Portable sets connected to a set-top box are often used with an internal or set-top aerial* despite the fact that reception may be unreliable. Signals have to pass through the walls of the building, are absorbed by household objects and bounce off metalwork. This not only affects reception but it may mean you have to move the aerial if you change channels. If your equipment has a socket for an outside aerial, you may find reception improves considerably if you use it.
Common problems on portables with internal aerials include:
Internal aerials can make reception prone to interference from other devices in the home or conducted down mains wiring. This is because there is little to prevent these unwanted signals being picked up by the aerial, whilst signals coming from the transmitter are weakened by passing through walls etc.
An outside aerial reverses this situation and can dramatically reduce such interference as well as improve reception. If TV signals are weak, for whatever reason, the more susceptible reception will be to interference, which is why getting the best possible signal is so important.
For more information about TV aerials, visit this page.
*Ofcom will not investigate interference to equipment connected to a set top or integrated aerial.
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