UK Guide to Installing a Digital Aerial Antenna for Freeview TV

Why pay for television if you can place a digital aerial antenna somewhere in your flat and receive Freeview TV for no subscription cost? Many countries are still offering free terrestrial television using over the air broadcasting. If you live in the United Kingdom (UK) you can also take advantage of this service. In this guide, I will offer resources and websites that can help you make an informed decision. I will also provide recommendations on aerial antennas and set-top box recorders to get you connected to free TV.

Looking For an HD Antenna in The USA? Click Here for Our How to Guide.

How Does Terrestrial Television Work in the UK?

Freeview

UK Guide to Installing a Digital Aerial Antenna for Freeview TV
The United Kingdoms uses Freeview as it’s platform for digital terrestrial television. Launched in 2002, it is a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and transmitter operator Arqiva. They currently offer around 60+ standard television channels, 12+ HD channels and 26 digital radio channels. It works like most over the air broadcast services. The stations are broadcasted from digital towers placed throughout the country to deliver the content. They broadcast from more than 1,000 transmitters all over the UK. You will need a TV or set-top box with a Freeview tuner to receive these stations. For HD channels you must have an HD capable tuner. Since 2008 all new televisions sold in the UK are required to have a built-in Freeview tuner. Freeview is in the process of updating it’s network. This will provide better service and channels in the near future.

Finding The Right Aerial Antenna

There are several online resources that can help you choose what size aerial antenna you will need. It all depends on how far you are from the broadcast towers. Here are some good websites and apps that will provide you with where your local broadcast tower is and what channels are available in your area. The site will generate a guide that will help you to choose an aerial.

  • Digital UK – Information and advice about terrestrial TV channels, services and reception.
  • Freeview – Will tell you what channels you can receive using your postal code.

Smart Phone Apps

These apps for your phone can help point your aerial antenna. They can be useful and accurate when you are in the attic or on the roof trying to adjust your antenna. Just use one of these apps to point your antenna in the right direction.

iPhone

Freeview Aim Antenna

tv towers usa

Android

Digital TV Antennas

digital tv antennas app logo

Digital Transmitters and Aerial Groups

When you use these websites, you simply type in your postal code and address. You will see a list of broadcast towers in your area. It will also include the distance and bearing they are from your location and the type of aerial group or antenna you will need to receive the channels that are available in your location. You can then use the aerial guide to choose your antenna. Below is an example of what information the sites will provide.

UK Guide to Installing a Digital Aerial Antenna for Freeview TV

Aerial Color Guide

UK Guide to Installing a Digital Aerial Antenna for Freeview TV

This guide will show you which type of antenna you will need in your area. The aerial antennas are placed in groups and color-coded by the number of UHF channels you can receive. In general, group W or wide band aerials maybe the best to accept all channels and any future planned channel expansions.

Let’s Choose an Aerial Antenna

There are many different types of antennas on the market. Depending on your location and aerial group, we have broken down these antennas by distance- meaning how far away you are from the nearest digital transmitting tower. A good rule of thumb is the higher you place your antenna in your flat, the better the reception you will get. With all of these digital aerial antennas make sure to use the re-scan option on your TV from time to time. This will ensure you are receiving the latest channels.

56 Kilometer (35 Mile) Range Aerial

1byone 0.7 mm Paper Thin HDTV Aerial

UK Guide to Installing a Digital Aerial Antenna for Freeview TV

The 1byone 0.7 mm Paper Thin HDTV Aerial is small and light weight. It can be placed in just about any area window. It is quick and easy to setup. For most applications it requires no power. They do sell an optional power booster to increase signal reception. If you are in a strong signal area this aerial will work well. This aerial is good for distances around 56 kilometers (35 miles) from the digital transmitters. You can’t go wrong with this basic no frills antenna.

