Or Goren | Dec 27, 2018 | 0
If you’re a TV cord cutter in the UK, at some point you will probably be searching for the best indoor TV aerial for Freeview or YouView. While the prices vary greatly between different models, the good news is that you can get excellent TV aerials for a cheap price, and in most cases, there’s no real need to pay a premium. But which one should you get? We’re here to help.
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|2||RGTech Monarch 50||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||CHECK PRICES|
|3||SLx Indoor Aerial - Pillar||⭐⭐⭐⭐||CHECK PRICES|
|4||SLx 27769RG Gold Amplified||⭐⭐⭐⭐||CHECK PRICES|
|5||One For All SV9215 Amplified||⭐⭐⭐||CHECK PRICES|
Table of Contents
Why Do I Need An Indoor TV Aerial For Freeview?
The short answer – if you want to see Freeview (or YouView) on your TV, the easiest way (and usually the cheapest) is to do it via an aerial.
Freeview, first established on 2002, is the commercial name for the United Kingdom’s digital terrestrial television platform. Freeview provides access to a large number of free-to-air TV channels, including HD channels and radio stations, without any monthly subscription costs (You do, however, need to pay the yearly TV licence fee in most cases).
YouView, the competing service that additionally offers catch-up and on-demand programming via broadband, also requires an indoor aerial for its over-the-air channels.
Because Freeview channels are broadcast through the air – you need the best indoor aerial, one that will be able to interpret and turn those waves into pretty images on your telly.
Back in the day, most houses and buildings had outdoor aerials, either up on the roof, or possibly in your attic. While outdoor aerials offer the best reception, there are two possible issues with them:
- Some houses no longer have outdoor aerials – either the old ones broke down, or these are new building where no one bothered to put an outdoor aerial.
- Cabling needed: Connecting the outdoor aerial to your TV, means you need cables running from the aerial itself (on your roof!), to your indoor sockets (usually inside the walls). If you have an old house, the in-wall cables can malfunction as well. Plus, you need a socket in your TV room, preferably next to the TV itself.
The solution? An indoor aerial, that simply connects to your TV and sits right next to it, without complicated roof-top installations or cables-in-the-wall.
Will An Indoor TV Aerial Work In My Area?
The short answer: it depends. For the indoor aerial to be enough, you need good reception at your house. And for good reception, you need a transmitter that’s close by – preferably less than 15 miles away from you.
As a first step, you can check the estimated coverage with the Digital UK Postcode Checker. You put in your postcode and house number, and the site will give you some details about reception in your area – your nearest transmitter, the estimated reception near your house, and even the number of Freeview channels you should be able to watch with that kind of coverage.
However, you should take these results with a grain of salt. Reception can vary greatly, even between houses that sit right next to each other – it depends on your walls, your insulation, what’s on your roof, the trees or other buildings right in front of your house…
So how can you be sure even the best indoor aerial would be enough for Freeview in your house? Unfortunately, there’s only one surefire way: buy an aerial and test it out. The good news? They’re pretty cheap, and a lot of companies would also accept them back if you find out the reception in your house is bad.
The key thing, especially if you have weak or low signals, is to get one of the best indoor TV aerials – see our recommendations further down.
Amplified Aerials VS Non-Amplified Aerials
Amplified aerials connect not only to your TV, but also to the electric socket, and contain an internal signal booster. In theory, amplified aerials are supposed to boost low signals, but in practice, especially with the lower-cost aerials, this doesn’t help much.
In fact, in some cases, amplified aerials might actually WORSEN your reception, either from causing electrical interference, or by boosting the BAD signals (which they can certainly do – the amplifier boosts both good and bad signals, and if you have a bad signal in your house, it might get boosted and you will get a distorted image on your TV).
So our recommendation, in most cases, would be to try a non-amplified aerial first. If you don’t get a good-enough reception, you can give an amplified aerial a try – they cost a bit more, but are still pretty cheap, compared to an installation of an outdoor aerial.
Where Should I Place My Indoor Aerial?
First, you connect the aerial to the back of your TV (via the coaxial cable that, in most cases, will come with your aerial). If it’s an amplified model, you also connect it to the socket.
Now, depending on the shape of your aerial, you should place it as close to a window as possible. If your aerial has a base, which the aerial stands on, you don’t have a lot of placement options, unless you get an extension lead, and pull the aerial all the way to a window with a large enough base.
If you have a flat indoor aerial (like the one that got our Editor’s Choice for best indoor aerial), you have more options – you can even hang it on the wall, or even better – on a window. Some people even stick it on the TV itself, which is useful if you use a TV bracket to wall mount your TV.
Try to place the aerial at head height, and as close to a window as possible. Electronic devices (other than your TV), such as a microwave or even your washing machine, might interfere with reception, so try to place your aerial away from those. Occasionally, 4G Cellular signals can also interfere with your reception – so some aerials offer 4G filtering.
Once the aerial is placed, re-scan the channels via your TV’s settings (or scan them for the first time, if your TV/aerial is new).
