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How much is it going to cost to get High Definition TV?

It can cost as little as 68 pounds, and as much as 336 pounds to get free HD TV.

It can cost as little as 68 pounds, and as much as 336 pounds t
published on UK Free TV

If you already have a HD Ready television set, or are considering purchasing one, how much is costs to get the free HD services from the BBC and ITV depends on a few factors:

It can cost as little as £68, and as much as £350 to get free HD TV. Channel 4 HD is only carried by Freeview HD in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and is not provided on Freesat HD as yet.

Option 1 - Freesat HD with an existing dish, from £68

If you have access to a satellite dish, but are not currently using it, then you can purchase a Freesat HD box for as little as £68.

All that is required is:

  • plug the output from the dish to the Freesat HD box;
  • connect an HDMI cable from the Freesat HD box to the HD Ready TV
  • plug the Freesat HD box into the mains

You will get BBC HD and ITV HD plus hundreds of SD channels, including those from BBC, ITV and Channel 4. Most Freeview HD boxes also provide the BBC iPlayer - this requires an Ethernet patch cable connection to your home router. You can enter an England postcode to a Freesat box to access ITV1 HD outside England and Wales.

Option 2 - Freeview HD, from £99

If you live in a television broadcast region that has switched to digital only transmission (including all of Wales and South West England) - you no longer have any analogue television - or you live in an area with the Freeview HD early service (such as London and Birmingham) you can use Freeview HD.

All that is required:

  • connect the Freeview HD box to your rooftop TV aerial
  • connect the Freeview HD box to your HD Ready television with an HDMI cable.
  • Plug the Freeview HD box into the mains

You will get BBC HD, ITV1 HD (except Scotland, Northern Ireland), Channel 4 HD (S4C HD in Wales) plus all of the other Freeview channels you could get before.

Some boxes also provide BBC iPlayer access. For a review of boxes, see Freeview HD Set-top Receivers - reghardware.

Option 3 - Freesat HD, no existing dish, from £148

If you don't have a dish, and want to watch HD but do not wish to record (or timeshift) your HD viewing, it costs less than £80 to have a dish installation for a single Freesat HD set-top box.

Most people can have dishes installed, and the engineer will also attach the Freesat HD box to your HD Ready television. See option 1 for the list of channels.

Option 4 - Freesat+ HD recorder, existing quad LNB dish, from £199

If you have an existing satellite dish with a quad-LNB (basically, it has four outputs) - perhaps you have (or have had) a Sky+ box - then you can fit a Freesat+HD recorder in place, or in addition to, a Sky+ box.

If you have a Sky+ box with an expired subscription, this is an excellent way to provide HD.

The process is:

  • Power off the Sky+ box and disconnect it from the mains, the two satellite dish connections and the SCART cable;
  • Connect the Freesat+HD to the two satellite connections;
  • Use an HDMI cable to connect the Freesat+HD box to your TV
  • Connect the mains to the Freesat+HD box.

If you have a Sky+ system, and wish to use the spare two outputs from the quad-LNB on the dish, this will require two satellite-grade coaxial cables to be fitted, which can be done DIY, or professionally.

Option 5 - Freeview+HD, from £285

Freeview+HD devices only require connection to a single TV aerial, so you can use as many of them in the home as you like. However, being the most recent to market the boxes are currently around £285 (Philips Debuts Freeview HD PVR -

This price will no doubt drop over the coming years, but the first boxes also provide many additional facilities, such as playback from memory sticks.

Option 6 - Freesat+HD, no existing dish, from £309

If you want to have recording and live pause facilities with your High Definition, then a dish with a quad-LNB and installation will cost from around £110, to add to the £199 cost for a Freesat+HD box.

Option 7 - Sky+HD, from £336 PER YEAR

Another option is the Sky+HD package, as this features a "free" Sky+HD box and "free" installation, at a quite reasonable £336. You only have to subscribe for the first year, but if you continue this will be for at least £336 in the following years.

Sky HD does provide a number of additional exclusive HD channels, but the box will not record or play once you stop your subscription.

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Thursday, 6 January 2011

4:56 AM

I ordered a Metronic Zapbox T2 Freeview HD Digital Receiver box from Amazon today for 58 quid so I can watch HD on my Sony 1080P TV.

I have a distribution box on the aerial circuit, so that the aerial plugs into one side, and there are 3 output sockets feeding to 3 TVs on the other side. It plugs into the mains and has Telecraft as the manufacturer. Would this interfere with or filter out the HD signal? It seems to work on SD alright.

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Nick's 58 posts GB flag

7:58 AM

Nick: You should be OK, as long as you live somewhere with a full-power HD service.

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Briantist's 38,902 posts GB flag
Friday, 7 January 2011

12:22 AM

I'm on the Redruth transmitter in Cornwall.
Many thanks for your help.

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Nick's 58 posts GB flag
Saturday, 8 January 2011

8:35 AM

Nick: You should be fine then.

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Briantist's 38,902 posts GB flag
Sunday, 9 January 2011

9:04 PM

Hi, I have posted this in the correct place, or is there somewhere more suitable.?

TV Sony KDL40W2000 1920 x 1080p
Metronic Zapbox T2 Freeview HD Digital Receiver box 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p
I am using the equipment to watch HD TV transmissions

My questions are basically, how do I set the output of the HD box to match with the TV?

1) The TV allows 1080P and so does the HD box. So it should be simple to set.
2) However, what I feel complicates the issue is that TV HD is not broadcast in 1080P but 1080i.
3) Also, BBC HD, for example, on iPlayer transmit what they call HD but the pixel count is 1280 x 724 and not 1080. Many of their videos use 832 x 468.

So, totally confused.
Should I set the HD box output to 1080i, to match the broadcast, and how will the TV set to suit? I read about the TV up-scaling, but I don't know what that means. I don't see any adjustments on the TV to set to particular display formats.
I read in other comments on the internet on other sites about testing settings to see what is preferable, but shouldn't there be proper technical settings to suit?
All help appreciated.
BTW, I purchased the HD box from Amazon UK for 58 GBP, last week and I am very happy with it and thought it was good value.

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Nick's 58 posts GB flag
Monday, 10 January 2011

8:01 AM

Nick: You shouldn't have to do anything. The source HD material might be interlaced, it might be progressive, it depends on the content.

HD means 720-line and above. "Full HD" means 1080-line and above.

Just connect the box to the TV with HDMI and the devices will use the best possible resolution.

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Briantist's 38,902 posts GB flag

7:41 PM

Much appreciated.

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Nick's 58 posts GB flag
Monday, 24 January 2011
5:48 PM

I have a new Sony Bravia TV: KDL-37EX403, with built-in Freeview HD. It is connected to a Virgin cable box (all the Freeview channels except the HD ones - Virgin upgrade available, but at a price!). I could receive the HD channels by installing an aerial - much cheaper, thus having the best of both.
However, I want to be able to switch easliy between the two, but unfortunately the very sketchy Sony instruction manual doesn't tell me how to do this, and I would be grateful for any relevant information.

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Dijay's 1 post GB flag
Tuesday, 25 January 2011

8:45 AM

Dijay: You press the button on the remote control to select the internal digital tuner.

When you've done, press the INPUT button to select your HDMI input for Virgin.

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Briantist's 38,902 posts GB flag
Saturday, 5 February 2011

5:55 PM

Is the HD signal weaker than SD? I'm on Redruth and have an HD box. Works well and great picture, but the HD signal breaks up quite a lot (seems sensitive to the weather), yet the SD signal always seems solid. Also the volume is a lot less than SD. Any reason for this?

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Nick's 58 posts GB flag
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