The rollout of 4G across the country could result in up to two million homes suffering interference to their Freeview signals. Two new TV aerials from One For All are designed to combat this problem, but do they work?
What is 4G signal interference?
The rollout of 4G across the country could result in up to two million homes suffering interference to their Freeview signals. The closer you live a 4G signal transmitter, the more likely you are to be affected by any disruption.
To combat the problem, One For All has launched two new indoor set-top aerials with a built-in 4G filter designed to reduce interference from 4G signals. These aerials are known as the One for All SV9385 (£30) and the larger SV9395 (£50), which contains an in-built amplifier.
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One for All SV9385 & SV 9395 – do they work?
Both the SV9385 and SV9395 claim to work up to 15 miles from the nearest TV transmitter. They attempt to prevent 4G signals reaching the Freeview receiver and causing picture problems. We sent a sample of each aerial to the Which? test lab to see how effective they would be at filtering out the unwanted 4G signal and the results are now in.
The good news is that at 4G frequencies (above Channel 60) the aerials do provide some filtering (about 10dB for the technically minded). However, the bad news is that this may not be enough. In fact, we were still able to receive TV transmissions at these frequencies which shows that the filtering effect isn’t particularly strong. If you live in a strong 4G signal area close to a transmitter you may well still get interference on your TV.
The One For All aerials are slightly less susceptible to 4G interference than other set-top aerials but they won’t provide a solution in all situations. We’d advise against buying one of these aerials on the basis of its 4G filtering as it’s hard to gauge whether your TV reception will be disrupted by 4G anyway.
How do I know if I’ll be affected by 4G signal interference?
Interference will only begin when the main mobile operators begin their 4G transmissions in the summer. No one yet knows how many households will be affected and test are underway to get a better idea of likely numbers. Once those households likely to be affected are identified they will be contacted around 4 weeks before transmissions start in their area and issued with a free filter (see left) to fit to their aerial downleads.
This is a different type of filter to those being used in the One For All aerials and will provide a greater degree of protection against 4G interference. The filters will be funded by the mobile phone operators and the majority of households will be able to fit these filters themselves.
However many people, those who have aerial amplifiers or a distribution system that feeds lots of TVs in their house or building, will probably require professional help from an engineer. This will also be funded by the mobile operators so, although this is an inconvenience, you should not be out of pocket. However, if you have more than one TV running Freeview in your house you will need to purchase additional filters estimated at £5-15 each.
Which? thinks this is unfair and believe that all filters required should be free.
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