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Freeview Help: Coverage Advice

On this page, we offer information on checking whether Freeview is available in your area, and how to check your Freeview coverage...


Freeview logoCan I get Freeview?

To get Freeview, you must have a suitable Freeview set-top box or digital TV, which is capable of receiving a Freeview TV signal via a TV aerial. You must also be in a Freeview coverage area.


How do I check my coverage?

There are several coverage predictors available, which use your postcode to assess whether you may get a signal.


How accurate are coverage predictors?

Postcode-based predictors can only give an estimate of likely coverage. The database doesn't know whether homes have basic or high-quality aerials, whether a person in that postcode lives in a house, ground-floor flat or a bungalow, or whether there are obstructions blocking a clear line to the transmitter - so it provides an estimate based on likely signal strength in the area. These estimates tend to be conservative.

Properties in a postcode that have decent aerials, correctly aligned, perhaps with an amplifier, may be able to get a decent signal when the predictor says that Freeview reception shouldn't be possible.

It's fairly safe to assume that if you get a fairly strong signal on the main 5 channels from the same transmitter as a transmitter that offers a digital TV signal, receiving Freeview shouldn't be a problem in most cases. However, the only true way to find out 100% is to either borrow a friend's Freeview box to try it out, or contact a TV aerial company and ask them to perform a signal test using your aerial.


No Freeview coverage?

If the Freeview, DTG and Wolfbane sites all tell you that coverage is unlikely, or you know you're on the edge of reception, here are the options:

Improve your aerial

If one of the Freeview checkers says you're outside the coverage area, or you can't get all of the channels, note that sometime the checkers "play it safe".

Getting a good quality aerial of the correct group mounted on your roof and pointed directly at the appropriate digital TV transmitter gives you the best chance of getting a signal if you're in a marginal area.

For aerial advice, see our aerial section.

Consider the alternatives

If you're not able to get Freeview now, you should be able to get one of the other digital TV services. These include:

See our Digital TV options page for our rundown on the options.


When will Freeview be available?

The Digital TV switchover completed in October 2012, giving most homes in the UK access to digital TV via Freeview. However, there are still part sof the UK unable to get a decent Freeview signal, or all of the channels

If you want to find out when your Freeview signal will improve , you could try the OfCom website, or try contacting the company that maintains your local transmitter (commonly Arqiva), or the TV company responsible for your region, to see if you can find out details of any upcoming improvements.

You can find information on UK TV transmitters at the Mb21 site


Using the Wolfbane Coverage Predictor

The Wolfbane Digital TV coverage site offers some excellent information on receiving digital TV in the UK, but it's designed for those with a technical understanding of how it all works. In this section, we'll try to help interpret the results.

To start with, enter your postcode into and view (or print) the results. They should look something like this:

Wolfbane example

Here's what the results tell you:

  • Transmitter: This lists the transmitters that you may be able to receive digital TV from. The first one in the list is likely to be your best bet. There's a map of transmitters elsewhere on the Wolfbane site
  • Multiplex: This lists the six multiplexes that are used to broadcast all of the Freeview channels (they are called 1, 2, A, B, C and D). Each of these has a UHF number, explaining where in the TV band these multiplexes occur, and it's these UHF numbers which determine which "Group" of aerial you need. More on Groups.
  • GP: The aerial "Group" needed for this transmitter More on Groups.
  • Distance and bearing: How far away you are (in miles) from the transmitter, and the compass bearing (in degrees). The bearing is useful to work out where to point the aerial.
  • Antenna suggestion: The site's recommendation for what type of aerial is needed to get a signal - this can range from "set top aerial" (if you're really close) to "extra hi-gain amplified" (if you need a good-quality rooftop aerial with amplification)

Wolfbane can only provide an estimated coverage prediction... there are no guarantees.


Need more help?

Ask in our Freeview Problems forum - Please include your postcode, plus the make and model of your Freeview receiver, as this helps the forum regulars provide relevant advice.


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