Digital broadcasting uses modern digital compression and coding techniques to send and receive television and radio transmissions. The compressed data is simply thousands of blocks of 0’s and 1’s. However, all these 0’s and 1’s are needed to decompress the information. If all the data isn't received, or the data get corrupted, then the processor in the TV (or set-top-box) cannot unravel the picture or sound stream. If just a few blocks are affected then the screen becomes pixelated - if many blocks are lost then you loose your reception altogether. The “Quality” measurement on many digital TV’s refers to how well these blocks of 0’s and 1’s are being received.
Once you have a high quality data stream then your reception will be perfect. In fact digital has only three states: nothing, pixelated or picture perfect. Unfortunately, there's only a small difference in signal condition between these three states.
It all comes down to how well the antenna system is picking up the data stream.
Your picture can be perfect one second when a gust of wind comes along and corrupts the signal and then, suddenly, all you see is “No Signal”. Welcome to the digital cliff - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_effect
There are three main types of antenna/aerial design used for television reception; the Yagi, Phased Array and Log Periodic.
MAS prefers the Fracarro made Log Periodic antenna for most situations. In most situations we find it technically superior to the other styles. They're also well made and handle the salty costal environment better than many of its competitors.
Phased arrays can be useful in certain situations, particularly where the signal is affected by trees or buildings. However, many in the industry believe that they're overused in the Tweed/Gold Coast area and, because of their wide beam width, they contribute to reception problems.
Yes, sometimes! However, if your antenna/aerial is not receiving a good quality signal, then an amplifier will not make much difference. If the quality is poor at the antenna then all an amplifier will do is give you a stronger, but still poor, signal.
Where an amplifier is important is when you get a good signal at the antenna but, because you have many TV outlets or the coax is of poor quality, it's weak at the TV.
Every time you split the signal you also split the signal strength. So two TV outlets get half the signal each; three outlets get one third of the signal, etc. Also as the signal travels along coax is becomes progressively weaker. Less than 5% of the signal remains after travelling 100 metres; far less if poor quality cable is used.
The general rule is if you had good analogue reception then your digital should be fine. Though there are exceptions!
Firstly, while there’s no such thing as a digital antenna – they’re basically the same as their analogue counterparts – most antennas can only receive a limited range of channels. The part of the spectrum used for TV broadcast is broken up into 3 Bands – Band 3 (VHF), Band 4 (UHF) and Band 5 (UHF) - and antennas are classified as to what Bands they can receive. Additionally, some antennas (narrow-cut antennas) can only receive a small subset of the channels in a Band, but receive them very well.
In most parts of Australia the digital channels were co-located in the same Band as the old analogue channels, so that homeowners wouldn't need to replace their existing equipment.
However, this couldn't be done in the Richmond/Tweed area. The old analogue channels were in the high end of Band 5 but the digital channels were set in the Band4/low Band 5 section.
After the Re-tune event in 2014, the digital channels were again moved - this time to the very low end of Band 4!
Many Murwillumbah residents (probably 25%) still have narrow cut or Band 5 antennas installed and these struggle to receive the lower digital channels.
This is the cause of many reception issues following the digital Re-tune in 2014. Many residents have particular problems with Prime7 (incl. 7Mate and 7Two) and NBN (Incl. Go! and Gem!) broadcasts.
Next, you could have a poor analogue signal but still have watchable TV. With digital you can't. It's imperative to get a high quality signal, otherwise you will frequently meet the Digital Cliff (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_effect)!
Let MAS help! We have the equipment, together with local knowledge and experience to get you stable reception.
In 2014 the government restructured part of the spectrum used for digital TV broadcasts. This event was known within the Industry as “Restacking” but the federal government is running advertising campaigns calling it "Re-tuning" http://retune.digitalready.gov.au/.
All digital TV broadcasts on or above channel 52 were reallocated, with that part of the spectrum being used for 4G phone and internet use.
The theory was that this event wouldn't cause too much disruption. All that was required was to simply re-tune your TV or digital Set-Top-Box/PVR.
However, residents with specialised Filter/Diplexer that were previously installed to mix QLD and NSW found that these were now killing the QLD reception. MAS has new a new range of Filter/Diplexers the can merge the NSW and Mt Tamborine QLD broadcasts well.
Also, many residents will need a special LTE filter to prevent your equipment from picking up the 4G broadcasts (see: LTE Creates Havoc).
Many Tweed residents suddenly found that when they switched to digital they could get perfect NSW and QLD TV reception.
The reason of this is that digital can be much easier to get than analogue insofar as you need far less signal strength to get a picture and the signal can be from indirect sources, like reflections from trees or buildings.
