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Tuning your indoor aerial

Checking Test reports and buying your indoor aerial is only a first step. Here we give some tuning tips. Also see Reception problems and related FAQs.


  • Digital boxes or TVs are designed to tune automatically. Unfortunately, if your signal is too weak, this will fail because the receiver can't 'lock on' to the stations properly. 
  • A way around this is, if you have a rooftop aerial, you can use it to tune in your digital box or TV. Once tuned, the new digital product will 'remember' all the stations, even when you move it into another room and connect it to the indoor aerial.
  • If you don't  have a rooftop aerial, it's worth asking somebody else who lives nearby - someone using the same transmitter - if you can tune in your digital box using their rooftop aerial.


  • Try to avoid putting it near a central-heating boiler, microwave oven or electrical switches or motors, as any of these could cause interference to the picture and sound.
  • We found we generally got a better signal near to a window - though not usually slap bang in front of it. And the best reception was high up - above head height.
  • If you find the best position is some distance from where you want the TV, you can buy an aerial extension cable cheaply at an electrical accessory shop.

Checking channels

You're quite likely to find you can get good reception on several stations but that others are poor, with the picture breaking up, or nonexistent. Try each of the following six channels: BBC One, ITV, QVC (The Shopping Channel), BBC HD, Sky News and 4 Music.  If you can get good reception on these channels, you can be confident that your aerial will receive all the channels and radio stations. Try shifting the position of the aerial for any of the six channels if you don't get them immediately.


  • In all, there are six of these. For example, most BBC stations are broadcast together on 'multiplex 1'. This means that, if you can get a good picture on BBC One, then you should get a good picture on several other BBC channels. You need check only one channel from each multiplex.
  • You may find that you have good reception on some multiplexes, but others are not so good, with the picture breaking up.
  • Locating the aerial higher up or nearer a window may help. A good quality aerial amplifier may make a difference but only where reception is nearly there but the picture is breaking up.

Last updated: July 2013

Main page: Indoor aerials