There are differences and similarities between Freeview and Freesat, the two free to air TV services. Essentially the main difference is the way in which the two services are received. Both services are now also offering HD programmes. there are also now HD and Plus boxes available for enhanced viewing options, and with Freesat you can now also get BBC iPlayer straight to your TV. Find out about the differences between Freeview and Freesat, and where you can buy the equipment you need, below.
Freeview can be accessed through your existing aerial and requires that you either purchase a Freeview decoder box, or a TV with built in Freeview capabilities, which can then be plugged into your aerial and instantly receives the service. There are up to 50 standard digital TV and radio channels available on Freeview, and some HD channels too. Freeview has no on-going cost as there is no subscription charge. Once you have bought and set up your Freeview equipment you are ready to watch Freeview.
If you want to do more than just watch Freeview TV – if you want to record, rewind and pause live Freeview TV – then buy a digital TV recorder with the Freeview+ logo. Just plug it in! With a Freeview Plus box, you can pause, record and rewind live TV – and you can now record an entire series at the touch of a button.
A Freeview decorder box or TV with built in Freeview capabilities will allow you to receive and watch Freeview programmes. However you can now also get a Freeview Plus HD Box – this allows you to record standard and HD programmes, record, rewind and pause live TV, and record some whole series at the touch of a button. Freeview also five HD (high definition) channels – these are free-to-air HD channels and are BBC HD, ITV 1 HD, 4HD and S4C Clirlun (in Wales).
Freeview HD is currently being rolled out across the country and by June 2010 it is reckoned that around 50% of the UK will be able to receive Freeview HD – and be able to watch World Cup games in Freeview HD, for free, thanks to BBC1 HD and ITV1 HD, both channels that are available on Freeview HD.
To receive Freeview HD, check coverage in your area with the Freeview coverage checker, buy a Freeview HD digital box or Freeview Plus HD digital TV recorder and connect it to an HD ready TV set, using an HDMI cable. Or upgrade your TV to an HD ready TV set with Freeview HD built in.
Freesat is a satellite TV service provided by BBC and ITV. Like Freeview, there is no subscription, and that means no monthly bills. Once you have the equipment, you can get started. For Freesat you will need a working satellite dish or be willing to pay for one to be installed on the exterior of your property. You also need to purchase a decoder box, or alternatively buy a TV which comes with a built in decoder. Because Freesat is delivered by satellite, there are no coverage problems. Perfect if you want to watch World Cup matches in HD from BBC1 HD and Freesat HD this summer!
Freesat offers over 140 digital TV and radio channels, and BBC iPlayer to your main TV set. Freesat also offers High Definition (HD) content (provided that you buy an HD Freesat decoder box and have an HD ready TV). Freesat channels include BBC Three, BBC Four, ITV2, ITV3, More 4 and Film Four. Freesat is a popular alternative to Sky for people who already have a Sky dish, but perhaps now want a free satellite service with no ongoing subscription charges.
There is an 8-day on-screen programme guide too, so you need never miss those favourite programmes!
Freesat Plus is a Freesat decoder box with extra features to enhance your TV viewing experience – so with Freesat Plus you can record (without tapes), rewind and pause live TV. With Freesat + you can also record up to 200 hours of standard programming.
Enjoy up to five times as much picture detail, more lifelike pictures, and suround sound with HD TV from Freeesat. To get Freesat HD you’ll need a high definition TV connected to a Freesat HD digital box with an HDMI cable, or an HD TV with Freesat built in. Look out for the HD-ready logo when you shop for a new TV.
BBC iPlayer on Freesat
Freesat is the first subscription-free TV service to offer BBC iPlayer. And instead of watching BBC iPlayer on your PC or laptop, you can watch iPlayer directly on your main TV set! With BBC iPlayer you can play, pause and rewind BBC TV programmes from the last seven days.
To watch BBC iPlayer on Freesat you’ll need a Freesat HD box, a Freesat+ box or Freesat HD TV. You will also need at least 1Mb broadband download speed in order to carry iPlayer programmes. If you want, you can then connect your Freesat receiver to the internet yourself – alternatively you may prefer to arrange professional installation.
Neither service requires a subscription and you just pay for the set up and the equipment.