Freeview or Freesat Which One Is Better?

March 11, 2022
Tom Smart
Picture of the freeview logo

You no longer have a handfull of free TV channels that you would want to watch. A common theme which has emerged is whether you should choose free TV over satellite – Freesat or free TV over a traditional aerial connection – Freeview. Both have their plus points.

Freeview and Freesat can both give you a reliable access to a TV service without you having to pay them a monthly fee. You do not also have to sign a contract for it. The difference between these two is the delivery of their service.


When you subscribe to Freeview, you can expect that your TV channels will be delivered to you through an aerial and received through an integrated digital TV or a Freeview set top box. Setting this up is convenient, you will only have to plug it in, give it a tune and attach the aerial to your TV.


Using a Freesat, though, your TV channels will be delivered through a minidish and a set top box or many new TV’s also come with a Freesat tuner in built, but please check this as the majority don’t. Its startup cost can be expensive but when you get to use it.


This is known to be the biggest difference there is between Freeview and Freesat. The former is only available to 98% of UK while Freesat, on the other hand, has a nearly total coverage – assuming that line of sight can be acheived. Some places in the also UK, which is around 15% of total households can only receive Freeview Lite – which is a reduced version of Freeview. So in these situations Freesat may be the more sensible option.

Upfront costs.

You should also consider the upfront costs that installations of these providers. For one thing, satellite dish installation usually is the less expensive of the two. But when you filter in costs of the viewing equipment it may work out to be the most expensive.

Freeview would only require a conventional TV aerial and digital TV. If you do not have a digital TV then an inexpensive set to box will be required which shouldn’t cost you any extra than £30 for a non-recording version and can be purchased in most supermarkets these days.

Choices of channels.

It’s always changing but Freeview can offer you around 70 channels with several in HD and around 20 radio stations for you. This is beaten by Freesat’s impressive 200 TV and radio channels. You can also have the Smart version of each service where you can get an access to the full scope of digital terrestrial catch-up services. These are branded as Freetime for Freesat these days and Freeview Play or Youview for Freeview’s alternative.

Although Freesat can totally give you impressive channel options, however, it cannot offer you all the channels that are on Freeview such as for popular channels such as Dave that Freeview can give you for free.

Options for HD.

Both Freeview and Freesat can offer you several HD channels on TV such as BBC channels, ITV, Channel 4.

You have to take note, though, that in order for you to have the channels in HD, you need a TV that has been set as HD-ready to benefit from Freesat HD services.

Recording programs.

If you are willing to invest in your TV habit, then you can have the one which can record a program. But this may be an addition to your confusion as both of the providers have given you the capability to record programs.

If you have noticed, analogue TV has shut down, giving you Freeview as default. At first, you may be just fine for you but then, later on, you may find Freesat more suitable.


If you’re are not really fussed between the two, I would recommend checking to see whether you already have a functioning aerial or satellite dish as this could potentially make up your mind for you. The same satellite dish that was used previously for Sky can be used for Freesat. But be mindful that not all satellite dishes that have been installed for Sky Q are backwards compatible.


Also check to see whether you are in a Freeview Lite area. If you are and a full Freeview service cannot be achieved from a nearby transmitter I would recommend Freesat. For more information on Freeview Lite please visit our previous blog.

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