Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/11/review_hd_one_for_all_sv9380_indoor_aerial/

One For All SV9380 Freeview HD indoor aerial

Well received?

By Adrian Justins

Posted in Hardware, 11th October 2010 10:44 GMT

Review Most indoor aerials are priced between £10 and £20 but the One For All SV9380 is a different beast to most indoor aerials, selling for between £40 and £50. Whatever you pay, this boy needs to really deliver to justify its premium price. The first note of caution is that the packaging boasts of Full HD compatibility, a spurious claim given that there are no Full HD broadcasts, nor likely to be. But then if it can cope with Full HD it shouldn’t have any problems with standard definition or 1080i signals either.

SV 9380

Fiddler off the roof: One For All's SV9380

Signal strength is paramount with DTV signals, which are a lot less forgiving than analogue where a weak signal can still result in an acceptable picture, albeit maybe one with snow, banding, ghosting or colour problems. If a digital signal is weak the receiver might not lock on to some, or all, channels or it may freeze or block. To check if the SV9380 will even work in your area One For All’s online transmitter map should be consulted prior to purchase.

The aerial itself takes an unusual form factor featuring a slab design that funnily enough matches Sony’s latest monolithic Bravia TVs. Measuring 280mm wide by 138mm tall and encased in a sturdy plastic housing with a brushed aluminium stand, it boasts a level of finish not normally found in the typically low-rent world of indoor aerials.

There are two sockets on the back, one is a gold-plated RF output and the other is the 12V power socket. A UK mains adapter is provided and usefully for caravaning types, the aerial can run off a car battery. A 150cm co-axial aerial cable with gold-plated male plugs completes the bling-fest.

Whilst most aerials require positioning in either the horizontal or vertical plane (depending on whether your signal comes from a main or relay transmitter) the SV9380 is designed to pick-up both. In other words you can simply plonk it down on a tabletop and swivel it round to maximise signal pick-up. Dual Patch technology is used, which ensures maximum reception for higher density information streams including DVB-T2 transmissions.

By utilising a differential mode in the two antenna plates, unwanted reflections are diminished. This approach should also ensure stable load and gain across the entire frequency spectrum to minimise echo and reflection between antenna and receiver.

SV 9380

Interference, often the bane of my gadget-infested living room, is addressed by what One For All calls SignalClear technology. Triple interference filters offer 10 stages of filtering to reject unwanted signals, such as DECT phones, mobile phones, wireless devices and other sources. This helps avoid overload and picture freeze. Also, a low noise microcontroller is used to amplify terrestrial signals up to 42dB.

SV 9380

Well-equipped for the challenge of indoor reception

My 11th floor flat has line of sight of Crystal Palace’s transmitter, but the SV9380 is the first indoor aerial I’ve used – and I’ve tried a good half dozen – that can cope with my building’s steel frame structure and the plethora of interference-generating kit, such as an Apple AirPort Extreme base station, BT Home Hub, Sky+ and other home entertainment paraphernalia.

Positioning it in an east-west axis on my windowsill every Freeview channel was picked up with nearly maximum signal strength and quality, including all three HD channels. Simply rotating the aerial by 90 degrees and the signal strength dropped. When the aerial was moved behind a wall, only a few channels were picked up, somewhat in line with expectations for this environment.

I also tested the aerial at a house in Essex with known patchy reception. It did require more precise positioning (and a power extension lead) but the SV9380 picked up all the Freeview standard def channels and most were stable most of the time. A handful of channels suffered with some picture-freezing and drop-outs, possibly due to lower signal strength on certain frequencies, also not helped by the fact that trees were in leaf.

No portable aerial can do anything with a really poor signal but some are better than others with medium to weak signals. From my experience, the SV9380 outperformed all other indoor aerials including the Philex 27770R, which is a pretty decent model. Even so there is no guarantee that it will work for you, as every situation is different, with several variables coming in to play. Indeed, for some, only a rooftop aerial will suffice.

Verdict

As indoor aerials go, the SV9380 is a cut above most of what's on offer. Solidly built, stylish even, and technologically equipped to deliver Freeview HD, often against the odds. If your TV reception is marginal then the SV9380 may just make the difference between being able to pick up and watch your favourite shows and facing a blank or frozen screen. ®

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