more aerial options.

When purchasing a TV aerial, buyers need to consider when a new aerial is required, the types of TV aerial that are available, and how to identify a high quality benchmarked model. TV aerials can be purchased from specialist shops and online retailers, such as eBay.

When to Buy a New TV Aerial

The digital switchover in the UK left many with very poor TV reception, including bad audio, snowy pictures, or no reception at all. This is largely due to the age and the positioning of old aerials. In these circumstances, or just to improve picture quality, it is important to choose a new, good quality TV aerial. The most common misconception is that a special digital aerial or one for high-definition is required. In fact, any new aerial, if properly installed, is capable of receiving a digital signal, as well as a high-definition signal.

Types of TV Aerial

With the switchover from analogue TV, many people find themselves in need of a new aerial. Choosing a new TV aerial requires a bit of research, as there are many different types. The choice of aerial should be based on where it needs to be located, the type of reception in the area, and the features offered.

Yagi TV Aerial

Yagi TV aerials are the standard type of TV aerial in the UK. They are most commonly mounted to a pole on the roof of a building. The aerial has a large, thick rod, with a reflector at the back close to the pole. There are multiple smaller, thinner rods, known as elements, attached to the central rod at right angles, equidistant from each other. The greater the number of elements, the better the reception, if they are properly aligned in the direction of the transmitter. Yagi TV aerials are suited to areas of good to moderate signal coverage, but do not work well in areas with poor coverage. They can pick up the majority of digital channels in areas with good signal coverage, but not all available channels, because of their directionality.

High Gain TV Aerial

High gain TV aerials are designed for use in areas with poor signal coverage and reception. Unlike Yagi aerials, high gain aerials have two large reflectors to help to boost the quality of the signal. High gain aerials can have up to 100 elements in order to perform properly in the lowest areas of signal coverage: the more elements, the greater the ability to gather a clear signal. The use of high gain aerials with a large number of elements allows people in very low signal areas to receive at least some digital channels. In areas with very poor coverage, high gain aerials can be mounted on extra high masts to allow for better, unobstructed reception. They are not recommended for use in areas of good coverage, as a multi beam, high gain aerial may pick up interference, and the performance and picture quality may be affected.

High gain aerials have anti-ghosting properties. Ghosting occurs when two identical signals from different directions are picked up by a single aerial, but slightly out of sync, known as an out of phase signal. This creates a main image on the screen, coupled with a ghost image slightly to one side, reducing the picture quality. Most high gain aerials are equipped with an equaliser that brings the two signals back into sync.

Grid TV Aerials

Grid aerials are not suited for use in areas of moderate or low signal coverage. They are additions to standard Yagi TV aerials that increase the level of signal reception. It should be noted that these aerials are not likely to pick up all digital channels. They do pick up some digital channels in areas of good coverage when combined with an existing aerial. They consist of a moderately sized, square reflector with several dipoles placed strategically in front of the reflector to boost reception. A dipole consists of two pieces of wire running parallel to each other, with a small gap between the ends that channels the signal.

Indoor TV Aerials

Traditional indoor TV aerials are not usually suited to picking up digital TV signals, because the reception area is greatly reduced. Newer models can pick up digital signals in areas of good coverage, but the number of channels differs from home to home, and is affected by directionality and interference from other devices, such as computers, microwaves, and washing machines. To get the best possible performance from an indoor TV aerial, buyers should position it as high as possible. The aerial should face the transmitter and be as close as possible to a window, with a minimum amount of metal or walls between the aerial and the transmitter. Indoor TV aerials can be used in conjunction with a signal booster to pick up additional channels.

Loft Mounted TV Aerials

Loft mounted TV aerials are best suited to areas of high signal coverage. They are not the best choice for areas of low coverage as roof tiles, plumbing, and any cables can have an impact on the quality of the reception. A high quality satellite grade cable can be used to improve the picture quality, as it transfers the signal without any further signal loss. A signal booster can also be used to enhance the signal and picture quality.

CAI Benchmarked TV Aerials

The Confederation of Aerial Industries (CAI) are an independent governing body of TV aerials in the UK. The CAI does not deal with the installation of TV aerials, but focuses on high quality technical standards. They perform rigorous testing on TV aerials to ensure top quality signal reception and performance. A TV aerial with a CAI benchmark has been thoroughly tested to ensure longevity and proper construction, and is guaranteed to produce a good quality picture. Some CAI benchmarked aerials are more expensive than their counterparts, but they do guarantee high quality and performance.

How to Buy a TV Aerial on eBay

eBay has many TV aerials available and buyers can search for them on the eBay home page by entering a phrase such as "TV aerial" in the search box. This produces a long list of results that the buyer can narrow down by choosing the appropriate filters, which list features of TV aerials. These filters include the condition of the aerial and the price that the buyer is willing to pay. Alternatively, the buyer can add some of these features to the search phrase if they know exactly which type of TV aerial that they want, for example, "indoor Freeview TV aerial".

Feedback on eBay

Buyers should look at the feedback of a seller before purchasing a TV aerial on eBay. Feedback is left by previous customers and it allows a buyer to see what others thought of the products and services that the seller offered. Feedback can be positive, negative, or neutral. Sellers who have a high percentage of positive feedback offer a high quality of service. Sellers who consistently achieve high ratings are rewarded with a Top-rated seller seal. The buyer can contact the seller directly via eBay using the "Ask a question" link.


TV aerials are essential in most homes across the UK. To ensure the best technical performance, buyers can purchase a CAI benchmarked TV aerial. These have passed extensive tests by the UK aerial standards body, and are guaranteed to provide the best possible performance. Buyers in good coverage areas can choose from standard Yagi TV aerials, which are the most common type used in the UK; grid TV aerials, to increase the usability of an old aerial; or a loft mounted TV aerial. It is also possible to use an indoor TV aerial in some areas with very high signal coverage. If using an indoor aerial, buyers must find the optimum position for maximum performance.

When the buyer has decided which type of TV aerial they would like to purchase, they can use eBay to find the exact model. Top quality TV aerials are available on eBay at great prices.

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