Help & Advice
Freeview Help: Indoor Aerial Advice
Looking to get Freeview with an indoor TV aerial? Help and advice on using an indoor aerial for getting Freeview in the UK.
What is an indoor aerial?
For the best TV reception, we'd always recommend a rooftop TV aerial. However, we know for some people, getting a rooftop aerial is not always an option.
There are several set-top box indoor aerials on the market to help those that can't get a rooftop aerial, but for getting Freeview, these are only effective if you're in a strong Freeview signal area.
As a general rule of thumb, if you get a poor analogue TV signal from an indoor aerial, you don't stand much of a chance with digital.
Can I get Freeview on an indoor aerial?
If you happen to live in a strong Freeview signal area, then an indoor aerial may be OK for you.
If you want to check whether you should be able to get Freeview with an indoor aerial, here's what to do:
Click on the following link - this will open in a new window: Check coverage at Wolfbane.
Enter your postcode and look at the results that come back. It's a bit of a technical page, but we're only concerned with one bit of the information - the column, headed "Antenna (Suggestion)".
- If the aerial suggestion says "Amplified Extra High Gain" , "Amplified Extra High Gain" or "High Gain", then an indoor aerial will probably not be suitable.
- If the aerial suggestion says "Log periodic", then an indoor aerial may possibly be suitable, but not ideal.
- If the aerial suggestion says "Set top aerial", then you are in a strong signal area, and should be OK with an indoor aerial.
If you are using an indoor aerial and can't get a signal, then you need to consider getting a rooftop aerial installed. Use your Yellow Pages or yell.com to find a CAI-approved aerial installer, and get a quote to have a rooftop TV aerial installed.
Get a poor signal from your indoor aerial?
Indoor aerials are less able to pull in signals than a rooftop aerial, and are more susceptible to interference from domestic equipment such as computers, washing machines, lighting, microwaves, etc.
Try to keep the aerial as high as possible, and close to a window, with as few walls and as little metal as possible between the aerial and the transmitter. Try to keep it away from other electrical equipment too.
In some cases, a signal booster can help - but these amplify interference as well as signal, so aren't always useful. More on signal boosters.
Also, see our Freeview Interference section.
If you're still getting a poor signal, consider the alternative options.
Can we recommend a decent indoor aerial?
Indoor aerials are not great at pulling in a weak signal. If your only option is an indoor aerial, we'd suggest you look for a high-quality indoor aerial with an amplifier. Try Maplin.co.uk or Argos for a range of indoor aerials.
We have found a set of test results on Ricability's site that at the time of writing, indicate an amplified aerial from Philex as being the best performing model - this is available from Argos, priced under £20 (Cat: 900/4272). Direct link: Philex Amplified indoor aerial
Top performing Philex Amplified indoor aerial
We've also had recommendations that Maplin's High Gain Indoor Digital Aerial with Amplifier (Cat: A95GT) performs well.
So, you've identified that an indoor aerial is not good enough? What are the alternatives?
- Use a rooftop aerial - If you have a rooftop aerial in the house, but not in the room you want it, consider running a TV aerial extension. If there's no aerial at all, use your Yellow Pages or yell.com to find a local CAI-approved aerial installer and get a quote to have a "wideband rooftop aerial" fitted.
- Wait until your region "goes digital" - Between now and 2012, analogue TV services are being switched off, and transmitters are being upgraded to digital. When your region goes fully digital, you may find that your local transmitter gets upgraded and/or increases power, allowing you to use a set-top aerial. Digital Switch Timetable.
- Consider satellite TV - Around 98% of UK homes can get satellite TV. Satellite TV services include Sky Digital or Freesat. These services use a satellite dish, not a TV aerial. More on our Satellite TV page. If you're in a cable TV area, there's also Virgin Media.
Need more help?
Ask in our Freeview Problems forum - Please include your postcode, plus the make and model of your Freeview receiver, as this helps the forum regulars provide relevant advice.