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How to watch Sky for free

Updated February 21, 2017

Sky, through BSkyB, provide a satellite to dish television transmission service from the Astra 1 and Astra 2 satellites. (Reference 1 and 2) The combined satellite footprint covers all of Europe, (Reference 3) enabling Sky transmissions to be received throughout the UK. Several hundred Sky transmissions are available only through a subscription service, however Sky does transmit "free to air channels" through Sky Freesat, offering over free 200 channels after an initial one-off payment. (Reference 4)

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  1. Set up a Freeview digital set-top box or use a Freeview enabled television. Receive the following Sky subscription channels for free through Freeview: Dave, Sky Sports News, The Hits, TMF, Virgin 1 and UK History. Locate the relevant Freeview channels using the inbuilt menu system.

  2. Purchase a FreeSat card from Sky, and insert it into the card slot on a Sky satellite receiver. According to Robert B, a Sky Knowledge Advisor with over a decade of experience with Sky, if you have previously been a paying subscriber to Sky, your Sky subscription card automatically becomes a FreeSat card when you terminate your paying subscription.

  3. Switch on the Sky satellite receiver, and follow the on-screen menu instructions to set up FreeSat reception. Use a combination of Freesat and the Sky channels aired on Freeview to access 250 free Sky channels.

  4. Tip

    Freesat from Sky can be received using any European satellite receiver and the Sky receiver is not essential. However, the channels will not be identified by the Sky channel numbers and may be difficult to locate.

    The card is for UK residents only and is supplied only to UK addresses.

    The menu systems on Freeview and Freesat receivers can vary according to make and model. Consult your equipment manual if you are unsure of the tuning and menu navigation procedures.


    Many Sky channels are encrypted and attempting to view them for free is unlawful.

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Things You'll Need

  • Sky satellite receiver box and aerial
  • Freeview box or Freeview enabled television
  • Sky Freesat Card

About the Author

David Robinson

David Robinson has written professionally since 2000. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. He has written for the "Telegraph" and "Guardian" newspapers in the U.K., government publications, websites, magazines and school textbooks. He holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in geography and education and a teaching certificate from Durham University, England.

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