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Unscheduled Interruptions to Digital TV

Posted In Technology devices - By Techtiplib on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 With No Comments »

Although digital TV is available across the UK reception in some areas is better than others. There are a number of common causes relating to digital TV reception problems and most can be isolated at the property. Problems with internal cables and problems with aerials are the main causes of reception issues, while in some cases problems may be external and related to the transmitter from which you receive your signal. This post looks at common issues and how to resolve them.

There are a number of common causes relating to digital TV reception problems and most can be isolated at the property.

The Lost Channel (or Channels)

Fragmented or pixelated viewing is a fairly common problem. In many cases this is due to loose or damaged cables. With all electrical power off, check the TV and set top box for connections and/or cabling damage. Any issues should be self-evident and easily resolved. Once you’ve checked cables perform a full retune on your set – see the manufacturer’s instructions for full details but the retune option can be accessed via your remote from the main menu. Channel information changes regularly with digital TV, so a full retune can be useful every three to six months.

Standard Aerials

Receiving digital TV depends on your digital aerial installation – the type of aerial and its location. There are three main types of TV aerial – these were suitable for analogue and remain perfectly capable of receiving digital TV. The standard aerial is known as a ‘Yagi’ and is pole mounted, normally externally. The higher, the better in the case of a standard aerial is the general rule. A clear, unobstructed view of the transmitter is the best position for the aerial. Trees and buildings will affect reception so an aerial should be positioned to minimise this type of interference. The yagi aerial consists of a rod, a reflector and elements positioned along the rod, with cabling leading from the aerial to an internal socket and your TV. Standard aerials like this have ten to eighteen elements and these are positioned along the rod; the latter should point directly towards the transmitter if you are to receive the most effective signal. The yagi aerial will work very well in good to standard reception areas, but may function less well in poor digital TV reception areas.

Big Gains

High gain aerials are recommended for poor reception areas and should function well in this type of area. There are a number of different styles of high gain aerial, although the basic design is similar to the yagi aerial but consists of more components. Like the Yagi, they consist of rod, element and reflector but high gain aerials feature more of each of these components. The basic model, a class 3, will usually have only one rod, a double reflector and more elements than a standard aerial. Reception areas where the signal is poor to good should benefit from this type of aerial. Class 2 high gain aerials will be configured with a higher number of elements and a doubled, larger reflector. In moderate coverage areas these are considered effective. For poor coverage areas, or low coverage areas a class 1 high gain aerial is most appropriate. This consists of multiple rods, up to a hundred elements and a two, large reflectors.

Location, location, location.

Indoor and loft mounted aerials are not recommended for digital TV reception. In the case of the former they may work in very good signal areas but even then it’s likely that viewing and recording will be interrupted on occasion. Loft mounted aerials will receive a lower signal but will work in good reception areas and have been known to provide adequate reception in moderate signal areas. In the case of loft mounted aerials the signal is affected by walls and tiles but can also be disrupted by water tanks, electrical cabling and water pipes. If you’re installing a loft aerial positioning this away from these fixtures is advised. External, rooftop aerials are the most suitable in any area and are ideal in poorer signal areas. They’ll be affected by trees, buildings and other aerials, so they should be positioned to avoid interference from these; the rod should point directly towards the transmitter for the best signal.

Stormy Weather and Prolonged Problems

On occasion poor weather conditions can affect your digital TV reception. Heavy rain, snow and high winds may cause temporary problems, while prolonged periods of high pressure can also disrupt the signal. Reception problems caused by the conditions will resolve themselves once the worst is over! Engineering work on transmitters will occasionally cause a loss of service; this is advertised in advance on the Digital UK site. If you’ve checked all cabling, aerials and retuned your set but are still experiencing problems, contact the BBC to report reception problems with terrestrial TV services, or your provider for cable and satellite TV.

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