Monday, June 20, 2011

Breaking Up

Having gone to all the effort to acquire BT Vision and the Sky Sports channels for the cricket, it has been a disappointment that the picture so often breaks up. For days we blamed the weather, but today I succumbed to an outbreak of rationality and called Dave from Wookey Aerials, a TV man of ten years experience.

I liked Dave. He was a stoutly-built forty-something with the odd tattoo - maybe ex-military - but he knew his transmitters and his multiplexes. The problem apparently is that on the digital auto-scan both the TV and the Vision box search from low to high frequencies. This means they pick up the Plymouth transmitter first (which is miles away) and then ignore the higher frequency Mendip transmitter which is on our doorstep.

However, we are so low in the sight-line of the Mendip transmitter that ever close proximity isn't giving us much signal strength for the low-power Freeview multiplexes, which include Dave (19) and Sky Sports (41, 42). As a consequence, Dave suggested I buy a Tesco signal booster (£9.97).

Then he showed me his trick. He set each device in turn on auto-tune, but with the aerial coax pulled out of the wall. He waited until the scan passed 50% (and was safely past the Plymouth frequency band) and then plugged it back in. Voila! The TV/Vision box acquired just the Mendip transmitter channels. It works better already.

As a bonus, he explained that both our SONY TV and our Vision box were HD-ready. All we needed to do was to buy an HDMI cable to replace the SCART one we're currently using and then we'd be able to watch the Freeview HD channels!

Sounds perfect. When I got back from Tescos this afternoon, the first thing I did was to plug in the signal booster pre-amp to improve Clare's already good Sky coverage of the England v. Sri Lankan test.

It made the picture worse.