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Can I stop paying Sky and use my satellite receiver to get Freeview ?

Can I stop paying Sky and use my satellite receiver to get Freeview ?

Can I stop paying Sky and use my satellite receiver to get Free
published on UK Free TV

Yes, but only "sort of".

Freeview is the name of the (BBC-backed) digital TV system that uses hilltop transmitters to rooftop aerials. It is run separately from the "Sky" satellite-to-dish service. free-to-VIEW is a term for satellite channels that need a viewing card to watch, but not to collect a subscription. free-to-AIR channels are ones that can be received without needing a viewing card or subscription.

The free-to-AIR satelite service backed by the BBC and ITV is called Freesat. The free-to-VIEW service operated by Sky is called fSfS or Freesat from Sky.

As long as you have finished your first year, you can leave Sky when you want. To do this just give Sky a call and tell them you don't want to subscribe any more.

If you stop subscribing you will be able to watch the hundred or so free-to-air channels listed on free channels list. This service is called Freesat from Sky (fSfS).

Some of the channels on the Freeview service are subscription only on satellite, specifically: 4Music, Challenge, Dave, Dave ja vu, Quest, VIVA and Yesterday . See these links to compare the TV channels on Freesat-from-Sky and Freeview, and to compare radio stations on Freeview and fSfS. Many homes have free satellite and Freeview to get the full range of channels.

You will still need to keep your Sky viewing card. If you stop subscribing on a Sky contract, you can keep using that card to watch 5USA, 5* and PICK TV, the so-called "free-to-view" channels. (All ITV channels are free-to-air).

It is not possible to plug an aerial into a Sky Digibox to receive Freeview channels because the boxes have not been designed this way.

You will continue to get the full Sky EPG listings; you just will not be able to watch subscription channels.

If you want to go for High Definition, HD, you can swap out your Sky box for a Freesat one very easily.

A card is not needed to watch BBC services, but it is needed to get the correct BBC ONE and BBC TWO regions on 101 and 102.

Another option is to disconnect your Sky Digibox altogether and Upgrade from Sky to Freesat - If you have an HD-Ready TV and a standard Sky box, this is a good option.

All questions
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In this section
Can I use my ex-contract sky digital satellite receiver to get Freeview channels1
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I have a Panasonic TV with integrated Freeview how can I record Freeview channel3
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Friday, 15 May 2015
6:35 PM

This seems to be a common misconception by a lot of people - they take out a Sky contract, and they think that if they cancel their Sky TV all their channels will disappear.

This is however not true - I have Sky TV downstairs, but I also have satellite TV in my bedroom, to get this all I did was run an extra cable from the Sky satellite dish into a HD satellite card in my PC and there we have it free satellite TV.

I don't get all the Sky channels but there are still many Free to air satellite channels out there that are still available.

All the BBC channels are free to air and can be received by a Sky box with either a cancelled sky card in the slot or no sky card in the slot.

Also many of the other terrestrial channels are FTA (free to air) - like ITV, C4, C5, Film4 is also free.

If you plug your satellite dish into a generic free to air satellite receiver or PC tuner card you may find that at first you receive about 20 Channel 4's (if it's a Freesat receiver or a Sky box these are pre-programmed to only show one Channel 4), and you'll also notice a number of BBC1's, ITV's and C5's. These are regional variations the main difference between each region is the advertisements - for example in the West Midlands you might see adverts for things like West Midlands Safari Park or the Birmingham and Wolverhampton locations of DFS or Ikea, where as on the North West versions you might see adverts for Gullivers in Warrington, or DFS, Manchester, Ikea Warrington, etc. Also if your over the border in Scotland you'd notice that by removing your sky card the STV would change to ITV, and in Wales S4C would swap with C4.

If you remove your sky card from the slot you will find that after a few minutes it will switch all your regional channels to a London version (BBC London, ITV London). It uses the postcode stored in the Sky card to figure out which region to show (and if you want to watch something that's not in your region if you go to the end of the Sky channels in the 900 beyond the adult channels you can get the various BBC regions).

