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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

Sunday, 18 December 2011
jean bremner
12:37 PM

Can l connect a digital recordable box to my es contract sky box connections and still record all programmes as l don't get a signal on digital telly in my area

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jean bremner's 1 post GB flag

4:53 PM

jean bremner: When you refer to connecting to a Sky boxes connector, are you meaning the inputs from the dish to the box? as the only device you can connect these into is a standard Freesat recorder, which if of the standard twin tuner type requires two inputs from the dish for satisfactory operation, this enabling one channel to be recorded whilst another is being viewed.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Paul Camp
2:48 PM
Potters Bar

I can receive all the Freeview Chanels perfectly Through my Digitalstream HD Receiver/Recorder
But the HD Chanels on 31 just show as not available, I was receiving them a month ago?.I presume I have the same problem as Gordon Nichol in Chalfont St Giles I am at en6 4at Cuffley Herts?

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Paul Camp's 3 posts GB flag
Paul's: mapP's Freeview map terrainP's terrain plot wavesP's frequency data P's Freeview Detailed Coverage

3:03 PM

Paul Camp: I would check the Single frequency interference | - independent free digital TV advice in the first instance, but you might find that as C31 is now used at Sandy Heath - which is 180 degrees from Crystal Palace at your location - you may have problems with Freeview HD until switchover.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
6:46 PM

Have bought Humax HDR-FOX T2 recorder. How do I get broadband onto my tv from my computer in next room?

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Valerie's 5 posts GB flag
8:01 PM
Tunbridge Wells

Use powerline adapters, you can get them in currys/maplins/etc etc. Plug ethernet into one and then plug it into the wall in one room and do the same in the other room and tada, network connection.

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Justin's 1 post GB flag
Justin's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

8:07 PM

Valerie: Ethernet cable.

One possibility might be to site your router next to your Humax and connect it with an ethernet cable. Then connect your computer using wireless.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Friday, 23 December 2011
Mal evans
4:39 PM

I already have a Freesat Set Top Box installed and working. Can I also install aFreeview +HD (With recording facility) set Top also. If so,How do i connect it ?

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Mal evans's 1 post GB flag
Mal's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

4:45 PM

Mal evans: You need to connect it to your TV with a HDMI lead in order to benefit from high-definition pictures. The HDMI lead will also allow you to watch standard definition streams as well.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Richard Norris
1:18 PM

I have just bought a new LED TV with a FreeviewHD tuner built in (Samsung UE37D5520RK) and I can't get any of the HD channels, although I do get all of the normal Freeview channels OK. I have a DVD recorder box (Sony RDR-HXD995) with Freeview (but not Freeview HD), so the aerial goes into the recorder and from the recorder to the TV. The TV and recorder are connected by an HDMI cable. I live in central Manchester and I have an aerial in the loft (I live on the top floor of a block of flats but the aerial is in my loft).

I am assuming my signal comes from Winter Hill (aerial appears to point in that direction) and according to information elsewhere on this site, the HD channels appear to be on Ch54. However, when I try and do a manual tune on my TV it doesn't allow me to manually tune Ch54 (only Channels 55 -62).

Any suggestions? Could it be that my DVD recorder doesn't have Freeview HD?

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Richard Norris's 2 posts GB flag
Richard's: mapR's Freeview map terrainR's terrain plot wavesR's frequency data R's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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