Freesat Vs. Freeview: A Comparative Guide | Aerialforce
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Freesat Vs. Freeview: A Comparative Guide

Jun-2020 / 3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re on the market for a digital TV service provider, you’re probably on the fence between Freesat and Freeview. At first glance, they are pretty similar. Both offer a wide range of TV and radio channels for free, only requiring you to pay the upfront costs for your Freesat-ready or Freeview-ready device and its setup and installation. 

However, the fact is that they are more different than alike. And whether you see them as competitors or not, you are still faced with the decision of choosing between the two. To help you get to the bottom of this Freesat vs. Freeview dilemma, we’ve come up with a guide to help you better understand the services of each one. From coverage to channel selection, we’ve got you covered! 

Ready to make the choice between Freeview or Freesat? Read on!


Freesat is a free-to-air TV system which delivers its channels through a satellite dish or satellite receiver and a set-top box. Most smart TVs in the UK already have a built-in Freesat tuner, but if your device does not, then you may have to shell out for more than just the purchase and installation of the set-top box and satellite dish. 

Freesat is best for those who watch TV regularly, as it provides a great number of channels for the cost of almost nothing!


Meanwhile, Freeview is a digital TV service which delivers its channels through a TV aerial and a set-top box. Again, many smart TVs are Freeview-ready. Setting up Freeview is fairly easy as all you will have to do is connect your TV aerial to your set-top box or Freeview-ready device and give it a tune for you to start watching! 

Freeview is the most ideal for someone who occasionally watches TV, as it will not require you to shell out a lot of money, especially if you already have a Freeview-ready device. 


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A Side-By-Side Look On Freesat vs Freeview


As stated above, both Freesat and Freeview are free. You will not be bound by monthly contracts nor will you have to pay any fees aside from the upfront costs for the installation of the satellite or aerial, as well as the set-top box. 

If you are switching over from Sky TV, Freesat is the best option, as both TV systems make use of European satellite dishes to deliver their channels. And because you already have a satellite dish installed, you wouldn’t have to shell out for a new one. All you will have to do is purchase the necessary set-top box, switch the cables over to your new box, and start enjoying Freesat’s TV and radio channels. 


In terms of coverage, it is safe to say that Freesat is the way to go. Because of the way it is broadcast, Freesat almost has total coverage around the UK, assuming the accurate line of sight can be achieved.  

Freeview, on the other hand, can only reach about 98% of the UK population. However, 15% of these households reached by Freeview can only access Freeview Lite, a reduced version of the former, with only 15 channels accessible. 


At the moment, Freeview has about 70 channels with several in HD, and about 10 radio stations. Freesat, on the other hand, has a whopping 200 TV and radio channels. 

Each service also has a Smart version called Freesat with Freetime and Freeview Play, respectively. Both can give you access to digital terrestrial catchup TV services, as well as several channels that deliver on-demand content,

And while Freesat has twice the amount of channels to choose from, it does not offer all the channels that are on Freeview

Options for HD

Both Freeview HD and Freesat HD offer some BBC channels, ITV and Channel 4 in HD. Additionally, Freeview offers Al Jazeera, while Freesat offers NHK world in HD. 

It is important to note, though, that while Freeview HD boxes cost as little as £40, and HD is a standard in all Freesat boxes, you will still need an HD TV set to fully appreciate the improved picture quality. 

Recording, Rewinding, Forwarding, and Pausing

For an additional cost, both Freeview and Freesat offer set-top boxes and HD recorders which allow you to record, pause, rewind, and forward your favourite programmes. 

Both provide programme guides which the users can use to automatically set up recordings quickly and easily. Freeview+ and Freesat+ boxes will cost a few bucks over £100.

Choosing The One For You

So, is it Freesat or Freeview for you? Have you decided on which service you want to avail? If not, just bear in mind that you do not have to choose what is deemed “the best” by the market, but rather what is best for you. 

Ask yourself the question “What do I need?” and assess your current TV service provider, location, budget, viewing habits and preferences among many others. Figure out what exactly your household requires to be able to determine what you would be able to make the most out of. 

If you need help in choosing the digital TV service that is best for you or need help in installing and setting up your digital TV signal receiver and set-top box, call a professional Aerial Engineer today!

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