freeview vs freesat

Freeview vs Freesat : Which is Better?

Freeview vs Freesat comparisons are essential for people looking to subscribe to a new TV service provider. They both offer a myriad of digital channels and radio stations to millions of residents in the United Kingdom.

However, with their several similarities, how would you choose between the two TV services?

In this guide, we have compared all the features associated with each entertainment platform to help you decide which service is the best one for you.

What Is Freeview?

what is freeview

Launched in 2002 by Digital UK Ltd and the DTV Services Ltd, Freeview is a digital terrestrial TV service provider in the United Kingdom. 

It does not require a monthly subscription so that you can enjoy the nation’s most in-demand TV and radio shows for free. Instead, you would only need to pay a single upfront fee for its installation.

“It is widely available to around 98% of the country’s population”.

All you would need is to set up a working aerial and a device at home where you could watch its shows.

It is now a lot easier to get access to this TV service as most Modern TVs have a built-in Freeview tuner. You can also purchase a separate and more advanced set-top box for as low as £25.

You can choose from their selection, but all of which may provide you with the following features:

  • Live TV recording
  • Catch-up TV from Freeview Play
  • HD viewing
  • Exclusive apps
  • Exclusive apps

What Is Freesat?

what is freesat

Freesat, on the other hand, is a free-to-air satellite TV service in the United Kingdom launched in 2008 by the BBC and ITV plc.

Since it works via satellite, it is available everywhere in the country and is perfect for people living in areas with poor TV reception.

“You can have access to this entertainment platform using a satellite dish and a Freesat box priced for as low as £50.

Similarly, this TV service also does not require a monthly subscription. However, its installation may be more expensive because these mini dishes cost around £100.

Like some Freeview boxes, you have access to the following features:

  • Live TV recording
  • Catch-up TV from Freetime
  • HD viewing
  • Exclusive apps

Freeview vs Freesat Feature Comparison


Although both Freeview and Freesat are both excellent entertainment platforms, they differ in their features.

Below is a table comparing the characteristics of these two TV services:





Covers only 98% of the country

Total coverage


Aerial and Freeview box

Satellite dish and Freesat box

Monthly Fee



Upfront Cost

Cheaper boxes

Expensive installation of satellite dish

Ability to Record Programmes



Cost of Recording Set-Top Box



Ability to View Programmes in HD



Picture Quality


May depend on weather


Freeview Play


Catch-Up TV

BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Demand 5, UKTV Play, STV Player

BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Demand 5


If you do not want to subscribe to a monthly package, you can choose between Freeview and Freesat.

These two TV services would allow you to enjoy your favourite shows at home for free.

You would only need to lay money once during their installation. They both have different upfront costs, with Freeview being the more economical option.


When it comes to overall coverage, only 98% of residents can access Freeview programmes on their television screens. However, 15% of this number only receive Freeview Lite with at most 15 channels.

Recording and HD Viewing

Both TV services also offer set-top boxes capable of pausing, rewinding, and recording your favourite shows.

However, the cost of these boxes varies, with Freeview providing a cheaper option to its customers.

They also both allow HD viewing on your television screens. But their picture quality may differ from each other, especially during bad weather.


In terms of usability, Freesat has a catch-up service known as Freetime and allows you to organize and watch your recordings at any time.

It gives you access to entertainment content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, and many more.

On the other hand, Freeview Play incorporates both catch-up TV and live television in one single set-top box.

It allows you to watch all the shows that you missed and provides you with a built-in TV guide.

Quick Fact. Although both TV services give you an easy-to-use interface, they are not standard and only come with a much expensive set-top box.

Aside from their set-up, the significant difference between these two TV services is the number of channels they offer. We will look into them in detail in the following section.

Freesat vs Freeview Channels

freesat vs freeview channels

All the necessary programmes like ITV, BBC, and Channel 4 and 5 are present on this TV service.

Music, kid’s TV, and shopping shows are also available, making your entertainment experience more enjoyable.

