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The case for the Loft Aerial

Having been fitting TV Aerials now for many years, I can say that in most cases, a Loft Aerial can work just as well as a roof mounted TV Aerial, and is in my opinion, its often the better choice, let me explain.

If you live on a new housing development, chances are you need a Loft Aerial if you are not subscribed to Sky or Virgin.  Newer properties wire the houses in such a way that all the TV points are embedded into the wall and the cables from those TV point track back up into the loft space, thus removing the need for an outdoor fitted TV Aerial.  This has 3 immediate benefits;

  1. No ugly TV Aerial visible on your property
  2. No ugly cables trailing down the roof and walls and into the property
  3. Less chance of TV Aerial failure due to damage from storms and water ingress

 So yes, having a loft fitted TV Aerial does in most cases make more sense for the 3 reasons mentioned here. 

What about Signal strength?

Do TV Aerials mounted in a loft work as well as TV Aerials mounted outside?  Surely, TV Aerials outside have a better line of sight to the TV Transmitter, right?  Well in short yes, TV Aerials mounted outside will generally receive a stronger signal than a TV Aerial mounted in a loft, but this may make absolutely no discernible difference to your TV reception and the quality of the picture displayed on your TV; let me explain. 

tv aerial fitted in a loftSince the UK completed the switchover from Analogue to Digital back in 2012 with county Antrim being the last to switch off analogue TV broadcasts, we moved to a much more robust system that provides a transmission of digital images that are either ‘on’ or ‘off.’  To make this simple, digital TV signals are represented as 1’s and 0’s.   In other words, they are either on or off, whereas analogue does not work like that. Analogue can be almost on and almost off. What does this mean?

Well, the safe lower limit of Digital TV signal reception for reliable superb quality images here in Lancashire, where we operate from the Winter Hill Transmitter, is around 40dBuV with 50 being preferred and 85dBuV being the upper limit to avoid attenuation of the signal being too strong.  The thing here in simple terms is this- once you achieve a good margin above the lower limit, a perfect picture will be achieved and maintained, hence, the signal will be ‘on’ not ‘off’.  Hence if you have a TV Aerial roof mounted receiving a signal reading of 58 dBuV  (for eg) and the same TV Aerial mounted in a loft receiving 50 dBuV – the end result from both TV Aerials will be exactly the same, you will not receive a ‘better’ picture from the roof mounted Aerial even though technically it is receiving a stronger signal being outside of the property. This is one of the benefits of Digital TV verses analogue.

I have no loft!

However, if your property is say 20 years old or older, then chances are you may not have embedded TV points in each room and cables running up to your loft space, in fact your house may not even have a loft! In which case you would then need an external fitted TV Aerial.

This does not mean that you will have to endure looking at a huge ugly TV Aerial and cables running down your walls. We pride ourselves on offering discreet TV Aerial Installations that provide you with a TV Aerial system that has minimal visual impact on your property.  How do we achieve that? Firstly, as experts in Digital TV reception and having an extensive knowledge of the best and latest products on the market, we can provide and install small TV Aerials that do not have large reflectors. These types of Aerials are called Log Period Aerials and this design of TV Aerial is quite small and minimal, hence discreet but at the same time punches well above its weight in that it has a good clean signal to noise ratio.  In other words, these TV Aerials do a good job of receiving the desired signals but filtering out the non-desired signals (or noise as we call it in the industry)

We also provide ourselves on TV Aerial Installations that make cable very difficult to spot. For example, we can sometimes hide cables behind drainpipes and guttering thus making it very difficult to see. Again, when it comes to the TV Aerial Installation in most cases, we do not need to use tall say 12ft mast that is an eyesore on the property but instead we can in most cases utilise just a small 3-4ft mast often hidden party by the chimney stack. We have performed many of these types of installations even on Listed Building’s that cannot have visible TV Aerials on them by law.

When an Outdoor mounted TV Aerial is better

Having said all of the above, there are a few exceptions where an outdoor TV Aerial is definitely the best and sometimes the only viable choice. If you live in an area where the Digital Terrestrial Signal is poor or compromised in some way, then an indoor TV loft Aerial might not suffice.  Thankfully in the Northwest there are very few places that are ‘signal black spots’ but there are a couple. This may be due to the following 3 reasons;

  • Hills and Valleys; For example, in the Lake District we have a lot of Hills and Valleys and these can pose a problem for Digital TV signal pathways as they prefer a straight line of sight. Often, we get around these problems by using a tall mast accompanied by a MHA (mast head amplifier) these types of installations are always outdoor roof mounted.
  • If your property is close to infrastructure, say like pylons or overhead electric train cables, these can cause blocking and static interference in which case an indoor loft TV Aerial generally will not work well. 
  • Motorways, houses close to a busy motorway will have their TV signals weakened by static noise interreference, hence in most of these case TV Aerial installation will need to be done outside rather than in a loft.

What’s the best option is for you?

Thinking of having a TV Aerial installed?  Not sure about a loft Aerial or an outdoor fitted TV Aerial? Also, how long does an aerial last?  In most cases getting one fitted in a loft means it will last many years longer than one externally mounted. Then please feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll be more than happy to pop round and provide a FREE survey and give you the best advice when it comes to your TV Aerial Installation.

TV Aerials Leeds
2 Infirmary Street,
Leeds
LS1 2JP

0113 880 5252

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