The effect on that roof tiles and walls have on analogue TV signals is that the picture will degrade slightly. Making the signal slightly weaker will add a 'snow' element to the picture which is mildly irritating. The picture quality drops, but it is usually possible to make out the picture, as demonstrated here:
Many people have preferred this slight loss in picture quality for the perceived benefits of a loft-mounted aerial. Loft aerials are much easier and somewhat safer to install, and the aerial is shielded from wind and rain that can cause damage to rooftop aerials. In some places (such as New Towns) TV aerials have been previously banned from rooftops.
However, the BBC and others state that Freeview reception demands a roof-top aerial. The existing (pre Digital Switchover) Freeview signals are at very low power levels. The use by ITV, Channel 4 and five of "64QAM" mode for their transmission multiplexes to provide more channel choice results in a very lower chance of reception of these channels (multiplex 2 is ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, CITV, Channel 4, More4, E4, Film4+1; multiplex A carries five, five Life and five US) with a loft-mounted aerial.
By comparison with the image above of how analogue signals look as the signal grow weaker, digital TV reception will continue to give perfect pictures and sound as the power level drops off, until suddenly the level drops below what the COFDM system can cope with. At this point the picture will become blocky and freeze whilst the sound will appear to come and go. Another tiny drop in signal level will result in no picture or sound and a message saying that "no signal is being received". As the signal can vary with weather conditions, people often find that a loft aerial will work when installed and then suddenly stop some months later.
After switchover new digital signals will replace the existing analogue and digital ones. The new digital signals will be at much higher levels that the current ones (for most people) and this will help with reception. However, all six multiplexes will switch to the 64QAM mode that causes the problems indicated above.
Due to our Climate Change commitments (Kyoto Protocol), the signal levels for these new digital will not be as high as those currently used for analogue. For this reason you should not depend on the increase in power levels after switchover compensating for having a loft aerial.
Wherever possible you should use a rooftop aerial. If this is impossible, you may find that connecting your aerial to your Freeview box or integrated digital television using satellite-grade coaxial cable will compensate for the loss.
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.
Peter Monday 30 May 2011 5:17PM
My problem is we have just purchased a JVC TV with a built in HD Freeview Tuner. I have tuned the TV to the Sutton ColdfieldTransmitter and have all the usual digital channels except the HD channels? I have tried manual tuning without success, as i was going through the channels to 48 signal strength very good, 50 no signal, 51 signal very good so I search for channels but no HD ones.
Could I have the wrong aerial???
I live in lincoln,ln5 area. My freeviewdigital tv only picks up BBC 1,2 and 3. How do i know which way to point my ariel to get more channels.Is an old aerial,how do i know which aerial to buy to replace it. I dont know which transmitter is where or what i should be able to pick up from them. Am worried once analogue turns off will only have these 3 channels.
Hi Briantist I live on the Isle of man, grid ref 54.088471,-4.753561. A few months ago I attached a new sony bravia with built in HD freeview to an old "in loft" aerial. Reception is perfect but channel selection limited (all the bbc offerings then just a couple of others). There is only one transmitter on the island, does it not provide a full service or do I need to upgrasde the aerial?
I have a Technik TV with built in Freeview. I have just upgraded my aerial to a Philex SLX48DW Digital aerial in my loft and have it pointed at Emley Moor transmitter which is in sight some 5 miles or so away. When first installed yesterday 15th July (fine weather)I picked up over 100 channels. Today in poor weather (rain but only light wind)I can only receive 54 channels and no BBC, though ITV is fine.
Does bad weather usually have such a marked effect or are there issues with Emley Moor? BBC reception was poor before I upgraded the aerial, having originally been relatively OK. What solution can you recommend please?
At around 2pm this afternoon our freeview stated no signal. My other half re scanned (a number of times) we now have 0 channels. After what seemed hours on the phone to BT they have decided it is the aerial. We have now been up in the loft and all seems fine. there is a Y fitted for the two bedrooms and the two TV'S work perfectly upstairs. Brought them downstairs (they have internal freeview) plugged them into aerial and they do not work! How can the two upstairs work and downstairs nothing, please? any help is appreciated in now what is a very fraught household! (not me I might add).
Dawn: Hi there, I assume one side of your Y splitter feeds the two bedrooms, whilst the other side is fed to downstairs. Y splitters rarely give any problem, apart from cutting the signal in half, even if they are not being used. So I think your fault must be in the coax plugs feeding from the Y splitter to downstairs, probably one of the outside brading touching the inner wire. Check the coax plugs and make sure the centre wire is not being shorted out by the screening (the brading of the cable). Hope this helps.
Dawn: Y splitters can give trouble, but you can check it by swapping the two output feeds over. If that makes the bedrooms stop working and downstairs is now OK, its the Y splitter.