If you cancel your card but leave it in the slot it will still use your postcode to give you the same region, and if you have a sky box that doesn't have a card you can call Sky up and ask them to send you out a Sky Freesat card - note this is not the same as Freesat (even though it shares the same name). The Sky Freesat card will be matched to the postcode it's sent to so it will correct the channels to your correct area.

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Darren's 10 posts GB flag

8:22 PM


Several of the regular contributors to this website have explained all that before. I'm thinking of people like jb38 who regularly contributes here.

Worth noting that *all* Freeview channels are available free. The one aspect that is not 'free' is the current requirement to have a Broadcast Receiving Licence for your location to cover all TV reception, even live programmes viewed on your computer, but it doesn't cover the delayed viewing of 'catch-up' services as they remain outside of the TV Licence remit.

On Sky, the PSB services remain free to view and it is not essential to have a viewing card, though having one inserted does help to show the 'local' services as you suggest. The encrypted Sky channels and the recording facility on a Sky+ box are unavailable.

Freesat, like Freeview, is freely available to view by anyone with suitable equipment, again with the proviso about the TV Licence.

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MikeP's 215 posts GB flag
MikeP's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Sunday, 17 May 2015
john robertson
6:34 PM

If i cancelled my sky subscription and get the freeview channels would i still be able to record programmes as i have a sky plus box

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john robertson's 1 post GB flag

9:53 PM

john robertson: No, as Sky will disable this side of your box at time of cancelling your subscription.

If though you wish to retain the recording and playback side of your box, Sky will allow this provided that you take out another subscription for this purpose (and only that!) at a cost of around £10.25 per month, however most ex Sky subscribers decline going down this route and opt to change over to "subscription free" Freesat, usually purchasing a twin tuner Freesat HD recorder which offers exactly the same facilities as a Sky+ HD box.

Sky and Freesat devices being 100% compatible with each other as far as dish connections are concerned.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Monday, 18 May 2015
9:53 AM

John robertson: also if you cancelled your sky subscription you would not get freeview channels you'd get freesat channels, unless your on about getting the freeview channels through an aerial and not the dish.

There is a few differences in freesat to freeview channels - there is a list here of freeview channels

List of digital terrestrial television channels (UK) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and here is a list of freesat channels

Channels | Join Freesat

Plus even if you do pay Sky the extra for the recording facilities to be turned on, if your on about recording from the aerial (freeview) you can't anyway - you can only record from the freesat channels (satellite) as the Sky box has no freeview decoder in it and no way of inputting a freeview picture into it.

If you did want to still record and pause TV and not pay sky you could always just buy a general HDD recorder, many of these have the play/pause function on them, and some even include a DVD recorder, or backup to USB, network sharing, abilities to swap hard drives when it's full, etc which is far more functionality than you get from a Sky+ box.

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Darren's 10 posts GB flag
Monday, 8 June 2015
9:09 PM

Sky can we wants help freesat future more channels?

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Ronnie's 3 posts GB flag
Monday, 22 June 2015
11:01 AM

Hi Could you please help me to connect my sky box to CCcam system as nothing I do seems to work

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john's 1 post FR flag
Saturday, 27 June 2015
5:00 PM

We recently move in new home which already has Sky dish & wires with two outputs in the living room. My TV has has free sat built in but unable to plug this cables in. Do I need to buy a free sat box to start watching free TV.

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Sydney's 1 post GB flag

5:22 PM

Sydney: If both outputs in the living room are intended for Sky or Freesat use, then they will be of the short threaded stub variety, the jumper leads that connect into same being screwed into the stub.

If indeed your TV is capable of Freesat reception, then it will be equipped with a connection exactly the same as your outlet points, if though as I suspect, it doesn't, then you will have to purchase either a Freesat box, or more sensibly (albeit more expensive) a twin tuner Freesat PVR (recorder).

By the way, you cannot use outlets intended for satellite use into a Freeview device, as Freeview requires a normal aerial.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Thursday, 2 July 2015
John Smith
1:48 PM

Hi thinking of leaving Sky and using the existing the box for all freeview sag content - we will still get HD content ?

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John Smith's 1 post GB flag
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