Freeview vs Freesat vs Freesat From Sky

Which free-to-air digital TV service is best?

Looking to switch to digital TV? Don't want to pay a monthly subscription? Then you've come to the right place. As a UK telly watcher, you've got until the end of 2012 (at the latest) to pick a digital TV provider.

You've got several free-to-air options. Freeview provides free digital TV through a traditional aerial. Freesat, as its name suggests, delivers a similar digital TV service but via satellite. Finally, BSkyB operates a little-known, subscription-free digital TV service of its own called Freesat From Sky. This is also beamed down from space and requires a satellite dish.

One more thing. If you'd like to watch high definition TV in the future, then choose your digital TV provider wisely. While some of the options here are already showing programmes in HD, others can't. Read on - we've covered all the details below.



Freeview rose from the ashes of ITV Digital in 2002 with the aim of providing a free-to-air digital TV service through existing television aerials. Eight years later and "over 18 million UK homes use Freeview on at least one TV set in the home" according to Freeview's own numbers (December 2009).

While reception in some areas of the UK is still somewhat flaky, Freeview is wildly popular with UK consumers. Why? For starters, the hardware is cheap – digital set top boxes can cost as little as £20, while Freeview tuners can also be found integrated into HD TVs and Freeview+ digital video recorders such as the TVonics DTR-HV250.