Otherwise, shorts in the coax feed to downstairs is likely - coax plugs with tiny screws holidng the centre core are frequently the cause of this, when the screws become loose.
Hi John and jf thanks for taking the time to reply. We sorted it finally this morning! Never occured to us but the carpenter was in and at at non obvious position the lead from the loft comes down the wall (not in any covering) anyway the cable had a nail in it! Now removed and working perfectly ha ha
I have recently moved house and can't find my aerial at all! There is nothing on the roof at all, and I can't see anything inside the loft (I don't know what a loft aerial looks like - does it look the same as a roof aerial?). One of my neighbours has what she thinks is a booster that plugs directly into her TV (and the wall via a 3-pin normal plug)and works fine, without being plugged into any other aerial. Will this work for me? I have a flatscreen samsung TV with built-in freeview, but am barely receiving anything at all - neither analogue or digital. I don't know if this will be better after our switchover (I'm oxford, so we're due to switch over in September).
Steph: Although you have mentioned that you are located in Oxford its a case of where? as a post code would enable your actual reception possibilities to be checked on.
As far as a loft aerial is concerned, they just look the same as aerials seen on many roofs, albeit usually less bulky, unless that is its one of the "log periodic" variety, then its basically flat and shaped like an arrow head with a flattened point.
Loft aerials work very well in many locations provided they aren't sited next to a water tank, or even worse facing into it! as in real terms the reception strength difference between loft level and chimney stack mounting is in most cases minimal, or in some "iffy" locations loft actually being better as the aerial can be moved about to obtain the best reception position.
That said though, a problem they can have over being mounted outside is because a wet roof can slightly reduce the signal being received, something which is not exactly a good thing if in an area of poor reception, however if you provide a post code then a more positive assessment can be given.
I am at OX4 2GG. I think I may need to get an aerial installed in my loft, as I don't think there is one at the moment. Do you have any recommendations for what type of aerial I should get or where I should buy it from? I am not sure yet if there is a cable up there or not (there is an aerial socket in my living room, but I am not sure if the previous owners have taken the cable as well as the aerial with them). Can you recommend a good quality aerial for my tv (Samsung flatscreen with built-in freeview). Bearing in mind that Oxford is due to switchover in a month's time.
Steph: As you are only 4 miles away from the transmitter a standard log periodic type aerial would be perfectly suffice for your requirements, as well as it being exceedingly easy to position in a loft by it not having any reflector elements, although for ease of purchase the Argos 535-6443 @£12.99 would also be OK albeit being slightly more awkward to mount.
Tim Tuesday 16 August 2011 12:30PM Walton On The Naze
chris: According to Digitsl UK tradeview, you should be getting a very good signal. I too use a loft aerial for Freeview in the bedroom, and receive a good quality signal from all but the weakest muxes off the Sudbury transmitter. Have you got the correct aerial - Group B, horizontal, and is it pointing directly at the transmitter (21 degrees from your location)? Maybe there are other things in the signal's path that affect it (buildings etc.), if so you may need to install an outdoor aerial. Hope that helps.
chris: Just to add to what has been said, the fact that you are having this type of problem at only four miles away from the transmitter can mean that its an aerial positioning problem, that is in the horizontal sense and not height, so try moving it a few feet either way in the loft whilst at the same time making sure its always pointing at 21 degrees, as indeed as was previously mentioned by Tim.
Try a signal strength / quality check on Mux Ch41 (BBC1) then the same on Ch44 (ITV1), as both of them should be very similar if the aerial is positioned correctly, a loft mount aerial generally being perfectly satisfactory at this distance (and further!) provided that no major obstructions exist between it and the transmitter.
Also make sure that the aerial isn't facing into a water tank, or even sitting along the side of one unless its about 4 feet away, or a little over a metre in metric terms. Another thing that can seriously reduce a loft aerials signal is if its correct alignment position means it facing through a number of adjoining properties walls.
chris: You may have a short circuit on your coax (either at the aerial end or at the plug that goes into your TV).
Alternatively, your TV may have decided that the signal from SC is too high, and has tuned itself to The Wrekin. Do you have any programme numbers in the 800s? If so, these might correspond to the correct transmitter and give better reception.
Try checking the coax cable and make sure that the channels you are receiving have the correct UHF channel numbers corresponding to SC.
Help with the following question/problem would be appreciated:-
I live (SG15 6UX) approx 8 miles from the Sandy Heath transmitter. I have a Samsung BluRay/Hard-drive Combi Unit (BD-C8900M/XEU)connected to a Sony TV, both with Freeview.
