With the digital switchover due to be completed this year, you might be thinking about getting a new TV aerial installed. The benefits of this include better picture quality, as well as more channels to choose from.
How much does TV aerial installation cost?
The consumer interest group Which? carried out research which found that aerial installation costs from £55 to £215, but according to Digital UK, TV aerial installation costs vary from £60 to £180. As you can see the prices differ quite a lot so it is worth contacting several local TV aerial installers to get an assortment of quotes. Make sure you avoid any TV aerial scams which are said to be on the rise now that the digital switchover is happening. If you are unsure about anything you can contact Digital UK’s consumer helpline on 08456 50 50 50.
What does the digital switchover mean for my TV aerial?
The digital switchover will only affect your household if you receive TV signal through a TV aerial (i.e. not a satellite or cable connection). If you do have a standard aerial, it will receive its signal via a transmitter, of which there are over 1,000 in the UK alone. Each of these main transmitters is put into one of 80 transmitter groups. During the rest of this year each group will take turns switching over to digital.
Each group has a main switchover transmitter and local relay transmitters. Before the digital switchover, the local relay transmitters could only transmit an analogue TV signal, but after the switchover (due to finish this year) all transmitters will transmit a digital signal, which means that consumers will have around 15 channels to select from, as opposed to the standard five.
Where can I find a reputable TV aerial installer?
If you have decided to go ahead and get a new TV aerial installed, you will need to contact a local TV aerial installer to do the job for you. The next few tips will help you find a good installer:
- Check your installer is approved by the CAI or the RDI-LB. If you are unsure, visit their websites which will provide you with a list of TV aerial installers in your area who are approved
- Avoid TV aerial installers who start talking about ‘digital aerials’ or ‘freeview aerials’ – neither these are real terms but are used as a marketing ploy
- Make sure the TV aerial installer agrees to come and do a quick check before agreeing to any work, to make sure they are prepared for the job
How long will my new TV aerial last for?
In order to get the most life out of your TV aerial it is worth paying an experienced professional to install it for you. A typical TV aerial should last from between 20 and 30 years, which makes it worth the initial installation costs.
Where should my TV aerial be located?
One of the most obvious and often best places to put your TV aerial is on the roof, this is often the best place for it to receive a signal and this will mean you will get a better picture quality. If you have a loft, another option would be to place your TV aerial there, though this didn’t used to be common practice as the signal strength was not so strong. This is no longer a problem because thanks to the digital switchover the power is increasing, meaning it should receive a better signal strength in the loft.
You will also need to think about how to station your TV aerial, as that can impede on the quality of your picture. Wavelengths tend to be around 14 to 25 inches long, so just moving your TV a few feet can make all the difference. Consult your TV aerial installer for advice specific to your home; they should be able to provide you with more detailed feedback.