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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.

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Thursday, 28 October 2021

2:22 AM

Geoff Harris:

Interesting idea, I'll have to give it a try sometime over the weekend.

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Chris.SE's 4,128 posts GB flag
Saturday, 15 January 2022
Jean M Hill
2:00 PM

My postal code is ST6 !PE and I cannot receive Freeview 51 much to my annoyance.
Why and When will it be possible

J. Hill

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Jean M Hill's 1 post GB flag

2:28 PM

Jean M Hill: Great! Movies Classic is carried on the local TV multiplex which is only available in areas where there is a local TV station on Freeview channel 7 or 8. Assuming the ! in your postcode is supposed to be a 1, there is no local multiplex broadcasting to your area. Ofcom haven't announced any plans to licence any new local TV stations, so the only way that coverage will change is if the channel's owners are willing to pay the additional costs of moving to one of the national multiplexes which cover 90%+ of UK households (also depending on space being available).

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StevensOnln1's 3,618 posts GB flag
Saturday, 23 July 2022
9:13 PM

Jean M Hill: just use some other post code?

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jp1's 1 post US flag

11:24 PM


I don't think you understand. If there is no Local multiplex transmitting in a particular area, or you are too far from a transmitter that has one, using a different postcode won't make the slightest bit of difference, reception will be unchanged.
This is not satellite where sometimes different postcodes can affect the region received.

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Chris.SE's 4,128 posts GB flag

11:38 PM

It's worth pointing out that the original post with the query about LCN 51 was back on 15th January and all LCNs above 23 (excluding 24) got renumbered up one on 26th January to accommodate BBC Three on LCN23.

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Chris.SE's 4,128 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 4 October 2023
Martin Hamilton
2:46 PM

As I have restricted channels at Rosehearty relay site I would like to access freeview via internet on my pc, can yyou advise me as to how I can achieve this?

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Martin Hamilton's 2 posts GB flag
Martin Hamilton
2:47 PM

How can I watch Freeview via internet connection?

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Martin Hamilton's 2 posts GB flag
Thursday, 5 October 2023

3:09 AM

Martin Hamilton:

If you have a Smart TV that has HbbTV functionality (make sure that HbbTV is turned on), then go to LCN100 (that's TV channel 100). You can select any of the Players, you can then choose what to watch including Live broadcasts. Otherwise you have to use the TV's App menu and selct/install the various players.

On a PC you have to go to each of the Broadcaster's websites, this is not something I've done for all the possible services, so the information may not be complete. I'm sure someone else will add further information for you.

BBC - Home then select iPlayer itvX is very clunky to use, got to the bottom of the page and select TV Guide
Channel 4 | Stream & Watch Live TV very straight forward to use
My5 very straight forward to use select the channel, go to the bottom of the page to find "Live"
CBS Catch Up Channels UK :: Home Don't think they do "Live"
PBS America | UK Don't think they do "Live"

For most of the above you need to register an account, also have no adblocker (or turned off) on your browser for the commercial channels, and if you select iPlayer you have to declare you have a TV Licence which you also need to watch anything else Live, rather than catchup.

You can also find a lot of useful information on Freeview | All your favourite TV shows, all in one place and all for free

I'm sure there are other services, but I'm not familiar with them on a PC. Hopefully someone else can add to the above.

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Chris.SE's 4,128 posts GB flag
Steve Donaldson

5:31 PM

Martin Hamilton: You might consider Freesat in order to receive more channels. Here are the list of channels provided by Freesat:

Channels List and On-Demand Players | Freesat

For comparison, here is the full list of channels available via Freeview:

Channel listings for Industry Professionals | Freeview

The "mux" column identifies which multiplex they are on. The main six multiplexes are:

PSB2 = D3&4
COM5 = Arq A
COM6 = Arq B

The Rosehearty transmitter carries PSB multiplexes only. The list contains other multiplexes than these six which are available in some particular areas.

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Steve Donaldson's 199 posts GB flag
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