If you’ve never had cable TV or a satellite dish installed, an outdoor aerial is likely to have been the saving grace allowing you to watch terrestrial TV, including Freeview, in your home. But you may find that external aerials are harder to maintain, especially when you’re at the mercy of the great British weather.
While external aerials have the benefit of being out of sight, a number of problems can occur that are more difficult to manage than with indoor aerials. Indoor aerials are generally cheaper and easier to adjust than external aerials if a fault presents itself, or when they are positioned incorrectly.
Indoor aerials are also portable, so if you decide to redesign your home you can easily move the aerial to another room without worrying about getting the aerial socket moved.
Are you frustrated with pixelated screens and a dodgy Freeview signal? We’ve found some great Best Buy indoor aerials that could be just the ticket.
What is affecting my Freeview and radio signal?
If you’ve ever been frustrated by choppy signal, we’ve rounded up some of the problems that may be affecting your outdoor aerial and how an indoor aerial may be the solution you’re looking for.
Trees blocking your reception
If your home is surrounded by trees, it may look beautiful but the picture quality on your TV may not. Tall trees, especially those with leaves, can block the signal and weaken frequencies to your external aerial, making it more difficult for it to get good signal.
While a more long-term and expensive solution is to remove the tree or its offending leaves from the aerial’s line of sight, having an indoor aerial with a built-in signal amplifier would circumvent this issue entirely. This type of indoor aerial is designed to work in areas that are obstructed. Plus you can also reposition indoor aerials far more easily than outdoor aerials if you encounter problems.
Many of us have experienced a pixelated TV show or, worse still, no signal to the TV at all as a result of bad weather. Rain and strong winds can blow the aerial out of place, drastically reducing the signal performance of an outdoor aerial. Being inside, an indoor aerial is completely removed from the elements.
A damaged aerial
If you’ve been suffering from persistently bad TV or radio signal, it may be that your outdoor aerial is damaged. Bad weather conditions can severely affect the aerial in the long-term, and while outdoor aerials are built to last for a long time, the poor weather conditions in the UK can limit an aerial’s lifespan.
According to Freeview, the average roof aerial replacement costs around £150. Indoor aerials are more protected from poor weather conditions, and we’ve found Best Buy aerials for as little as £16 – a fraction of the cost if it did need replacing.
Aerials on test: One For All aerials from £20-£40
We’ve tested three new aerials from well-known manufacturer One For All. Read our reviews to see if one of these models is the right one for you.
One For All SVR9405, £20
If you’re in the market for a compact aerial, the One For All SVR9405 might be the one for you. It’s much cheaper than the two One For All models below, retailing at only £20. As you might expect from its lower price, this loop aerial has a lower spec. It claims to be HD-compatible and to provide minimal interference through its triple noise-reduction filters.
Despite its low price, the SVR9405 does have filters to block interference from mobile phone signals. It’s cheap, but is this indoor aerial cheerful too? Read our review on the One For All SVR9405 to find out.
One For All SV9460, £35
As far as indoor aerials go, the One For All SV9460 sits at the higher end of the market. This model is said to be Full HD compatible and comes with a filter that blocks out mobile phone signals for 3G, 4G and LTE. It’s adjustable, allowing you to move the antennas and the aerial itself to find the perfect position for receiving signal. One For All also claims that interference won’t be a problem, as it’s equipped with noise-reduction filters.
Want to know whether all the bells and whistles equal good performance? We’ve tested the One For All SV9460 to tell you whether it deserves pride of place in your home.
One For All SV9465, £40
The priciest model of the bunch, the One For All SV9465, is one of the most premium models that the manufacturer has to offer. It goes beyond regular HD compatibility to allow 4K Ultra HD video quality and high quality audio. It has a 3G, 4G and LTE filter to block mobile phone signals that can interfere with your signal. It’s also got automatic gain control, which manages the aerial’s ability to pick up signals.
Can its price be justified by its performance? We put the One For All SV9465 indoor aerial through our rigorous lab testing to bring you a full verdict.
A new aerial might not always be the answer
Issues with aerial signal can sometimes be much simpler than repairing or buying a new aerial. Here are some potential quick fixes that might help you to remedy problems you’re having with your aerial.
Blaming the weather is the easiest solution, but there could also be engineering works or transmitter faults affecting your whole area’s signal. You can use the BBC’s Interactive Transmitter Checker to see if there are any reports of local issues and also find out more about the transmitters that cover your area, in case a problem arises in the future.
The leads hidden at the back of your TV not only connect to the mains and the digital box but also, most importantly, your aerial. Try giving the cables a quick once-over to ensure they’re correctly connected and, if they are, make sure they don’t look damaged or over-worn.
If there’s no overall transmitter fault or engineering work happening in your area, then there could be a software problem with your digital box or TV. Unplugging and reconnecting one of these devices may be the quick fix to your problem.