RF Amplifiers can solve a lot of problems with Digital TV reception. Here’s an easy guide on how to know if you need one.
Do you have picture break ups on Digital TV?
If you are experiencing pixelation or signal break ups, you may have a weak signal. However there are a number of things you should check first before installing a Digital TV Amplifier. First, try replacing the fly leads from the wall to the back of your TVs. Also check the sockets are in good condition, free of corrosion. Finally check that your antenna is in good condition. A problem that affects all TVs connected to the antenna, rather than just one is most likely to be weak signal. See my guide to Digital TV signal breakups.
Once you’ve checked out everything else and still have signal problems, then a masthead or distribution amplifier may be the solution.
Do you have more than 4 TV outlets?
In areas with moderate signal, you can usually have at least 4 sockets connected to an antenna without any signal problems. In strong signal areas you may be able to have 6 or more sockets without a problem. You can find out whether or not you’re likely to have a good signal by putting your address into the Australian Government’s mySwitch website.
However the more outlets you have, the less signal that will be available from each of them. In strong to moderate signal areas I’d recommend seeing how your Digital TVs work before deciding you need an amplifier, even if you have more than 4. If they work fine then you don’t need one.
Are you in a hilly area or a long distance from the Digital TV Transmitter stations?
If your line of sight to the TV transmitters is blocked by hills or even large buildings you will probably need an amplifier. Have a look at other TV antennas in the area. If most other houses have masthead amplifiers on their antenna poles, chances are you’ll need one too.
Check your distance and expected signal level with the Australian Government mySwitch website. By entering your address, the site will give you expected signal coverage information.
Why not just install a Digital TV RF Amplifier, even if you don’t need it?
Signal that is too strong can cause reception problems for Digital TVs. You might start picking up stations from outside your region, which can clutter your channel list after automatic rescans. It also adds another potential point of failure to your Digital TV system – amplifiers and their power supplies can fail. There is also the factor of unnecessary cost.
Overall, you’re much better off without an amplifier if you can avoid the need for having one.