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

Thursday, 22 March 2012
9:49 PM

Hi, I have freeview installed in my computer (bought like that) I can't connect an outside aerial as it is too far away from the wall, would an indoor aerial work? If yes which one.
. I live in Windsor and don't know what the signal is like, any suggestions would be welcome.

link to this comment
Christina's 1 post GB flag
Thursday, 5 April 2012

9:02 PM

Christina: No, indoor aerials are not suitable for reliable Freeview reception. Why not use a long cable to connect to the aerial socket

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Simon T
9:00 AM

I have a tv downstairs next to a cable modem, wireless router, virgin v+ box (currently) and a Xbox (recently). A PC upstairs is connected through a power adapter thing that works well.
I've connected the Xbox to pc wirelessly and can access Windows Media Player.
I am going to cancel my Virgin tv and telephone (expensive) and replace with a decent Internet broadband service.
My tv aerial comes in downstairs. I can use Xbox for iplayer etc. and may look at Netflix/lovefilm. But to get live tv and be able to record series etc. do I have to get a freeview box/pvr downstairs? Seems daft as I have a media PC upstairs - but to use that, how do I get tv signal up to my PC?
It seems I have enough kit - just in the wrong place. Can't really run a coaxial cable all the way upstairs.

link to this comment
Simon T's 1 post GB flag
Saturday, 14 April 2012
Andy Hearn
12:12 AM
Bognor Regis

Simon T:
Hi Simon
I use a Wand TV dongle into my laptop, I used Blaze TV software that lets you record (PVR) etc, program guide, usual trimmings.

They supply their own software as well.There are some on Ebay number below.

link to this comment
Andy Hearn's 11 posts GB flag
Andy's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 2 July 2012
9:10 AM

hi is there a facility for connecting freesat
or skysat to my laptop in the same way as
you connect a digital arial say using kworld?

link to this comment
allan's 1 post GB flag
Monday, 9 July 2012
Richard Henderson
3:11 PM

I'm really pretty dim at anything technological, but I noticed an ad in the Telegraph for something called a Zennox Internet TV player.. I thought it sounded interesting. We have a Freesat box at home, and in fact find that there's more than enough to choose from here in the UK, but we have a place in Italy, and would love to be able to watch UK TV while there. We have a wireless broadband Internet connection there, and a pretty new TV set on which currently we watch DVDs. We haven't had an aerial installed wto watch Italian TV, as it just isn't worth watching! But I'm now wondering whether there might be a way
for us to be able to watch UK TV either on our mac while out there or (better still) on our TV. Does anyone know?

link to this comment
Richard Henderson's 1 post GB flag
Thursday, 26 July 2012
11:32 AM

How do i get the Olympic channels in windows 7 mc with my black gold 3650 card?

link to this comment
Dave's 2 posts GB flag
Sunday, 2 September 2012
3:55 PM

I am thinking of updating my all-in-one pc to another with a higher spec.
My existing pc receives & records TV, but the new one doesn't advertise that facility.
How easy is it to add this capability using my existing aerial? Is it expensive?
Thank you

link to this comment
David's 1 post EU 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.