Do I need an aerial?

You do need an aerial to receive Freeview live on TV through the TV Guide but can also view certain channels on internet connected devices without one.

If you already have an aerial, make sure the cables are undamaged and connected to the aerial point in your home. The aerial needs to be securely plugged into the socket in the back of your Freeview TV or recorder.

It also needs to be in the right position, and not damaged by the weather. It's worth going outside to check it's pointing in the same direction as others nearby.

If you are having problems viewing channels we can help you to fix the problem

What type of aerial do I need?

There are two categories of aerial - grouped aerials and wideband aerials.

To get the best results, we recommend that you use use a wideband aerial. Also known as Type T (for 'total') or Type W (for 'wideband'), these cover the entire range of signals used to transmit digital TV and continue to work even if there are changes to your TV signals. 

Most aerials replaced within the last 10 years are likely to be wideband aerials. This can differ based on where you live. More information can be found on the aerial support pages on the BBC and Ofcom websites.

Depending on where you live, a wideband aerial might be able to help you to receive certain channels on Freeview such as BBC Four HD, Freesports, BBC News HD and Forces TV. To check what channels are predicted to be available in your area, use our Freeview channel checker before you consider consulting any qualified aerial installer.

Loft aerials or portable indoor aerials may work in areas where there is good reception, but they can be subject to electrical interference from other domestic appliances.

What if I share a communal aerial?

If you live in a block of flats or a shared household you may have a communal TV system, providing a signal to several homes from a single aerial. Talk to your neighbours to see if they use Freeview and what the reception is like – if they get good reception, it’s likely that you will too.

If they’re not seeing a perfect picture, then get the communal aerial checked; ask your landlord, management company, housing association or council. You can also ask them if you're not sure what kind of aerial the building has got, or you suspect it might not have an aerial at all.

Installing a new aerial

Check our aerial troubleshooting guide to see if that can help. If it turns out you need to get a new aerial installed, we recommend that you always use a qualified aerial installer. They will have experience working at heights and information on transmitters in your area. Visit the following websites to find one local to you:

Based on industry guidance, a typical aerial replacement costs £150. However, it can vary depending on where you live and how complex the installation is. It's always a good idea to get more than one quote.

Viewing Freeview without an aerial

In addition to viewing your favourite programmes through the TV Guide using the aerial connection, you can also watch some programmes through an internet connection on a connected Freeview Play TV, on mobile phones and tablets through our mobile app or on your computer using our website.   

You can watch live and on demand TV from the following players... BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, STV and Horror Bites/CBS Catchup.

More information on how to view Freeview on internet connected devices can be found in our How to watch Freeview online article and our What do I need to get Freeview Play pages.

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