Aerials for Digital HD reception
Needless to say that aerials are a very important part of a quality Freeview HD reception. So careful thought needs to be put into your choice.
Three things need to be taken into consideration:
- Where you position the aerial (outside or inside) including the direction it points to
- The location where you live. There is a particular type of aerial suitable for reception of your area, known as the Group
- The type (or design) of aerial you choose
Aerials are divided into groups, classes and gain (strength of signal)
Groups (CH = channels)
- Group A - CH21-CH37
- Group B - CH35-CH53
- Group C/D - CH48-CH68
- Group K - CH21-CH48
- Group E - CH35-CH68
- Wideband - CH21-CH68
These groups are area specific except 'wideband' which is anywhere in the country.
Aerials can be identified by the end cap or a label, the colour is unique for each group:
If you want to know more about your local transmitter, including the group it is within click here
The more elements an aerial has the more gain it has. Generally speaking there are low gain, medium gain and high gain. If an aerial has 18 or more elements it is classed as high gain. The higher the gain the stronger the signal that is passed to your receiver (TV or set-top box).
You need to be careful that you do not provide too much "gain". For instance if you live near to the transmitter, it is not necessary to use a high gain aerial. If in doubt consult a professional installer and ask his advice.
HDTV Specific Aerials
Now we think that this is going to be a hot topic in the very near future. There is no such thing as a HD Aerial. HD Digital Aerials may come onto the market. But will they will be a selling hype.
What you really need is a good quality aerial, designed for digital reception and for your "group" rather than a "wideband aerial" (see above). We can't emphasise enough - the best quality aerial cable. It is like getting the fastest broadband internet available, buying the cheapest wireless router to carry your connection. Quite simply, you won't be getting the best out of the product.
So when Freeview HD was introduced on December 2nd, 2009 and areas have been switched over to digital HD - we have seen quality issues with Freeview HD on some installations.
So in conclusion, if your aerial has been on top of your roof for many years and it is the original cable - then, it may be time to replace it. But don't rush out and buy now, wait for HD to come to your area and make your decision after you have tried it.
If you require help on setting and trouble shooting problems with your digital aerial reception the BBC has a selection of helpful downloadable articles, that can be found here