Freeview Explained

Freeview LogoFreeview isthe U.K.’s main subscription-free TV service. It offers 50 channels of live TV and 20 channels of radio. You can get Freeview for a one-off fee of around £20, by buying a small set-top box on the high street.

Freeview is received via a TV aerial and either a Freeview box, or a TV set with built-in Freeview.


What can I watch on Freeview?

There are 50 channels of live TV on Freeview. These include BBC1, BBC2, ITV 1, Channel 4, Channel 5, BBC Three, BBC Four, ITV 2, ITV 3, ITV 4, Dave , More 4, E4, 5*, 5 USA, Pick TV, Film 4, Yesterday, Quest, CBBC, CBeebies, the BBC News channel, QVC shopping, 4 Music, Sky News, and a bunch of other channels.

Freeview offers an HD TV service for high-definition TV. HD channels on offer are: BBC HD, BBC One HD, ITV 1 HD and Channel 4 HD.

At the heart of Freeview is the on-screen electronic program guide that lets you see what TV shows are coming up in the next seven days. Freeview also uses interactive text using the red button on your Freeview remote control. The interactive text service replaces the old Ceefax service (remember that?)

How to get Freeview

To get Freeview, you either need a TV set with built-in Freeview, or a small set-top box. You need to be in a Freeview coverage area and have a suitable TV aerial.

Freeview boxes will cost you around £20 on the high street. You connect the set-top box to your TV set and then plug your TV aerial into the set-top box. You should be able to scan and receive 70 digital TV and radio stations.

More advanced Freeview boxes are available. Some of these include a built-in Freeview plus recorder, which will let you record one Freeview Channel whilst you watch another. More expensive versions of these also give you access to the BBC iPlayer (for catch-up TV from the BBC) as well as video from YouTube.


Want More Channels?

If you are looking for more channels on your Freeview, you may want to consider BT Vision. BT Vision adds over 5000 hours of on demand TV shows and movies. You can also get Sky Sports 1 and 2, as well as the sports channel ESPN.

See our What is BT Vision summary, or go to

Alternatively, you can get Sky Sport and ESPN on Freeview using Top Up TV, which uses a special set-top box (no Internet connection required, and no contract!


Your Freeview Questions

We’re happy to answer your questions. Here’s our list so far: Freeview Questions Answered

13 Responses to Freeview Explained

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *