FAQs, Jargon Buster & Facts

What is Freeview?

Freeview is a free digital service that allows you to recieve around sixty additional Television and Radio channels. For a full list of channels click here.

Do I need a digital aerial to get all the Freeview channels?

There is no such thing as a 'digital aerial'; many people will tell you there is but it's simply not true. As with all things, technology has moved on from when aerials were first designed. Modern aerials, often called 'digital aerials', are designed to receive signals more efficiently and look very different to older aerials.

I can get some Freeview channels but they keep breaking up, what should I do?

If you can't receive the full range of Freeview channels or you are experiencing break-up or pixcelation, then you are not receiving a strong enough signal. This could be due to the aerial not being of a suitable size, or problems with any of the components in your aerial system. An engineer's diagnostic could determine the cause of the problem and would diagnose a solution.

I have more than one TV; do I need an aerial for each one?

You don't need more than one aerial to operate multiple TV's, typically a block of flats will only have one aerial serving all the flats. A Multipoint digital media system allows you to run an infinite number of TV's from one aerial or satellite dish, or have TV and satellite points in every room. You can also incorporate FM &/or DAB radio into a Multipoint digital media system, and provide TV, Satellite & FM/DAB outlets in each room.

HD Ready TVMy TV is HD Ready; can I get all the HD channels?

If your TV has this logo, it means that the it has a high resolution screen (usually 1080p) and it is ready for an HD signal input from equipment like a Sky+ HD box, Freeview or Freesat HD box, Blu-ray DVD player or a games console like a PS3/4 or an X-Box.

How do I get the HD channels?

To get HD channels you either need to have a TV with Freeview HD or Freesat HD built into it, or you need to connect an HD receiver box to the TV with an HDMI cable, like a Sky+ HD box or a Freeview HD or Freesat HD box.

Do I have to pay extra for the HD channels?

There are some HD channels which you can get for free; all the other HD channels are subscription only. Sky now has over 50 HD channels, with a Sky+ HD box and an HD subscription, however the following HD channels are free to air:

BBC HDBBC 1 HDITV 1 HDChannel4 HDChannel 5 HD

What is Freesat?

Freesat is a free satellite service provided by Freesat (UK) Ltd. It includes channels from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 network channels and many more. For a full list of channels click here.

What is Freesat from SKY?

Freesat from SKY is a limited, staellite broadcast, non-subscription service from Sky.

Can I have digital TV in more than one room?

Multi-room digital TV is not as simple to achieve as with analogue TV, as it requires multiple receivers or a central distribution system. TV-SAS Herts & Essex can advise, supply and install multi-room systems.

Jargon Buster

Aerial / Antenna – A carefully shaped metal device designed specifically to receive the radio waves used to transmit TV signals (this is the pointed piece of metal that sits on top of your TV; on the roof; or in your loft).

Amplifier – If you are struggling to receive a TV signal it can often it can be down to a poor aerial. In some rural areas, sometimes an amplifier is recommended and it does exactly what it’s name implies by amplifying the whole signal. However, whilst many people think it's the easiest way to fix the problem, because it amplifies the interference as well as the correct signal, in many cases an amplifier (also called a signal booster) can often make things worse.

Analogue – Analogue refers to the TV (and radio) signal transmitted and has been the standard signal for TV and radio broadcasting since they first came ‘On Air’. By continuously varying the frequency of this signal TV pictures and radio are able to be transmitted. Your TV or Radio is designed to convert the variations in that signal back into images or sound.

Aspect Ratio – Aspect Ratio is essentially the pre-set height and width proportions of your TV screen. Traditionally TV screens were rather square and used what's known as a 4:3 aspect ratio (4 units wide and 3 high), however nowadays widescreen TV has started to use the much more natural 16:9 aspect ratio which is essentially more of an envelope shape, which is more natural for the eyes and more realistic.

CAI – Confederation of Aerial Industries. 

CAT5 – Category 5 is the standard type of cabling used for computer to computer networking. It's also used to connect modern internet-TV-capable equipment to home broadband signals.

Coax – Coaxial Cable (better known as aerial cable) is the cable that is used in all types of TV signal distribution systems. This cable is often best when relatively thick and contains multiple layers (at least one of which shields the signals being conducted down the cable from external interference so giving a purer final signal).  On older setups, unexpected signal loss can be attributed to coaxial cable which has broken down through being exposed to the elements for too long. At Digital & Satellite we only use high quality CAI Benchmarked double screened cable.

Composite Video – Composite video is essentially the part of the video signal without 'audio'. It's comprised of three main signals known as YUV which represent different colour spaces namely RGB (Red Green and Blue). Most Televisions have composite video ports for backwards compatibility, but the technology has largely been replaced by SCART.

SCART – A SCART lead is a 21-pin oblong connector that's become a standard within the industry. It's been widely regarded as the precursor to HDMI, and today, most televisions have at least one, if not two SCART ports. You can use ‘SCART cables’ (cables with a SCART plug or socket on either end) to connect set top boxes, DVD players, Hi-Fi systems, and even more.

