FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t want the DVD / Sky Box to be visible!

This is possible, with a Sky Box you can control it using a magic eye (around £10). This is a broad bean sized receiver which can be positioned unobtrusively and connected via your aerial feed to the RF2 output on your Sky box.

For multiple devices or non Sky items, this can be done, but the solution is more expensive (£30) and about the size of a mobile phone, so slightly less discrete.

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When I drill the solid wall there is little or no resistance?

This is a tell tale sign when the drill goes in with little or no resistance and you cannot gain any traction on your fittings that the bricks are thermalite. In this case use chemical screws, one tightening these will release a compound which bonds and forms a solid fix. These screws cannot be removed easily.

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What is HD?

HD stands for High Definition which gives you a better sharper picture. There are a few standards, more info is here

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What is HDMI?

HDMi is the new cable to connect your devices together and replacemes a SCART lead. SCART cables only transmit analigue TV signals whereas HDMi allows digital TV signals to be transferred between your SKY Box, DVD etc. Since HDMi is digital it also supports HD signals from SKY HD, Virgin HD, Free Sat HD and Blu Ray players/recorders.

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What is an HDD Recorder?

This is a system like your computer where information is stored on a disk inside the device. It is ideal for people who record programmes to watch and discard and can generally store 40 hours, 80 hours or much more. More info

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Can I still use my VCR - Video Cassette Recorder?

It is possible to continue using your VCR, but you will need a Set Top Box to decode the digital signal. However there are a number of reasons why this is not a practical solution:-

  1. You cannot watch one programme on TV whilst recording another unless you have a separate Set Top Box for your VCR.
  2. If you want to set the timer for a recording, you must select the channel on the Set Top Box separately. This means if you go away for a few days and you say wanted to record East Enders on BBC and Corination Street on ITV, you also have to set the Set Top Box to switch channels. The chances of recording both programmes properly is then limited. So there is more chance of things going wrong.

With this in mind you are better off with a recorder with a digital receiver. The obvious and familiar choice is a DVD Recorder, but these are quite complex to use in comparison to an HDD Recorder and unless you want to keep recordings for posterity ie you normally watch and record over, then an HDD Recorder is ideal.

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What is the advantage of a professional installation?

Most installers will only use the best components and materials based on years of experience. They should also understand that your time is valuable and for a first timer this can be a complicated job. Find a profesional installer

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Where can I get accessories such as cables if required?

You can check what you need by using our Parts you need Guide and we have collected these parts into packs for you which you from The Av Suite for convenience these are listed here Parts For Sale. If you are suing a professional installer he or she will suually be able to supply any parts you might need.

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Can I use a floating shelf?

In our experience it is difficult to do. Most components are at least 35cm deep once the cables have been plugged in at the back. At most floating shelves are 30cm deep and as such cannot cope with even a sky box, let alone an av receiver. Secondly, cables are rarely exactly the right length. This leaves piles of cables lying on an already overloaded shelf. Lastly,the way floating shelves attach to the wall do not allow for trunking to be placed between the shelf and the wall which again leaves mess. We recommend a simple floor-standing shelving unit, as this will make the installation look nicer and just as importantly allow easy access for future upgrades.

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Can you install a wall mounted av unit?

These three or four shelf units are, in our opinion, not up to the job. Not only do they take twice as long to put up as a TV, they also look rubbish! This is mostly because they cannot deal with more than three or four good quality cables. With at least two cables coming from each component if not more, the units end up looking like a tangled mess. As such we recommend a simple floor-standing shelving unit, as this will make the installation look nicer and just as importantly allow easy access for future upgrades.

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Warning about some TVs (notably new Samsung LED)

Some newer TVs do not have a removable power source, it is hard-wired into the tv. This means that if you are considering mounting the tv far away from a power source, you will not be able to replace the TV power lead without voiding the warranty. Please bear this in mind when locating you tv.

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Can you do in-wall cabling on a fireplace?

If you have an open fireplace with no fire then in wall cabling is possible but only if you use HD sources. This is because standard definition cables (i.e. scarts) are too large to fit through the brick work.

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Are high-quality HDMI cables worth buying?

At first it may seem that since HDMI is a digital cable, it either works or it doesn't and so better quality cables may not make any difference. However, if the cables are long there is a greater chance of interference from other sources. Usually over 1-3mtres this shouldn't be aproblem, but over longer distances better quality cables should be used. A lack of physical durability is noticeable on the lower end of the budget HDMI range.

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What TV should I buy?

Unless you have a large budget we would always say that you should buy an affordable low-to-mid range model. TVs don't have the life span of the last generation CRT TVs. The estimated working life span of your modern TV should be around 7-8 years with normal usage. Some people have them on much longer. Although the panels last considerably longer, the weak link in the LCD tvs are -capacitors.These electrolytic filter capacitors can fail earlier, around 2 to 4 years. This kind of failure will happen on any brand and model, the higher end ones are not any better from this standpoint. Further to this, the constant upgrading of technology means most standards included on TVs 3-4 years old are now outdated, for example as well as the much hyped Digital Switch-Over, at the time of writing TVs with HD Receivers in are not available and there is no HD broadcast over the airwaves. This will come in the next few years. Additionally 3d TVs are available and one would imagine 3-D broadcasts will come too and the receivers in the TVs may not support these, especially if the standards change as they become widespread.

With this in mind we always suggest picking one you like the look of and can afford. Unless you are a serious movie fiend or hardcore gamer the performance of the high-end TV range is not worth the price.

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Installing and connecting a satellite dish yourself

If you want to install and connect a satellite dish yourself you can. Kits are available for around £100-£150 for an 80cm dish, digital TV receiver, and low noise block (LNB). A system such as this will allow you to get Free View (the standard free digital tv channels. There is no subscription or ongoing fees. if you wish to buy the dish only (around £50-£100) you can connect this directly to an existing Sky Digital or Freesat box.

Installing the dish is realtively easy, you will need a clear line of site towards the satellite. Identifying the location fo the satellite is easy too, simply look at where your neighbours dishes are pointing (South East towards the horizon and slightly elevated).

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I Need help finding the satellite?

You may need a satellite finder to locate the satellites, but the easiest thing to do is look at your neighbours satellite dishes and copy them!

The actual location of the satellite is in the Astra group which are 28.2 degrees East above the equator. This is roughly South East if you are in Britain (139-147 degrees). The angle of elevation you will need is somewhere between 18 and 26 degrees depending on how far North you are in the UK.

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Can you have multiple outputs from one dish

Yes. A satellite system is comprised of the actual dish, the LNB or low noise block and the decoder. The first two items are on your dish and the latter is the box near your TV. The LNB is the all important part as this can generate several signals at once from the same dish. These typcially feed 1, 2, 4, or 8 coax cables. Most Sky HD systems are installed with a quad LNB (4).

This offers a huge range of flexibiblity since as well as allowing your to record one programme whiclst watching another, you can also feed digital signals into different rooms of your house. You have always been able to feed sky signals into other rooms using the RF output on the Sky box, but this is an anlaogue signal. In most cases this is fine, but if you want an HD picture then you will need a separate Sky HD box.

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