Freeview & Freesat - A Complete Guide

Fri 16th May 2014 Guides

Ever liked the idea of watching your favourite TV programmes without the sting of a monthly bill and being tied down to a subscription? 

Freeview and Freesat offer ‘free’ television, providing some of the most popular TV channels, including the standard BBC 1 and 2, ITV, Channel  4 and Channel 5. There’s no need to pay monthly for the privilege and you don’t have to sign on the dotted line for a subscription.

What are Freeview and Freesat?

Freeview offers around a fantastic range of TV channels and radio stations, which are picked up using an aerial. If you have one attached to your property, you will be able to receive Freeview using a set-top box or a TV with built-in Freeview.

Freesat works in a similar way, but uses a satellite dish to pick up a signal. Freesat offers over 200 channels, with some options available in HD. Similarly to Freeview, you will need a set-top box or a TV with built-in technology to enjoy the programmes available.

What do I need?

Chances are you will either have an aerial or satellite dish already attached to your property, with some houses possibly having both.

You will also need a TV that has technology installed, however these can put a dent in your bank account because some models are quite expensive. Alternatively, you can buy a set-top box at a cheaper price, which can be connected to your existing TV.

What do I get with Freeview or Freesat?

With Freeview, you can expect to receive a variety of TV channels and radio stations. Instead of just the standard 5 channels, you will also be able to enjoy Film 4, Dave, BBC Three, Viva and more.

You can also get the standard classics in HD, for example BBC One HD, giving you a better viewing experience. This option is only available with TVs that offer High Definition quality.

What’s more, you can also catch up on episodes you missed using Smart TV, offering services such as BBC iPlayer, so you’re kept up to date with the latest programmes. 

Freesat also offers a selection of entertaining channels and radio stations, as well as selected HD options.

Choose from a range of Freetime on demand services, where you’ll find catch up players all in one place, as well as YouTube.

The Showcase service is really helpful if you need inspiration on what to watch. Freesat select their personal top programmes and inform you on what will be aired over the coming days.

Both Freeview and Freesat services also let you pause, rewind and record programmes.

Do I need to buy a TV Licence?

By law, if you watch TV or something you have recorded, you will need to pay for a TV Licence.

Even if you’re watching something on your smartphone, laptop or computer, you will still be required to pay.

Luckily, to make it less financially crippling, you have the option to pay in quarterly, monthly or weekly instalments. Of course, if you pay the fee upfront then you won’t have to worry about it again for a year.