Why should you manual tune your TV?

March 11, 2022
Tom Smart
A Picture of TV Wall Mount

Why should you manually tune your TV?


I am writing this blog fresh from a one hour drive to an appointment is Tunbridge Wells, which for those who know me and follow Smart Aerials we are based in Eastbourne. I had installed a new TV aerial and connected cables that feed various TV points around the house. At the time there was building works going on so there was no TV’s to connect and I did the once around testing each point. I was happy all was working OK!


I get a call from the electrician who says that he’s connected the TV, tuned it in and it’s breaking up on the all BBC channels (alarm bells are ringing) and some of the ITV and Channel 4 channels. This client is a valued regular customer so I agreed to go back, didn’t bother going over what was covered in the guarantee as I prefer just to keep clients happy when we can.


I arrive, test the signals which are fine, plug it into the TV and yes the BBC’s are breaking up – Don’t worry I am getting to the point! As this particular model was a Samsung I knew that you can go into the manual tune setting to check what frequencies have been stored. Voila – After checking some of the frequencies stored had been stored to the Tunbridge Wells and the rest had been stored to the Crystal Palace transmitter. The aerial I had installed actually believe it or not had been aligned to the Crystal Palace transmitter. This was because where I had installed the aerial where the customer requested in the loft (not my recommendation) the Crystal Palace transmitter worked much better than the nearby Tunbridge Wells transmitter. Aerial signals can be funny like that. But this didn’t stop the TV storing it.


Auto tuning TV signals can store some wrong channels.


It is worth noting that when you install a TV aerial and point it in a direction, although you will focus the gain so that it maximises signal pick up in that direction, it will still pick up signals to the sides and even behind of the way the aerial is pointing. When this signal which could be classed as interference as it’s an unwanted signal is above a certain strength the TV could think that this is a group of channels that it thinks that it should try to store, even if it doesn’t work properly.


This is even more common when you are in an area which lots of nearby transmitters or when aiming your aerial to an out of area transmitter which you may be doing because your local transmitter only broadcasts Freeview Lite (more information of Freeview Lite can be found here). It is also very common when you have amplification going on in your TV system as this will amplify the unwanted signal too, make it stronger and more likely for the TV to want to store it.


For instance, where we are in Eastbourne, if you point your TV aerial to the Heathfield transmitter you will likely still pick up signals from the Hastings transmitter and the Southcliff Tower transmitter which is in Eastbourne itself, the signal will be weaker than the Heathfield signal but may still be strong enough for the TV to store. Or if installing an aerial in Seaford, Newhaven, Peacehaven you would want to align your transmitter in Whitehawk in Brighton instead of the Newhaven transmitter so you can get more stations. This is the same for when installing aerials in Lewes, Bexhill, Hastings and all over the country in fact.


How to manually tune your TV


First things first to do this you will need to identify which way your aerial is pointing. It’s best to go on the UK free TV site to check what transmitters are local to you and then physically look at the aerial to see which way it is angled. Pay attention to whether the aerial has been installed on a horizontal or vertical polarisation as this will help rule out transmitters in your area if you are unsure. You use the online postcode checker which will suggest your optimum transmitter but this by no means should be relied upon as there is a whole load of reasons why you might not be using these transmitters.


I would then recommend going to your TV and checking the manual tuning settings and that your TV does in fact have a manual tuning setting, some don’t! We need to make note on how we enter this. Most TV’s accept a channel number which makes this super easy. Or whether we have to enter this as a frequency. You should also take this opportunity to delete anything you have stored on the TV. This is different depending on the TV, you may be able to just delete these, you may need to unplug the aerial and run an auto-scan so it literally stores nothing or you may need to perform a factory reset.


Back on the UK free TV site. You will then need to go on and select the transmitter that your aerial is aligned to. You will then need to make note of the channel numbers or the frequencies that this transmitter broadcasts on. Please note that the channel number is a UHF channel number associated to a small frequency band. This is NOT a TV channel number -there usually is a small amount of confusion around this.


Now you need to enter the channel numbers or frequencies into your manual tuning settings on your TV. If it’s a channel number it will be 3, 6, 7 or 8 numbers depending on your transmitter ranging between 21-60. If it is an frequency usually this would be given in Mhz but sometimes some TV’s only accept this in KHz. Usually UHF channel 38 as an example if you was to store this as Mhz this would be 606Mhz or 606000 Khz. You would then need to repeat this process for the remaining groups of channels.


And that’s it.


If your TV doesn’t have manual tune setting you may want to run an auto tune and connect and un connect the aerial input to the TV depending on where about the scan is progressing and what frequencies you wish to scan. This can be tricky however so I wouldn’t guarantee this as an easy solution.


Alternatively, you could install filters to remove the unwanted signals on your aerial system so you can confidently run an auto-scan with the unwanted signals removed. But I will save that for another blog. 😊

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