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Are TV aerials becoming obsolete?


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Prompted by @Ralph's thread about amplified TV aerials, and beginning the first fix wiring on my build I am questioning the requirement for antennae and signal distribution in the house.

For a bit of context:

 

We will be 6km from a transmitter that supplies national and local DAB, DVB and FM, so even a bent coat hanger in the clear will get a usable signal. Internal aerials might work, but they are only so good when there's lots of graphite and foil insulating the house and a garden full of mature oak trees between them and the transmitter - FM is not so bad, but DAB and DVB do degrade a fair bit in rain. So if I put up antennae, the signal needs distribution to several areas of the house and needs to cover all the bases. It's easy and cheap enough, but needs planning and doing in this stage of the work and if we can get away without then it's a time and cost saver.

My plan would be three separate antennae into a 3 input / N output distibution amplifier with a 1GHz cutoff filter built in since it looks to be cheaper and better than messing with a combined (compromised) amplified single antenna into a single input distribution unit, at least in terms of RF performance. The asthetics of multiple antennae are of course less good. But at least all of the antennae can be small - high gain and narrow beamwidths aren't really required here.

 

We will have tolerable broadband and there is a good chance of it getting better in the next couple of years, but I can't see fibre to the house happening for a long time because of ANOB, private road and isolated community type reasons. (The house is approximately 400m from the nearest fibre cabinet.) I can see running 2 VPNs for us each working from home using all the available bandwidth leaving nothing for a radio stream. Not that I work from home much - I can't exactly bring my work toys home, and I wouldn't enjoy the electric bill for them! We aren't watching that much TV these days - too busy working on the house - and much of what we do watch is from on demand services. But this will hopefully change when we are less busy and we all like to listen to the radio while working at home.

 

10 years from now, the decision would probably be easy. There might be a date set for switching off broadcast TV and FM radio.  But currently it's looking fairly open ended. We don't intend to sell the house for at least 20 years, but plans do change. So on balance, I believe receiving broadcast signals is still a requirement for the house, although this will drop away as time goes on, but would like to canvas opinions.

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We haven't used Sat/Terrestrial TV for last few years, our solution is an old Android phone as remote (with BBC iPlayer, All 4, Netflix, Prime Apps) and Chromecast. We are not planning to put any antenna or Coax cables in our upgrade, we will provision CAT5/6 to TV locations.

There are many solutions now for IP

https://tvplayer.com/uk/watch

Chromecast

Apple TV  and other sticks

If internet speed is a concern then a centralized network tuner might work if needed in future

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Silicondust-HDHomeRun-CONNECT-Network-software/dp/B07BFPWBNS/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=Fire+TV+Recast&qid=1616675681&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzODUwTFZLVlJCOVlRJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNTAxMzc4MzRMNVJVQUZUMzIyMCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMDI4NDkxM05LVjVINDRYSURTRyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

or Amazon solution when it comes to UK

https://www.amazon.com/Fire-TV-Recast-over-the-air-DVR-500GB-75-hours/dp/B01J6A6H74

 

I work in this industry and there is a clear trend to move to IP. There is recognition of band width issues and lot of research is ongoing on better compression. You can now get reliable HD stream on ADSL. 

Edited by severnside
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5 hours ago, dnb said:

We will have tolerable broadband and there is a good chance of it getting better in the next couple of years, but I can't see fibre to the house happening for a long time because of ANOB, private road and isolated community type reasons. (The house is approximately 400m from the nearest fibre cabinet.) I can see running 2 VPNs for us each working from home using all the available bandwidth leaving nothing for a radio stream.

 

I know VPN can have an impact on performance, but we regularly stream media to two different TVs at the same time, and there's still plenty of bandwidth left to simultaneously video conference on a PC. We're about the same distance from the cabinet as you, and typically get around 30mbps. 

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  • 7 months later...

This is interesting. In our current house we use an aerial in the attic for Freeview and it works albeit passing lorries can shake up the signal from time to time. If all goes to plan this house could be demolished in about a year to make way for a new passivehouse. I am giving thought right now to things like TV, broadband etc. We can get by with Freeview and iplayer so my question is - obviously you can access the latter via a broadband connection but is there anyway to access Freeview through the internet instead of through a rooftop aerial? Or will there likely be in the next couple of years? thanks

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I watch a lot using IPTV and if you use a paid for VPN it doesn't restrict the speed. I use cyberghost as I can use up to 8 devices with one account. A free version is just a no if you want to watch it without buffering.

I suspect  using  TV aerials will still be needed for another 15 years at least. Broadband speeds in many parts of the country aren't fast enough at the moment. If mine drops below 20meg then it will judder and skip a few frames. Go below 10meg and it's just not watchable at all.

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  • 1 month later...
On 25/03/2021 at 11:57, dnb said:

Prompted by @Ralph's thread about amplified TV aerials, and beginning the first fix wiring on my build I am questioning the requirement for antennae and signal distribution in the house.

This is an interesting debate. My personal view is that it will take quite a long time, probably longer than 15 years, for there to be really reliable fast internet coverage in the whole of the British Isles. The large players are only interested in servicing high population density areas and it's unfair on low density areas. Tesla's star link will hopefully help, but it is still too unaffordable for many. Until there is reliable internet everywhere, it would probably be a breach of human rights to cut off Television signals. The UN 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers". Removing the TV broadcast signal would deprive those that:

  • cannot afford a high speed internet connection from television; or
  • those that don't know how to use internet tv.

