TV Systems In New Build Homes – Aerials/ Satellite Dishes/ TV Mounting
If you’re in the market for a new home, have just moved into a new house, are about to or if you’re just curious and want to know more about TV systems in new build houses, cabling, where can you or where you can’t install a TV aerial. Read this for all you need to know. In this article we discuss all the common questions about TV aerials, satellite dishes, and TV systems in new build properties.
Do New Build Homes Come With A TV Aerial?
Most new build homes do not come with a TV aerial, but it is common for the cabling to be installed ready for a TV aerial to be connected. This isn’t always the case however as it depends on the developer. The larger developers like Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Homes, Bovis Homes do not install the TV aerial antenna itself within the property (there may be exceptions), but some other developers might. It’s common near new builds estates for there to be small groupings of new build houses around the main site and these sometimes do come with TV aerials/ satellite dishes installed. It all depends on the builder. For instance, I recently did a couple of installations in a small row of new build houses just outside an estate in Haywards Heath and the builder had installed a TV aerial, satellite dish, and Sky Q compatible multi-switch amplifiers. These types of systems are only typically installed on blocks of flats, so no expense spared.
Covenants on TV Aerials In New Build Estates
You may find that the new build home that you move into has restrictions where you can and where you can’t install a TV Aerial. It’s common in many areas to say that you can’t install a TV aerial on the exterior of the property or that it must not go on the front of the house, in which case you would need to install the antenna itself on mast and brackets at the rear of the house or within the loft. You should be aware that aerials do not always work within loft, especially if the loft has foil lined insulation so this may not be possible. If the signal is low as a result of installing it within the loft, this can often be overcome with a TV aerial amplifier.
Do New Build Homes Come With A New Satellite Dish?
It is very rare for new build homes to come installed with a satellite dish, unless you are in a new build block of flats where there may be some form of communal IRS TV system installed. If you are a subscriber you could make use of a free or discounted satellite dish installation offer or you could contact an independent business (like us!) to do the installation for you. The coax cables for your satellite dish to be connected are usually left with the loft for the cables from the satellite dish to join onto.
Will Sky Connect The TV Cables In Loft?
Something you should be aware of when having Sky install a new satellite dish at a new build property is that they might not actually get in the loft to connect the cables that run internally to your rooms, meaning that they often just drill a new hole through the wall and bring the cables through that. I was once informed that this is because they are not insured to go in the loft, but I have witnessed Sky installers do it. It seems to be down the installer themselves but I recommend checking with Sky in advance before the installation to see what their policy is. There may be a workaround, where you get in the loft yourself and fish the cables for the installer so that they do not have to get in the loft themselves.
Covenants on Satellite Dishes
Like the TV aerial, you may find that there is a covenant on satellite dishes on properties. Unlike TV aerials, these must be installed on the exterior of the building (see ‘do satellite dishes work in lofts?’). You may find however that these can’t be installed on the front of the house. Leaving three other walls where it could potentially be sited. In the northern hemisphere, satellite dishes point south meaning that they are usually installed on a south facing wall. If they must be installed on a wall that isn’t south facing, this can usually be overcome by mounted the dish antenna onto mast and brackets to point over the roof.
Coax Cabling Already Installed In New Build
As previously mentioned, the coax cabling is usually installed in new build homes. There usually is at least a cable or two feeding the lounge, and often there is a separate coax cable (or two) feeding some/ all of the bedrooms and potentially the kitchen also. What cables and where the are installed are determined by the builder and the wiring diagrams. The cables installed are nearly always a double screened coaxial cable, which is suitable for TV, FM/ DAB Radio and satellite TV signals. You should expect to have at least two coax cables feeding a lounge which will allow a Sky+HD/ Freesat+ or Sky Q box to be connected and at least one cable to each other TV wall plate position. If you're lucky, or if you have had some involvement in developing the wiring diagrams, you may find that they have installed more than two coax cables to the lounge which would allow for a separation of TV/ Radio aerial signals and satellite with potentially another ‘return’ cable. The return cable could allow for video or HD distribution systems, for example distributing a Sky channel around the property. The cable(s) that have been installed can usually be found, within the loft or within an under-stairs cupboard.
Connecting TV Cables/ Making TV Sockets Work
Once the TV aerial has been installed, if you have multiple TV positions around the house these will need to be connected to some form of signal distribution equipment. This is usually a TV aerial amplifier or TV aerial splitter. What you install depends on a couple of things. If you need to run the TV aerial to multiple TV points, you should be aware that the more times a signal is split the more the signal is divided and lost between TV positions. This may necessitate the use of a TV distribution amplifier to overcome this but this depends on the amount of signal that is incoming from the aerial as if you are within a strong tv signal area, adding a TV amplifier could overload the amp itself and TV tuner causing the TV signal to break up/pixelate.
There are lots of different types of amplifiers on the market. Your installing should be able to advise which is best for you but to pick the right one, you should pick an amplifier that has enough outputs to support the amount of TV’s you require. For instance, if you have six cables feeding six TV points in your house, you will need to choose an amplifier that has at least six outputs to support this. Also, as amplifiers require an electrical power connection, if there is one nearby the cables to be connected to the amp a conventional distribution amplifier can be chosen. If not, a masthead amplifier will need to be chosen which can be line powered via one of the coax cables feeding the TV points with a power supply unit.
