Tv aerial/signal help needed

19 Sep 2013
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United Kingdom
My tv signal is a nightmare. If I plug my tv into the main aerial (a communal one as I'm in a flat) I get nothing coming through. Pre digital switchover I got ch 1-5 and the odd freeview channel but now get nothing when plugging it into a digital tv.

So I got a freeview box. The problem now is the signal through the main cable is still non-existent so I have to have a signal booster aerial sat on my windowsill with a horrible cable running to the tv/box. I'd like to move my tv after buying new furniture but the thought of having a cable running even further across the room is not an option I want to go with. Is there such a thing as a wireless signal booster? Ideally I wouldn't need to have something sat on my windowsill but as long as there's no cables I'd be happier.

Any help gratefully received!

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I'd start off with looking at your tenancy agreement. There'll be something in there about what services you can expect in exchange for the rent you pay. Have a look if the TV aerial system is listed. If it isn't listed specifically then there may be clauses covering what you can and can't do. Flats often have restrictions on putting up your own aerial. It is implicit then that the building management company/council must provide a working aerial system for you to connect to.

Also check with your neighbours. Do they have the same problem?

Coming back to your initial enquiry, I know you're looking for a quick-fix solution. But the answer I am sorry to say is no. No such device exists in the consumer market.

The wireless senders you see are designed to transmit the signal from a device that has already decoded the aerial signal and made it in to a video signal. These use a part of the wireless spectrum that we also use for wireless networking. It's actually illegal to retransmit the full TV frequency spectrum without a broadcast licence. This is why wireless aerials for TV and radio use don't exist in the consumer market.

You could still buy a wireless transmitter system. Your Freeview box would have to live next to or near by the aerial. The transmitter would plug in to the Freeview box. The receiver would plug in to the TV. So the wireless link is between the Freeview box and the TV rather than the aerial and the Freeview box. The picture quality always drops a little via these wireless transmitter systems. However, it would give you a signal on the TV without wires.

Alternatively, you could get hold of some WF65 cable in white. WF65 is thinner than regular coax that you'll find in those DIY aerial extension kits. It is less than 5mm thick. This makes it easier to conceal under carpets and over the top of skirting boards. It's also far better quality too, so you will actually get a little bit more signal level at the receiver.

Most sites sell WF65 as a twin cable for use with Sky satellite. That means you'd be buying a length and splitting it so half ends up unused. However, out friends at Satcure sell it as a single cable. This would be perfect for your needs. See here

I hope this some of this is of help. If so, please hit the Thanks button at the top right of this post. :)
Thanks for that, it's pretty much what I thought.

Could you (or anyone) also stop a household argument. My other half thinks a Smart tv would eliminate the aerial problem as everything is sent through the internet, however I think we still need a 'normal' signal input as the internet only provides the catchup channels etc.
You're correct. Smart TV isn't the answer to your aerial problems.

What is available via Smart TV doesn't cover even 1/10th of what you'd get from Freeview. The other problems are that it's mostly catch-up TV rather than live, and your internet service will bear the brunt of the workload. You'll need a reasonable connection speed (3mb+) and an unlimited service to avoid hefty usage charges.

If you lived in a house or somewhere you could erect your own aerial then the advice would be spend £150+ on a pro TV aerial install or, if you have the tools and are okay with heights of 7-10m then go DIY for £50-£60. In your case those aren't options. You could spend even more of your own money to work around this aerial issue. But in the end the best solution, the cheapest solution, and the solution that will give you more channels and better quality is to tackle the building mangers and get them to sort your aerial socket. You're already paying for that in your rent. So it's time to get it sorted.

If this post or any posts from other contributors have helped you or been particularly useful then please show your appreciation with the Thanks button at the top right of the appropriate post(s). It costs you nothing and it helps others find and see good information. Thank you :D
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Lucid is correct but there are some specials that are classed as wireless. I say classed as there are still some wires involved the idea is to be able to wall mount a TV without the VCR, Sky box, DVD and games machine all having cables going to the TV.

