menuMENU    UK Free TV logo Freeview



Click to see updates

How to receive Freeview on your PC

If you want to watch digital television, one of the way to do this is use your PC. There are three main options.

If you want to watch digital television, one of the way to do t
published on UK Free TV

If you want to watch digital television, one of the way to do this is use your PC. There are three main options, starting at around only 20.

Option 1: USB box

If you have a laptop computer, or do not wish to take your computer apart to fit a card into it, the most straightforward way is to use a USB box.

Once you have purchased the box, you first need to install some software on your computer. This will come on the CD with your USB package, or you can download the latest software from the company's web site. As a general rule, the on-line software will be a more up-to-date version.

You then plug the box into your roof-mounted aerial connection, and attach the USB cable to one of the USB ports on your computer. If you have USB 2 ports you should use these to get the best possible results.

Now start the "Digital TV" software. The first time you use it, you will need to scan for the Freeview channels. This can take several minutes (a lot longer than a Freeview set-top box).

Once this has completed, you will be able to select from the Freeview channels that are available in your area.

The software that comes with these boxes has two drawbacks: the channel numbers are not the standard Freeview ones (in the example, BBC News 24 is on channel 2 rather than channel 80), and there are no interactive services. This means you cannot view BBC Parliament at all, or have the graphical screens when listening to the radio channels.

On the plus side, these boxes do support the full 14 day Freeview programme guide. You can use you PC as a PVR (personal video recorder) as the software will record the Freeview transmission and save them as MPEG-2 (.mpg) files.

Option 2: PCI card

Another option is to use a PCI card. This will keep the equipment within your PC, but does require the confidence to open up your PC.

To install a PCI card you MUST first ensure that your computer is unplugged from the mains. It is not enough to switch it off using the button on the front; you must ensure that it is disconnected from the mains.

Locate a free PCI slot - you will need a screwdriver to remove any blanking plate.

You must ensure that after seating the card firmly in the slot that your digital TV card is securely fastened into the slot. The thick television aerial cables are sturdy and can easily rip out a card that is not firmly fixed.

Once you have replaced the case of the computer, you can then attach the aerial connection to the appropriate connection.

The software installation and operation of the digital television software is otherwise identical to a USB box.

Option 3: Media Center

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 has full personal video recorder support, and if you have this version of Windows you do not need to install any software, just one or two PCI cards.

One requirement is that you must have installed some DVD playing software before you can watch the programmes.

The set-up is slightly more complicated than the above, but this results in a easy-to-use programme guide and sophisticated recording facilities.

Another advantage of using the Media Center software is that all your recorded TV can be watched by any other PC connected to your home network and by any Xbox 360 you may have.

There is now full support for the Freeview digital radio channels, but there are no red button text facilities. However, there is a full BBC News player in Media Center's Online Services menu.

Help with Television sets?
Why are all TVs on sale not digital?1
Do I still have to pay for a TV licence?2
I had perfect channel 5 reception - until I got a digital TV box!3
I Have a Pocket Tv For taking out so I can keep up with news and sport. Will thi4
The pictures from my digital box are all green!5
In this section
Loft aerials1
Do I need to buy a booster?2
Indoor aerials3
Whole house digital TV4
Connecting it all up5
Now and Next6

Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Andy Thomson
7:54 PM

xVENUSx: There are various receivers (both digital and analogue) available that will connect to a Mac via USB. There are single and twin tuner models and even versions designed to convert external video to Mac compatible formats. They normally come with their own portable aerial, but I have mine connected to the main aerial feed distributed round my house. The software that runs them is called EyeTV and has an EPG, channel guide and recording facilities (to the Mac's hard drive). There was also an offer of a free year's subscription to the TVTV service, but I don't know if that is still running.

link to this comment
Andy Thomson's 3 posts GB flag
Andy's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
6:43 PM

No Freeview channels on my Evesham e box i-series.
Up until mid August all was ok but since switch over of Waltham transmitter 31st August, despite endless attempts to retune no services being found. My Media Centre runs Windows XP 2005 Media Centre Edition. It has 2 Black Gold DVB-T tuners.
I have rooftop terrestrial aerial which gives good freeview pictures on my Samsung tv.
I would like to continue to use my e box to record programmes but am totally at a loss as to what the problem might be. My postcode is LE8

Any help/suggestions would be most appreciated.

link to this comment
Geo's 1 post GB flag

7:55 PM

Geo: I think you're screwed, as there was only a roll-up for Vista to make work Media Centre work with 8k mode - Switch over and PC-based systems | - independent free digital TV advice .

Windows 7 Media Center is probably what you need at this point.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 4 October 2011
Bruce Clarke
7:59 PM

Since the Oxford switchover (I'm at OX44 7TP), my Freecom DVB-T USB Stick no longer tunes into Mux 2 (ITV, C4 etc). This was on an XP SP3 desktop using an amplified portable aerial that works fine with a Freeview box. I've been in touch with Freecom support, and got TotalMedia 3 and the latest drivers.

I know you will say the aerial won't work, but it also won't tune on my XP SP3 laptop via the rooftop aerial that gives a full strength signal on Mux 2 on the TV. This is with both TM3 and MCE. I've tried turning off wireless on my wi-fi router, as well as the wireless mouse on my desktop in case that caused interference on Mux 2.

I understand the way Mux 2 is transmitted makes it more prone to interference, but it looks to me like the hardware is incompatible. Freecom are no longer actively supporting the DVB-T USB Stick.

Any other ideas welcome thanks.

link to this comment
Bruce Clarke's 10 posts GB flag
Bruce's: mapB's Freeview map terrainB's terrain plot wavesB's frequency data B's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Friday, 14 October 2011

1:59 PM

Bruce Clarke: You will need to upgrade to Windows 7 to have the support you require.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Bruce Clarke
2:14 PM

Thanks Briantist, I was beginning to come to that conclusion. My laptop and desktop aren't really up to running Win7. Might try another cheapo USB stick till I can afford to get a new PC.

link to this comment
Bruce Clarke's 10 posts GB flag
Saturday, 15 October 2011

12:07 PM

Bruce Clarke: It doens't really matter what USB device you use, it the XP WMC software that can't cope.

Win7 will usually run as well or better than XP on the same hardware.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Bruce Clarke
11:58 PM

Thanks, I may try upgrading the laptop to Win7, as it was designed to run with Vista when it was delayed, so shipped with XP. I won't bother trying another USB stick.

I'm down on the south coast this weekend, and tried tuning the laptop to the Rowridge transmitter via a good in-roof aerial. It got the ITV Mux OK, but the BBC 1 Mux went awol this time!

link to this comment
Bruce Clarke's 10 posts GB flag
Monday, 17 October 2011

8:38 PM

Bruce Clarke: Rowridge is running in 2k mode, so you won't have any problems, it only switched-over transmitters that are problematic.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Bruce Clarke
2:38 PM

That's strange, I wonder why it didn't pick up the BBC1 Mux? I've pretty much given up on it, as neither of my PCs are worth upgrading to Win 7 (the laptop could be, but it's a Sony Vaio, and it looks like driver problems are likely to ensue.).

link to this comment
Bruce Clarke's 10 posts GB flag
Select more comments

Your comment please
Please post a question, answer or commentUK Free TV is here to help people. If you are rude or disrespectful all of your posts will be deleted and you will be banned.

Privacy policy: UK Free Privacy policy.