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Digital Q&A: Getting FreeviewTechnical questionsGeneral questionsTuning informationTransmitter engineering


Can I get Freeview?
Freeview is currently available to around 75% of the population. Coverage, just like with analogue television, is affected by the distance from your transmitter and the geography in-between. There are various methods you can use to predict Freeview coverage where you live, but the best way to find out if you can receive Freeview for certain is to test it yourself. If you can, borrow a Freeview box from a neighbour (or ask them if they can receive Freeview themselves) and see. Obviously this isn't always possible, so the next best thing is to attempt an accurate prediction:

  • For a simple, at-a-glance answer, click here and enter your postcode into the form that appears. This will give you a rough indication of what channels and services you should receive: it is usually fairly accurate, but it does not account for localised geographical conditions. Electrical goods stores which offer a postcode-based prediction service use this website.

  • For a more technical response, try this page. This predictor will provide more detailed information about coverage in your location. It may look confusing at first, but the table of data will tell you which transmitters are within range, suggest which aerial you will need, and list the frequencies that each multiplex is broadcast on.


    Will I need a new aerial?
    Your existing aerial may be perfectly adequate to receive digital channels, although in some cases a new aerial may be required. Aerials in a poor condition (how many years has yours been sitting outside on the roof?) and those unable to receive (analogue) channel Five will probably need changing. Again, the best way to find out is to plug a Freeview box into your aerial and check. Otherwise, there are various ways to predict beforehand.

    Firstly, check that your aerial is of the correct type to receive all the necessary frequencies. Use the table on the right to check if your current aerial is "in-band" (capable of receiving all the necessary frequencies). If you're not sure which transmitter you are receiving television signals from, check here.

    Against the name of each transmitter, you'll see three letters. These denote the type of aerial required to receive a) channels 1 to 4 on analogue; b) Channel 5 on analogue (a dash "-" means Channel 5 is not broadcast from that transmitter); and c) Freeview. A green box means that your existing aerial, provided it's in good condition, should be able to receive the complete Freeview service available. An orange box means that your aerial should be able to receive Freeview if it is capable of receiving Channel 5 on analogue, or has been replaced within the last ten years. A red box unfortunately means that you will have to have a new aerial fitted in order to receive a complete Freeview service. Some channels may be available. Always get a professional aerial fitter in to do the job: check they belong to the CAI, the trade body of aerial installers.

    Please remember that these services only provide a prediction, and that individual circumstances vary greatly. Information is provided for guidance only; there may be errors.


    Buying a box: what should I look for?
    Assuming you live within range of a transmitter broadcasting digital channels, all you need to receive them is a set-top box or an IDTV. A set-top box plugs into the back of your existing television set like an adaptor, whilst an IDTV is a television set with a digital receiver built-in. If you're buying a new set, it makes sense to buy an IDTV, as this cuts down on energy usage (and remote controls!). Here's some things to look out for when buying a digital receiver:

    Digital TV logos

  • Look for the logos above, which show the receiver has met basic specifications and can receive Freeview. The "Freeview+" sticker denotes a Freeview PVR (see below for details).

  • Connections (Scart and RF): for the best picture quality, you should connect the receiver to your television with Scart cables. If you only wish to connect your set-top box to your TV, only one Scart socket is required. To connect your box to a DVD or Video recorder, look out for boxes with two. If your television does not have any Scart sockets, you need a box with an RF Modulator (not just an RF loop): this will allow you to send the signal to your television via an aerial cable.

  • Electronic Programme Guide (EPG): this is the on-screen listings guide. Now and Next will only provide you with information about the current and next-scheduled programme. 7 or 8 day guides will give you listings for up to a week in advance.

  • Personal Video Recorder (PVR): these models allow you to record programmes directly on to the box's hard disk, doing away with the need for tapes or disks. They also feature the ability to pause and rewind live television, amongst other whizzy features. Look for the "Freeview+" (AKA "Freeview Playback") logo.