Since digital change over the picture on the TV (and when recorded on box hard drive) pixelates randomly, only when the RF aerial is connected via the Samsung box. (I have the aerial connection directly from a digital "W" type aerial in the loft with no in series connectors or splitters in the line). Then a HDMI cable from the Samsung box to the TV and also a RF gold type connection from the box RF outlet to the TV RF inlet).
Have tried 3 different aerials, ( linked and separate), boosters and also on advice of Samsung Repair Centres also tried a variable attenuator as they considered the signal could be too strong. (2 Repairs Centres have not found any fault with my Samsung unit). However if the existing RF aerial is plugged directly into the TV only, all works fine, as does a Ferguson TV top box in another room. I have tried all combinations via the Samsung box but still get the pixilation. It is almost like tuners in different units are calibrated to different sensibility levels.
Why should the signal have degraded since digital switch over? Samsung do not currently accept anything wrong with their box, but it keeps pixelating.
I am in an old cottage and do not want to put an aerial on the roof.
Dave G: The obvious question would be, on what channel are you recording? If it is one from the PSB channels, you may be experiencing too strong a signal. If however, you are viewing/recording one of the PSB channels, it is probably down to too weak a signal. If this to be the case, this should improve as and when these channels go full-power.
LutonFan: Thanks for your response. COM channels tend to be worst, but also occurs on BBC channels. There was a notification recently that for the Sandy Heath transmitter we should retune again today, so maybe it might improve.
hi, I'm having a nightmare trying to get an ariel, please help someone, I am in a corner house and i cant have a satelite dish as my neighbours bigger 3 storey is blocking my signal, i have been told a loft ariel is the best way to go but i have brought so many and had to take them back, does anyone know whats best for a practicaly no signal area?
sandra Monday 5 September 2011 12:03PM Milton Keynes
hi,my post code is mk6 2js, when i go on to other sites they say i should be able to get a reception but they havent taken into account the trees out the back and my neighbours house, i am waiting for virgin to get back to me as when i went to look at cable tv my house number was not listed with them either, but i didnt want to have a monthly charge, i wanted freeview, any ideas?....thanks...
More tests need to be done, especially on 28th Sep after, when Lark Stoke changes some commerical channels and puts power up, but I thought best also now post my Lark Stoke one here also, as on the very subject:
Great news tests show despite 24 miles from Coventry, even in the loft, using a log A group aerial and a 23db gain amplifier that I can get channels 23, and looks like 26, first worked through the bathroom window, so tried the loft.
I assumed it was 20 miles, measured on an old map, around 24 miles from me, wow.
So it seems, when they switch the arq and sdn channels, if I use another aerial I have, should be able to get them, not bothered about the bbc and usual lot, I have on freesat anyway, so cool :).
Not boasting, reason for posting is to give people hope and an idea, so if someone like me searching in future, it shows and proves what one can do.
Waltham 43 miles away and I do okay, has toy be out side, poles joined and 12 foot or so, and about 8 feet above the guttering say, and get 95% and 100% strength and quality on ch 61 at 50,000 and around 55% to 70% and up to 100% sometimes on quality on channel 57 at 25,000 kws.
So at only 1,260kws at 24 miles away, think no chance, especially in the loft, but no, it can be done, obviously depends what and where you are, I'm missing according to map, Kenilworth just and Stratford and Warwick, so mostly going over open space fact clips warwick castle it seems.
Anyway as I say I do so hope that helps anyone thinking oh no, can not get what I was on Allesley Park or other small relay transmitter, well now maybe you can, on another one, glitch free, not like 12 plus years ago, better transmission and boxes and amps now, so good luck anyone, tinker around, give it a go and you just might never know, :).
The above posting should read long A, not log, however the one I do propose using, one outside on Waltham now, is a DB log Periodic classed as 22 element with a 25 db gainmast head amp.
As I said in my above posts, so might not work for everyone, trial and error, initial tests prove promising, and likely, assuming the new SDN and Aqv channels transmit the same as others, all around, not directional then likely I can get them in the loft, benefits, given ex-hurricane Katia type events are worth it.
I'll let you know if it works out. :).
Evening all, a quick and possibly very naive query. I have a Sony HD TV in the bedroom that we attached to the wall when we moved in five years ago. The power and standardaerialcable are hidden in the wall and go up into the loft, where the aerial is connected to a amplified indoor aerial. The picture has always been fine (not great), until the big switch, as I now get nothing. My problem is, I don't really want to replace the TV or have to pull the cables out of the wall, so what are my options? A new aerial on the roof? (will this let me pick up freeview, or will I also need a box?)A new aerial and a freeview enabled TV? We have Sky downstairs, but as far as I can see, multiroom will mean me running more cables, phone line, HD cable etc. Any advice much appreciated, post code is ST68QL.
