Freeview is the free to air and watch (apart from requiring a TV licence), via a standard TV Aerial for digital television. It is transmitted from a terrestrial TV mast located various regions throughout the UK & Ireland. To be able to watch Freeview you will require a working and properly installed TV Aerial. With that being said, there are other ways to be able to watch many of the same channels broadcast on the Freeview platform. In this article the engineer at Digitec will explain for you other options and ways to watch TV without having to pay for a TV aerial installation.

Does Freeview Play need an aerial?

​In short, the answer is yes. You can watch Freeview play using either a smart TV, a set top box or by using an app from off a mobile device. There are over 100 channels available for on demand viewing, and these can be viewed. All that is required for viewing is one of the devices mentioned and a half decent internet connection for streaming.

Can you watch live TV through Freeview Play, without an Aerial?

​As of writing this article, it is not possible to watch live TV (Freeview) legally over an internet connection. For this option a good TV aerial set up is necessary.

How to Watch Live TV without an Aerial

There are a few different ways in which to be able to watch the same channels broadcast on the Freeview platform. In this article I will only be covering UK based platforms and not any foreign systems.


Satellite TV Options

For the UK there are 2 different satellite platforms from which to watch live TV. These are Sky & Freesat. Sky is probably more well known than Freesat, but all of the free to air channels can be watched on these. Sky is the subscription-based satellite TV provider. With it there is all of the free to air TV channels, plus a large range of other channels, for movies, sports etc.

Freesat has no subscription or paid channels and the platform only provides the free to air TV channels. This is a great option if living in a region where the TV signal from off the local TV transmitter is compromised.

Cable TV Options

​Virgin is the only option for the UK at this present time, and it is a subscription-based service. With this service you are able to watch both Free to air and the TV channels that have been subscribed to.

Streaming TV through the Internet

Using the internet to watch television is probably one of most revolutionary aspects of peoples TV habits coming into the 2020’s.

Using Your Smart TV

​Most new televisions come with the ability to be able to connect to the internet and stream certain TV channels. These TVs’ are called a ‘Smart TV’. The type of channels available are the catch up channels such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 & My5.

USB Sticks

​If using an older television, there is still the option to watch these free catch up channels by purchasing a Smart TV stick. As well as having the catch up channels, these USB sticks will have a range of other channels to view. Some of these USB TV Sticks are the Kodi Stick, Amazon firestick, Chromecast by Google to name a few. Along with the free channels, with these there is the option to sign up to their subscription-based channels too.

Smart Set Top Boxes

​Set Top Boxes offer a little bit more than the USB Sticks. They can often offer a recording option. Plus, with games consoles like the X-box and PlayStation you can play video games on these as well.

Screen Mirroring using a Mobile Phone

​By using an ipad or other mobile phone you can mirror the program being streamed onto the television. If you have Amazon or apple TV, there is that option as long as the TV is new enough and has that you can set up the mirroring from off your device.

What about a TV Licence?

​To watch any live TV from within the UK, it is at time of writing this the law to pay for a TV licence. Although more and more households are ditching the licence, it isn’t yet legal to watch live TV without the licence.