Freeview or Freesat?

A common question from our customers is ‘which is best, Freeview or Freesat?’  There isn’t a ‘one fits all’ solution.  However, we do suggest you consider the following to help influence your decision:

In a nutshell, there are two traditional methods of transmitting TV channels to your property.  Terrestrial TV (commonly referred to as ‘Freeview’) works using radio waves from earth based transmitters and Satellite TV (commonly referred to as ‘Sky’ or ‘Freesat’), works by bouncing signal from satellite stations orbiting the earth. The third and most recent method is via the internet, which we will leave out of the conversation for now.

Where is the property?

The location of your property may determine whether you are able to choose between terrestrial or satellite TV.  If you are within a good line of sight to one of the transmitters in your area, terrestrial TV is possible.  If your property is set within a narrow valley or surrounded by dense trees, you may need to opt for satellite TV, as your only line of sight will be in an upwards direction, into space.  A good tip if you’re new in the area is to look at your neighbours houses – do they have an aerial or dish, or both?


Which channels do you want to watch?
The list of channels available free of charge via Freeview or Freesat tend to be more than enough for the regular TV viewer. The majority of modern TV sets come with an integral Freeview tuner as standard, a small amount offer Freesat.  Both systems are available as ‘add-ons’ for older TVs in the form of a Freeview or a Freesat set top box (from £45), that can be plugged into the back of your TV quite easily with a SCART or HDMI lead.

There is a slight difference in channels for Freeview and Freesat, most commonly noted is that Freesat DOESN’T broadcast Dave, Yesterday, Quest and PickTV.

For those that want to follow specialist subjects such as sport, travel, wildlife or movies, a Sky subscription may be more suitable.  This can be ordered for viewing through your main TV or as a ‘multi-room’ option for those that like their TV to follow them around the house (!).


Will you be limited to channels from a relay transmitter?
For Freeview, some properties are not within sight of a main transmitter but can be connected to a relay transmitter (a smaller transmitter in a localised area which relays signal from the main transmitter).  A handy tip to be aware of is that the relay transmits a restricted amount of channels (mainly the BBCs, ITVs, C4, C5 and Film4) which is insufficient for some users.  Within Pembrokeshire, relay transmitters cater for properties on the lower levels of towns such as Tenby, St Davids and Fishguard.

CLICK on the chart below to view the channels available on main and relay transmitters
(correct at July 2015). For live status on multiplexes, click here and filter the MUX column to view BBCA/BBCA/D3&4 (relay channels).

Freeview MUX Channels

How many TVs will you need to run?
Both terrestrial and satellite systems can be designed to feed multiple TV points.  A satellite dish caters for additional TV points via the LNB (an upgradeable part on the dish).  Terrestrial TV is filtered to multiple points via a distribution unit, located in a practical position within the property (usually in the loft). These range from 2 points (rooms) upwards.


Which is cheaper to install?
In terms of installation cost, both systems work out to be a similar cost once you’ve allowed for kit, fixings and labour time. However, it is more common to find Freeview built into TV sets than it is Freesat (at the time of writing). So, if you’re considering having Freesat in several rooms, consider the cost of a Freesat box for every TV in addition to your aerial installation.


If you would like a chat to help you decide on the best service for you, give us a call on 01437 711 142.


Find out more digital facts and advice…

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