Aerial booster analogue to digital

paulbarrett

Standard Member
Hi folks. Our house has an aerial in the roof, distributed to several rooms using a powered booster in the loft space. It was ll in place when we moved here 7 years ago. Although the reception looks fair, we have always been satellite users so we have never really used it. It's connected but image quality is not as good. There's no ghosting or noise just a generally lower quality (especially compared to freesat HD!

Digital switch over looms so we are going to upgrade TVs and redistribute them across the house. The sat dish LNB has only one spare port so I was thinking about whether I can recycle any of the analogue kit for FreeView and utilise what's already buried in the walls.

I assume the aerial might be OK as the current signals is (although it might need redirecting) but will the booster need replacing, and will the existing co-ax cable be OK?
 

paulbarrett

Standard Member
Have just done a ceefax page 284 check. BBC1, ITV and C4 pass. BBC2 has a few missing blocks and a correspondingly degraded picture quality
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
Location is important. Where are you and what transmitter?

It's quite likely that your post-DSO signals will be fine without any alterations to the existing aerial system (unikely to need redirecting) but we need to know where you are first.

Post a very nearby postcode (shop, school, pub) and check your own address' predictions using the detailed view of Digital UK - Postcode checker

Planning Your TV Installation has a wealth of sensible info, worth a scan through some parts of the site.
 

paulbarrett

Standard Member
Thanks for the quick response and info.

Post code checker for nearby pub (note though that the pub is at the bottom of the valley while we are at the top, with almost line of site to Wall - the most likely transmitter), so our results are a little better than these:

Postcode Checker - Detailed View
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
Does your aerial have the cross-rods vertical and point towards Wall? (NW-ish) or are they it horizontal (like the boom arm they are fixed to) and pointing SE-ish towards Pontop Pike?

If to Wall, there's no obvious reason why BBC2 analogue should be poorer than the others (BBC2 frequency ch46 is in-between ITV, ch43 and Channel 4, ch50; but anyway they all change to new frequencies at DSO. I'd advise you to wait and see what reception is likeO, it could well be fine. Note: Wall will carry more TV stations than you currently get but far, far fewer than you could get from Pontop Pike (3 'multiplexes' of TV stations vs 6).

If your aerial is pointed at Pontop, BBC2 is the 'high frequency' channel and will often be poorer as a result of worse propagation at higher frequencies and loses in cables and aerial performance over time... [I've deliberately ignored Channel 5 analogue on frequency ch68 as it comes from Burnhope rather than Pontop and is only 50kW cf 500kW and therefore much more difficult to receive.]

Pontop's predictions are equally as good as those from the Wall relay for the pub - I assume yours are also green after switchover. One or two muxes are good now and I'd assume a Freeview box or integrated TV may find some channels OK from there today... would I be right in assuming you don't have any Freeview devices at present? All Pontop's frequencies will fall below frequency ch60 after DSO so I'd expect the aerial (if pointed there) to be fine.
 

paulbarrett

Standard Member
Hi Rodders. Yeah - no free-view stuff in the house to try with. I'll have to go up in the loft to check aerial orientation. It's also perfectly possible that the naff Beeb 2 reception on current analogue is due to poor channel tuning. We never use it so I never bothered too much about it......

.... I just checked and Beeb 2 is currently tuned to Ch26. I will get the manual out and find out how to retune to 46 = and teh stps out to check the aerial
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
.... I just checked and Beeb 2 is currently tuned to Ch26. I will get the manual out and find out how to retune to 46 = and teh stps out to check the aerial
That will be from the Newton relay: aerial vertical pointing East. Check the other channels' frequencies to see if all are from there.. (33,26,23,29) At DSO stage 1, on 12th September,BBC2 becomes the BBC Mux A. 29 is ITV/4/5 and 23 will be the HD mux.

Did you try tuning in Pontop's ch64 for BBC2? (If 58 is BBC1, 61 ITV and 54 C4 that might be OK?) A peek at the aerial orientation should make it all clearer?

