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Should I buy Freeview HD for Christmas?

It isn't just for the first high definition EastEnders on Christmas Day, Freeview HD is the gift that keeps giving

It isn't just for the first high definition EastEnders on Chris
published on UK Free TV

What are the benefits?

Four high definition channels

Everyone gets:
  • BBC HD. All the programmes on this channel are in high definition, and comprises of simulcasts of BBC TWO, BBC three and BBC FOUR shows, narrative repeats of these shows (rebroadcast within the first week of showing on a main channel) plus some high definition BBC classics.
  • BBC One HD. This channel shows high definition versions of most programmes on BBC One, with a commitment to move towards 100% high definition output over the coming years.
  • ITV1 HD (or STV1 HD or UTV1 HD). As with BBC One HD, this is a high definition version of the most popular commercial channel.

Plus one of:

  • Channel 4 HD. Again, a simulcast of the main Channel 4 channel in high definition, but again where available, and not in Wales.
  • Clirlun (S4C HD). In Wales, a high definition version of the Welsh language channel S4C.

Christmas Day EastEnders will be in HD
Christmas Day EastEnders will mark the first broadcast of the BBC soap in high definition.

Better pictures for sport

One of the main improvements in high definition is the ability to provide much better motion for sport compared to standard digital television.

Clearer pictures for documentaries and drama

Many of the most popular high definition shows are documentaries and drama where the clarity of the picture gives a distinct edge to the viewing experience.


As movies have always been created on 35mm film (rather than videotape), this means that any movie created since the 1920s can be shown in high definition.

All existing Freeview services

In addition, you also get all of the existing Freeview channels.

Better overlap handling

Another benefit of Freeview HD boxes is that they deal much better than standard boxes when you live in an area served by more than one transmitter. These boxes now prompt you to select your BBC and ITV region, older boxes just guess.

Christmas Day installing

Freeview HD is very, very easy to install. All you will need is:

  • A high definition television set. Any set with "HD Ready" or "Full HD Ready" markings will work. A limited number of very old high definition sets may not have these markings, so you may have to check for the presence of an HDMI input socket.
  • Your EXISTING aerial connection. A rooftop aerial is already required for reliable Freeview reception, so as long as normal Freeview (or Freeview light) is being received, Freeview HD will normally work (see coverage below, however). YOU DO NOT NEED A NEW AERIAL TO USE FREEVIEW HD.
  • A power point.
  • An HDMI cable. This will normally come with the box, but if you are hoping to install the set-top box on Christmas Day you might want to ensure that the cable is there. Remember that, as HDMI is a balanced high-speed digital connection, there is no benefit paying more than a few pounds for a cable as screening (or gold connectors) will made no difference whatsoever to the quality of picture transferred. As with most digital components, it will work - or not.

Recording and live pausing with Freeview+HD

Humax box

As well as the basic Freeview HD boxes, you can also purchase Freeview+HD boxes, which contain a hard disk drive (as found in computers) and two digital tuners. This allows, much like the popular Sky+ and Freeview+ boxes you to:

  • Record a whole series of a show with a single button press
  • Record one show whilst watching another one live
  • Record two shows while you watch a recording from the drive.
  • Set a show to record by pressing a button when you see a trailer for it.

Freeview record/play/pause devices DO NOT require a special aerial to work.

Where will it work?

It will definitely work in any region that has switched off the analogue signals and replaced them with digital only, which is:

UK areas that have switched to digital-only transmission

There is also a pre-switchover service from a few main transmitters:

Five transmitters with Freeview HD at low power

In the above cases the service is not provided from any relay transmitters, and the lower power levels provide service only to the core transmitter area.

Help with High Definition?
Whenever i watch moving sport especially football I experience much poorer pictu1
In this section
Freeview removes com8 channels 1
20 Freeview HD TV channels to close March/June 2019 in Cornwall2
Channel 4 abandons Freesat HD in TWO DAYS3
Five tips for when you are buying a new TV to watch Freeview or Freesat4
Why do less than one in five people with an HD set watch in HD?5
All five public service channels now free to air!6

Wednesday, 19 January 2011
7:56 PM

Thanks, am I right in thinking then that if she can't get BBC4, then she isn't getting the multiplex which carries HD.

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bett's 6 posts GB flag
bett's: mapB's Freeview map terrainB's terrain plot wavesB's frequency data B's Freeview Detailed Coverage

8:00 PM

bett: No, that is incorrect. The BBCB multiplex is a special pre-switchover transmission from the Lichfield transmitter, it will replace multiplex B (with BBC FOUR) after switchover.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
8:04 PM

OK.... I'm leaving it until sept and she will have to wait and see. I hope if it is a problem with the tv after all this they will sort it.

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bett's 6 posts GB flag
bett's: mapB's Freeview map terrainB's terrain plot wavesB's frequency data B's Freeview Detailed Coverage

8:15 PM

bett: I would have though that would be the best thing to do, given what you have said.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Saturday, 16 April 2011

11:18 AM

Hi Brian - and others

I had planned not to buy a new TV until HD and wifi access built in, but the demise of my pvr forces some earlier action.

I presume Wrekin will give HD TV after switchover next Weds. But can I yet buy, for a sensible price, a TV with built in HD tuner?

The standards are now fixed are they? I avoid early adopting!

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steve's 1,173 posts GB flag
steve's: mapS's Freeview map terrainS's terrain plot wavesS's frequency data S's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Sunday, 17 April 2011

8:21 AM

steve: The "Freeview HD" or "DVB-T2" mark means the set will work. This is the standard and won't change.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Thursday, 18 August 2011
Ian Jackson
7:14 AM

We have just endured the switchover in Scarborough,oh so easy to retune your HD/Freeview TV!!Yes it is simple,but if you do not have a DVB-T2 tuner in your TV then no HD signal is available,great,what a con.I bet there will be a lot of very annoyed people out their who are suffering the same problem.

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Ian Jackson's 2 posts GB flag

8:59 AM

Ian Jackson: It's not a con, you can't expect to receive a service if you have equipment that is incompatible. All you need is a Freeview HD box. See also What does "Full HD Ready" actually mean? | - independent free digital TV advice .

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Friday, 16 September 2011
Gordon Nicol
11:16 AM
Chalfont St. Giles

I live at HP8 4BS and have received all the freview channels including CH 31 HD. Suddenly after 9 months of viewing CH 31 and all its HD channels, they have disappeared. I cannot retune CH 31 as it does not exist. All the other Freeview channels work fine. Can you help please.

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Gordon Nicol's 2 posts GB flag
Gordon's: mapG's Freeview map terrainG's terrain plot wavesG's frequency data G's Freeview Detailed Coverage

11:25 AM

Gordon Nicol: Yes, that is correct, you will not get Freeview HD from Crystal Palace on C31, you will have to wait for switchover 18th April 2012 when the full-power service starts on C30-.

I think this is because at your location C31 is used at Sandy Heath and it is taking out the signal from Crystal Palace.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
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