Freeview or Freesat?
Which is best for you?

Blog > Guides
2 Nov • 5 min read

You’ve made a decision. You want to get more out of your TV. Or you’ve decided to give the likes of Sky or BT the boot and aren’t prepared to be locked into another 12 months of hefty fees. The point is, you want great telly without any monthly bills.

But now, you have to work out what’s right for you, starting with which is best for you out of Freeview or Freesat.

All this can get a bit confusing, so here’s what you need to know before you buy your box.

Aerial or Satellite?

First things first, do you want to get great telly through an aerial or a minidish from an old Sky subscription? The key difference between Freeview and Freesat is how the TV service is delivered to you - via an aerial or via a satellite minidish.

Freeview is broadcast from transmitters located all around the UK and needs an aerial to be received. You'll get the best results with a rooftop aerial, or failing that, one in the loft. Portable aerials can work but are really hit and miss and depend on exactly where they are positioned relative to the transmitters.

Freesat is beamed to the UK from the same satellites as Sky and is great if you don't have an aerial or live in a black spot and want a simple way to keep using your minidish. As a result, the Freesat broadcast service can deliver a more resilient signal which isn’t as affected by bad weather conditions. When you're considering which is best for you out of Freesat and Freeview, both have benefits depending on where you’re based. For Freesat, you will need a satellite dish minidish installed. As the Freeview signal is recieved via an aerial it’s worth checking the reception quality in your area by checking where the closest TV transmitter is.

What channels do I get?

Whether you choose Freeview or Freesat you’re going to get great digital TV and all of the UK's most popular TV channels, with many in HD. Freesat has the edge with a slightly larger number of channels, but other than some missing news and religious channels Freeview's line-up is almost identical.

It's worth noting that Freeview are conservative in the number of channels they advertise because not all areas can receive all of them. Whereas Freesat channel numbers always look higher because they count all of the regional variations, like BBC One London, BBC One South East, etc.

We give an overview of the channels you should be able to receive on our Freesat and Freeview Play pages, but you can check the channels you should be able to receive in your area using the Freeview coverage checker and popping in your postcode. To see what's on Freesat, visit their channel listings page.

Got it. What’s next?

Going down the Freesat route? We’ve got you covered with our Manhattan SX, bringing you great satellite TV.

Want a box that records, or brings you catch up TV like iPlayer, or even one that does both? Then check out our range of Freeview boxes.