Belling Lee Socket - The standard TV socket in Australia

How to Identify TV Socket Types

There are a couple of different TV sockets used in Australia. Choosing the right sockets to use can make a difference to the quality of signal you receive.

PAL (BL)Belling Lee Female Socket

Belling Lee Socket - The standard TV socket in Australia
Belling Lee Socket – The standard TV socket in Australia

The PAL BL female is the typical TV socket used in most house. They come in a number of different varieties of housings. On new houses they are most commonly mounted to wall plates, but fascia mount versions are also available. They are also available as adaptors and plugs to go on the ends of cables too.

Advantages:

  • Simple to connect a TV Fly Lead to
  • Easy Fly Lead removal
  • The most common and well known, most fly leads have PAL BL Male plugs to go into PAL BL Female sockets

Disadvantages:

  • Easily damaged by rough insertion
  • Has a higher loss than F type connections

If you are having TV sockets installed using PAL BL Female sockets, be sure they are F Connector to PAL BL types. This means they connect to the cable in the wall using an F Connector. F Connections are the least lossy connections available for TV. Many older sockets will be saddle and clamp to PAL BL connections. These connections introduce more loss and noise to the signal.

Another thing to check is that the F Connectors being used are compression F connectors. A number of different F connector types are available including a tool-less twist on type and these are not very good.

These sockets are usually sold as mechs for generic wall plates. These pop into the slots in the plate. You can also get a plate with the mech built in, but I wouldn’t usually recommend them.

Fascia mount sockets are also available.

Find PAL BL Female Sockets on eBay.

F Barrel Sockets

The other type of TV sockets available is the F Connector Barrel socket. You’ll commonly see these in homes as Foxtel or other pay TV sockets. These sockets can also be used for Digital TV and they are my recommended type of connection. F Connections have low losses than PAL BL and are less prone to damage.

Advantages:

  • Low loss, low noise
  • Mechanically more reliable

Disadvantages:

  • TV Fly leads need to be screwed on ¬†and off, making installation and removal slightly more difficult
  • May be less familiar to consumers
  • Have to purchase a specific F to F TV Fly Lead and potentially also right angle F to F adaptor

TV F Connector Barrel sockets come in a number of varieties similar to PAL BL, such as wall plate mount and fascia mount. A right angle adaptor may also be needed to ensure that the Fly Lead doesn’t stick out from the wall too far. Overall it is a much better form of connection than PAL BL.

Find F to F Socket on eBay

Conclusion

I strongly recommend using F Barrel Sockets rather than PAL BL. However if you are preparing a home for other people to live in such as a rental, it may be better to go with PAL BL just so it’s more familiar and easy to use for a potential tenant.