Does A Smart TV Need An Aerial?

If you’ve landed on this page your probably asking the question do you need an aerial with a smart TV? The short answer is it depends on what you want to use your smart TV for and if you want to use it to its full capabilities.

An outside aerial will be required if you want to watch terrestrial television. That is what we think of as traditional TV channels. These include BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV, channel 4 and channel 5.

However, access to British terrestrial channels in this day and age opens up access to a whole host of additional channel options including BBC 4, ITV 2,3 and 4, e4, Film 4 and much more.

Do Smart TVs Need Internet?

So if you buy a smart TV and don’t have an aerial, you are greatly diminishing the potential of your new TV and not getting the maximum out of it. You can still access streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, but if you want to access terrestrial tv signals, you will need an aerial installed.

How to install an aerial

Installing an aerial isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. If you live in a house your best bet will be to install the aerial on your roof for the best chance of getting good reception. It’s advisable to get a professional to do this. The price should be in the region of £150.

You will also need an indoor aerial socket, which should be installed by your professional as part of the job.

The good news is that once it’s installed it should be good for years to come – so you won’t have to do it again anytime soon.

If you live in a block of flats you may share an aerial with neighbours. In this case, you do not need to do any installation yourself but check with your landlord or neighbours to see what the arrangements are.

What about a portable indoor aerial?

A portable indoor aerial will not be sufficient to use with a smart TV. The signal received from such aerials may have been just about enough for watching a portable TV in your bedroom back in the eighties but they are in no way suitable for a smart TV.

Do I need a TV aerial to watch Freeview?

Yes. Freeview is not a smart TV app. It is a service that provides digital TV through a television aerial. Some people get confused with this one, but an aerial is essential if you want to watch live TV with Freeview.

Can I watch TV without an aerial?

You have many options without an aerial but your access to actual live TV will be restricted to using streaming apps such as the ones below.

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer is BBC’s digital service you can access it from your smart TV through your internet connection. You will need a TV licence if you wish to watch it. (It’s only accessible from within the UK). And you will constantly be reminded and asked if you do have a TV licence, even if you have already stated that you do.

Sky TV

If you do not want to use a terrestrial aerial, then you can choose to get Sky TV instead. Sky is a satellite television service and does not require an aerial. You will have to pay for a Sky TV box or satellite dish.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon’s streaming app offers subscribers access to a wide range of movies and television shows. Prime offers pretty good value for money considering you also get free delivery on your Amazon purchases as well as access to the Prime Music library.


ITV Hub is the commercial network’s answer to BBC iPlayer. It streams a selection of programmes from channels such as ITV, ITV2 and ITVBe. However, unlike iPlayer, you will be subjected to sometimes lengthy commercial breaks, some even featuring Susan Calman.

What other smart features do smart TVs have?

Not content with streaming TV shows or movies? Smart TVs also have access to a variety of other apps and services, such as music streaming services like Spotify or Deezer. You can also browse the internet with your TV’s in-built web browser and get access to social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. Some Smart TVs even come with voice control features – letting you search for shows using only your voice.

Can a tv aerial be used for dab radio?

Technically no, but you can access radio stations through your television. It’s just not as easy as tuning a radio and you have to do it through the settings in your television

How do tv aerials work?

TV aerials pick up the broadcast signals that are sent out by a transmitter. This can be either terrestrial TV (Freeview), Satellite TV or Cable TV. The aerial captures the signal and sends it to your television set where it is decoded so that you can watch the programmes or listen to the radio. The higher and more powerful the signal is, the better reception you will get. You can also use a signal booster or amplifier to improve signal strength.

Leave a comment