Do I need a New Aerial For Digital TV and Why Does It cost so Much?

By: Susan Sportman

Firstly let's answer the question, do I need a new aerial for Digital TV reception? Simple answer - no. If you're getting a good reception for Freeview already there's no need to change it. In fact, in reality there is very little difference between an analogue TV aerial and a digital TV aerial. Essentially they are the same thing. A lump of metal with a large surface area to capture radio signals. The best digital aerial you can get is a Group W or wideband high gain aerial with a mounted amplifier.

These aerials cost anywhere from 40 to 70.

A digital signal is less forgiving than an analogue one. If you've got poor reception you'll get either no signal, blocking or jumping. Blocking is where the picture breaks up into blocks and jumping is where the TV sounds like it's having a fit. An analogue signal will at least give you a picture, albeit a grainy one. If your TV aerial is mounted in the roof - sometimes the case in London - then this maybe the cause of the problem. The roof tiles and any metal in your roof will reduce the signal your aerial receives by as much as 50%. So, instead of replacing the aerial your best solution is to remount it on the roof. The higher the mast, generally the better the signal.

So, now you've decided to move or purchase a new aerial, what will it cost?

Well, an average aerial installation - supply and fit - in London will cost 150 + VAT. This is broken down by aerial 50, brackets and parts 10, cable 10 and labour at 80. An average aerial installation takes about an hour.

How much? A Satellite engineer charging 80 per hour!

Yes, but think it through.

Climbing ladders and working on top of roofs is a dangerous activity. And this is reflected in the insurance premiums for satellite engineers.

It may only take an hour or so but it takes time to travel to and from your premises. In London this can easily add another hour to the total project time.

Free quotations. Yes, free quotations are never really free. A good engineer will win 1 in 3 quotes if he/she is sensibly priced. But the other 2 still cost money.

Time, travel and petrol. And this is factored into the price. It's a sad fact that the timewasters who call a trades person out for a quote at the drop of a hat, with no intention of buying, actually cost us all more money for our services.

Finally, demand. It is a little known fact that there is a chronic shortage of satellite and aerial engineers in the UK. Especially in London. And as there is less competition this means longer waiting times for customers to even get an engineer and higher prices when they do.

I hope this has cleared a few things up for you.

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Just a short article from a guy who has worked for a company called Arial Installer London for a long time.

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