A basic aerial system is required for almost all properties and in its simplest form will consist of an aerial mounted externally high up on the building, with a down lead to an outlet plate near the television.
For years, this was as complicated as the installation ever became, the next development being the Redifusion connection, which was a wired radio and television broadcast system, originally implemented to assist reception of television channels in areas of the country who were experiencing problems due to the terrain. Redifusion was based around rebroadcasts of BBC material in the beginning and quickly moved into provision of television programmes in their own right.
Redifusion systems were basically early cable TV solutions we still use today. Some of you may remember visiting your grandparents (as I do) and continually twiddling the control knob, which was mounted near the window, to change the channel, all without having to retune the TV!
These early systems were based around the fact we only had 1 television per household, if you were lucky and adding another TV could usually be achieved by using a splitter in the down lead to feed the signal to another TV elsewhere in the property.
In the modern world of interconnected systems, smart TV’s, satellite broadcasts and multi-media streaming, clearly a simple aerial with down lead and outlet would not be sufficient. Now we have to think about the quantity and types of devices we would like to view television programmes on.
A standard setup, which would be suitable for most homes, would be an aerial array (consisting of Terestrial TV, DAB Radio and Radio aerials) mounted high on the building and in clear line of sight of the transmitter, with a combiner unit (combines all the signals) which is then connected to an aerial amplifier. The outputs of the amplifier, which are available in a number of options to suit your scenario, are fed through single down leads to a Diplexer outlet plate, to split the signals for TV and radio services.
This would allow Radio and television services to be received in the required rooms, all with the minimum of cabling. The down side to this installation is that it is only designed for terrestrial (Digital) television, radio and DAB radio broadcasts, satellite television is not catered for at all.
Where a single satellite receiver is required, probably in the sitting room or lounge, this was separately cabled from the satellite dish LNB (Low Noise Block) to the receiver. Hybrid systems were also used where the RF2 output of the most common satellite receiver (Sky box) was also fed back into another room, more often than not the master bedroom, to allow the images and sound broadcast on the sitting room TV to be shown in the master bedroom also.
With the invention of the Sky + satellite receiver, suddenly there was a need for two feed cables from the satellite dish LNB to the receiver, due to the way the satellite signal is transmitted. While the Sky + box has been hailed as one of the best inventions of all time, it does make the aerial systems for modern homes much more complicated than the humble beginnings described above.
A new system would consist of an aerial array as described above and four feeds from the satellite dish LNB all being connected into a multiswitch. This piece of equipment has the ability to combine the required satellite, DAB radio, terrestrial television and radio services and feed them all, using two down leads to each location, to any number of rooms around the building, providing the ability for Sky + and all the standard signals at each location.
Clearly a multiswitch is much more expensive than a simple aerial amplifier, but it does allow for all options, now and in the future, without having to rewire parts of the system and is well worth the investment. By adding a combiner unit to the aerial input of the multiswitch, it is also possible to send CCTV images across the system to be viewed in any location.
If you are thinking about upgrading or installing an aerial system, multiswitches are a very good option. Speak with a registered aerial specialist to run through your requirements.
Click here to visit the CAI (confederation of Aerial Industries) website to find an installer near you