Digital TV - diy test of signal quality

The current issue of Which magazine has an article about the 'digital rip off' and how many people won't need a new aerial to get decent digital reception, despite the warnings of some aerial fitters.
They also mentioned a self-test that you can do to gauge your own reception. If you go to Teletext/Ceefax page 284 on BBC1, BBC2, ITV and C4 in turn you can view a test grid that shows the quality of the signal. Any missing blocks on any of the channels means you may benefit from a new aerial, but if all the grids are complete, you should be OK.
I thought I'd update the Digital TV page on DIYfaq wiki, but it seems to be locked for edits.
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OG wrote:

Its not locked if you log in - just for anonymous edits...
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wrote:

I'd be skeptical about this. We can get perfectly reasonable analogue reception but freeview is too poor to receive at all.
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It often depends on the area. In my area, for example, the analogue and digital signals are in different bands. This means that, if you have a band-tuned aerial to maximise analogue reception, you will/may have to replace it with a wide-band aerial to receive both. In other areas the two are in the same band so the problem doesn't arise and an aerial replacement should be unnecessary.
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On Fri, 20 Mar 2009, Bob Mannix wrote:

Also, few transmitters carry Freeview; your aerial may (just) need to be repositioned.
A reasonable indicator of what to expect is available from the following URL:
http://www.wolfbane.com/cgi-bin/tvd.exe ?
HTH,
Kostas
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On Fri, 20 Mar 2009 16:12:16 -0000, "Bob Mannix"

I check this first and I had a wide band aeriel fitted before I started. It did not enable me to receive freeview.
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Well, my point was that that would be the first requirement in such an area. It would normally be the case that, in such an area, where analogue reception was good and digital was offered, the use of a wide band aerial should be enough. I would check that your neighbours are receiving Freeview OK and what aerials they have and where they are pointing, first. If all looks the same then there must be something wrong with your installation.
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On Mon, 23 Mar 2009 09:36:47 -0000, "Bob Mannix"

Most people have satellite TV around here so it's not an issue for them.
I had my aeriel professionally installed. I'm not sure what could be wrong with my installation that would not be obvious.
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Bob Mannix
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Only by looking at your certificate would you be able to tell. One issue with Ridge Hill customers is that the digital is in groups B and C/D, whereas the analogue is in group A. Have you discussed the matter with the installation company?
There is an interesting issue in parts of Gloucester, Hardwicke / Quedgeley is one case. On a clear day you can see the transmitter, but the top two multiplexes can be 10-15dB down on the other four.
What were the signal and c/n or BER readings the engineer noted for you?
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On Wed, 25 Mar 2009 14:24:45 +0000, "Andy Luckman (AJL Electronics)"

What certificate? They told me I needed a wideband aeriel.

I've no idea what these mean.
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Just to hijack the thread ...
Has anyone else (North London, pointed at Crystal palace, I think) noticed a drop off in signal strength on some digital channels ?
on and off, I'm getting almost no signal on ITV and CH4
Last night I couldn't even see them on a program scan, this morning they were there again. This evening I have a signal strength of 10 on the richter scale for e g BBC1 and 1 for ITV
Also strange is that I get an almost non-existent signal with E4 (channel 28) but E4+1 (channel 29) is strong and stable
Anyone got the same sort of problem?
Anyone got a clue ?
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geoff

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Absolutely, and I'm in *south* London!
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writes

I have two aerials one 30+ years old feeding the back of the house - working fine
the other - about 5 years old - absolutely no useful signal
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On Fri, 20 Mar 2009 16:12:16 -0000 someone who may be "Bob Mannix"

It is worth adding that even in areas where a wideband aerial is currently necessary to receive all the digital channels this will mostly not be the case after the analogue signals are turned off. Only six main transmitters will be transmitting out of their original group after the end of analogue signals.
"As we`ve been saying for years * the great majority of transmitters are reverting to their original groups and unsurprisingly this includes all of the Big Five which cover about 30 million of us. In fact all the existing Digital transmitters will broadcast the main three MUXES (the so called PSBs) within band, i.e. those of us who are quite satisfied with the basic five channels, will almost certainly get them with the aerial we already have !
"As for the other three MUXES, 24 of the 81 transmitters will be broadcasting between one and three of the other 3 MUXES out of their original group. Fortunately seven of these will be transmitting the new frequencies below the existing group, meaning that those in reasonable signal areas will still have a good chance of picking up the signal OK.
"That leaves 17 out of 81 transmitters, and of these only six are main transmitters, these being Belmont, Bilsdale, Craigkelly, Sandy, Sudbury and The Wrekin. It must be admitted that for these Dirty (half) Dozen an aerial change will almost certainly be required in order to receive all the digital transmissions, as opposed to just the PSBs which will be available from your existing antenna in the vast majority of cases.
"For the great majority, when the DSO occurs many of those who haven`t yet upgraded to a wideband should then pick up the Digital signal OK. Furthermore many of those who live in fringe areas can, if required, then take advantage of the superior gain of grouped aerials to improve their signal.
"* There aren`t many others who have been telling people about this because there are so many vested interests who would rather the Great British Public didn`t know this little snippet of information, i.e. that the vast majority of locations will get all the Digital channels without an upgrade if they just wait till DSO.
"Think about it. The aerial installers don`t want to publicise it because they`ll lose work.
"The aerial manufacturers and retailers don`t want to publicise it because they`ll lose sales.
"Even the BBC don`t want to publicise it because it`s part of their remit to increase the uptake of Digital now, not at (or after) DSO.
"It`ll be interesting to see how many others come clean about this vital piece of information now that it`s confirmed. Unless I`ve missed something the Digital Television Group didn`t even put this highly significant piece of information on their Latest News, just remember, we`ve always been up front about it !"
<http://www.aerialsandtv.com/digitaltv.html#ImprovedDigitalAtSwitchover
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David Hansen, Edinburgh
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Yes, it's a rough and ready guide, but by no means definitive. If you tell me what transmitter your aerial is pointing at, I might be able to tell you why your digital reception is poor, and make a prognosis as to what it will be like after analogue switch-off.
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Ridge Hill.
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For me (with the same problem as Mark) it is Crystal Palace.
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Les
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What does the digital tv postcode checker say for your area?
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wrote:

"As long as your rooftop aerial is in good condition you can get Freeview now."
:-(
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