UK Guide to Installing a Digital Aerial Antenna for Freeview TV

Specifications:

  • Frequency range: 47-230MHz, 470-790MHz
  • Receiving range: FM/VHF/UHF
  • Gain: 6-7dB
  • Noise figure: ≤4.5dB
  • Output level: 100dBμV

Where to Buy:

The 1byone 0.7 mm Paper Thin HDTV Aerial is available from these retailers:

Ebay UK:

1byone 0.7 mm Paper Thin HDTV Aerial with Excellent Performance for Digital and

£12.61
End Date: Saturday Dec-31-2016 5:01:24 GMT
Buy It Now for only: £12.61
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Amazon UK:

August DTA240 High Gain Freeview HD TV Aerial

The August DTA240 Aerial is another good option if you are limited on space. It has a magnetic base and can be conveniently attached to metal surfaces. It is capable of receiving frequencies of VHF 174-230MHz and UHF 470-860MHz. It will work with Freeview and DAB broadcasting. This device is small, portable and requires no power.

Where to Buy:

The August DTA240 Aerial is available from these retailers:

Ebay UK:

August DTA240 - HighGain TV Aerial For Freeview /DAB Radio /w Magnet base

£8.25
End Date: Thursday Dec-29-2016 1:07:44 GMT
Buy It Now for only: £8.25
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Amazon UK:

AliExpress:

AliExpress.com – August DTA240 High Gain Digital TV Aerial Indoor/Outdoor Digital Antenna

80 Kilometer (50 Mile) Range Aerial

AVANTEK Amplified Digital TV Aerial Indoor

UK Guide to Installing a Digital Aerial Antenna for Freeview TV

The AVANTEK Amplified Digital TV Aerial Indoor is a nicely designed set-top aerial. This digital aerial has a built in high gain low noise amplifier which will provide you with great reception. It also comes with a tuning dial that allows you to fine tune your channel and audio selections. It works with both UHF and VHF frequencies. You can also adjust the extending rods for better reception. Easy to setup and operate. Good quality and well made.

UK Guide to Installing a Digital Aerial Antenna for Freeview TV

Specifications:

  • 25 dB gain
  • 5 foot cable and power adapter included
  • Size: 29 x 22.6 x 6.8 cm

Where to Buy:

The AVANTEK Amplified Digital TV Aerial Indoor is available from these retailers:

Ebay UK:

Amazon UK:

100+ Kilometers (65+ Mile) Range Aerial

1byone Rectangle Digital Outdoor/Indoor TV Aerial

UK Guide to Installing a Digital Aerial Antenna for Freeview TV

The 1byone Rectangle Digital Outdoor/Indoor TV Aerial is a well made aerial that can be used indoors or out. It is made of high quality UV resistant plastic. It is water tight and will withstand the weather very well. This aerial is great for mounting outdoors on a pole or just sitting upright in the attic. It can be used indoors and comes with a convenient stand. It is also great for balconies, just mount it to your railing for great Freeview reception. Comes with a complete easy to apply mounting kit.

Specifications:

  • 12dB gain
  • Reception range: VHF 87.5-230MHz, UHF 470-790MHz
  • Fully covers all digital TV signals as well as DAB / FM transmissions
  • Package Contents: Aerial main unit, Mounting bracket and Water-proof kit
  • Cable not included

Where to Buy:

The 1byone Rectangle Digital Outdoor/Indoor TV Aerial is available from this retailer:

Amazon UK:

Have You Check AliExpress For Your Next Aerial Antenna?

AliExpress.com - Antenna W15 12dBi Aerial Antenna For DVB-T TV HDTV Digital Freeview
Search AliExpress Here

High Gain/Long Range Aerials

All of these aerials will work for 100+ Kilometers (65+ Mile) range. These are great for mounting outdoors or in a loft.

Labgear LAB450T Tri Boom Very High Gain TV Aerial

The Labgear LAB450T Tri Boom Aerial is ideal for fringe reception areas. Easy to assemble. This aerial will maximize signal reception and reduce potential interference from 4G cellular. Comes with a reflector bracket for simpler and quick assembly. Efficient X-dipole design with a secure F-type cable connection.