DAB – Digital Audio Broadcasting is the latest evolution of FM radio and instead of using an analogue signal to broadcast radio, it digitizes the signal.

Digital Terrestrial TV – Digital Terrestrial TV is, as with DAB, the latest TV evolution and the replacement for Analogue TV. Still using the radio airwaves to broadcast the signal, Digital Terrestrial TV ‘digitizes’ it allowing hundreds of channels to be made available instead of just a handful.

DVR – A Digital Video Recorder is essentially the evolution of your VCR. Instead of recording TV to video tapes, a DVR can record direct to an internal hard disk which can often store hundreds of hours of programmes. Many DVR recorders also have DVD drivers allowing you to record directly to your CD and or DVD.

DTS – Digital Theatre System is a sound system that many home cinemas support and is essentially a rival to the popular Dolby sound systems.

Dolby – Dolby pro logic, Dolby AC-3 and Dolby Digital are examples of high quality sound encodings that allow you to fully enjoy features such as ‘Surround Sound’ at home. Dolby True HD is their latest incarnation and it can support up to seven 96 kHz  channels ensuring an unforgettable audio experience.

Diplexer  – Combines two or more aerial cables into one single aerial (coaxial) cable.

Distribution amplifier – Usually located in your loft, this is where the digital signal is distributed evenly around your home or flat. It is important to verify (test) the signal being received before simply fitting one of these.

F connector – Terminates coaxial cable for insertion to appliance (the plug that terminates an aerial cable).

FM – Stereo analogue radio reception, alternative to DAB, but cannot receive DAB radio signals

FM aerial – Boosts FM radio reception

Freesat – Launched in 2008 Freesat is an alternative to Freeview, capable of receiving TV signals through a satellite dish, which means 98% of people can get it, even where Freeview reception may be difficult.

Freeview  – Digital Terrestrial TV. The TV digital channels now being provided by the UK’s mainstream broadcasters.

Ghosting – Repeat image(s) on analogue TV sets, caused by a reflected signal. The reflected signal arrives at the aerial a split second after the original signal, and because the TV set can’t tell the difference between the validity of the first and second signals, it displays them both causing a secondary image on the screen.

Grouped aerial – A TV aerial capable of receiving a range of UHF (terrestrial TV) channels.

High-gain aerial – Multi-element aerial that utilises 32 elements, or more. Sometimes used where signals are weaker.

IPTV – Internet Protocol Television, a new way of viewing television through the internet.

IRS – Integrated Reception System: A system providing UHF, Sky and radio, which also enables connection of individual Sky boxes.

LCD – Liquid Crystal Display: A flat panel TV. Alternative to plasma screens.

LNB – Low Noise Block. Receives the collected signals reflected from the satellite dish and transmits them to the attached co-axial aerial cable.

Magic eye –Device which lets you control your Sky box from another room.

MATV – Master Aerial TV: a UHF (terrestrial TV) reception distribution system.

MUX – This is where groups of Freeview channels are broadcast on a single UHF channel. This is known as a multiplexer.

Multi-switch – One Sky dish receives the signal for multiple Sky boxes, usually used in apartment buildings & hotels.

Faceplate – Mounted to a Patrice box, this is where you plug your TV into the wall.

Pixellating – Caused by a defective signal which produces a jigsaw like or frozen image on the screen.

Plasma – Flat Panel/Screen TV which is an alternative to LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)

Pre-amplifier – The signal amplifier is installed directly on the aerial and requires a power supply unit. Also called a Masthead amplifier.

PSU – Power Supply Unit, This converts the mains voltage to 12v, and is used to power the pre-amplifier.

Set top box – Sits on top of the TV set - usually a Sky box, Freeview box, DVD player or VCR

Sky Digital – Sky digital satellite system providing access to hundreds of digital channels and a vast range of pay to view movies, interactive services and radio stations.

Sky+ – Sky digital with recording facilities. Allows the viewer to control what they watch by pausing, rewinding and playing live TV! You can also record and watch 2 channels at the same time.

Sky HD – Sky HD brings a new home-viewing experience by providing images in much greater detail and more vibrant colours. It comes complete with full recording facilities as Sky+. HD Compatible TV subscriptions are required to take full advantage of a Sky HD system.

Sky Freesat– Sky digital system providing access to a range of Free to Air channels with no monthly subscription required.

SMATV – Satellite Master Aerial TV, A Sky/UHF reception and distribution system.

Splitter – Splits signals between two or more TV’s.

Tetra – Terrestrial Trunked Radio. Used by the Emergency Services.

Tetra filter – Blocks interference from Tetra transmissions.

Top-Up TV – Pay as you go Digital TV. Requires a Top-Up TV box.

UHF –Ultra High Frequencies, the range of frequencies used to broadcast terrestrial TV in the UK.

VHF – Very High Frequencies, the range of frequencies used to broadcast terrestrial radio signals in the UK

Wall bracket – Secures an LCD or Plasma screen TV to the mounting surface.

Wideband aerial – A TV aerial used to receive UHF channels 21-68.