Can I Watch Smart TV Without an Aerial Socket?

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Written by Tristan Cameron

Digital TVs, including Smart TVs, are the newest ways of watching all your favourite shows, either by a streaming service or live-to-air. 

Do you need an aerial socket to watch shows on a Smart TV? It’s a complicated answer; while technically, no, you don’t, it may be more expensive based on the type of viewing you want.

Here’s a look at what Smart TVs do and what you can watch on them. We’ll also look at how to watch without an antenna and the benefits of having an updated aerial socket.

What is a Smart TV

In 2009, Australia’s old analog broadcasting system was switched off, and digital TV became the norm. The benefits of digital TV are:

  • Digital transmission is more high definition than analog, offering much clearer and sharper images
  • Digital uses less bandwidth than analog so that more channels can be viewed
  • Smart TVs can also play games or stream music
  • Subtitles and multiple language choices are standard with Smart TVs
  • By connecting to the internet, you can stream shows and movies from numerous platforms 

One significant difference is that analog TVs could only play live free-to-air shows or subscription services via cable. Either way, they had to be connected via an aerial socket to an antenna.

What Can You Watch on a Smart TV

Smart TVs open the door to be able to watch almost anything that’s ever been screened. Streaming platforms partner with major networks, providing TV series right from the first episode. 

Once they’ve finished their cinema run, newly released movies also become available to view via one of these services at your leisure.  

Streaming services come with a subscription, and some can be rather expensive; the most commonly used in Australia are:

  • Foxtel
  • Stan
  • Netflix
  • Disney+
  • Amazon Prime
  • Hulu

How to Watch Local Channels on a Smart TV

Digital TVs operate via an internet connection, and with a massive array of apps available, they no longer require to be connected to an antenna to view free-to-air TV.

For people still wanting to watch channels 7, 9, 10, ABC or SBS, they can connect via the Freeview app or the channels’ own apps:

  • 7plus
  • 9now
  • Tenplay
  • ABC iView
  • SBS On Demand

However, these apps will allow you to stream TV shows that have already been screened. To watch live TV, some of the apps still require an antenna to capture the live stream.

The Downside of Digital TV

Digital TV is broadcast over the Internet and can use a considerable amount of data. Internet in Australia is extremely expensive, and many providers have data caps on home internet packages. Once the cap is reached, additional data can be even more costly.

One hour of digital TV uses around 1GB of data, or 3GB for high definition (HD). Adding all that up means those with capped plans pay more to watch TV than others.

As we already mentioned, the other issue is watching live TV from the five networks. Most of the apps don’t have that option, as a TV antenna is still required.

The Benefits of an Aerial Socket

Free-to-air TV from the five Australian channels can still be viewed on a digital TV without the need for the internet as long as the home has an antenna. 

Analog TVs broadcast on the old very high frequency (VHF) relied on antennas to direct the service to the set. The same rules apply to digital TVs if watching free-to-air is all the viewer wants.

However, it’s highly likely that you’ll need to upgrade your aerial socket and antenna to pick up the ultra-high frequency (UHF) signal that’s required for digital TV reception. If the aerial socket in your house is over 15 years old, it’s out of date and most likely can’t deliver UHF effectively.

Upgrade Your Antenna Too

It’s not only the aerial socket that needs to be replaced; the antenna does, too. Today, there are a variety of antennas, and believe it or not, the actual shape of the device can make all the difference. Digital frequencies come from differing locations, and the right-shaped antenna helps capture the stream more efficiently.

How to Know Which Antenna is Required

That’s where we come in. At North Shore Electricians, we’ve watched Smart TVs replace analog ones and helped thousands of Sydney homes switch to crisper, clearer viewing.

One of our electricians will come to your home, inspect the current TV setup and advise on the best aerial socket and antenna for the family’s needs. We’ll then get to work installing everything so you can get the most out of your Smart TV. 

Any form of electrical work done at your premises must be completed with the issuance of a certificate of compliance for electrical work (CCEW), with copies given to your energy provider and the Department of Fair Trading. We’ll handle all this for you.

Are you ready to start viewing even more content on your Smart TV? Contact us today at North Shore Electricians.

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