Tag Archives: Freeview

Freeview and Freesat complete merger, but what does it mean for your TV?

Freeview and Freesat are now one and the same company. The two brands finalised their long-awaited merger at the end of last week. For those who don’t want to shell out a small fortune to enjoy Sky Q, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video subscriptions to watch at home… Freeview and Freesat offer a wealth of shows and movies to watch for free. If you have either of these services, the merger brings some good news.

Freeview parent company Digital UK, which was a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and transmitter operator Arqiva – until the latter left the project last year, has now confirmed that it acquired Freesat on July 8, 2021. Freesat had two shareholders, BBC and ITV, which meant the merger had to be cleared by the relevant authorities and regulators.

The process of bringing the two companies together will take a number of months, the brands confirmed.

It’s unclear what exactly the merger will mean for viewers. However, Digital UK has claimed bringing both brands under the same roof will mean both will “benefit from a more streamlined approach to technological innovation and product development”.

As such, we’d expect new functionality to roll out to Freeview and Freesat devices at the same time. Fingers crossed, it should also mean that upcoming content deals will apply to both set-top boxes – so Freesat and Freeview viewers will be able to enjoy the same boxsets and channels.

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We’d also hope that innovations already available on one of the Digital UK services but not another can now be shared – bringing both of these free-to-watch options on a level footing for the first time.

For those who don’t know, Freesat offers access to a number of the same channels as Freeview, but relies on a satellite dish to connect viewers to their favourite shows. So, if you’ve decided to leave Sky Q, but still have a dish strapped to your roof and don’t fancy a weekend of DIY – you can plug in a Freesat compatible set-top box to access free-to-air channels using your existing receiver. That’s a different approach to Freeview, which leverages your aerial.

There are a few advantages to Freesat over Freeview, most notably, that the service uses the additional capacity afforded when broadcasting via satellite to offer a selection of 24 high-definition channels, including those from BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Discovery Networks, France 24, Paramount Network, Bloomberg, RT UK and TRT World.

That said, Freeview Play – which requires an internet connection to bring catch-up services into the TV Guide – includes more content than Freesat. When using a Freeview Play television or set-top box, scrolling to the left on the TV Guide will allow viewers “travel back in time” and jump into previously-aired shows still available from BBC iPlayer, My5, ITV Hub, All4 and others.

In total, it pulls content from 10 on-demand catch-up services now, following the launch of POP Player at the end of last year. While much of this is also possible with Freesat, the service doesn’t currently include any shows from All4.

Jonathan Thompson, CEO, Digital UK, said: “I’m delighted to be heading up the new entity and am very much looking forward to leading the development of free-to-view TV in the UK over the coming years. Freeview and Freesat are both major success stories for the UK’s TV industry and wider society, enabling the public policy goals that underpin public service broadcasting, allowing access to high quality TV for free, for all.”

The news comes as Digital UK struck a deal with Amazon to bring Freeview Play to its Fire TV Edition TVs. These are TVs powered entirely by the Fire TV operating system that can also be found on its best-selling Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube set-top boxes.

The Freeview Play app will allow access to 85 live broadcast channels and content from 10 on-demand players, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, CBS Catchup Channels UK, Horror Bites, STV Player and BBC Sounds.

Millions face frustrating Freeview TV glitch but there’s a way to fix the problem for free

Freeview continues to grow in popularity and it’s not hard to see why. This service offers a swathe of content without paying any expensive monthly subscription charges to firms such as Sky or Virgin. However, despite the attraction of viewing TV for free, there is a problem for Freeview with some users of the service being hit by annoying glitches that wreak havoc on the picture and sound quality.

These problems stem from the way Freeview is received by the aerials that are attached to millions of homes across the UK.

The frequencies used by some mobile services are close to those previously used for free to view TV. As a result, there is a small chance that aerials, TVs, or set-top boxes can struggle to receive a good signal when new mobile masts are being activated nearby.

Mobile networks are constantly upgrading their equipment and when they do, some homes begin to suffer.

According to the latest reports, Edinburgh is next on the list for a big mobile upgrade with users being warned that their TV signal may start to suffer intermittent sound issues and a blocky picture whilst the work is being undertaken.

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It sounds hugely frustrating but if your TV is suffering from these annoying problems then there is a simple fix.

Restore TV, which is actually part of some of the UK’s biggest mobile networks, is offering a free filter that can be self-installed and should help clear up the image and sound on TVs.

Restore TV says that they will send out the filter to anyone responsible for their own aerial.

Full instructions are included with the firm even providing further advice online or by phone.

In most instances, fitting the filter will resolve any TV interference. However, if it does not and you are eligible, Restore TV may be able to arrange for an engineer to visit your home, at no cost.

Speaking about the issue a Freeview spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “As some the frequencies used by mobile services are close to the frequencies used for TV it’s possible that mobile broadband services can interfere with TV signals, particularly if mobile operators are making upgrades in the local area.

“If viewers experience new TV interference following such work, Restore TV is an independent programme created to help fix disruption to TV received through an aerial, such as Freeview.

“Restore TV can send out filters that will block the mobile signal from interfering with your broadcast TV signal entirely free of charge.”

And Ben Roome, chief executive of Restore TV, added: “We know just how important TV is to inform, entertain and provide welcome company. Restore TV exists to ensure we all can continue to access free to view TV as mobile services are improved across the UK.”

“In most instances, fitting the filter will resolve any issues, but if this isn’t the case, we may also be able to arrange a follow-up visit from a Restore TV engineer at no cost, depending on eligibility.”