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What is Freesat?

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What is Freesat?

Learn more about Freesat, the satellite TV service from the BBC and ITV, that offers hundreds of TV and radio channels without subscription.

Freesat is a digital satellite TV service from the BBC and ITV, offering even more free channels than are available on Freeview.

There are no ongoing fees, but you'll need a dish fitted to your home to receive it. You'll also need a Freesat set-top box, some of which allow you to pause and rewind live TV.

But what else does Freesat offer, and is it the best option for your home? Read on to find out.

Best Buy Freesat HD TVs - discover the Freesat HD capable models that have impressed our expert testers.

What channels are available on Freesat?

Whereas Freeview offers 70 TV channels, 15 HD channels, and more than 30 radio stations, Freesat trumps that by giving access to more than 200 options, with over 20 in HD.

Alongside the five main TV channels – BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – Freesat customers can access channels such as:

Entertainment: BBC Three, BBC Four, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, E4, More4, 5 USA, 5 +1
News: BBC News, BBC Parliament, Sky News, Russia Today (RT), Al Jazeera
Films: Film4, True Movies
Lifestyle: Food Network UK, Showcase TV, FilmOn.TV, Travel Channel
Kids': CBBC, CBeebies, CITV
Music: Vintage TV, The Vault, Magic

Freesat HD

Freesat HD has over 20 HD channels in total including BBC One HD ITV HD.

To enjoy these channels you'll need a television with a Freesat HD tuner (also known as DVB-S2), or a compatible set-top box or PVR (personal video recorder).  

How do I get Freesat?

To receive Freesat you'll need an existing satellite dish on your house, or pay to have one installed. Many Freesat customers previously received their TV from Sky and so have a dish ready to go. Otherwise, it can cost around £100 for a dish installation.

Retailers of Freesat products have to offer a satellite installation service, including supply and set up of the dish – sometimes they'll give you a discount when you buy a Freesat product, so make sure you ask.

TVs with Freesat: Some TVs have built-in satellite tuners meaning they can receive either Freesat or even Freesat HD channels without needing a separate set-top box. You just need to connect the satellite cable to your TV and you're good to go.

Set-top box: You can buy a Freesat set-top box from about £80, although Freesat HD ones cost a bit more. Connect the box up to the satellite feed, and to your TV via an HDMI cable.

Freesat+ PVRs: Freesat+ allows you to record programmes, or pause live TV. PVRs with Freesat+ are available from around £190. To get the full experience, you should have two inputs (cables) from your satellite dish to your Freesat PVR.

Freesat from Sky: This is a subscription-free satellite TV service from Sky. It offers more than 240 channels and is a great option if you're an existing Sky customer who no longer wants to pay for TV. 

What is Freetime?

Freetime is a TV guide that showcases great content to watch, allows you to easily dip into catch-up TV from the BBC, ITV and others, and wraps it all up in an easy to use interface.

Freetime was created by Freesat for set-top boxes and Freesat+ PVRs, but is now starting to become available on smart TVs, too. Interestingly, it can also be used with Freeview television as well as Freesat.

If you want catch-up TV but aren't interested in Freetime, you can buy certain Freesat+ and Freesat HD boxes with smart-TV features that give you access to apps for BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and other internet services. These includes devices from brands such as Manhattan, Humax and Sagemcom.