  • Card slot or CAM (on older boxes this may be denoted by the phrase "Top Up TV ready"): this will allow you to subscribe to Setanta Sports and any future subscription services which launch.
  • Anglia

     

     

     

    Sandy Heath

    A

    K

    W

    Tacolnston

    CD

    CD

    CD

    Sudbury (Ipswich)

    B

    B

    E

    Sudbury (Not Ipswich)

    B

    B

    E

    Border

     

     

     

    Caldbeck (Border)

    A

    W

    W

    Caldbeck (Scotland)

    W

    W

    W

    Selkirk

    CD

    CD

    CD

    Central

     

     

     

    Sutton Coldfield

    B

    B

    E

    Brierley Hill

    CD

    -

    CD

    Bromsgrove

    A

    -

    A

    Fenton

    A

    A

    A

    Lark Stoke

    A

    -

    W

    Malvern

    CD

    -

    E

    The Wrekin (East)

    A

    A

    W

    The Wrekin (West)

    A

    A

    W

    Waltham

    CD

    E

    W

    Nottingham

    A

    A

    W

    Oxford

    CD

    CD

    W

    Ridge Hill

    A

    A

    W

    Granada

     

     

     

    Winter Hill

    CD

    CD

    CD

    Winter Hill B

    CD

    CD

    E

    Lancaster

    A

    -

    A

    Pendle Forest

    A

    -

    A

    Saddleworth

    B

    -

    B

    Storeton

    A

    K

    K

    London

     

     

     

    Crystal Palace

    A

    A

    A

    Guildford

    B

    -

    B

    Hemel Hempstead

    B

    -

    E

    Reigate

    CD

    -

    W

    Meridian

     

     

     

    Bluebell Hill

    E

    -

    W

    Dover

    CD

    -

    CD

    Dover B

    CD

    -

    E

    Tunbridge Wells

    B

    E

    E

    Hannington

    E

    E

    E

    Heathfield North

    CD

    -

    W

    Hastings

    A

    A

    W

    Rowridge

    A

    -

    W

    Salisbury

    CD

    CD

    CD

    Midhurst

    CD

    -

    CD

    Whitewark Hill

    CD

    E

    CD

    STV North (Grampian)

     

     

     

    Durris

    A

    W

    W

    Angus

    CD

    -

    CD

    Bressay

    A

    -

    W

    Eitshal

    A

    -

    A

    Keelylang Hill

    B

    -

    B

    Knock Moor

    A

    -

    W

    Rosemarkie

    B

    E

    E

    Rumster Forest

    A

    -

    W

    STV South (Scottish)

     

     

     

    Black Hill

    B

    B

    E

    Craigkelly

    A

    K

    K

    Darvel

    A

    A

    A

    Rosneath

    CD

    -

    CD

    Torosay

    A

    -

    A

    Tyne Tees

     

     

     

    Bilsdale

    A

    A

    K

    Pontop Pike

    CD

    CD

    CD

    Chatton

    B

    -

    B

    Fenham

    A

    W

    W

    UTV

     

     

     

    Divis

    A

    -

    K

    Brougher Mountain

    A

    -

    A

    Limavady

    CD

    -

    CD

    Wales

     

     

     

    Wenvoe

    B

    -

    W

    Aberdare

    A

    -

    A

    Blaenplwyf

    A

    W

    W

    Carmel

    CD

    -

    CD

    Ferryside

    A

    -

    A

    Kilvey Hill

    A

    A

    A

    Llanddona

    CD

    -

    E

    Moel-y-Parc

    B

    -

    W

    Pontypool

    A

    -

    K

    Presley

    B

    B

    B

    West

     

     

     

    Mendip

    CD

    E

    E

    Bristol (Ilchester)

    B

    -

    B

    Bristol (King's Weston)

    B

    -

    W

    Ridge Hill West

    A

    A

    A

    Westcountry

     

     

     

    Beacon Hill

    CD

    -

    CD

    Caradon Hill

    A

    -

    K

    Plympton

    CD

    W

    W

    Huntsure Cross

    CD

    CD

    CD

    Huntsure Cross B

    CD

    CD

    CD

    Redruth

    B

    B

    B

    Stockland Hill

    A

    -

    A

    Yorkshire

     

     

     

    Belmont

    A

    W

    W

    Emley Moor

    B

    B

    B

    Idle

    A

    -

    W

    Keighley

    CD

    -

    W

    Oliver's Mount

    CD

    CD

    CD

    Sheffield

    A

    W

    W

    Chesterfield

    A

    -

    W

     

     

     

     


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