Freeview is the name of the UK’s digital terrestrial TV service, delivered to your home via an aerial. Accessible on TVs, set-top boxes, and PVRs, Freeview provides the UK’s most popular television and radio stations, available for a one-off payment.
It’s a fantastic option if you’re on a budget and do not want to be tied into a subscription package, but lacks the alternative of pay-TV providers from Sky and Virgin Media, as well as the subscription-free satellite TV alternative, Freesat. You can receive Freeview on a selection of different devices.
What stations are available on Freeview?
Even though Freeview provides fewer stations than satellite and cable, 95 percent of the nation’s favorite programmes are available on it. You get 70 TV stations – including the BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – and over 30 radio stations. Alongside the usual definition networks, Freeview offers 15 HD channels, such as BBC One HD.
How do I get Freeview?
TV: All new TVs have a built-in Freeview tuner, which means that you can get all the Freeview channels without having the extra gear. TVs that are expensive have Freeview HD tuners, which means that you can also get the HD networks listed above, too. Otherwise, you will need a Freeview HD set top box or PVR.
Place top box: Freeview boxes are available from around £30, but Freeview HD ones cost a little bit more. Connect the box to your rooftop aerial, and after that to your TV through an HDMI cable. In case the box has smart-Television features like a BBC iPlayer application, you will need to connect it to your router.
PVR: The Freeview+ service permits you to record programs to play later, or pause live TV as you make a cup of tea. To get the support you will need to obtain a PVR with the Freeview++ emblem.
Freesat is a digital satellite television service from the BBC and ITV, offering much more channels that are available on Freeview. There are no ongoing fees, but you’ll need a dish fitted to your home to receive it. You’ll also need a Freesat set-top box, which enables you to pause and rewind live Television.
What else does Freesat offer and is it the smartest choice for your home?
Whereas Freeview provides 70 Television channels, 15 HD channels, and more than 30 radio stations, Freesat trumps by giving access to over 200 options, with over 20 in HD.
Alongside the five main Television channels – BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – Freesat clients can get many different channels from a broad range of categories:
Entertainment: BBC Three, BBC Four, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, E4, More4, 5 United States, 5 +1
News: BBC News, BBC Parliament, Sky News, Russia Today (RT), Al Jazeera
Pictures: Film4, True Films
Lifestyle: Food Network UK, Showcase Television, FilmOn.Television, Travel
Channel Kids’: CBBC, CBeebies, CITV
Music: Vintage Television, The Vault, Magic
Freesat HD has over 20 HD channels in total including BBC One HD ITV HD. To view these channels, you’ll need a TV with a Freesat HD tuner (also known as DVB-S2), or a harmonious set-top box or PVR (personal video recorder).
How do I get Freesat?
To receive Freesat, you’ll need a satellite dish on your house, or pay to have one installed. Most Freesat clients previously received their Television from Sky and so have a satellite dish ready to go. Otherwise, it can cost around £100 to get a dish installation. Merchants of Freesat products have to offer a satellite installation support, including supply and set up of the dish – sometimes they’ll give you a discount whenever you purchase a Freesat merchandise, so be sure to ask.
Many TV’s have incorporated satellite tuners meaning they will be able to receive either Freesat or Freesat HD channels without needing a separate set-top box. You just have to connect the satellite cable to your Television and you’re ready to go.
Set-top box: You can purchase a Freesat set-top box from about £80, though Freesat Hi-def ones cost a little bit more. Connect the box up to the satellite feed, and to your Television through an High-Definition Multimedia Interface cable.
Freesat+ PVRs: Freesat+ allows you to record programmes, or pause live Television. PVRs with Freesat+ are available from around £190. To get the full experience, you have to have two inputs (cables) from your satellite dish to your Freesat PVR.
What is Freesat from Sky?
Freesat from Sky is a satellite television service from Sky which doesn’t require an ongoing fee, letting you watch Sky TV without having a subscription.
Present Sky customers can change to Freesat from Sky to cut their costs, though they won’t get access to the top sports and movies which Sky offers. New customers can also subscribe at Freesat from Sky and get more channels than normal Freesat. However, the significant disadvantage for them is the first payment – at £175, it is pricier than other free TV choices.
What do you get?
Freesat from Sky isn’t really Freesat – instead, it was set in motion by Sky as a competitor to the BBC and ITV’s main Freesat service in 2008. Both services use the very same satellites to deliver for free Television channels to people’s homes.
Freesat from Sky provides you with access to all of the channels available on Freesat, along with a few additional networks. You get over 240 channels, however only 11 at HD, in comparison to over 20 accessible on Freesat. Premium sports and movie content isn’t currently available on Freesat from Sky.
Nevertheless, if you’re pleased with what is available on free-to-air channels like the BBC and ITV, this will not be a problem. You have the option to buy an extra device, like a Now Television box in Sky, to give access to premium content on a pay-as-you move or rolling monthly contract basis. Other options include adding a Chromecast or Roku Television streamer, and a service like Netflix.
How do I get it?
If you are a brand new client, you can purchase a mini-dish, Sky HD box along with a viewing card.
If you are a present Sky client and have your very own gear, then you’ll simply need a viewing card.