There are plenty on here who struggle to get a decent high speed connection.

 

In the second category - I have an 88 year old grandmother who is quite tech savvy, but she's in the minority for her age group. She's on what's app and even knows how to use all the emoticons that I don't even know how to use, but she tells me that few of her friends know how to use whatsapp. My 70 year old mother in law is at the opposite end of the spectrum. She can do copy and paste, but little else on a PC. Only just managed to teach her how to use Netflix the other day, iplayer is still a challenge for her and I don't predict she'll be any better in 15 years' time.

 

Irrespective of politics/human rights, whilst I agree that 99.9% of my tv consumption is via internet streaming, even living in London we were without reliable internet for about 6 weeks whilst Virgin messed us around. There was some glitch in their local distribution system and it took them 6 weeks to fix  it. During that time (last year in the middle of a lockdown), working from home was a nightmare and I ended up running large data costs on my mobile. I therefore always like to have an aerial as a backup. Particularly for sports which I always prefer live. Imagine watching the world cup final, everybody is watching it and then your connection starts to buffer. Nightmare.

 

On 25/03/2021 at 12:38, severnside said:

 

This is an interesting technology I was not aware of which may assist with an issue I'm having in that we now want to relocate the location of the TV to the other side of the room and they have already plaster boarded and skimmed. But I'm not sure I understand how this Silicondust tech works. Once I plug in an aerial, I understand that it converts that signal into a wifi signal, but how do my devices, such as a regular smart TV, pick up that signal. There is a reference on the amazon page to needing to pay a subscription to get the guide. That would piss me off when it is freely available on a tv:

 

"You can watch Live TV through our HDHomeRun DVR app using our SliceView EPG and you can record, pause, rewind and schedule your favourite shows using the HDHomeRun DVR service*.

* Requires Guide Subscription"

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Mostly satellite here, Terrestrial is not a good signal.

 

While we do use IP tv for some things, it still just seems so "wrong" to be using precious bandwidth on a creaking poor internet system when that high bandwidth data at keast for broadcast tv is better provided with an aerial.

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The two corner reflector / trough antennaes I've made for neighbours work an absolute treat on DVB-T and then some. Horizontally polarized. A bit large at these frequencies. One is made from galv mesh the other from sheet ali.

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Haven't watched tv in over 10 years. Binned the TV tax.

 

Not missed. I don't need leftie indoctrination at a cost of £15/m. The can all f*ck off.

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9 hours ago, saveasteading said:

 

I don't think we do politics here. Or  swearing, whether asterisked or not..

 

Yeah the mods will pick up on things like that, it won't be received well. Might even dish out a ban and you'll have to go through the proper channels to coax them into letting you back in. 

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On 25/03/2021 at 11:57, dnb said:

... I believe receiving broadcast signals is still a requirement for the house, although this will drop away as time goes on, but would like to canvas opinions.

 

Correct, but forget the issue. Our BCO was not interested. Neither are we.

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If you have decent internet then you don't need an arial - I haven't had an arial for 5 years and I only have marginal internet (20Mb) which may not be good for some but with 4 kids it is not for us!

 

Some of my neighbours have put in 4G internet and get 45Mbs and one has Skylink and gets over 100Mb and typically 150Mb - 4G is not much more than the cost of regular broadband. Skylink is £89 a month I think.

 

If you have internet, no arial required.

 

About 6 years ago one of the trendy millennials at work asked me quizzically "do you watch linear TV?". I have to say, I now know what he meant and don't watch it anymore!

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14 hours ago, Faz said:

Haven't watched tv in over 10 years. Binned the TV tax.

 

Not missed. I don't need leftie indoctrination at a cost of £15/m. The can all f*ck off.

Pointless isn't that bad.

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14 hours ago, Faz said:

Haven't watched tv in over 10 years. Binned the TV tax.

 

Not missed. I don't need leftie indoctrination at a cost of £15/m. The can all f*ck off.

Not had TV for 25 years now.

All the good stuff you can download illegally anyway.

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My interest is in the best quality footage whether that is HD or 4K but without paying to view the latter. There is a tiny bit of 4K on iplayer for example. I don't think that there is currently any 4K content broadcast on either Freeview or Freesat but would love to be corrected. Does anyone know if/when 4K will start to come on stream on Freeview/sat? 

Same goes for Dolby Atmos content.

Finally is there any easy to use website to plug in your postcode that will then show the direction and angle the Freesat satellite is at as we are quite shaded to our southeast where I suspect it lies?

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1 hour ago, markharro said:

website to plug in your postcode that will then show the direction and angle the Freesat satellite

It is easy enough to find by searching online. Pointing the dish is rather more difficult and there is a meter for that (even in b and q I think.

For horizontal direction finding I use google earth...draw a line from the transmitter and then you can see the line of sight you need when up on the roof.

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39 minutes ago, saveasteading said:

draw a line from the transmitter and then you can see the line of sight you need when up on the roof.

Can see the Redruth transmitter from most of Cornwall, and probably bits of Devon.

173 metres high, on top of a 240m hill.

220px-Four_Lanes_Transmitter_%28Redruth%29.jpg

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