So all TV bits go into a box which is placed separate to viewing screen so hiding all but power cable.

But this would hardly help you with your problem. At one point I also lived in a flat on 23 floor of 30 and no access to roof wanted Star TV (Satellite) and it seemed everything was already connected just simply plugged it in.

But for other radio it was a case of Sellotape and 300 ohms ribbon cable cut to a slim jim stuck to the window.

Even today my freeview aerial is an old portable set aerial in the window and it works well. All depends on signal strength to your flat.

As to internet I have fibre optic and both my Blueray and Skybox will show internet TV but in both cases not the range I can watch on my laptop. Although "Catch-up TV" is in fact live TV now the TV boxes don't have the option of watching that service. BBC Iplayer and Utube etc are shown with both systems with the blueray we watch it as it is received but with sky box it puts it onto the hard drive then we watch.

Point is they both have different options and you could clearly use a laptop at the TV and use the TV as a monitor and then you could watch "Catch-up TV" which in spite of name shows only live TV. However still limited to 50 channels and you need a good unlimited internet connection.
ericmark, bless you for trying to help. Though much of what you've rambled is irrelevant there's a couple of points I'd like to clarify before Weekailz gets the wrong impression.

The wireless link you referred to is (or was) available on certain TVs (LG and Sony I think). In effect it is a media box with HDMI wireless link transmitter. The TV had the HDMI wireless receiver. The distance between the media box where all the sources connect and the TV was envisaged to be short; Typically the TV installed on the wall with the media box immediately below. So the transmitter power didn't need to be as high as the standard commercially available HDMI wireless links used for room to room transfer. In the end though, this is still the same principle as a wireless TV link. The aerial signal is decoded by the media box before being transmitted as audio & video signals. It doesn't send wideband RF which is what Weekailz was after.

TV via Internet vs Smart TV.

As a rule, Smart TVs use apps for features such as BBC iPlayer, ITV player, 4oD and Demand5. Any live TV is handled by the TV tuner and not the internet connection.

Catch-up content is selected from previously shown programmes. Even though the programme starts playing almost immediately on a Smart TV it's still a catch-up service because you're not watching it at the same time as it is broadcast live.

Sky's version of these catch-up services involves an additional delay. The programme doesn't stream immediately. As ericmark says, it is downloaded completely and then played from the Sky box hard drive.

None of the above helps as an internet alternative to Freeview or Freesat. Smart TVs still need an aerial signal in order to watch Freeview channels live.

If a PC is available then TV via the internet may be an option but there are some really big caveats:

1) You'll be eating huge chunks out of your internet usage allowance just to watch something when the landlord should really be providing that service. As a rough guide, 1 hr of TV will consume about 1 GB of data. To put that in context, BT's "everyday user" package has a data cap of 40GB per month. The average household watches between 5-8 hrs of TV a day. You'll use up a whole month's data allowance in about a week of TV viewing. You either need an unlimited data package or a fat wallet because you'll be paying some hefty additional data charges.

Many unlimited broadband deals are packaged with TV or phone line or both. Of those that aren't, annual prices range from £180 to £440. There may be additional costs for laying in extra lines or set-up work at the exchange.

2) You'll lose the ability to record one while watching another. Also, making unattended recordings will be a lot more difficult if not impossible.

3) You're unlikely to get regional programming. So bye-bye local news and other location specific TV programmes.

4) Using a PC as your main TV tuner is a PITA.

5) If you're fed up of adverts now then just you wait till you watch TV via the internet. Every programme is prefaced with 15-30 seconds of adverts. Think about it.... every time you change channel.... every... single... time... up to half a minute of ads that you can't skip.

The internet is a great tool, and for certain jobs it is indispensable. But as an alternative to a working TV aerial?.... No. Not for everyday viewing IMO. However, if you wish to know more, here's a LINK

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