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Can I use an indoor TV aerial to watch Freeview?

Indoor TV aerialUntil the Digital Switchover is complete, Freeview is not operating on full power in all parts of the UK. This means that in a number of parts of the UK, Freeview signals are generally running at a lower power than standard analogue TV signals. Once your region completes the Digital Switchover, Freeview signal strength should improve.

Unless you're in a strong Freeview coverage area, many of the set-top indoor TV aerials may not be able to pull in a decent Freeview signal.

If you're fairly close to a digital TV transmitter, and your existing reception of analogue TV using an indoor aerial is excellent, you may find that a decent indoor aerial will be able to pull in a good Freeview signal.

One way of telling, is to enter your postcode into the Wolfbane Digital TV Predictor, to see how far away from a digital transmitter you are. To do this, go to http://www.wolfbane.com/cgi-bin/tvd.exe , enter your postcode, and look at the last column, "Antenna (suggestion)".

Wolfbane Coverage Checker
The Wolfbane Coverage Predictor

  • If the Antenna suggestion is "Amplified extra high-gain aerial", then you will need a good quality rooftop aerial with a signal booster. The chances of getting a good signal using an indoor aerial are minimal.
  • If the Antenna suggestion is "Log periodic", then you will need a good quality rooftop aerial (no signal booster needed). You may possibly be able to get a good signal using an indoor aerial, but may get interference.

Getting an indoor aerial

If you want to try out an indoor aerial, you'll want to try one with the best chance of getting a decent Freeview signal. Look for one with a mains-powered amplifier. You will find a range of suitable boosters at Argos and Maplin.

We prefer not to make recommendations, but one indoor TV aerial has recently come out top in independent testing as offering a decent performance. At the time of writing, this aerial is available from Argos for under £20. The model is the Philex Amplified indoor aerial.

 

No luck with an indoor aerial?

If you're not able to get a decent signal from an indoor aerial, here are some notes:

The situation with reduced power Freeview should improve as your TV region completes the Digital Switchover, so if you're not able to get Freeview via a set-top aerial yet, you either need to wait for your local transmitter to be upgraded, or consider connecting your TV to a rooftop aerial.

Alternatively, look at one of the other digital TV options, such as satellite TV (from Freesat or Sky), or cable TV (from Virgin Media).

Failing that, Internet TV is an option - You should be able to watch TV over the Internet using the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4 On Demand and Demand 5 services

 

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