Most Tweed Heads residents have their antenna facing Mt Tamborine in QLD. However, the powerful NSW digital signals can come in from reflections or possibly from the side of the antenna. Sometimes these NSW signal are stable and watchable - other times it's just too weak to be useful.
A corresponding analogue broadcast would've been completely unwatchable.
MAS has the equipment, together with local knowledge and experience, to give you stable NSW and QLD television reception, often from the one antenna.
Many people already receive both NSW and QLD broadcasts, often by accident. The reason for this is varied.
For example in the Tweed Heads area, an antenna pointing to Mt Tamborine will often receive NSW signals reflecting off trees or buildings, or from signals coming in from the side of the antenna. For others, say around Fingal, it’s because the NSW and QLD broadcasts come from a similar direction. And finally, sometimes an antenna set for vertical reception will also pick up sufficient horizontal signal (see wikipedia/Polarization).
The problem with these accidents is that the signals can be very fickle and it doesn’t take much for it to breakup or disappear altogether (the dreaded digital cliff - wikipedia/Cliff_effect).
Sometimes, it can fade out over a period of time for no obvious reason, sometimes it’s a simple minor change is circumstances, like a neighbour cutting down a tree or maybe from gradual corrosion of a critical component inside the antenna.
Getting both broadcasts in a stable manner may require you to have another antenna installed. A good quality antenna is around $100 and then you may need a device to combine the two signals, $15.00 - $60.00 depending on the type required, and about 1hrs labour.
MAS has the experience, as well as many trade tricks, to get both NSW & QLD services, frequently from one antenna.
This is our speciality! Please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss the best option for your circumstances.
There are four digital broadcast available to many Tweed residents. Two from NSW and two from QLD. Specifically, the NSW broadcast are from Mt Nardi and Springbrook while the QLD broadcasts are from Mt Tamborine and Springbrook. While both NSW and QLD channels are broadcast from Springbrook, they may require two separate antennas as the NSW broadcast is vertical while the QLD broadcast is horizontal (see wikipedia/Polarization). Both Mt Tamborine and Mt Nardi are horizontal broadcasts.
Most antennas from Bilambil to Banora Point, often down as far as Pottsville, are pointed towards the Mt Tamborine QLD broadcasts.
The reasons for this are varied; from customer preference for QLD television to better reception from Mt Tamborine broadcasts - especially back in analogue days.
The Springbrook QLD broadcast is relatively new and closer to the border. Its signal levels are often superior to those from Mt Tamborine signal!
The NSW signal from Mt Nardi is a very strong broadcast, far stronger than the other three transmitters.
Up until the Re-tune event in 2014, most Tweed residents could simple re-tune their TV/PVR using the inbuilt Auto-Tune feature. However, after the Re-tune this can create problems and it's hard to explain but...
Before we get into it, there are a few things you need to know:
Firstly, there's been several digital QLD broadcasts (from Mt Tamborine, Springbrook & Currumbin) for many years but they all used the same set of frequencies. So when you tuned your TV, it automatically locked onto the strongest broadcast. This changed in 2014 with the Re-tune event in SE-QLD and now Mt Tamborine uses a different set of frequencies to what Springbrook/Currumbin uses.
Secondly, the channel numbers you see on your TV (like 9 for Channel Nine) don't relate to the actual channels that they are broadcast on. These numbers, called Logical Channel Number (or LCN's), come in as part of the broadcasts. So the two different QLD broadcasts have two separate Channel 9 broadcasts, each using the 9 LCN. These broadcasts are identical!
Lastly, if your TV/PVR receives duplicate LCN numbers it often re-numbers the second set starting at channel 350 (on some TV's the duplicates start at Channel 350, some 800). So, if you see any channels above 350 then they are likely duplicate broadcasts.
(To complicate matters, some newer TV's are re-numbering the duplicates starting at 100).
With this in mind, if your antenna can see both Mt Tamborine and Springbrook/Currumbin broadcasts then it may tune in both sets of broadcasts. However, one set may be good and the other set may be very poor (this happens frequently!). And because both transmissions use the same LCN's you don’t know if the Channel 9 you are watching is from the strong or poor broadcast.
This page will soon be updated to include directions on how to manually tune in either of the broadcasts but you need to know which broadcast is the strongest which isn't easy without specialised measuring equipment.
Also, MAS may be able to help you (over the phone) find the best broadcast and walk you through a manual tune.
However, this is a messy and complicated issue and it's possible for two neighbours to get their QLD reception from different towers!