Digital TV Providers

Understanding Freeview

Freeview

Updated: Tuesday 3 April, 2012

By Editorial

If you donít want to pay a monthly subscription for your digital TV, you can get the basic channels, as well as HD channels, from Freeview for free.

After the digital switchover is completed in 2012, every household in Britain will have digital television, either through a monthly subscription TV package, or from a free-to-view provider like Freeview (www.freeview.co.uk) or Freesat.

Freeview is the cheapest way to get digital TV. After making a one-off payment for the set-top box or integrated TV, youíll have access to all the original terrestrial channels, plus all the new digital channels as well.

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What is Freeview?

Freeview is the range of subscription-free digital channels and radio stations that will replace the current terrestrial channels after the switchover is completed in 2012.

When your area switches to digital, you wonít be able to watch analogue TV any longer, so at the very least, youíll have to get a Freeview set-top box if you want to carry on watching TV. Freeview is the cheapest way to continue watching TV, as you only need to make a one-off payment for your hardware, and there is no monthly subscription.

Why should I get Freeview?

If you want to keep watching TV after the switchover, but donít want to commit to a contract and a monthly subscription, then Freeview may be right for you.

As well as being able to watch all the current terrestrial channels - BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 - youíll receive a growing number of digital-only channels and radio, such as BBC3 and ITV2.

Depending on the set-top box you buy, you might even be able to send emails via your TV, or do online shopping. The interactive facilities of digital TV are always expanding so keep a look out for new services.

And if youíve got a HD ready TV, getting a Freeview HD set-top box is the cheapest way to watch high-definition (HD) channels.

What do I need for Freeview?

To receive the Freeview channels, youíll need to have a Freeview set-top box. These cost as little as £20 and can be simply plugged into the back of your TV. Digital recorders (PVRs) are also set up to receive Freeview.

Or, if you need a new TV, you could opt for a digital one with Freeview built-in.

Because VCRs run on the analogue signal, they will become redundant after the switchover, so you should invest in a digital recorder. These allow you to record programmes onto their internal memory, pause and even rewind ďliveĒ television.

How much does Freeview cost?

The cost of Freeview depends on how you want to receive it. Standard Freeview boxes start at around £20, while some high-definition (HD) ready, integrated digital TVs can cost more than £1,000.

If you go for a subscription service, your hardware will probably be free but youíll be tied into a contract and have to pay a monthly fee.

Freeview

Freeview is the cheapest way to get digital TV. After making a one-off payment for the set-top box or integrated TV, youíll have access to all the original terrestrial channels, plus all the new digital channels as well.
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