Loft and indoor aerial installations for TV, FM and DAB is worth reading if you want to replace the existing aerial.
 

paulbarrett

Standard Member
OK - so the aerial is oriented vertically pointed east.

Channels:

BBC1 = 33 (good)
BBC2 = 26 (poor - and I cannot locate a better signal)
ITV = 23 (good)
C4 = 29 (good)
C5 = none

Sow how will we be come 12th Sept pls? :)
 
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Rodders53

Distinguished Member
OK so what does that aerial look like?: see Aerials, TV Aerial and Digital Aerial has some examples. What make and model of distribution amplifier (booster) is it? How many outlets? {Is a gain / nouse figure given on any labelling}

Check that by-passing the aerial distribution amplifier down to one room only (temporarily as a test) doesn't make BBC2 equally as good as the others. You'll need a 'joiner' barrel connector to do that.

Have you moved the aerial within the loft space (always keeping it pointed East) higher/lower, crabbed left/right and closer to /further from the transmitter? {moving the aerial in a cube of space with up to 1metre sides to try to improve reception on ch26... unfortunately this may make one or more of the others poor, so you need to recheck all and repeat until you get the best spot.}

As BBC2 ch26 is to be re-used by the BBC digital multiplex this doesn't bode well unless you can get it better than now, but I'd still advise you to wait and see what happens on Switchover stage 1 (12th). If it's a problem you may be able to improve the aerial, or use a better amplifier? Goinng outside with an aerial will make a big difference (is it practical?). Perhaps even choosing to point at Pontop Pike to get more digital channels may be worth trying? Do read the last link I gave regarding loft aerials as it gives good advice.

If your current loft aerial has been there a long time, and has a red bung or connector cover, it will probably be a group A aerial (as it should be for Newton). If much more recent, it may be a wideband and could be rotated to horizontal and re-directed? It is quite difficult to tell an aerial's group though - even for the experts!
 

paulbarrett

Standard Member
Te aerial is 12 years old. On this estate everyone is loft mounted or sat user, although I have noticed a few externals springing up recently - all pointing east to Newton I guess.

I am in a bit of a quandary. The reality is we have been freesat users for years and quite happy with it. OK, less channels than freeview but nothing that we are likely to miss. We use a HUMAX FOXSAT HD PVR with dual tuners to output to the TV which has neither freesat nor freeview tuners. We often found ourselves unable to watch a live channel due to two recordings being under way.

The problems I need to address are:

1. Being able to watch a 3rd channel while two record
2. Larger screen needed (and generally the need to upgrade a now ageing early LCD TV)
3. Reduce the number of boxes

I was minded to go the freeview route because of wider TV choice and lower cost. But I DO have a spare LNB port on the dish so could stay with freesat if I narrow my range of choices and pay a little more. I saw some editorial comment in Ultimate Guide - Smart TV that freesat tends to deliver a sharper picture. So now I wonder if sticking with free sat may be the way to go. Don't want to go to the expense of getting an aerial installer to come sort out the issue, only to find the result to be not so good. Decisions, decisions......
 

Gavtech

Administrator
...Perhaps even choosing to point at Pontop Pike to get more digital channels may be worth trying?....
I know this particular area. There is a steep hill at the back of the town which obscures Pontop Pike from it... so I think this is probably not an option unfortunately.

All aerials in the locality seem to be vertically oriented - judging from Google maps streetview.


Paul - I very much agree with Rodders suggestion to wait until the changeover occurs and see what results you get.
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
Gavtech's input is appreciated - local knowledge is always useful.. {It is odd, though, that digitaluk predict 89-96% of locations in the 100mx100m prediction square can receive Pontop after DSO... but the path profile to the grid coordinate you gave (converting it from the postcode) is definitely obstructed!! Terrain between NY930639 and Pontop Pike }

In your situation, freesat offers you much more choice of channels than Freeview will from Newton as you won't get the three COMmercial multiplexes unless reception from Pontop Pike is achievable. You can get octal lnbs to replace the quad you have to feed additional freesat receivers if 4 feeds is limiting. A old sky box (dirt cheap from boot sales etc.,.) will give you most of the free channels even without a card inserted!

