New to Freeview? Here are the Basics
Freeview is a Digital TV service that allows you to watch over 40 extra channels via your TV aerial.
You don’t need a satellite dish, and there’s no subscription charge – all you need is a Freeview set-top box, or a telly that has a built-in Freeview receiver.
This page is aimed at people looking to switch over to Freeview, and provides a basic guide on how to get and start watching Freeview.
For information on what channels are available on Freeview, see our Freeview Channels List
Freeview: 5 things you need to know:
- Freeview uses a TV aerial to get TV channels – As long as you’re in a good reception area, you should be able to
view over 40 TV channels and around 20 radio channels.
- You don’t need to get a new TV or have a satellite dish installed to get Freeview.
- You can get a Freeview receiver box for around £20. Most new TV sets and DVD recorders come with a built-in Freeview receiver.
- There’s no subscription fee with Freeview. If you want more channels, there are other services that offer more than Freeview (such as Sky, YouView, Freesat or Virgin) – See our Digital TV Compared chart.
- The old analogue TV service was finally switched off in October 2102 (See: Digital Switchover). Now, Freeview is how most people will watch free TV.
How to get Freeview:
Step 1 – Check your coverage
Freeview uses a TV aerial to get TV channels. The service is broadcast
over the air in a similar way to the standard five TV channels, but uses newer digital technology to offer more channels.
To get Freeview, you have to be in a Freeview coverage area. Not all of the UK can get Freeview yet.
To check if you can get Freeview, enter your
postcode at www.digitaluk.co.uk/postcodechecker.
If you are in a Freeview coverage area, you’ll need to get a Freeview box (or a TV set with Freeview built in). Freeview boxes are the cheaper option – They connect to your existing TV set or recorder, and you plug in your normal TV aerial.
Boxes can be purchased for a one-off fee, starting from around £20 for a basic box. They can be bought from high-street stores such as Currys, but shopping online for a set-top box is often the best route, as there are some good bargains to be had.
|What to consider when buying a Freeview box:|
See our Freeview set-top box list for a look at what’s available
Radio and Telly’s Freeview Quick Picks
|GOODMANS GDB18FVZS2: Basic box with 2 SCART sockets. Amazon / Currys £25||BT YouView: Freeview HD recorder plus on-demand content.|
More info: get.youview.bt.com
|Humax PVR-9300: Includes a hard-disk recorder that holds 160 hours of TV. Currys £152|
Step 3 – Connecting a Freeview Set-top box
- Once you have got your new Freeview set-top box, you’ll need to connect it the
aerial. Unplug the aerial lead (the one that runs up to your roof/loft TV aerial) from the back of your TV, and plug this lead into the ‘aerial in’ socket on the Freeview box.
- You now need to connect from your Freeview box to the TV. If your TV has a SCART socket, connect from the Freeview box to the TV via a SCART lead. (No SCART socket?).
- The next step is to tune your TV into the Freeview box channel. Switch on
your TV and your Freeview box. If connecting with a SCART lead, then you should switch your TV to the “AV”, “Aux” or “Line in” feed. If you’re not connecting with a SCART lead, you’ll need to tune your TV into the output of the Freeview box, in the same way you’d tune in a standard TV station. Refer to your TV manual for details on
how to do this.
- With the box connected, you’ll need to scan for Freeview channels. Go to the Freeview box’s onscreen menu, and perform a “Store channels”, “Channel tuning” or “Add channels”.
The box will scan for Freeview channels (may take a couple of minutes), and then show you what it’s found.
That’s it – Happy viewing!