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How do I get Freeview HD?

How do I get Freeview HD?

Hi Jon, I want to get high-definition TV, and am looking for the cheapest option without any monthly costs. Can I get Freeview HD? I’ve heard it is available in some areas, but is it available in my area?

Can you help?

Mark Toland, Reading, via email, Updated: Friday 8 April, 2011

Hi Mark, thanks for your email about getting Freeview HD.

Freeview HD is the subscription-free high-definition (HD) TV service from Freeview, which offers HD channels via your existing TV aerial. If you’re looking to upgrade your TV service to HD without spending loads of money on set-top boxes or subscribing to a monthly subscription, Freeview HD may be the best high-definition option for you.

Firstly, have a look at my guide to HD TV to find out about high-definition TV, then read my top tips on Freeview HD for more information about availability and how to get Freeview HD…

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Freeview HD availability

Freeview’s HD service is currently available in around 60% of the UK. The rest of the country will be able to receive the service as the digital switchover moves towards completion in 2012.

Before getting a Freeview HD set-top box, you should check if Freeview HD is available in your area using our HD coverage postcode checker.

If you can’t receive Freeview HD yet, don’t worry - there are plenty of other HD TV services available. Take a look at Other HD TV options for more information.

Freeview HD set-top boxes

if you’re in a Freeview HD area, great news - but you will need to invest in a Freeview HD set-top box before you can start watching high-definition TV. These are available from retailers such as John Lewis and Argos for around £100. See how Freeview HD box features compare against those available from Sky or Virgin Media:

Sky+HD box Virgin+HD box Virgin HD box Freeview HD

Freeview HD box
FREE Sky+HD box*
+ FREE set-up
from £19.50 a month
+ HD for £10.25 a month
FREE V+HD box
(£40 set-up)
£24.50 a month**
+ FREE HD TV
FREE V HD box
(£40 set-up)
£6.50 a month**
+ FREE HD TV
from £99.99****
(aerial required)
no monthly
subscription
Visit sky.com Visit virginmedia.com Visit virginmedia.com Visit freeview.co.uk/HD
Over 50 HD channels Over 30 HD channels 5 HD channels 4 HD channels
Pause and rewind "live" TV Pause and rewind "live" TV No No
Record 2 programmes at once Record 2 programmes at once + watch a 3rd No No
Record series automatically Record series automatically No No
£50 Marks and Spencer voucher FREE catch-up TV with the BBC iPlayer and more FREE catch-up TV with the BBC iPlayer and more No
Visit sky.com Visit virginmedia.com Visit virginmedia.com Visit johnlewis.com
Visit sky.com or
call 08442 410582
Visit virginmedia.com Visit virginmedia.com Buy at johnlewis.com

* For new and existing customers taking their first Sky+HD package. Get up to 50 HD channels with addtional Sky HD packs. ** + a Virgin Phone line for £12.99 a month. *** + a Virgin Phone line for £12.99 a month. **** Prices sourced from freeview.co.uk. HD box capabilities vary across manufacturers. Higher prices may apply for recorder and catch-up capabilities.

If you don't have a HD ready TV, consider one with Freeview HD built-in

Your HD set-top box will also have to be connected up to a HD ready TV with a HDMI cable. You can buy a HD ready TV from any good electrical retailer, and prices start from around £250 for a 32in set. Visit www.hdready.org.uk for details on which makes and models are HD ready, and when buying a new TV, look out for the HD ready logo.

If you haven’t yet got a HD ready TV, consider getting one with Freeview HD built-in. These will be more expensive than buying them as separates. At the moment they typically cost around £400. Read our Freeview HD set-top box guide for more information on some recommended Freeview HD boxes.

What’s on Freeview HD?

Freeview currently has four high-definition channels, as well as up to 50 channels in standard definition. The HD channels available are:

  • BBC HD - Watch some of the best from the BBC on its HD channel, such as Ashes to Ashes, Doctor Who and Waterloo Road.
  • ITV1 HD - ITV1 HD is a high-definition simulcast of ITV, showing a mixture of entertainment programmes, like Coronation Street, X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, to millions of viewers.
  • 4 HD - The HD simulcast of Channel 4 brings you a variety of entertainment, including Desperate Housewives, Deal Or No Deal and Shameless, in all the close-up detail of high-definition.
  • BBC1 HD - This channel is a high-definition simulcast of BBC1, showing everything that is on BBC1, such as EastEnders, Holby City and Antiques Roadshow in super sharp HD.

There may be more HD channels added to Freeview in the future, including further channels from the BBC and a high-definition version of Channel 5. For more information, you can subscribe to Freeview’s HD news alerts at www.freeview.co.uk/freeview/HD.

I hope this helps answer your question about Freeview HD Mark - and if your area can’t get Freeview HD yet, remember there are plenty of other options for high-definition TV, including Freesat. Take a look at my tips below:

Other options for HD TV

If you’re unsure of which high-definition TV service to go for, use our online price comparison tool to find out more about the other digital TV providers and HD services available in your area.

You may find that a package from Sky (www.sky.com) or Virgin Media (www.virginmedia.com) suits you more, as subscription TV deals tend to offer a wider selection of channels.

And if you want to find out more about HD television, download our Complete Guide to High-definition TV.

The benefits of high-definition

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Comments

its because your more than likely to be on a repeater aerial from belmont and thats not going hd untill august the 17th 2011. - Aug 18 2011 8:48PM
Rob E, grimsby

Hi,

I recently bought a TV with a built in Freeview HD tuner and it's available in my area but I cannot pick up any of the HD channels. Someone please help !
- Feb 14 2011 1:41AM
Sagar, London

I have just bought a FreeviewHD TV (Samsung LE40C580) and cannot pick up any of the HD channels. According to Freeviews website it was made available in my area (Lincoln, UK) in March 2010. Can someone tell me why my TV won't pick them up? - Jan 21 2011 10:53AM
Steve Livesey, Lincoln, UK

I have a HD TV and a Freeview box with a HD output. What I want to know is how I get HD channels on this box? - Aug 3 2010 3:23PM
Shane, UK

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