Historically, we’ve always been told that we need an aerial to watch TV. This has always been the case in the UK, with an aerial being a necessity to watch major channels like the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.
But in the modern climate, more and more of us are moving away from more traditional methods of watching TV. With Netflix and other streaming services increasing in popularity, some people are moving away from terrestrial channels completely.
However, it would still be nice to be able to watch the main channels every now and then, right? Whether that’s from habitually watching Match of the Day for the past few decades or just wanting to watch the News at dinner time, it’s still worth having these channels.
These channels do come free with Freeview. But can you watch Freeview on your TV without an aerial? Or will you need an aerial installed to watch them? Well, that’s what we’re going to look at and find out.
How to get Freeview on your TV without Aerial
The truth is that there’s not actually a good way for you to watch live TV without an aerial, or a viable alternative, installed. You will be able to watch all of the catch up and on demand streaming services without one, but you won’t be able to watch things as and when they air.
There are some apps that provide the ability to watch live TV through them, but in all honesty, most of them aren’t great. Another option is to look at indoor aerials, as they could provide a cheap way for you to get Freeview working properly on your television too.
So if you don’t want to get an aerial but you do want to watch live sports and TV shows, what can you do? Here’s a few of the best ways to do so.
Depending on your circumstance, you probably don’t have an aerial attached to your house. But, you may well have a satellite dish to use. If you do have a satellite dish you can connect to, then there are some easy ways that you can get Freeview with this.
The easiest way nowadays to get Freeview if you do have a satellite dish is to get a Freesat box. Although they’ve become more popular in recent years, they’ve actually been around for more than a decade.
Freesat was a joint venture between BBC and ITV to get you to put Freeview into your house. Essentially, it’s the satellite equivalent of a Freeview box, but there are some advantages of having a Freesat Box.
The main reason to opt for a Freesat box is that it actually has a lot more channels that your standard Freeview box – more than double, actually. This includes radio channels too, but it’s a reason to opt for one anyway if they’re the same price.
Another key factor to your decision will likely be your coverage. There are still many people that can’t get a good signal via a TV aerial and their area isn’t covered. This isn’t the case with satellite, as the entire country is pretty much capable of getting a connection.
So if you’re considering getting a satellite or you already have one, then a Freesat box is a good investment.
Of course, the most well known alternative to watching Freeview channels on your TV without using an aerial is definitely Sky.
For some people, this won’t be a good solution to the problem, especially if you don’t have a satellite dish already. But generally Sky don’t charge much for you to get a satellite installed, and once it’s up you won’t have to pay any more than this.
You might be wondering whether you’ll even need a satellite dish for you to watch Freeview on Sky in the future. Well, the truth is that Sky’s intention with the SkyQ box is to eventually eliminate the need for a satellite. So in the future, this may actually be possibility.
However for now, you’ll need a satellite to watch Sky and Freeview, with your Sky Box.
Alternative – Use an Old Sky Box
Another one of the main reasons why using a satellite dish over an aerial is that they tend to be the cheaper option between them and an aerial. So even if you don’t have a satellite dish installed, it can be quite easy to get one.
But something you can do to get Freeview if you have a satellite already is to get an old Sky Box. You can purchase these for really cheap off of eBay, and you won’t need to sign up to any long term deal with Sky.
Even though you won’t have the Sky channels, you can get Freeview for free on any Sky box. So, this could be a good way to save some cash.
Cable Options (Virgin Media)
Now, what can you do if you don’t have an aerial and you don’t have a satellite dish either? Well, you’re going to need to look at getting Freeview channels in a different way.
You may or may not be aware that with Virgin Media, you actually don’t need an aerial to watch. Obviously, Virgin Media packages come with Freeview as part of that, so this is a simple solution to getting Freeview without having an aerial.
The main obstacle for those with Virgin Media is that it can be pretty expensive, especially for some of their full packages. This is especially true if you’re looking to watch live TV sports on your television and not just Freeview Play.
However, you can find packages with very few channels on which are significantly cheaper. Plus, if you already have your broadband with Virgin, then you should be able to get a TV deal a bit cheaper.
Another way that you might be able to get Freeview on your TV without having to rely on an aerial or a satellite is via the internet. What do I mean by that? Well, here are a few ways to get Freeview by using your internet connection.
The easiest way, and maybe the cheapest way, for you to get Freeview on your TV is by using a streaming stick.
What do I mean by this? Well, you’ll probably have heard of an Amazon Fire stick, or even a Roku Stick. These are just essentially sticks or dongles that you plug into your television and connect with your wifi.
These streaming sticks give you the ability to download apps onto them to watch on your TV. They have a good variety of different options, and one of the apps that you can download on a Fire stick is called TV Player.
You can watch channels like BBC through this app, and you can find many of the channels you get with Freeview on a Firestick in general. So, this is one method to get these channels by simply getting a streaming stick.
Get a Smart TV
It’s often said that a streaming stick is essentially turning your normal TV into a smart TV. This is actually pretty true, as many smart TVs will actually come with Freeview installed on them.
This reduces the need for another device completely, and you’ll be able to watch all of your favourite shows directly through your TV. No Freeview Box, no additional hardware – just the TV itself.
As well as this, another benefit of having a smart TV is that you can get access to a ton of apps on there too. This includes big names like Netflix, as well as UK specific apps like Now TV.
The only problem with this is obviously they can be pretty expensive. But if you’d consider a smart TV, check out this 65 inch smart TV guide to the best options.
Of course, if you want to watch live TV through your smart TV then you will need to get an aerial. You can still watch apps like ITV Hub and Amazon Prime Video without one. But for anything live, you will need to invest in an aerial.
In conclusion, there are many different ways that you can watch Freeview on your own TV without using an aerial. The most likely alternative is that you could use a satellite, but even if you can’t do this, then there are still other options out there.
You can also get it on your telly using your internet connection, or via cable if you live in an area that can be connected properly.