How to get Freeview channels

Freeview is a non-subscription service that lets you watch digital television without the need to take out an expensive satellite subscription. Once you have purchased the necessary equipment, you will not have to pay anything else, apart from your TV license, to watch television. It is part of the government’s larger plan to “switch off” analogue broadcasting and replace it with digital broadcasting. Before starting, check your home is in an area that receives Freeview by using the coverage checker on the Freeview website. Input your postcode and house number to see a list of the Freeview channels available in your area, along with details of any High Definition services.

Built-in Freeview receiver

Look at your current television to see whether it has a built-in Freeview receiver, as many recently made televisions include this as standard.

Identify the aerial socket on the back of your television -- it is circular and approximately 1 cm in diameter.

Insert your aerial lead into this socket and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to scan for Freeview channels.

No in-built Freeview receiver

Buy a separate Freeview box, if your television does not have an internal Freeview receiver. You will also need to buy a scart cable if one is not supplied with the box. As of publication, Freeview boxes are available from many electrical retailers for as little as £20, although Freeview advises you to purchase from a retailer offering a money-back guarantee in case your property is unable to receive a Freeview signal.

Identify the aerial socket on the back of the Freeview box and insert your aerial lead into this socket.

Identify the scart socket on the back of your television; it is a roughly rectangular shape. Insert one end of your scart cable into this socket and insert the other end into the socket marked “AV1” on the Freeview box.


Contact the Switchover Help Scheme if you are registered disabled, registered blind or aged over 75; you might be entitled to help with changing to digital television. The service includes the necessary equipment, installation, an aerial check, a helpline and a 12-month aftercare service in case you have any further problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Installed rooftop aerial
  • Television
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About the Author

Rita Kennedy is a writer and researcher based in the United Kingdom. She began writing in 2002 and her work has appeared in several academic journals including "Memory Studies," the "Journal of Historical Geography" and the "Local Historian." She holds a Ph.D. in history and an honours degree in geography from the University of Ulster.