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How to install a Freeview aerial

Updated February 21, 2017

Freeview is delivered through the normal terrestrial aerial transmitter network in the UK and receiving it is no more complicated than receiving a "normal" TV signal. Freeview is a digital transmission and the Confederation of Aerial Industries warns that this may cause reception problems in some areas, especially when using set-top or loft aerials. Installing a Freeview aerial follows the same process as installing a normal TV aerial. The same aerial is used for both signals.

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  1. Observe the aerials on surrounding rooftops and note the direction in which they point. Talk to neighbors and ask whether they have good digital reception using loft and roof aerials. After considering this information, decide whether to mount the aerial on the roof or in the loft space.

  2. Establish the direction of nearby aerials using a compass. Note the compass bearing. Visit the Digital TV Reception website as an alternative way to locate the nearest transmitter and find the compass bearing to the transmitter tower.

  3. Clamp the new aerial to an existing aerial mount, or install a new one according to the manufacturer's instructions. Attach the aerial to any suitable structure within a loft, but avoid positioning it behind water tanks or other large metallic objects.

  4. Point the aerial at the nearest transmitter, using your compass and the bearing to the nearest transmitter to guide you. Align your rooftop aerial with your neighbours' aerials and then make further tuning adjustments using your compass.

  5. Connect a length of coaxial cable to the aerial using the method prescribed by the manufacturer's instructions. This is usually via two screw terminals or two push-in clamps within a small plastic box.

  6. Attach the free end of the coaxial cable to a portable TV set capable of receiving Freeview broadcasts, or to a Freeview box connected to a portable TV set. Steve Larkins, an electronics engineer and Freeview expert, recommends tuning the TV to BBC One or ITV 1 and then adjusting the aerial position to achieve the best reception.

  7. Tip

    If your TV has good picture quality on the existing terrestrial stations, you probably will not need to install a Freeview aerial.

    A loft aerial may be hung from two or more lengths of string, or screwed to a wooden strut.


    Tell somebody before you work on a roof or in a loft space. Rescue is unlikely in an isolated location unless somebody knows where you are.

    Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as a harness when working on a roof, and a breathing mask when working in a loft space containing particle or fibreglass insulation.

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Things You'll Need

  • Compass
  • Coaxial cable with TV aerial connector on one end
  • Portable Freeview TV or TV and Freeview box

About the Author

David Robinson

David Robinson has written professionally since 2000. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. He has written for the "Telegraph" and "Guardian" newspapers in the U.K., government publications, websites, magazines and school textbooks. He holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in geography and education and a teaching certificate from Durham University, England.

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