I have a high gain digitalaerial on the roof.The coax cable comes directly from the aerial straight into a booster which will allow two tvs. one goes to one freeviewbox and the other to the 2nd. Everything was great until the changeover day. In the living room I have Film 4, viva, yeaterday, and a couple of other stations missing and the signal goes weak and I lose BBC channels. In the adjoining room where the other tv is I have every station. The only difference is that in the adjoining I have a Humax freeview box where I can pause and record, rewind live tv etc. The other room has a cheap but up to date freeview box, which was purchased aprox a month before chaneover. Can this be the problem ? If so, why was everything fine before changeover day and now its not ? I,m not the only one in this position. Thanks. Mike
Ian Davies Thursday 29 September 2011 12:46PM Halesowen
I live at Iverley Road, Halesowen, West Midlands. All the info I can gather states that the signals received here will be in the Vertical Polarity. I'm testing a Triax 52 aerial in the loft and all the signals I can receive are coming from a Horizontal polarity. What would be the compass bearing to the Brierley Hilltransmitter? Am I doing something wrong?
Ian Davies: The predictions seen using your post code indicates reception being possible from Haden Hill (@1ml - 332 degrees) -
Brierley Hill (@ 4mls - 290 degrees) - Halesowen (@1ml - 189 degrees) - Sutton Coldfield (@14mls - 40 degrees) or even to a lesser extent The Wrekin (@26mls - 306 degrees) with only these latter two being horizontal polarity.
Haden Hill and Halesowen being only PSB stations with limited channels.
Ian Davies Saturday 8 October 2011 5:10AM Halesowen
Hi. I am setting up a new cabling system.I have an aerial in the loft, very strong signal and quality, with a feed to 3 TV's and a PC. I also have a feed into the loft from Virgin+ box, via a modulator. I use an old sender to change channels. How do I send both signals to all the feeds. What kind of box will do it, or can I use some sort of splitter at some point in the system. I will be moving to Sky in the future and I am aware that each TV will need a magic eye and that this will change channel to all TV's. Many thanks in advance.
Ian Davies: I am not quite sure about your meaning of an old sender? nor the method you are using to feed the signal from the aerial / RF modulator used with V box to the TV's in the various rooms, but the main thing is that if you are changing to Sky in the future and intending to use magic eyes in each room, then you will have to ensure that the splitter you use in the loft is of the "DC Pass" type, as if not the magic eye power supplies will be blocked.
Other than this the arrangement you presently use will be about the same, with that is the exception of you not requiring the use of the modulator, the only point being that when a Sky box modulator is being incorporated into a distribution system then the Freeview aerial is usually connected into the Sky boxes normal aerial input socket, then the Sky boxes RF2 output is fed to a DC pass splitter to feed the other TV's.
Cheers jb38. The old sender is just a video sender. I'm using it just for the ability to switch channels from the bedroom, on the V+ box in the living room.
The aerial at the moment is only feeding the downstairs TV. TV in our bedroom is being fed from the modulator. The new system is hoping to feed all the extra TV's (not yet installed).
I now realise that I can take the feed from the aerial and connect this directly into the modulator, which will combine both the aerial and V+ box. When I get sky, I can just remove the modulator.
Thanks for info on splitter. Will purchase one with the DC bypass. That's the key bit of info I needed. Was unaware that you could do this. Thought I may have to buy an amp, which presumably, I may still have to, but the £3 splitter is first option to try.
Ian Davies: Yes, that's correct, the only thing I do notice though on checking your reception possibilities is that the Freeview PSB only (limited channels) Haden Hill is showing as superior for reception over Sutton Coldfield, so if you are using Sutton and any glitches start to appear after making your alterations by feeding the aerial through the Virgin box, then the inclusion of an amplifier in line between the aerial and Virgin box should correct that. (about 6/10dB would suffice)
Although if this does occur you could make another posting updating the situation.
Remember though to keep the RF modulators output channel spaced two channels either side of the multiplex channels being used by the station you are receiving from.
We have recently had solar panels fitted to our house and have found that the signal from our loft aerial has dropped considerably. I have tried moving the aerial but it hasn't solved the problem. My aerial is some 17 years old, would the problem be solved by replacing it with a new high powered digitalloft aerial and if so, could you recommend what strength aerial I would need?
Thank you for any help that you are able to give me.
P. Heron: If the direction the signal is being received from is via the side of the roof that the solar panels are mounted on, then it wont really make much difference what type of aerial you use, the only way around the problem being to mount the aerial on the gutter, should your building be suitable for that type of mount.
Its not easy to recommend an alternative aerial without knowledge of your Post Code, as that would have enabled the checking of the signal levels expected at your location.