Digital TV with an indoor aerial

  WHU 18:17 16 Nov 2005

Im looking into buying a new pc, and am tempted into buying a pc with Windows Media Center. As im living at home at the moment i would only be able to use an indoor TV aerial. Is it possible to receive good quality digital TV pictures with an indoor aerial?
I know alot depends on the strength of the signal, and as i live in London i presume its as good as it can be at the moment. Ive tried connecting my indoor aerial to our digital TV in the living room and the picture was ok sometimes, but went blocky othertimes, and sometimes no signal at all.
I admit the aerial im using is probably a good few years old now. I have seen the TV aerial boosters for sale, are these really any good?
Apart from getting another aerial connection run down for our outdoor aerial, are there any other alternatives?
Many thanks.

  Arnie 18:52 16 Nov 2005

What is the quality of the picture on your living room TV? If it is ok, buy a two-outlet signal amplifier around 6db gain. Feed the main aerial to the input of the amplifier. Take one output to the living room set. Take the other to your Media Centre.

If you need a long run of cable to your setup, make sure it is low loss 75 Ohms. CT100 should be ok. Your friendly TV dealer or electronics shop should be able to supply your requirements.

  Stuartli 19:26 16 Nov 2005

If your TV aerial is a few years old, then it is likely to be a narrowband rather than a wideband type, which is usually required to bring in all the digital channels.

In addition, digital signals are not as strong even though the new Freeview consortium has improved this aspect over the former ON/ITVDigital days. An indoor aerial is almost certain unsuitable.

I had a wideband aerial erected about six or seven years ago because, even though I only live a short distance from Winter Hill, my then ONDigital set top box couldn't receive the middle number channels using a narrowband type.

Our main room is at the back of the house and a twin output aerial amplifier was purchased to feed the main TV, with a 60 length of coaxial cable under the floorboards being used for the front room TV (we were having a new damp course built which made it easier to run the cable this way).

When I acquired a TwinHan Freeview DTV-ter PCI TV card for my computer system a year ago, also in the front room, I bought a second twin output aerial amplifer. This is connected to the 60ft coaxial cable and feeds the TV, with a second 15ft length of coaxial cable used for the PCI card.

It ensures that I can pick up all the 80+ TV and radio Freeview channels on my computer and enjoy excellent pictures and sound, despite the considerable length of coaxial cables involved.

  WHU 20:18 16 Nov 2005

Thanks for the replies. The picture on the downstairs digital TV is very good, never have any problems and can pick up all the channels. As i mentioned im living at home with the parents at the moment, so want my media center pc for upstairs in my bedroom. I really dont want to start running cables everywhere. If it was my house i wouldnt mind, but as its my parents i know they wont be keen on the idea. Im hoping to buy my own place in the next 6 months or so, which is why i was looking at media pcs now as it would save me buying a music center, digital tv, dvd player/recorder, surround sound system when i bought my own property.
So although my problem could only be temporary, it would be nice to be able to use the digital TV and recording facilities while im here.
So really my only solution would be an indoor aerial, or booster, which is why i was wondering if it would work ok.
If it wouldnt, then im thinking is it worth me buying a media pc now, as i wont get the full benifits.

  oresome 21:01 16 Nov 2005

See which direction external aerials in the street are pointing.

Can you point an aerial in the same direction through your bedroom window without obstruction?

If so, you may be in with a chance using a good quality indoor aerial, but in general the aerial and it's siting are key to receiving good quality images.

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