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Freeview is the operator of free digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom, using the DVB-T standard. The Freeview brand name, owned by DTV Services,[1] is used to promote the free digital terrestrial television service as a whole and those services operated by companies who rent capacity from Freeview Consortium shareholders.[2]


Freeview was launched on 30 October 2002 at 6 a.m. when it took over the digital terrestrial television (DTT) licence to broadcast on three multiplexes from the defunct ITV Digital (originally called ONdigital).

The founding members of DTV Services were the BBC, National Grid Wireless and British Sky Broadcasting. On 11 October 2005, they were joined by ITV plc and Channel 4. The Freeview service broadcasts free-to-air television channels, radio stations and interactive services from the BBC, Sky and other broadcasters.

File:Digital TV (UK) Q4 2006 All sets.png
2006, Q4, UK's 60 million TV sets (not homes, Ofcom figures[3])
As of the end of December 2006, 30.4% of first sets and 25.6% of all TV sets in the UK use Freeview. 7,703,000 of the 25.3 million UK homes are 'Freeview only', with 15.3 million Freeview enabled TVs (and integrated digital televisions) in 10.5 million homes.[3]

The Freeview model has been copied in a number of countries including France and Spain.Template:Fact

Service description[modifica]

Service costs[modifica]

Freeview offers no premium or pay-per-view channels and no subscription channels, the name distinguishes the service from ITV Digital, cable and satellite digital TV services. To receive the Freeview services, a set-top box (typically available from £20) or a new television with an integrated digital tuner is required. DTT reception cards for computers are also available for a similar price. Some viewers also need an aerial upgrade which can cost around £80 to £180.[4] In addition, the annual television licence must be purchased, as is required for all viewers of broadcast television in the UK irrespective of the method of reception.[5]

In addition to Freeview, a subscription-based service, Top Up TV, launched in March 2004 using unused channel space on Multiplexes that were owned by parties, who at the time, were not members of the Freeview consortium. The Top Up TV service is not connected with the Freeview service; it simply runs alongside it on the DTT platform. It was possible to receive Top Up TV selected Freeview set-top boxes or televisions equipped with a card slot or CI slot, however, this was discontinued in 2006 in favour of "Top Up TV Anytime", a service which depends on a proprietary set top box.

The Digital TV Group[6] made up of all the multiplex owners, is responsible for co-ordination between Freeview and Top Up TV services.

Coverage and reception[modifica]

Approximately 73% of households are in a location that can receive Freeview broadcasts.[7] Maximum Freeview coverage of the UK whilst analogue and digital services are running in tandem has now been reached.[8] The British government plans to switch off analogue transmitters region-by-region, starting in 2007,[9] to allow for an increase in both Freeview coverage and transmitter power. The government estimates that the coverage level of the three public service broadcasting multiplexes will reach 98.5% of the population (the same as analogue television) and six-multiplex reception will cover 90% of the population once the digital switchover has been completed in 2012.

Freeview Playback[modifica]


Freeview Playback is a consumer brand created in the UK by the DTG Group to "raise consumer awareness and promote sales" of Freeview capable PVRs. Players which meet specific quality and functionality criteria will be able to carry the Freeview Playback logo, and benefit from joint marketing and consumer confidence.

Freeview channels[modifica]

A full list of digital terrestrial television channels in the UK is also available, which includes the additional Top Up TV and Setanta Sports services.

TV channels[modifica]

  1. BBC One (regional variations)
  2. BBC Two (regional variations)
  3. ITV1, STV or UTV Template:ITV1
  4. Channel 4 (except Wales) or
    S4C Digidol (Wales only)
  5. Five
  6. ITV2
  7. BBC Three
  8. Channel 4 (Wales only) or
    TeleG (Scotland only)
  9. BBC Four
  10. ITV3
  11. Sky Three
  12. UKTV History
  13. More4
  14. E4
  15. ABC1† (not available in Wales)
  16. QVC (reduced hours in Wales)
  17. The Hits
  18. UKTV Bright Ideas
  19. Ftn
  20. TMF
  21. Ideal World
  22. bid tv (reduced hours in Wales)
  23. price-drop tv
  24. ITV4
  25. Film4
  26. E4+1
  27. ITV2+1
  28. Film4+1
  29. Five US
  30. Five Life
  31. SmileTV
  32. Thomas Cook TV
  33. CBBC Channel
  34. CBeebies
  35. CITV Channel
  36. BBC News 24
  37. BBC Parliament
  38. Sky News
  39. Sky Sports News
  40. S4C2 (Wales only)
  41. Community Channel
  42. Teachers' TV

Radio stations[modifica]

  1. BBC Radio 1
  2. BBC 1Xtra
  3. BBC Radio 2
  4. BBC Radio 3
  5. BBC Radio 4 (FM version)
  6. BBC Radio Five Live
  7. BBC Five Live Sports Extra
  8. BBC 6 Music
  9. BBC 7
  10. BBC Asian Network
  11. BBC World Service (English language European version)
  12. The Hits Radio
  13. Smash Hits
  14. Kiss 100
  15. Heat
  16. Magic 105.4
  17. Q
  18. Oneword
  19. 102.2 Smooth Radio
  20. BBC Radio Scotland (MW version; Scotland only), BBC Radio Wales (Wales only) or BBC Radio Ulster (Northern Ireland only)
  21. BBC Radio nan Gaidheal (Scotland only), BBC Radio Cymru (Wales only) or BBC Radio Foyle¹ (Northern Ireland only)
  22. Mojo
  23. Kerrang!
  24. talkSPORT
  25. Clyde 1
  26. Premier Christian Radio
  27. U105 (Northern Ireland only)
  28. Virgin Radio
  29. Heart (England, Wales and Southern Scotland only)[10]
  30. Radio Music Shop (England, Wales and Southern Scotland only)

Text and interactive services[modifica]

  1. Teletext
  2. Teletext Holidays
  3. Teletext Cars
  4. Teletext Games
  5. Teletext on 4
  6. BBCi
  7. Sky Text / NHS Direct

Interactive vision[modifica]

  1. BBCi 301
  2. BBCi 302
  3. BBCi 303

† Channel does not broadcast for its full hours on Freeview.

Future channels[modifica]

Virgin 1 (to replace Ftn)

Former channels[modifica]

British Sky Broadcasting channels[modifica]

It was announced on 8 February 2007 that Sky intended to withdraw Sky Three, Sky News and Sky Sports News from the platform in the summer of 2007.

Sky executives have discussed various strategies with major media buying agencies, including leaving Sky Three, Sky News and Sky Sports News on Freeview in favour of launching a pay TV service on digital terrestrial. Estimates of the potential cost to Sky in terms of lost ad revenue for having its channels withdrawn from Virgin's cable TV service range from £45m to £60m for 2007.[11]

However, the Ofcom Consumer Panel complained that the plan was "generating serious consumer detriment"[12] and the National Consumer Council call the BSkyB plan "bad news for consumers"[13] which has caused Ofcom to launch an investigation into the "features of the [UK pay TV] market, including control over content, ownership of distribution platforms, retail subscriber bases and vertical integration".[14]

See also[modifica]

Notes and references[modifica]

External links[modifica]