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Digital Switchover: do I need a new TV aerial?

Most analogue TV aerials won’t need any alteration to pick up Freeview, and if you have good analogue reception now, you probably don’t need to worry, even if you’re using a set-top aerial. If you’re worried, or you have poor analogue reception, the first stop should be the aerial checker on Teletext page 284.

Digital UK Switchover

What can be wrong?

Your TV aerial may not need replacing – it may be pointing the wrong way, the cable from the aerial to your TV could be in a poor condition, or there could be a bad connection, old signal filters blocking Freeview HD, even an amplifier making the signal TOO strong and overloading your Freeview box or TV.

A small number of people will need to point their aerials at a different transmitter – the Digital UK postcode checker will tell you which transmitter to use and you can use Google Maps to see where it is compared to you. Does your TV aerial point in the same direction.

If you’re getting poor reception or you need to re-align, then a professional installer will be able to do this and check out your cables, connections and amplifiers. They should also make sure your equipment is all connected correctly before they leave, so you get the best possible picture and know how to use it.

Who can I trust to do the work?

There are two bodies which guarantee that any upgrade work will be done by trained, reliable, and insured professionals. Simple installations usually start at £60, but more complex jobs will cost more, and additional aerial sockets usually cost around £45 each.

The Registered Digital Installer Licensing Body (RDI-LB) hands out its cards to TV and aerial installers who can show they have the correct training or experience, insurance, and pass a criminal records background check. Find them at www.rdi-lb.co.uk.

The Confederation of Aerial Industries (CAI) is the professional standards and training body for the aerial and dish installation industry. It guarantees the same standards and safety checks as the RDI-LB, but its members often have advanced training to deal with more unusual situations, and they are regularly assessed to make sure they keep a high standard. There are more than 1,000 installing CAI members around the UK, with a wide variety of experience. Find them at www.cai.org.uk.

Recombu’s tips

  • Any installer should be able to show you an RDI-LB or CAI membership card before they enter your house or start work. Don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Both RDI-LB and CAI members should have a menu of prices for typical jobs and be able to give you an accurate quote before they start work.

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