Specifications:

  • Frequency range 470-790MHz
  • TV channels 21-60
  • Forward gain dBd 11.3
  • Forward gain dBi 13.5
  • Front / back ratio dB >16.0
  • Beam width +/- deg +/- 16
  • PCB balun Yes
  • Connector F-type
  • Width: Length 1110mm, Depth: Width 535mm
  • All new design reduces LTE800 4G interference
  • New easy assembly reflector
  • Powerful performance from Tri-boom elements
  • Great directivity from massive reflector
  • Ideal for problem solving

Where to Buy:

The Labgear LAB450T Tri Boom High Gain TV Aerial is available from these retailers:

Ebay UK:

Labgear LAB450T Tri Boom Very High Gain TV Aerial

£33.99
End Date: Saturday Dec-24-2016 20:03:43 GMT
Buy It Now for only: £33.99
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Amazon UK:

SLx 27884K4 4G 48 Element Aerial Kit

The SLx 27884K4 4G 48 Element Aerial Kit for Digital TV is great high gain aerial for outdoor or loft mounting. It combines excellent performance and an easy to assemble kit for easy mounting. Its high gain design makes it perfect for use in weak signal areas. The 4G filter will remove any interference from a 4G mobile signal.

Specification:

  • 48 Element, high gain, anodised wideband UHF digital aerial with fixing kit
  • Suitable for weak signal areas
  • Receives all locally available digital TV signals
  • Suitable for outdoor or loft installation
  • Integrated 4G filter removes interference and channel loss from your TV caused by 4G mobile phone signals
  • Gain: 13dB

Where to Buy:

The SLx 27884K4 4G 48 Element Aerial Kit is available at these retailers:

Ebay UK:

SLx 48 Element UHF Digital TV Aerial Kit for Outdoor or Loft Built in 4G filter

£26.99
End Date: Monday Dec-5-2016 12:56:51 GMT
Buy It Now for only: £26.99
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Amazon UK:

Splitting One Aerial Antenna to Multiple TV’s

If you have more then one television in your flat you can add a splitter or DA to send that signal to many TV’s. Just plug the aerial into the input of the splitter and the output to your televisions.

Splitter Diagram

Splitter/Combiner

This is a basic splitter that will work for most applications:

UK Guide to Installing a Digital Aerial Antenna for Freeview TV

Mercury BX38 Bulk High Grade Aerial Combiner/Splitter

Cabling

When adding a splitter to your setup it may require additional cabling to reach your destination.

UK Guide to Installing a Digital Aerial Antenna for Freeview TV
Mast Digital 20 m Fully Assembled Digital TV Aerial Cable Extension Kit

Freeview Set Top Box and DVR Recorder

You can also use your aerial in conjunction with a Freeview set-top box. This will allow you to view Freeview channels and record them for later viewing. These set-top boxes can time-shift and pause live TV. They also have an electronic program guide that will show you what is on TV up to 7 days in advance.

Panasonic Smart 500 GB HDD Recorder with Freeview Play

Panasonic Smart 500 GB HDD Recorder with Freeview Play

Specifications:

  • Double your recording capacity with Panasonic’s Long Record feature
  • Record up to 341 Hrs in HD vs 129 hrs in normal mode
  • Catch Up TV – BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and All 4
  • Never miss a thing with series link function
  • 8 day forward an 7 day backward programme guide

Where to Buy:

The Panasonic Smart 500 GB HDD Recorder is available from these retailers:

Ebay UK:

Panasonic DMR-HWT130 Twin Freeview Tuner HD 500GB HDD Smart PVR Recorder

£128.15
End Date: Saturday Dec-17-2016 20:26:01 GMT
Buy It Now for only: £128.15
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Amazon UK:

See Our Article on Combining Your Aerial Antenna With an Android Kodi Streaming Box.

Conclusion

Not paying a subscription fee to watch television is a great way to save money. Just by plugging in a digital aerial antenna you can enjoy the benefits of Freeview TV in your area. Just to reiterate, make sure to re-scan your television or set-top box when adjusting your aerial. New channels are also being added to the Freeview service, so re-scanning will ensure you are up to date.

Featured Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About Johan
I started the site to educate the public on the alternative ways you can watch television besides subscribing to cable. I have been in the audio visual business for over 20 years. I also have an extensive computer networking background. I am a Microsoft Certified Professional and CompTIA Network+ Certified Technician. I hope you will find my articles and reviews helpful in conscious uncabling.

2 Comments

  1. Hello Johan,
    I would like to congratulate you for the useful information provided.
    Regards,
    Jair

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