However, Freeview from Newton will give you all the main (public service broadcaster) channels... and I find I seldom watch any outside those, and 4 HD ones (also currently available on freesat) with a 'fifth' HD slot spare if you buy equipment that has Freeview HD capability. We just need to hope that your ch26 reception is good enough or can be improved, if not.
 
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paulbarrett

Standard Member
Rodders / Gavtech. Thanks for your help and advice. Much appreciated.

Maybe I should buy a cheap freeview box to experiment with. But I think I am beginning to lean towards the Freesat option - the devil I know - esp given the potential Ch 26 issue
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
Rodders / Gavtech. Thanks for your help and advice. Much appreciated.

Maybe I should buy a cheap freeview box to experiment with. But I think I am beginning to lean towards the Freesat option - the devil I know - esp given the potential Ch 26 issue
You'll not go far wrong with the well regarded Tesco Freeview HD box TECHNIKA STBHDIS2010 HD FREEVIEW SET TOP BOX 7 DAY ELECTRONIC PROGRAMME GUIDE | eBay <£23.50 delivered.

I'm pretty confident a minor relocation of the aerial within the loft will solve any ch26 issues, too!

Best wishes... let us know how things go in September if you get a Freeview box!
 

paulbarrett

Standard Member
Thanks Rodders. I have just ordered the freeview box you recommended. At that price it's worth as punt, cheaper than a freesat tuner on a new telly - that's for certain - and I can always sell it on if I m forced back down the freesat route.

I will wait switch over day with interest and proceed by trial and error.

I will have a go at relocating the aerial a bit too. To an earlier point -the aerial is probably nothing special. It was fitted by the couple who had the house before us and they clearly weren't troubled about it too much or they would have sorted out the Beeb2 issue.

And yes, having looked through binoculars at some of the exterior aerials that have sprung up, it's clear they are all oriented vertically.

Going external might not be option. There's a beautiful ash tree with a tree preservation order on it at the end of the house where the chimney is. :(
 

paulbarrett

Standard Member
Well, the 12th was uneventful in that I plugged in the box and tuned it. As predicted in the first phase of the switch, my lousy BBC2 analogue signal went off to be replaced by very good BBC channels.

I guess all the commercial channels will appear when the final switch happens in 2 weeks.

So it's all looking good for a replacement telly that just needs a built in freeview tuner. And that opens up the field of choice as well as lowering the price, Great!
 

Gavtech

Administrator
It sounds promising.

Please keep us updated after the next phase.
 

paulbarrett

Standard Member
It all went very well. 2nd phase switchover has resulted in over 100 TV channels. That means I can buy a freeview set with confidence and save on the cost of a freesat tuner in the telly.

Once again, thanks for all the advice everyone
 

Gavtech

Administrator
It all went very well. 2nd phase switchover has resulted in over 100 TV channels. That means I can buy a freeview set with confidence and save on the cost of a freesat tuner in the telly.

Once again, thanks for all the advice everyone
Excellent.

I'm pleased to hear the good news.
 

paulbarrett

Standard Member
Well, after a couple of months since DSO I have one irritating problem to resolve. I bought a TECHNIKA STBHDIS2010 HD FREEVIEW SET TOP BOX 7 DAY ELECTRONIC PROGRAMME GUIDE for my old analogue TV used in main bedroom. The issue is that Beeb 1 keeps transmogrifying into BBC HD or it stays as Beeb1 but decides to lose the regional setting for BBC1 NE & C in favour of BBC1 London. A factory reset is required each time.

Any ideas please folks?
 

paulbarrett

Standard Member
Thanks for the tip. I will look at that. Although from what others have said it looks like an OTA that has been long awaited. It might be time to update the TV to one with a digital tuner and cut out the bedroom clutter. The Teknika box was only ever an experiment to prove reception before splashing out more.
 

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