TV Aerial & Satellite Sockets
The coax cables that are pre-installed with new builds are almost always terminated within some form of TV aerial or satellite TV socket. There are many different types and you can run into issues based on what has been chosen. These are usually picked to match the electrical sockets and not always the best quality so you may want to change them on that basis. Some of the potential issues you could run into based on what wall-plates have been installed are.
The Quadplexed wall-plates that are often installed within the lounge of new-builds are not Sky Q compatible, meaning that you would either have to change this or bypass the wall-plate for the Sky Q to work.
The wall-plates may be an isolated model. This can cause problems if DC line power is required to power masthead amplifiers, remote eyes or satellite LNB’s. If they are and DC line power is required, these will need to be replaced for non-isolated versions.
Adding TV Points/ Modifying Wiring
If you get in early enough while they are still wiring your property. You may find that there is a TV point/ network port not in a correct position for where you require it. For instance, you may intend to hang your TV on the wall and want the TV point behind the TV to conceal the TV cables. With lots of the larger developers they will often allow you to add to wiring, but not move what is already on the wiring diagrams. With smaller builders they maybe receptive to changing the wiring specifications.
Telephone/ Voice & Network Cabling
It’s common for there to be some form of telephone or data cabling to accompany the TV cables within the property. This can deviate a lot between developers but you can usually expect there to be telephone sockets nearby some of the TV points, which would allow you to connect a telephone or broadband router. It’s becoming more and more common for there to be separate network cabling within houses too, which is usually a Cat5e or Cat6 cable terminated within a RJ45 socket. This allows for a fast hardwired internet connection which can be used for hardwired Ethernet, connection of any wireless access point for better WIFI coverage, video distribution systems or even to convert back to a conventional telephone socket. If you have a telephone point that you wish to swap for a network port this is sometimes possible, but not always. The cable must be a four pair data cable, not a two/ three pair telephone cable and the cabling must not be part of a loop circuit, which is common for telephone extensions. Unlike the TV/ aerial satellite cables, it’s uncommon for these to be sited ready for connection within the loft space. They will almost always be found underneath the stairs cupboard or similar position. You may also find the telephone master socket/ incoming fibre to be within the position too.
Network Switch Installation
Much like the TV coax cables installed in new houses, there is a good chance that the Ethernet/ network cabling hasn't been terminated into anything either. In this is the case, you could terminate the cables with RJ45/8P8C plugs, data modules or a patch panel which is usually installed within a data cabinet. Once installed, you will be able to connect the data cables to a network switch to allow for fast internet not subject to coverage issues like WIFI. If you install a patch panel and data cabinet you could also purchase a rack-mountable switch which makes for a neat and tidy installation.
Mounting TV’s Onto Walls In New Builds
If you wish to mount a TV onto a wall within a new build house, these will nearly always be a plasterboard wall and special care and attention needs to be taken to ensure that the TV is safe. I recommend my previous blog on mounted TV’s onto plasterboard but to surmise here, there area couple of different types of plasterboard walls. These are stud walls, which is plasterboard screwed into wooden or metal studwork or drylined “dot and dab” walls which is plasterboard stuck on top of a brick/ breezeblock wall with an adhesive. For each type you require different types of fixings. I recommend Corefix fixings for drylined walls and fixing direct into a studs or using wall anchors for drylined walls.
Tips for mounting TVs in new builds:
Use the correct fixings – Corefix/ GripIt/ Wall anchors
Fix into studs - (how to find studs)
Use a wider mounting bracket (to spread weight across wall/studs)
Consider installing plywood behind wall for heavy TV’s on stud walls.
Hiding TV Cables
Plasterboard walls can be very advantageous for concealing TV cabling. If required, these can usually be hidden/ routed behind the plasterboard wall. If you’re lucky, you will be able to route the cables with just two exit/ entry holes. One behind the TV and one where the AV equipment is. Worst case scenario you may need to cut and access hole or channel to route the cabling, but plasterboard is considerably easier to cut away and repair than a solid brick wall.
New Build Estates With Fibre Systems For TV/ Internet/ Phone
If you're lucky, the new build estate that you move into may have specialised fibre incoming system for your TV aerial, satellite, telecoms, phone, and broadband meaning that you do not need to install your own TV aerial or satellite dish. These work much the same as a communal TV system concept with a single aerial/ satellite dish feeding multiple properties, but rather than flats/ apartments, it feeds houses. Fibre is used rather than coax as this can carry a greater rate of data over much longer distances, which will be required. The benefit of such a system is that you can assure that no external antennas will be installed on the exterior of properties and any issues with the services not working, should not be your problem. On these type of systems the fibre line usually terminates into a GTU usually installed under the stairs which separates the TV/ Internet/ phone signals. These types of systems are not very common, but I have worked in some in Uckfield, East Sussex and Crawley, West Sussex.
TV Antenna/ Sat In New Build Houses Questions
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Until next time,
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