Freeview was the first free-to-air digital television service in the UK, introduced in October 2002. No subscription fee is required to watch Freeview, but the UK’s television licence fee must be paid by anyone who owns a television tuner. Freeview offers an array of channels, as well as interactive information services and digital radio stations.
Go to Freeview.co.uk in your Internet browser and scroll down the homepage until you see “Can I get Freeview?” in the bottom left of the page. Enter your postcode and house number or name and click “Check coverage”. If you live within the Freeview coverage area you will see “Good news. You should be able to receive all the Freeview channels” as well as a list of channels that are available in your region.
Ensure your television aerial is in good enough condition to receive Freeview broadcasts. The Freeview website recommends going outside and examining the aerial yourself from the ground. Check to see that it is aimed in the same direction as nearby aerials and that it has not been damaged by the weather. Should you have problems receiving Freeview broadcasts and your postcode has been verified as working on the Freeview online coverage checker, then it is likely your aerial needs to be repaired or replaced. Freeview endorses two organisations for recommending personnel for repairs and installations: the Confederation of Aerial Industries (CAI) and Registered Digital Installers (RDI).
Choose the right digital receiver for you. A basic digital receiver will is a digital box that can connect to any TV via SCART connection and receive Freeview straight out of the box. Digital boxes are the cheapest solution, with prices starting from around £20 as of June 2010. For those looking to upgrade their television, many now come with built-in digital receivers. Look for the “digital” tick logo when purchasing television equipment. There are also digital television recorders now with built-in Freeview receivers and hard drives, allowing you to pause live TV and record programs without the need for tapes or DVDs.
Consider upgrading to the new high-definition service Freeview HD should you be able to receive it. Using the initial coverage checker on the Freeview homepage, any high-definition channels you are eligible to receive will be listed. Freeview HD requires either a Freeview HD digital box, television with a Freeview HD tuner or high-definition digital recorder and HD television. There is no need for a satellite or cable installation, as Freeview HD uses your existing aerial to receive high-definition broadcasts.