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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, 28 December 2011
Richard Norris
5:27 PM

Problem solved: turns out there was a second aerial socket in my flat attached to a better aerial, which has solved the problem. I can now get my Freeview HD channels with no problem.

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Richard Norris's 2 posts GB flag
Friday, 6 January 2012
9:56 AM

Hi, I purchased Humax HDR-FOX T2 yesterday, but I am unable to receive any of the HD channels. I am in Feltham and I tried to manually retune on C31 with DVB-T2. All of the other Freeview channels work fine. Is the signal from the CrystalPalace transmitter not strong enough here? Or am I doing something wrong?

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Tod's 1 post GB flag
Tod's: mapT's Freeview map terrainT's terrain plot wavesT's frequency data T's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Friday, 6 July 2012
John Marsh
2:56 PM

I am in the north east of england i have a New full hd TV the transmitter is pontop pike and i am unable to recieve any hd channels i have done all of the things that are required tune in etc.

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John Marsh's 1 post GB flag
Mark Fletcher

3:35 PM

John Marsh.Unless you leave a full postcode preferably or a nearby location as such,we cannot be of valuable assistance to you !

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Mark Fletcher's 673 posts GB flag
Mark's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

3:53 PM

John Marsh: Is it a "Freeview HD" TV which has a DVB-T2 tuner in? What is it's model?

"Full HD" simply means that it goes up to the "full" resolution of 1080p and does not add any qualification to the ability to receive HD broadcasts off the air.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Saturday, 20 September 2014
3:13 PM

I have virgin cable service and brand new samsung tv with integrated freeview tuner. Why can't i get hd channels. Your advice please

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Maggie's 2 posts GB flag
Sunday, 21 September 2014

11:41 AM

Maggie: Whats the model of the Samsung? Although I can think of only one Samsung model (H4000) which has just a Freeview tuner, you might have bought one without an HD tuner. They tend to be cheaper, but some retailers (we only sell ones with Freeview HD) dont make that clear, but just talk about 'Full HD'. As Dave Lindsay pointed out above, thats the panel, not the tuner.

Frankly, I'd take it back if thats the case.

Secondly, even if it had an HD tuner, if your using it via a Virgin box, how are you connecting it? HD has to use an HDMI cable, not scart. If you've simply swapped over the TV, but still kept the scart cable connection, then HD is not going to happen.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
steve p

11:11 PM

Freeview HD is for life not just for Christmas.

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steve p's 1,173 posts GB flag
Monday, 22 September 2014
Mike Davison

8:22 PM

COM7 channel 32 Emley Moor is shown as 54.82kW on the website and not 16.7kW. Who is correct?

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Mike Davison's 127 posts GB flag
Mike's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Friday, 26 September 2014
7:45 PM

: mike b. Thank you for your advice. Unfortunately my virgin box does not have a hdmi. It would cost around £50 to get a replacement so i will make do with sd for now.

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Maggie's 2 posts GB flag
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