Our Guide to TV Antennas
Before you dive into our guide, do a coverage check to see what antenna is best for your address.
There are two types of TV antennas you can use to get Freeview Live TV: UHF Aerial or Satellite Dish
You need one in good working order to pick up broadcast TV signals.
Which antenna should I use?
Each antenna provides a different viewing experience:
- UHF Aerial will give you better pictures, sounds and more channels (especially local channels) than Satellite.
- Satellite Dish will give you a smaller selection of channels and standard definition broadcast.
Some channels are specific to certain regions and some only broadcast via UHF Aerial. The channels you'll get depend on where you live and which antenna you use. Channels via UHF here and via Satellite here.
TV Antenna Types
What is a UHF Aerial?
UHF (Ultra High Frequency) Aerials are used in New Zealand to pick up terrestrial TV signals sent over the air.
By using a UHF Aerial, you'll be able to do the following, subscription free:
- Watch selected programmes in HD;
- Enjoy Dolby Digital sound on selected programmes;
- Get exclusive local channels, like Wairarapa TV, Southern TV etc.
86% of homes have UHF coverage and can use a UHF Aerial, check your coverage here.
UHF Aerial Types
UHF Aerials come in different shapes and sizes, below are different types that are available with UHF coverage.
YAGI-type UHF Aerial
These go on your roof-top. Directed at your nearest transmission tower, it picks up UHF signal sent over the air.
If your coverage is "Very Likely" then this is the recommended roof-top UHF aerial for you.
If you're in a marginal coverage area or your house is located in a dip, or has tall surrounding buildings, you may need to elevate your aerial over your roof so it's free from any obstructions.
Phased-array UHF Aerial
Position these on your roof-top. These are great if you're very far away from the transmission site or have dense tree cover around your house.
Indoor Digital UHF Aerial
If you can't get a roof-top aerial installed, you may be able to use one of these if you're within 5km or have a line of sight to your nearest transmission site.
What is a Satellite Dish?
A Satellite Dish is used to pick up the TV signal beamed to you from space via satellite; it then sends this signal to your satellite receiver via the antenna cable for decoding.
Live TV signals for Freeview On Demand and Live TV are transmitted from the Optus D1 satellite. We recommend a minimum dish size of 60cm with a single 11.300 GHz LO Frequency LNB.
If you're using a Satellite Dish make sure you are using an approved product that works with a Satellite Dish.
- Go for a Dual Tuner TV with a built-in Satellite/DVB-S tuner then plug the Satellite cables straight into the TV.
- Or you can get a Freeview box for Satellite, such as the Dish TV Satbox or the Panasonic HST Recorder.
Can I use my SKY Satellite Dish?
Yes, you can use a SKY Satellite Dish. A working Satellite Dish will be able to receive Freeview via Satellite in conjunction with an a Freeview-approved product for Satellite.
For more advice about using a SKY Satellite Dish see here.
Not sure which antenna you have up there?
Here are some simple things you can do to check what you have on your roof:
- Pop outside and look on your roof: If you live in a house or unit, have a look on your roof or high on the side of your building to see if there is an antenna up there. If you have something that looks like one of the above, you're good. If you are in a shared building like an apartment block, best to check with your building manager.
- Look for signal cables in your house: Spot either a wall point or a thick white/black cable coming out of the wall/floor.
- Follow the cable: See if the cable connects to an UHF Aerial or Satellite Dish on your roof.
- Connect the cable: Plug it into the back of your TV and try tuning in. You can find general tuning steps here.
Don't have a UHF Aerial or Satellite Dish?
No worries! There are two ways to get Freeview on your TV:
Get an TV antenna installed.
- Installers can make setting up easy as - you can find local installers in this directory here.
- Before you contact an installer, it's best to do a coverage check so you know which type of antenna is suitable.
- The SmartVU X dongle and the SmartVU+ box can both stream top Freeview channels (no aerial or dish required), and provide loads of other features too.*
Just want to watch Freeview On Demand?
Freeview On Demand brings you hundreds of shows, movies, docos and box-sets, all free to stream!
You can now get Freeview On Demand as a Smart TV app on 2017+ Samsung, LG and Panasonic Smart TVs*. Perfect for you if you don't have a UHF Aerial or Satellite Dish connected to your TV.
Find it on Samsung Smart Hub, LG Launcher and Panasonic Apps Home (download it free from the apps store on your Smart TV if it's not already auto-installed).
It's important to buy from trusted New Zealand retailers so you know the TV, set top box, recorder or streaming device you're purchasing is Freeview-approved and will work with NZ standards and specifications.
Before you buy, check if your existing TV or box is connected to a UHF Aerial or Satellite Dish as this will help with easy set-up and picking the right TV (it's good to know what you already have, as some devices are only compatible with one type of antenna).
*Reliable Broadband Internet required for streaming. ISP charges apply.