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What Is a TV Aerial Socket?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Television (TV) aerial sockets are one of the main components used to connect TV antennas to TV sets. The other main component is coaxial cable that has been fitted with compatible TV aerial plugs. In addition to this traditional antenna usage, a TV aerial socket may also be used in conjunction with terrestrial cable and satellite television services. There are two main types of TV aerial sockets in use throughout the world, which are referred to by the designations International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 169-2 and IEC 60169-2. The IEC 169-2, or Belling-Lee connector, was developed in the UK, while the IEC 60169-2, or F connector, is primarily found in North America.

The term "TV aerial" is typically used to refer to remotely mounted television antennas. These antennas need to be connected to televisions by means of cables and connectors due to the fact that they are not built-in. Roof-mounted aerials are typically connected into a system of cabling that runs throughout en entire building, while a smaller antenna will often be plugged directly into the TV aerial socket on the back of a television.

Since TV aerial sockets are used to connect Televisions to antennas, terrestrial cable, and satellite systems, these components can be found in a number of different places. TV aerial sockets are typically installed into walls in order to provide access to roof-mounted antennas, satellites, and cable television. The same sockets are also found on televisions, video cassette recorders (VCRs), digital video recorders (DVRs), and other electronic devices.

There are two main types of TV aerial sockets in use throughout the world. One type is typically referred to as a Belling-Lee connector, though it also has the technical designation of IEC 169-2. This type of TV aerial socket was first introduced in the 1920s, and was originally designed for use with medium frequency broadcasts. Due to the original specifications, IEC 169-2 plugs have a different impedance value than the coaxial cables they are connected to. This can result in an undesirable type of signal distortion.

F connectors, which are mainly used in North America, are the other main type of TV aerial socket. These connections use plugs that have the same impedance value as the coaxial cable they are used with, so they are typically better suited to digital applications than Belling-Lee connectors. In areas where the IEC 169-2 TV aerial socket is the standard, F connectors are typically used for satellite television connections.

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