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Thursday 1 January 2004 9.30pm
In response to Hilary's question in this thread:

Freeview is the marketing name for digital terrestrial television (ie digital TV received through a normal TV aerial).

You pay a one-off fee for a set-top box (these start from as little as 40 these days, but 60-100 is more normal) and get about 30 TV channels plus various radio stations - you can find the whole lineup at

The channels include the BBC digital services (BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News 24, CBBC, CBeebies, BBC Parliament) as well as various commercial channels including ITV2, the ITV News Channel, Sky News and Sky Travel, as well as an assortment of shopping channels.

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Thursday 1 January 2004 9.55pm
But don't you still have to buy a TV licence?

Thursday 1 January 2004 9.58pm
Yes, of course.
Thursday 1 January 2004 10.57pm
James - thanks. Yes, of course I know I'll have to get a licence as well as a TV - my point was that I wasn't prepared to spend money on a licence just to watch East Enders & Big Brother.

It's all still quite a bit of extra money, but certainly worth thinking about - I didn't know you could get satellite this way. The wonders of modern science....
Thursday 1 January 2004 11.04pm
Just to be pedantic, this isn't "satellite".

Analogue terrestrial television is what most people use to get the five basic channels through an aerial.

Digital television comes in three flavours these days:

Digital satellite - this is most commonly in the form of a Sky Digital subscription, though many people are unaware that you do not need a subscription to watch many non-premium channels via satellite

Digital terrestrial (aka Freeview) - this is digital TV through a traditional aerial. No recurring payments, no contract - you just buy the set-top box and plug it in. Smaller selection of channels than satellite, but ideal for those who can't or won't have a satellite dish installed, and want access to the BBC digital channels they are already paying for via the licence fee.

Digital cable - this of course is dependent on your street being cabled, and needs a subscription to a cable company.

There is also analogue cable (much of SE1 has this) and analogue satellite, but I won't go into those.
Friday 2 January 2004 2.09pm
You can now buy televisions which have integrated digital as well, so you get all the freeview channels without the need for an extra bit of kit.
Friday 2 January 2004 7.12pm
James - OK, thanks, whatever. As I said, I know nothing about it, and the more I find out, the more confusing it seems to be. However, if I can get a telly with the thing already in it, like computers with modems, then that would seem the ideal answer.

TLMJJ - are they much more expensive? - thanks

I have a horrid feeling, though, that this might all be no good to me anyway, I'm not attached to the aerial in my block - yet more expense. Oh well, back to the drawing board. I'm sure that this info will be useful to other people in any case.
Friday 2 January 2004 7.20pm
Yes, integrated digital televisions (IDTVs) do tend to be more expensive.

In most cases it's definitely cheaper to buy the TV and a box separately.

I don't think you can get a basic 14" portable TV with a built-in digital tuner, for instance. The cheapest IDTV on the Argos website is 369.99!
Saturday 3 January 2004 8.08pm
I had a look down the Walworth Rd today & the cheapest box (Woolies at the Elephant) seems to be 60. Most are about 100. Any advice from anyone about whether cheapest is just as good, or if it's worth spending more? Many thanks for help
Sunday 4 January 2004 9.48am
I think they were cheaper in Makro. I have a card and happy to take you along, if and when you have figured out your ariel problem.

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