However, some premium channels are not readily available on this platform. You will need to subscribe to a full TV package if you want the following add-ons and shows:

  • Sky shows
  • Discovery
  • Comedy Central
  • Nickelodeon
  • National Geographic
  • BT Sport
  • Eurosport

What Channels Are On Freeview?

what channels are on freeview

This TV service gives you access to around 70 standard channels and 15 HD channels, depending on your location.

It also gives you a few +1 versions of their shows and approximately 30 digital radio stations. For instance, only Freeview lets you watch Channel 4 +1 and 4Seven in HD.

Below is a list of available programmes on this TV service:




BBC One and Two, 5SELECT, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV3, Pick, Food Network, ITV1, ITV2, Dave, Paramount Network, More4, Spike, Really, Drama, BBC Four, ITV4, Home, ITVBe, E4, 5STAR, Travelxp, Quest, Challenge, Four7, My5, True Entertainment, Your TV, Yesterday, Blaze, CBS Action, CBS Reality, Tru TV, Horror Channel, CBS Drama, Community Channel, Travel Channel, 5USA ,Sony Crime Channel, TCC


Sky News, BBC Parliament, BBC News, RT


Movies4Men, Talking Pictures TV, Sony Movie Channel, Film4, True Movies




CBeebies, Tiny Pop, Pop Max, CBBC, Pop, CITV




Rocks and Co, Ideal World, QVC Style, QVC Beauty, The Jewellery Channel, Jewellery Maker, Sewing Quarter, QVC, Create and Craft, Gems, Hochanda

Newer boxes now offer access to apps, such as Netflix, ITV Hub, UKTV Play, Now TV, and many more when connected to the internet.

What Channels Are On Freesat?

what channels are on freesat

Installing a satellite dish instead of an aerial gives you access to more channels available everywhere despite signal issues sometimes.

Believe it or not, you can get over 200 programmes with this TV service. Thus, the Freesat channel list contains a significantly higher number of shows compared to Freeview.

Below is a list of available programmes on this TV service:




BBC One, Quest Red, BBC Two, Quest,

ITV1, Channel 4, 5, BBC Four, BBC Alba,

Blaze, Home, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 ,Yesterday, ITVBe, S4C, E4, More 4, Dave, Drama,

Four7, 5 USA, Pick, Challenge, 5STAR,

My5, Travel Channel, CBS Drama,

CBS Reality, Showcase TV, CBS Action,

Horror Channel, True Crime, Food Network, BET, Spike, True Entertainment, Tru TV,

PBS America, Your TV, Really


Sky News, Al Jazeera, BBC News, BBC Parliament, CNN, Bloomberg, France 24, RT, CNBC, CGTN, NHK World, BBC News, Arirang, Channels 24


Movies 4 Men, Film 4, Talking Pictures TV, True Movies


The Vault, Keep It Country, Heart TV, Capital TV


Pop Max, Tiny Pop, CBBC, Pop, CBeebies, CITV


Inspiration TV, Sonlife TV, DAYSTAR, God Channel, Revelation


QVC, QVC Beauty, Hochanda, Juwelo UK, QVC Extra, QVC Style, Ideal World, Create and Craft, Gems TV,, TJ, JML


Front Runner, Motorsport TV, FreeSports

Although only 13 of their channels are available in HD, most of their shows have +1 versions.

You can also get over 40 radio stations on your television. For instance, only Freesat has Channel 4 More +1, Channel 5 +1, and 5 USA +1.

Aside from these programmes, most boxes allow you to access Netflix, YouTube, ITV Hub, and many more when connected to the internet.

Freesat vs Freeview  Which Is Better?

Freesat or Freeview are both excellent British TV services, giving millions of resident’s access to their favourite channels and programmes.

Further Read:  Check out our latest guide on Which is The Best Freesat Box to Buy if you are confused which one to buy. If you want to go for Freeview, read our review on Best Freeview Box.

However, choosing which entertainment platform is better still varies from one-person-to-another.

Hence, it would be nice to consider all the aspects we discussed above to determine which TV service is the most suitable for your needs and lifestyle.

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