There are few things that are quite as frustrating as not being able to watch your favourite television programmes in your own home. Although many homeowners simply resign themselves to the fact that they’ll no longer be able to get their weekly fix of TOWIE, this is a situation that, in the vast majority of cases, can be easily resolved.
TV broadcast towers are used to beam digital TV signals to nearby homes. That sounds simple enough, but unfortunately, reception can be diminished by obstructions such as large buildings and bumpy terrain that block the path between your TV aerial and the transmitter. In other cases, sometimes the television aerial is not pointing in the direction of the nearest broadcast tower and that can weaken the signal.
So what can you do? In this guide, we’re going to take a look at the location of the transmitters in Suffolk in relation to people’s homes, and show what channels those transmitters will allow you to watch. We will then introduce some of the easy fixes we can implement to enhance your viewing pleasure.
What TV transmitter should your aerial point towards?
The Sudbury Tower is the main transmitter that serves Suffolk and parts of Essex. There are also two other UHF transmitters in the East of England. They are located in Sandy Heath (Bedfordshire) and Tacolneston (Norfolk). The three combine to serve the whole of the East Anglia region.
The Sudbury transmitter is located at Workhouse Green, near the village of Bures, which is approximately four miles south-east of Sudbury town centre. The approximate coverage of the Sudbury transmitter is just under one and a half million people, which is equivalent to some 440,000 homes. Those living in the nearby towns and cities of Ipswich, Colchester, Bury St. Edmunds and Chelmsford are all served by the Sudbury transmitter.
The good news is that the Sudbury Tower is the eighth most powerful transmitter in the country. It also had a huge increase in power during the digital switchover in 2011, which turned it from a B group transmitter into an E group transmitter. The bad news is that during adverse weather, those situated to the west of Sudbury might experience some channel interference as their aerials will be pointing towards the continent. However, this is an issue we can easily fix.
Here you can see a heat map of the reception you’ll receive from the Sudbury transmitter.
Sudbury’s repeater (or relay) transmitters
As you can see from the heat map, not everywhere in Suffolk receives a strong signal from the Sudbury transmitter. That’s where repeater or relay transmitters come into play. They receive a signal from the main TV transmitter before rebroadcasting it to local areas.
Sudbury has eight repeater transmitters. They are located in:
- Ipswich Stoke
- Wivenhoe Park
- Burnham on Crouch
You can see which channels each of those relay transmitters allows you to watch here.
What channels can you expect from the Sudbury transmitter?
The good news is that as one of the UK’s strongest transmitters, you should receive a full range of Freeview and HD channels if you live within Sudbury’s coverage area. You can see the full list of channels here. However, there can still be issues with the signal some Suffolk properties receive that can affect your viewing.
Common causes of television signal problems
Although much depends on the distance of your home from a transmitting tower, there can also be a number of other factors that influence the strength of the signal you receive. That includes:
- Uneven terrain and obstructions
Although Suffolk is largely flat, even relatively small hills and valleys can have a marked impact on the strength of the signal in your area. In fact, even large trees can have an effect. That’s one of the main reasons why certain properties do not always receive all the TV channels they should.
- The height of your TV aerial
The positioning and height of your TV aerial can also have an impact on the strength of the signal you receive. In an ideal world, the transmitting tower and the aerial will have a direct line of sight. Although that’s not always possible, it’s usually the case that the higher your aerial is installed, the better it will perform. That line of sight is also the reason why aerials installed outside perform better than those installed inside. For best results, the aerial should be installed above the roof line and facing in the direction of the transmitter.
- Lack of wind
We’re aware that sounds completely ridiculous, but as wind and television signals actually travel in quite a similar way, if you live in a sheltered area that’s protected from the wind, the TV signal may struggle to get through. For example, if you live close to a dense forest or are sheltered by a number of taller buildings then you’re unlikely to enjoy as good reception as if you lived in the middle of an open field.
How can you improve your television reception?
If you’re struggling to receive a strong signal then the good news is there are a number of simple steps we can take. For example, reinstalling your aerial on the highest part of your home could be a big help.
Similarly, another thing we can do is to point your aerial in the direction of the transmitting tower. Ideally, you want to have the aerial on the side of the house the signal is coming from. If you need to run a longer cable in order to that then it’ll usually be well worth it.
If the transmitting tower is a long way from your home then we could also explore the possibility of an amplified aerial. However, if you have signals of varying strengths coming from a number of transmitters then this could damage your overall reception.
Turn your home into a TV hotspot
If you’re fed up with intermittent reception that means you miss your favourite shows, we can help. As aerial installation specialists, we work quickly to identify the source of the reception issues and correct any problems while causing minimal disruption to your home. Get in touch to book your appointment with an engineer today.