Freeview and Freesat: Which is Best? How to they Work? (UK TV Broadcasts) - Freesat Spares

Freeview and Freesat: Which is Best? How to they Work? (UK TV Broadcasts)

Freeview and Freesat are two popular digital TV platforms in the UK that offer a wide range of channels without a subscription fee. While both provide access to digital television, they differ in their delivery methods, coverage, and channel availability.


Freeview is a digital terrestrial television (DTT) service, meaning it is delivered through the airwaves using terrestrial transmitters. To access Freeview, viewers need a digital TV or a set-top box, and an aerial to receive the signals. Here are some key features of Freeview:

  1. Delivery Method:

    • Freeview is delivered through traditional TV aerials, making it a terrestrial broadcast service.
    • It utilizes the DVB-T2 (Digital Video Broadcasting - Terrestrial) standard for transmission.
  2. Channel Availability:

    • Freeview offers a broad range of channels, including popular ones like BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, as well as various digital radio channels.
    • The number of channels available can vary depending on the region and the strength of the signal.
  3. Coverage:

    • Freeview coverage is widespread across the UK, with over 90% of households having access to the service.
    • Viewers in areas with good signal strength can enjoy a reliable and high-quality TV experience.
  4. Equipment:

    • To access Freeview, viewers need a Freeview-enabled TV or a set-top box. Many modern TVs come with built-in Freeview tuners.
  5. Cost:

    • Freeview is free to access, and there are no subscription fees. However, viewers may need to invest in a set-top box if their TV is not Freeview-compatible.


Freesat, on the other hand, is a digital satellite television service. It utilizes satellite technology to deliver television signals to homes. Here are the main aspects of Freesat:

  1. Delivery Method:

    • Freesat is delivered via satellite signals, requiring a satellite dish to capture the broadcast.
    • It uses the DVB-S2 (Digital Video Broadcasting - Satellite - Second Generation) standard for transmission.
  2. Channel Availability:

    • Freesat provides a similar lineup of channels as Freeview, including the major terrestrial channels and additional digital and HD channels.
    • Some channels on Freesat may not be available on Freeview, and vice versa, due to differences in broadcasting agreements.
  3. Coverage:

    • Freesat has a high coverage rate across the UK, as long as there is a clear line of sight to the satellite.
    • It is particularly useful in areas with weak Freeview signals or in locations where a satellite dish is a more viable option.
  4. Equipment:

    • To access Freesat, viewers need a satellite dish, a Freesat receiver, and a compatible TV.
    • Freesat receivers come with features like on-demand services and the ability to pause, rewind, and record live TV.
  5. Cost:

    • While Freesat doesn't require a subscription fee, there is an initial cost for purchasing and installing the satellite dish and receiver. However, this is a one-time expense.

In summary, the main difference between Freeview and Freesat lies in their delivery methods – Freeview is transmitted terrestrially, while Freesat uses satellite signals. The choice between the two depends on factors such as geographic location, signal strength, and personal preferences regarding channels and equipment. Both platforms provide a diverse range of channels without the need for a monthly subscription, offering viewers flexibility and choice in their television experience.

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