How to install a TV aerial

Since the advent of digital TV, there are rarely problems with picture quality. Instead, you either receive a channel with a good picture or you don’t receive it at all. If your signal strength is barely adequate, you may have a channel which appears and disappears – something you’ll particularly notice in poor weather conditions.

How to install a TV aerial

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Four main things affect TV reception – the strength of the signal in the area you live, the quality of your aerial, aerial alignment, and local interference.

One way to assess whether you need an aerial improvement is to check whether you are receiving a full set of the available freeview channels. You can do that here:

Types of aerial

Indoor aerials are usually omni-directional, meaning you shouldn’t need to move them around much looking for the signal direction. These are the cheapest solution, but also the weakest. If you live in an area where signal strength is so strong that indoor aerials are sufficient, you’re lucky.

Often the only option that works, and the best one, is an external aerial attached to a pole on your roof. Aerials can be installed in a loft, but roof tiles are dense enough to degrade the signal.

The usual type of aerial is called a “Yagi” – this is the long rod with cross bars (“elements”) and a vertical reflector mesh (or two) at the rear end. Generally speaking, longer ones with more elements are more powerful, but there are design variations for different signal conditions, and choosing the ideal one requires professional advice. Working on a roof is also very dangerous, so you’re strongly advised to hire a professional installer, such as Stroud TV aerial repair and fitting specialists, Steve Unett ( Also, be aware that it’s very difficult to position a roof aerial without a signal detector.

How to install a TV aerial2

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Signal detectors

You can’t check the channel reception on your TV from the roof or loft. Using the TV as your detector doesn’t work well with digital anyway, as the presence of the channel can’t tell you the strength. The alternative is a handheld instrument. Cheap detectors are available from places such as eBay but are of very poor quality and often useless. The real instrument used by TV professionals costs around £300, so it’s cheaper to hire the professional, than to buy your own equipment.

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