How to tell if that cable coming out of the wall is connected up to an aerial or a dish?

Just like analogue TV (or "fuzzyvision"), you need something to pick up the digital TV signal transmitted over the air.

  • To get Freeview Satellite you'll need a working satellite dish connected with a Freeview Satellite receiver.
  • To get Freeview|HD (available to 86% of NZ homes - so check your coverage here first to see if this is you), you'll need a working UHF aerial connected with a Freeview|HD receiver.

But if your place is anything like ours, you might have more than one aerial or dish on your roof - how do you tell what that cable coming out of your wall is connected up to: a dish or an aerial?

There is a simple way to tell.



Satellite cables have a hexagonal connector with a needle in the middle of the connector (similar to the image).



UHF / VHF aerial connectors have a round connector with a hollow tube in the middle of the connector (see image). 

You need a UHF aerial to pick up Freeview|HD (VHF aerials are not ideal as they're designed to pick up analogue signals). 

The easiest way I know of is to test whether your aerial is a UHF or VHF is to plug it into any old TV, then tune your TV and see whether you can pick up Maori TV or Prime.  If you can pick up Maori TV or Prime then your aerial is most likely OK to receive Freeview|HD.

Does anyone else know of any other easier ways?

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You can generally tell what kind of aerial it is by taking a look at it.

The VHF aerials have long aluminium bars on them, up to around a metre long at one end and shorter, maybe 30cm, at the front. Some VHF aerials also have UHF bars built in, these are usually at the front, and are about 20cm long, and there are a bunch of them.

Most UHF aerials have a grid type affair at the back, with a number of equally sized bars in front. Usually these are a bowtie looking thing.

The exception is the Lincrad Gizmo, which is completely different to just about anything else around (other than the cheap copies you sometimes see), and the Phased array UHF aerials which have a vertical mesh at the back, and one or more bowties arranged either up/down or left/right depending on your region (as opposed to front to back like a normal forward gain UHF aerial).

Pictures and more details here -

(I hope I don't get in trouble for linking to my site, I just can't be bothered figuring out how to post the images).

Hi, my question is to do with aerials, i have a flat screen tv which is connected through the same cable to wall plug that the old analogue tv that was there before was and although we have an old style aerial up in the roof space that was there twenty years ago when we bought the house, it is picking up Freeview fine so that's a bit of a bonus. My problem is with changing that same old analogue tv that is now in the bedroom over, i know i have to get a Freeview receiver for it, but will it work with one of those round interior aerials they have in the freeview brochures? Or will i have to get a really long cable and plug that from the Freeview receiver to one of the aerial jack points at the other end of the house that are connected to that old aerial mentioned earlier? Or is there a better way? some advice would be really appreciated, hope someone out there can help.

John A

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