If you manage to see the channels, but the quality is not very good, stay on a single channel (BBC One, for example), and move your aerial around until you get the best reception. Note that if you move the aerial around, other channels might disappear, and you will have to do a full re-scan.
Once you see the best picture quality, make sure your aerial stays in place (without you having to stand there holding it forever, hopefully) – some models even come with their own Velcro tapes or other adhesive measures.
- Good reception
- Excellent price
- Comes with a detachable amplifier
- Flat – mount on the wall or place on your TV cabinet
- Build quality a bit flimsy
- The amplifier needs a USB power adapter
- Won’t help in a bad coverage area
This aerial ticks most of the boxes – especially if you’re looking for a good price, which is very reasonable. Being paper thin means you can easily mount it on a wall or a window, or even stick it on the back of your TV (it comes with small adhesive patches) – but you won’t be able to place it on a stand.
As with all indoor aerials, reception really depends on your coverage, and you might have to move it around in your room a bit until you find the perfect spot. It also comes bundled with a detachable amplifier, which can help if you’re far from the transmitter tower. (Unfortunately, if your coverage is particularly bad – you’re still likely to get no channels at all).
Build quality is not overly impressive, but for the price, and for something you stick on your wall/TV and just leave it there, you get excellent value for money – which is why it’s our Editor’s Choice for 2019.
- Excellent reception
- 4G Filter
- Flat and transparent – easy to mount
- Excellent cable length (4.5m)
- A bit pricey
- 50 Mile range feels like overselling (if reception is bad – it’s bad)
- Not very pretty
This aerial promises a lot – a 50 miles range (from the transmitter), technology developed by a NASA scientist, Ultra Wide Band radio technology, 4G Filtering… it all sounds very impressive – but does it work?
The short answer is Yes – this aerial works great, with a more-than-average number of users who got good reception with it. But it won’t do miracles – if the reception is bad in your house, and you’re far from the transmitter (don’t count on 50 miles) – you won’t get the channels – just like it is with the other aerials.
Still, this aerial ticks all the boxes and has an excellent chance of giving you a large number of channels with good picture quality, and it’s flat and easy to place (with an aerial stand included in the box). Plus, there’s a black version, if you prefer it over the transparent one.
This is a first-rate aerial that will give you excellent performance and build quality – the only reason it’s in 2nd place, is that it’s a bit more expensive.
- Good reception (Up to 10 miles)
- Unique design
- Excellent price
- Might need rotating and re-tuning
- Short cable
- Needs signal booster for more than 10 miles
Let’s face it – most indoor aerials are kind of ugly and are far from being furniture pieces. Sure, some of the flat ones do a good job of “disappearing”, but they’re still black/white square stuck to your window/wall.
Then there’s the SLx Pillar aerial: it’s pillar-shaped, and covered in fabric, so it kind of resembles the newer Amazon Echo devices. It won’t be the centrepiece of your living room – but it still looks better than most other aerials.
Looks aside – does it work properly? Definitely, for the most part. That is, if your local transmitter is less than 10 miles from your house, then the Pillar is likely to do its job well. If the transmitter is further away, SLx recommend getting a signal booster.
All in all, this aerial is similar to the other ones in how it performs, and is one of the better-priced ones. But its main attraction is the is nice finish – so if you want to place the aerial near the TV and have it look good – this one’s your best bet.
- Good overall reception
- Amplification control with a dedicated dial
- Good build quality
- Not omnidirectional
- A bit pricey
- Short coaxial cable (1.5m)
- Bulky, old-school design – love it or hate it…
This aerial is differnt than the others on our list in that it’s not an omnidirectional one. That means you have point it towards the transmitter in your area, and choose wheather to use place it horizontally or vertically – you need to test different options and locations for best reception (or look at the aerials on your neighbours’ roofs and see the way they’re directed). It’s a bit on the expensive side compared to the others, but for the price you get a fairly decent build quality. The gain control dial (for the amplification) gives you good control, so make sure you don’t over-amplify, as that may result in a snowy picture. The fact that it’s amplified also means you need to connect it to the electric socket. With good overall reception, this is a very good indoor aerial, it just requires a bit more tuning hassle, and the design is kind of bulky (though it looks like something out of the original Star Trek).
- Flat and wall mountable
- Amplified for better reception in low-coverage areas
- 4G Filter for those with cellular interruptions
- Good cable length (3m)
- Many buyers reported bad reception with this model
- Supplied plastic bolts complicate installation
The most expensive aerial in a roundup (at least when regularly priced), you would expect a higer-then-average performance, but that is not always the case with this model. The flat design is nice, and the aerial can either be mounted on the wall (with the flimsy plastic bolts supplied), or hidden away. It’s an amplified aerial, meaning it also has a mains lead, so keep that in mind. The amplifications doesn’t seem to cause any image disruptions, but for those in low-signal areas, doesn’t help much with reception either. Like most aerials, the bottom line really depends on the coverage in your area. It does perform better than our 5th place, but for such a high price, we expected more.