When Do You Need to Replace Your TV Antenna?
With the ever-changing landscape of television viewing, you may be wondering if it’s time to replace your TV antenna. There might be any number of reasons for considering a TV antenna replacement.
Australia phased out all analogue channels back in 2013 and these days all stations are digital only. If you’re still using an old-fashioned TV antenna, it might be time to upgrade.
So here are the signs you may need an antenna upgrade, the different options you have – which may not even involve an antenna – the cost involved in TV antenna installation and more.
Signs You Need to Replace Your TV Antenna
Old-fashioned analogue TV antennas are sturdy and can last from 10 to 20 years. Some may last even longer, which is impressive considering the harsh weather conditions they endure. But there’s more to consider than just wear and tear. Technology has changed radically and there are now a host of other options on offer when it comes to television viewing.
Here are a few signs you may need to consider replacing your old TV antenna:
- No signal on starting up – If your TV takes more than a few seconds to start and tells you it’s “searching for signal”, that’s a sign that your antenna has deteriorated and is only going to get worse.
- Solar panel installation – If you’re installing solar panels you may need to move your TV antenna or replace it. If you’re going to that trouble, why not replace it with a digital antenna?
- Frozen image – If you’re experiencing the image freezing on your TV screen, it’s another sign that your antenna is deteriorating.
- Construction work – Rooftop TV antennas are directional and if something gets in the way of the broadcast tower, such as nearby construction, then you’re going to lose the signal, which might mean switching to an indoor antenna, which has its limitations, or something else.
- Loss of image quality – A loss of image quality or a snowy image are signs that your TV antenna has deteriorated and is on its way out.
- Loss of signal – If you lose the signal completely, it’s almost certainly a sign of your TV antenna failing. It could be a fault with the television itself, the coaxial cable or a receiver, but that’s rare.
- Channel loss – If you suffer a complete channel loss, you’re in need of a new TV antenna. When TV channels start disappearing, it’s almost certainly a sign that the aerial is on its last legs.
What Are TV Antenna Alternatives?
There are several alternatives to TV antennas, but first let’s consider upgrading to a digital antenna.
What is a digital antenna? Most importantly, it’s a TV antenna designed to receive digital TV signals on the VHF (Very High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) bands.
Like traditional TV antennas, it’s usually located outside on your roof, which helps to get the clearest signal. An indoor antenna is an option but the signal will not be as strong.
The digital antenna is then connected to a cable which runs inside to your TV. While a traditional analogue TV antenna can receive digital signals, the quality of picture and sound will be superior with an antenna designed specifically to receive digital signals.
What Are the Other Options?
There are several other options to having an outside or inside TV antenna.
Let’s consider the alternatives to having your television connected to an antenna.
- Satellite dish – With a satellite dish you can access hundreds of extra TV channels, which are all free. The size of the dish required depends on how many channels you want to access. Ideal for those living in remote areas.
- Cable – Cable TV’s popularity has waned in recent years, but it’s still one of the most reliable methods. It’s affordable, offers plenty of variety and is ideal for sports lovers (many major events are broadcast live on cable).
- Wi-Fi – If you’ve got a smart TV you can connect to the live-to-air stations, various streaming services and more through apps, although you will need a set top box (such as a Foxtel or Telstra TV) to make that connection.
How Much Will It Cost?
There are many variables when it comes to cost, considering the range of choices that are out there. If you’re thinking about upgrading to a digital TV antenna, the installation cost will vary depending on your home and location.
Here are some of the factors to consider:
- Type of dwelling – A single-storey home antenna installation will be cheaper than a double-storey home or a multi-storey townhouse or apartment building. It will also determine the length of the cable required and the difficulty of connection.
- Cost of antenna – There are cheaper models on the market but a quality digital antenna will cost $400 and upwards.
- Signal booster – Along with a new antenna, you may need a signal booster, which can cost $300-$500 to install.
It may be wiser to make the complete change to satellite, cable or Wi-Fi, but that will depend on your budget. The main financial concern is the ongoing cost of joining one or more streaming services rather than the one-off installation cost, but it might be worth it for the reliability of the technology and range of content on offer.
So, to summarise, if your old analogue TV antenna is in decline, it would be sensible to regain that sharp television image with a digital model installed by a TV antenna technician. However, it could also be an opportunity to stop relying on that rooftop antenna and make the switch to 21st Century technology.
Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.