“ Brand: Commtel / Type: Indoor TV Aerial „
As my housemates watch some pretty awful TV in the living room, I decided to set a spare TV up in my room so I can watch things that I like more. I set up my spare Sanyo TV along with a Thompson Freeview box and went out to buy a cheap portable aerial to hopefully get some signal. I know that there is a good signal in my area (Selly Oak, Birmingham), so I opted for a cheap one to try out. I ended up with this one for £9.99 from Homebase.
It comes in a small rectangular box that measures 23.5cm x 20cm x 3cm and on the front it has picture of the aerial. The rear of the box contains instructions on how to operate the aerial along with a safety warning. On opening the box, the aerial comes fully assembled and is packaged in a plastic tray. When folded, the aerial is 19cm in diameter and 2cm deep. The cable is about 2m long and the aerial is dark grey in colour.
To fold out the aerial, it simply pops up from its base to a maximum height of 12cm. The dish then can be rotated 90 degrees clockwise and anti-clockwise and tilted up and downwards so that the best signal can be achieved. On plugging it straight into the TV, I found that it picked up terrestrial signals well and I got good pictures for channels 1-5. However, once I plugged it into the freeview box, I found that problems started. I have been finding it very difficult to get a good range of channels that all work well. It usually comes up with about 20 channels when tried in a variety of positions, heights and places, however when I actually try to watch the channels, they are distorted or just blank. This is a big problem as the digital switchover is coming soon to my area and I do want to be able to continue watching on my TV.
As it does not work for the use that I want it, I am going to be returning it to Homebase as it does not work well as a digital aerial at all. For the price, it is quite a good aerial, but it does not pick up digital signals well, despite being in a good signal area. On the base, there are 4 soft pads that hold it steady on the surface. I have found that these are not stuck on very well and they have fallen off numerous times since I bought it.
I would not recommend this to anyone as when the whole country is switched over to the digital TV signal, then this will not prove to be sufficient to receive good signals. I think I will be trying a more expensive one which will hopefully work better. As with anything you buy, you get what you pay for. If you want a cheap aerial that works some of the time, then this is worth buying, however if you want a good quality aerial that provides a good picture, then this isn't the aerial for you.
I have also seen that Homebase sell a similar aerial that contains an amplifier in the base of the aerial. I may give this one a try as this may prove to be better. The only problem is that it is twice the price! Overall, there can be no substitute for a proper aerial, however I think that trying more expensive aerial may yield better results. Therefore, I am going to give this on 2/5 as it has a great design and looks good, but its functionality is not great. There is no point me keeping it as soon I won't be able to use it for terrestrial TV.
Thanks for reading my review.
This review may also appear on my blog and on Ciao under the same username.