Freesat vs. Freeview: How Are They Different?

In the world of UK television, Freesat and Freeview stand out as two popular choices for free-to-air broadcasting. While both platforms offer access to a plethora of channels without a subscription fee, they differ significantly in terms of delivery, channel selection, and additional features. Understanding these differences can help viewers decide which option best suits their needs.

Here at Mitchell & Brown, we have created a brief comparison of the two products and how they differ slightly. Keep reading to find out which platform suits your needs the best!

Delivery Method

The primary distinction between Freesat and Freeview lies in their delivery methods. Freeview broadcasts via digital terrestrial signals, which are received through a standard aerial. This makes Freeview a straightforward option for many households, especially those with existing aerial setups. On the other hand, Freesat relies on satellite transmission. To access Freesat, viewers need a satellite dish and a compatible receiver. This method is particularly advantageous in areas with poor terrestrial signal coverage, ensuring reliable reception even in remote locations.

Channel Selection*

When it comes to channel selection, both platforms provide a robust lineup, but there are notable differences. Freeview offers over 70 TV channels and 30 radio stations, covering a broad spectrum of entertainment, news, and lifestyle content. Freesat, leveraging satellite capabilities, boasts a larger selection with over 200 TV and radio channels. This includes additional international channels and niche content that Freeview might lack. For viewers seeking a broader variety, particularly those interested in international programming, Freesat presents a compelling choice.

High Definition and Recording Options

High-definition (HD) content is increasingly important to viewers. Freeview provides a selection of HD channels, but the number can be limited by regional variations in signal strength and availability. Freesat generally offers a more extensive range of HD channels due to the broader capacity of satellite broadcasting.

Both platforms support recording functionalities through compatible set-top boxes. Freeview Play and Freesat’s Freetime offer similar capabilities, including pause, rewind, and record features, along with access to catch-up services like BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. However, Freesat’s Freetime can sometimes offer a more seamless experience, thanks to its higher data transmission rates.


Internet Connectivity and Smart Features

Modern viewing habits increasingly integrate online content. Freeview Play and Freesat’s Freetime both support smart features, allowing access to on-demand services and streaming platforms. Freeview Play integrates seamlessly with many smart TVs, providing a unified interface for live and on-demand content. Freesat, while also compatible with smart TVs, often excels in integrating with satellite-exclusive services and apps, offering a slightly richer interactive experience.

Installation and Setup

Installation is another consideration. Freeview’s simplicity appeals to those who prefer a plug-and-play solution. Most modern TVs come with built-in Freeview tuners, requiring just an aerial connection to start watching. Freesat, however, necessitates the installation of a satellite dish, which might involve additional costs and professional setup. This can be a deterrent for some, though for others, especially in areas with weak Freeview signals, the reliability of satellite reception outweighs the initial setup complexity.


Choosing between Freesat and Freeview depends on individual needs and circumstances. Freeview offers convenience and simplicity, ideal for households within strong terrestrial signal areas. It’s easy to set up and integrates well with modern smart TVs. Freesat, with its broader channel selection and reliable reception in challenging areas, suits viewers seeking more variety and those in locations with poor terrestrial coverage. Both platforms deliver high-quality free-to-air television, but the right choice hinges on specific viewing preferences and technical considerations.

At Mitchell & Brown, we have a selection of TVs that support both Freeview and Freesat, which are linked below.

*Channel Selection correct on both platforms as of 07.06.24

At Mitchell and Brown, we're committed to providing our customers with the best possible TV experience. If you need any help setting up your TV or have any questions about our products, please don't hesitate to contact us