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Helping viewers who have set-top aerials

If you have an indoor or set-top aerial and notice new interference to Freeview, this guide may help you identify and resolve the issue.

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Use of set-top aerials

Set-top aerials are often unable to provide a consistently good quality signal, as they are low to the ground and susceptible to receiving unwanted signals and other forms of interference.

This might include passing vehicles such as motorbikes, buses, and construction traffic; and machinery including lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners.

In many cases, set-top aerials have high amplification which further intensifies the problem.

Set-top aerials are designed to work in strong signal areas only

  • The BBC and ITV assume that terrestrial broadcasting is best received via a TV aerial that is at least 30 feet above ground level.
  • CAI, Digital UK and DTG do not recognise set-top aerials as reliable TV reception devices.
  • TV manufacturers recommend the use of an outdoor aerial above roof height to provide good quality reception.

Types of set-top aerials

Set-top aerials such as the ‘double loop’ variety are not particularly suited for viewing TV services in the UK. Not only are they quite poor at receiving UHF signals, they also tend not to filter out unwanted signals, interference and wrong frequencies.

Log periodic set-top aerials (those with a pointed shape) are a better design but still only offer relatively low reception quality.

All set-top aerials are a compromise on good aerial design.

 

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1. MOVING THE SET-TOP AERIAL HIGHER CAN IMPROVE TV RECEPTION.

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2. MOVING THE SET-TOP AERIAL CLOSER TO A WINDOW CAN HELP WITH TV RECEPTION, FOR WHICH YOU MAY NEED A LONGER LEAD.

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3. TV RECEPTION COULD BE IMPROVED BY PLACING A LOW COST UPGRADE AERIAL OUTSIDE A WINDOW POINTING IN THE SAME DIRECTION AS A NEIGHBOUR’S AERIAL.

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4. SET-TOP AERIALS WITH BOOSTERS BUILT IN ARE OFTEN TURNED UP TOO HIGH. REDUCING THE GAIN CONTROL TO A LOWER SETTING CAN HELP IMPROVE TV RECEPTION.

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5. TV RECEPTION CAN BE IMPROVED BY MAKING SURE ALL CONNECTIONS ARE OF GOOD QUALITY AND REPLACING OLD OR BROKEN JOINTS AND CABLES

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6. CALLING A LOCAL CAI AERIAL COMPANY AND ASKING FOR ADVICE ON LOCAL RECEPTION CONDITIONS COULD HELP

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7. ASKING NEIGHBOURS WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET TV RECEPTION LOCALLY COULD HELP IN OBTAINING A BETTER QUALITY TV RECEPTION. ACROSS THE UK, SHARED DISHES ARE AVAILABLE ON MANY COMMUNAL BUILDINGS. YOU COULD CONNECT TO ONE TO GET FREE-TO-AIR SATELLITE TV FROM FREESAT AND SKY.

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8. CONSIDER FITTING AN AERIAL SYSTEM ON THE ROOF, AS THIS WILL PROVIDE BETTER QUALITY TV RECEPTION.

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9. FREE LIVE INTERNET TV IS AVAILABLE FROM THE BBC, ITV, CHANNEL 4 AND MANY OTHER TV PROVIDERS. THIS IS A REAL ALTERNATIVE WHERE THERE ARE DIFFICULT-TO-RESOLVE TV RECEPTION ISSUES CAUSED BY SET TOP AERIALS. BUT DON’T FORGET YOU STILL NEED A TV LICENCE TO WATCH LIVE TV OVER THE INTERNET.

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10. IF YOU HAVE TRIED ALL THESE THINGS, AND HAVE CONTACTED US AND WE BELIEVE NEW INTERFERENCE TO YOUR RECEPTION COULD BE FROM 4G MOBILE SIGNALS, THEN TRY FITTING AN AT800 FILTER BETWEEN THE SET-TOP AERIAL AND TV SET OR DIGITAL BOX. THIS MAY HELP IMPROVE THE SIGNAL.