Digital TV gives you sharper pictures and better quality sound.  New Zealand’s rich and varied geography does mean that signal strengths & coverage can vary from street to street, and sometimes from house to house!

If you’re a home owner that needs a new antenna to receive digital TV, choosing the right type of antenna and positioning it correctly will go a long way to ensuring you get clear reception.

  • People living within sight of a main transmitter may find they get a perfect picture with a small aerial;
  • Others, who live in a dip, or who have mountains, trees or large buildings obscuring the path between the nearest transmitter and their house may need a high gain aerial and a masthead amplifier. (That’s the aerial equivalent of heavy artillery!)

To help choose the best aerial for the job, check the following:

  • You coverage – enter your full address here will tell you if Freeview|HD, Freeview Satellite or both are available at your location!  This is key to choosing your antenna type, since you’ll need a UHF aerial to pick up Freeview|HD, and a satellite dish to pick up Freeview Satellite.
  • Whether your neighbours need amplifiers or high gain aerials to get a good signal – if unsure, consult a local installer.
  • Whether you can see the transmitter from the point where the aerial would be mounted;
  • Whether you are up high or in a dip. The higher you are the better your signal is likely to be.
  • Whether you have obstructions between you and the direction of the transmitter? Potential problems could be caused by hills, high buildings or trees.

UHF AERIALS (for Freeview|HD)

YAGI-Type aerial

Most people who have UHF aerials have this type. This aerial may be your best bet if there is a direct line of sight between your house and a TV transmitter.

Triple folding structure (Tri-Boom)

These aerials are more directional than Yagi Types and so may be suitable if you live in a fringe reception area where there is no direct line of sight a TV transmitter.  This might be the aerial for your if your coverage check result says "likely" for Freeview|HD.

Phased array aerial

This type of aerial can be useful if there is undulating terrain between you and the TV transmitter or when you need to overcome obstacles such as trees and buildings that are in the path of the signal. This might be the aerial for your if your coverage check result says "likely" for Freeview|HD.

If your coverage is "likely with high aerial" for Freeview|HD, you'll need to elevate your UHF aerial (sometimes an extension of more than 2 meters is needed) to get reliably good signal reception.  You might choose to opt for Freeview Satellite instead if it's not possible to do so.

Indoor aerials (not recommended)

If you’re very near the transmitter (ideally within 5km) and have a clear line of sight to the same, then an indoor digital UHF aerial placed facing the transmitter (near a window) may work.  You might like to get check with your local retailer and see if they’re able / willing to let you try one.

And if your indoor UHF aerial come with “rabbit ears” (similar to the middle two aerials in the image above), folding those away from the main body of the aerial will help reduce interference.  This is because “rabbit ears” are designed for VHF reception and sometimes VHF signals can cause interference with the UHF signals received for your digital TV.

SATELLITE DISH (for Freeview Satellite)

Satellite dish

If you live in a satellite only area, you will need to have a satellite dish and a satellite set-top box to get digital TV.  You’ll find some useful info in this forum topic, for example, how to adjust your LNB!

If this all sounds too complicated, you may want to enlist the help of an installer

Some installers also offer end-to-end packages: a complete installation including the necessary digital receivers or even MyFreeview digital recorders– so be sure to ask when you call for a quote!

This resource was compiled with info from Going Digital and Hills SignalMaster New Zealand – thanks heaps guys!

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