What is digital terrestrial TV and how does it work?

Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) is the most common type of TV service across the world.

In the UK it is known as Freeview and it replaced the old analogue TV service which consisted of five channels. With Freeview you can get up 70 free-to-air standard channels, 15 HD channels and around 30 radio services.

How does DTT work?

TV transmitters send digital TV signals through the air which are received by an aerial, often on a rooftop or in the loft of your home, which is connected to the TV.

Most cities and most towns across the UK are served by large 'main' transmitters. These are large structures which send TV signals to many millions of households. Areas that can’t be covered by a main transmitter (for example where a hill blocks the signal) are normally served by smaller ‘relay’ transmitters.

Main transmitters broadcast a larger number of channels compared to relay transmitters. All transmitters carry the most popular channels.

To find out where your nearest transmitter is and see what channels you should be getting, just put your postcode into our Freeview checker.

Was this article helpful?