Indoor Aerial Pros and Cons

 

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Fitting indoor loft TV aerials generally results in less than half the signal strength of an external roof mounted aerial due to the attenuation of roof tiles and roofing materials. There is also a reduction in received signal strength resulting from the lower height when installing indoor aerials compared to roof top aerials.

However, to DIY install an indoor aerial in a loft does have some advantages. For example, it suffers no weather damage, rain ingression or plastic UV degradation from the sun - so there some benefits in installing indoor aerials over the 10 year life expectancy of a roof-top aerial in the UK. Loft aerials also provide aesthetic advantages and where restrictive covenants exist in the deeds of a property forbidding external installation, fitting a high gain wideband loft aerial for TV reception may be the only viable option.

Poor Indoor Aerial Reception Scenarios

Where the direction to the TV transmitter means that an indoor aerial needs pointing through solid walls rather than tiles in your loft, UHF signal attenuation can be much higher. If you are in a row of houses and the aerial has to point through multiple party walls and roof-spaces, then you can expect very poor reception and weak TV signal levels from your attic aerial, even quite close to the transmitter. A masthead aerial amplifier will help a little in these circumstances, especially if you're using a long cable run from the aerial. For better results, consider installing a high gain Freeview TV aerial - roof mounted (if permitted).

Common Causes of Poor TV Reception

Installing indoor TV aerials in your loft may give a poor signal if: -

Foil or Lead Roofing Materials - Metal foil roof materials have been used in the loft of your property.

Hills and tall buildings - The line of sight path to the TV transmitter is partially or totally obstructed by nearby hills or building/s.

Trees - The path to the TV transmitter is directly through nearby tall trees. In this case, TV reception problems may only become apparent during high winds and stormy weather when the trees move more. At the author’s location large TV signal fluctuations due to trees is a serious problem and a good quality external aerial has improved the problem, but not fully eliminated it, even though the TV transmitter is only 7 miles away!

Junk in the Attic - Your loft aerial installation points through a neighbour's roof space and they have a junk filled attic or your loft has lots of metallic items close to the aerial installation position, which can de-tune the aerial.

Water Tanks - The aerial has to be installed behind water tanks or close to pipes, which will de-tune it.

High UHF Channels - The TV transmitter serving your area transmits on high number UHF channels (channel numbers above 40), which suffer much greater signal loss through roof tiles and walls. TV channels or DVB-T multiplexes on high UHF frequencies (Ch50 - 68) can be badly attenuated if you install a loft aerial.