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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 analogue TV reception in most places. These antennae have between 10 and 18 elements and a single reflector. These are not 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.
Digital High Gain
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. A more expensive aerial is only required where the signal strength is low, but can often provide 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 aerials have been used to improve analogue reception in poor reception areas. They are generally unsuitable for Freeview reception, however some installations may work. Otherwise replace with a digital high gain Yagi aerial.
Indoor aerials are generally not suitable for Freeview reception. In areas of good signal strength it is often possible to receive some transmissions.
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.
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.
Both analogue and digital television is transmitted the same group of transmission frequencies (known as channel 21 through to 68). 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.
Your comments are always welcome. Please use the form below to add your thoughts or questions to this page. We will get back to you as soon as we can.
Frank Smith Wednesday 1 August 2007 5:00PM Haverhill
Hi I live at cb97xt and have been receiving all digital channels for the past 7 years since "on digital" I stilluse the original basic arial installed by the builders 30 years ago along with a labgear masthead amp and power supply. I also live very close to the river in the valley.
Will I need to change my arial arrangements when the transmitter changeover happens I currently receive my signal from sudbury and have only had minor problems during high wind or very stormy weather.
I live in a block of flats at RG1 postcode.
For some reason, I cannot recieve BBC1,2 or 3. I've tried two different digi boxes different brands, can get all other freeview channels OK and bbc1 and 2 fine on analogue...
But I cannot receive on Freeview? Any ideas? My friend doesnt live far away and he can get everything.
i live in herne kent ct67lj, i have a set top box which i have had for about 6 months. upon original installation i was able to receive practical all the freeview channals however recently i am not able to receive any of the itv channals.i bought a new aerial with the same results the stb will not tune into the itv channals . my two aerials point to dover ,but the stb always refer to blue bell hill when being tuned. are stb area specific? Do i need a new box.? I am unable to point to blue bell hill as i am surrounded by buildings.can you advise a possible solution
Laurie Davis Wednesday 15 August 2007 10:40AM Hull
Thank you for the advice on how to make freeview and sky accesable in my bedroom without an A B switch but it does not work? You say tune sky box to a chanal with nothing already on it.As my sky box a panysonic can only tune to ch 26 to 68 all are in use according to your chanal list for my postcode hu10 7ul .When i connect freeview aerial to sky box bedroom tv free picts are fine but sky change to snow and are not viewable.If i disconnect free aerial sky is fine. I have fitted a new high gain W a/er to bedroom and wired to A B switch works fine but same as before. Can you advise me what channal to tune sky box into to work as you said it should or is my box faulty?
Mike Halmarack: You're not in a good reception area, so you would be taking a bit of a risk going for a 100-element Class I aerial... Usually if a PVR can display a channel it can (logically) record it, so you might want to return the box to the store for a replacement before you get a new aerial.
My son has recently bought a freeviewbox. We can set it up fine in the living room where our roof aerial feeds to. He wants the box in his bedroom where we have no aerial, what is the best way to do this. We live S5 9QQ
I recently moved house. I have connected my Freeviewbox and TV to aerial (roof mounted). There is bas analogue reception on all main channels (BBC1,2, ITV, CH4, CH5). BBC1 in particular is very poor. However I am able to receive 48 digital channels perfectly well. THis includes the likes of ITV2. However I cannot get any of the 5 main TV channels digitally in same way. Is this an aerial positiong problem (given I can receive digital channels) or case of requiring new aerial?
Alan Kennedy Thursday 30 August 2007 7:15AM Telford
I have recently moved into a converted barn (TF7 5BF), in the wall is a tv aerial socket. when i connect the aerial to my tv i get no channels at all so i brought a freeviewbox to see if that would help but still no channels, what could be the problem?
Hi people i am thinkin of gettin Freeview.. it comes built into the tele...and i was wondering what i would have to do and what aerial i would have to have..at the moment ive only got a indoor one which connects into the tele....would this be OK to use or not?? suggestions please.....thnx
Kevin Cody Friday 31 August 2007 1:30PM Milton Keynes
My elderly neighbour bought a Digital Freeviewbox which I fitted. Her post code is MK8 8DP. I could only get a few channels on the set ie Sky News, UKTV History, Sky Sport News, talksport, Clyde radio etc. (No BBC1/2, ITV1, Ch4 or CH5). I tested the Digi Box on my aerial setup and all worked fine. My neighbour is using an Yagi aerial which is over 25 years old. Could you recommend an Aerial Type that I could install for her? Many thanks.
thanks briantist ok it says my signal station is 4km away and that it should b fine 2 pik up all channels..although it recommends that i do not use an indoor signal.. so i was wonderin if u could advise me on which aerial to buy or which one would be the best for me? i live in a normal house!with loft would it be best to have an aerial on the roof??
Kayley Nash Friday 31 August 2007 7:41PM Stourbridge
My post code is DY8 1AX. I live in a flat, sharing an an roof aerial. Up until recently (with the aid of a booster) I was able to pick up various freeview channels (itvs,bbcs,fourss,fives,shopping channels etc) and suddenly the ITV's,channel fours' and other have dissapeared from my channel lists and a few others. Trying rescanning several times over the past week with no avail. Any ideas???
Kayley Nash: You shouldn't need a booster ... if you have lost multiplex 2 (itv1, Channel 4, ITV2, itv3, Channel 4+1, More4, E4, itv4, Setanta Sports, CITV, Teletext, Teletext Holidays, Teletext on 4, Heart, Radio Music Shop, on C65 - 826MHz) this could be down to a poorly aligned aerial, or perhaps local interference from a VCR, games console, DVD player or Sky Digibox. If you have any of these, try powering them off - if the problem is eliminated you need to adjust the offending device. I would check your aerial and cables though...
Peter: It's probably more likely to be "induction interference" from a mains device with a motor such as a fridge, freezer, washing machine, central heating boiler or similar, or sometimes two-stroke engines. If this is causing the problem, using a mains filter on the Freeviewbox usually fixes it. If it happens every 30 seconds, it could be a mobile phone near the box or aerial.
Geoff Hawkins Saturday 1 September 2007 1:57PM Telford
Tried to get an answer to a prob in Aug !! Have you any ideas why in TF3 5ER we can get perfect ITV wales but ITV central keeps freezing up ? We also can get ITV Granada (presumeably from Winter Hill ? Have noticed a lot of the local aerials are pointing North/North West ! Winter Hill ? What is your advice ?
Martin Sells Tuesday 4 September 2007 12:48PM Peterborough
I have just moved into rental accomodation and I am therefore restricted to a room aerial.
Can anyone recommend one that's powerful enough to connect to a freeviewbox?
I live in Peterborough and the signal is pretty good.
Charlotte Conway Tuesday 4 September 2007 10:25PM Ashford
After the advice of any ariel wizards out there! I have a freeviewbox, a class 2 ariel, and a 20db gain booster. However there are quite a few channels I am missing out on. My postcode is TN23 3NY. Which would be the best compass direction to face the ariel to get the optimum channels pls?