What Is A Freesat Box?
Back in the old days, there were just 2 channels competing for your viewing time, BBC and ITV, then they introduced Channel 4 and Channel 5. That gave us a choice of 5 channels, BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 all received through the same aerial.. Then sky TV started.
Sky was (and is) a satellite TV service. No need for an aerial for sky, you have to use a satellite dish to receive channels through sky. Sky offered so many more channels than terrestrial TV plus they started winning the contracts to cover many major sporting events. This meant if you were a sports fan, and you wanted to follow the action, you had to sign up to a contract for sky TV.
Over the years, many sky subscribers started to get disillusioned with the service they were receiving. You see at first to get any sports coverage all you had to do was sign up and pay a monthly subscription. Then sky started making their customers not only pay monthly subscriptions, but if they wanted to watch a particularly popular sporting event they had to pay a one off payment which they called pay-per-view.
The pay-per-view started to the decline in the popularity of sky digital which wasn’t helped by the introduction of Virgin media and other premium TV services. Many sky customers who stopped their sky subscriptions were left with a satellite dish that was compatible with Freesat receivers. In fact Freesat and sky are broadcast using the same satellites.
Freeview TV Came First…
Around 2002 Freeview started to improve on the channels left behind at the collapse of ITV Digital and started marketing Freeview boxes as a means of terrestrial TV owners gaining access to many more free to air channels than the standard 5. All that was needed was a set top box and a standard aerial.
Since 2008 all new TVs sold in the United Kingdom have a built-in Freeview tuner. The problem with Freeview is it’s limited signal quality. There are areas of the UK where Freeview signals are just not strong enough to be received on Freeview tuners.
Then There Was Freesat TV!
In 2007 the concept of Freesat was discussed. The idea was to offer a satellite alternative to Freeview. So areas with poor reception can buy a Freesat box and access most of the free to air channels available on Freeview. The main difference is to receive Freesat you have to have a satellite dish, it doesn’t matter which dish, so many ex sky customers can just connect their Freesat box to their old sky dish.
In the early days the only way to access Freesat was by purchasing a Freesat box, unlike Freeview that is automatically added to new TVs. But that’s all changing now, There are currently TVs made by Panasonic, LG, and Sony with integrated Freesat receivers.
What Is Freesat?
So to clarify what we’ve learned so far, Freesat is:
- Free-to-air TV system
- Works via satellite
- Doesn’t require a monthly subscription fee
- Covers areas where Freeview is not obtainable
- More channels than Freeview
- Perfect for bad TV reception areas
- Has a basic 7-day catch up service available through the menu.
Frequently Asked Questions
The main difference between Freeview and Freesat is that Freeview is accessed via an aerial, and Freesat can only be accessed via a satellite dish.
You can use your old sky dish for Freesat all you need is a Freesat box and a compatible TV.
Netflix has recently launched a free to air service on Freesat.
Freesat will not work without a satellite dish.