The main mast, Winter Hill
Photo: Francis Franklin

Freeview and YouView – aerials

In the UK an aerial is the default choice for most customers, since TV has traditionally been delivered by terrestrial transmitters. But it isn't the only choice. Freesat can be cheaper in some circumstances and offers even more channels.

Freeview and YouView offer the same over-the-air channels and a similar (though slightly different) choice of free Internet channels, for which you need broadband. With YouView you can also subscribe to channels and access pay-per-view (PPV) channels through BT, TalkTalk and PlusNet. You will get a free box as part of the subscription. Alternatively, you can just buy a box outright. Unlike for Freeview, YouView works best with an Internet connection. If you are going to use it for catch-up and on-demand, we suggest that you make sure you have an unlimited package or a deal where the TV doesn't count towards your allowance, or you could quickly use it all up.

The latest Freeview Play set-top boxes rival YouView for choice and have the same concept of the ‘backward EPG’ that lets you use catch-up from the programme guide, but without the commercial side of YouView.

Click here to see the channels on offer on Freeview/YouView.

Whether you need a new installation, just a replacement aerial or to add sockets, GoggleboxTech offers a competitive service. All our aerials are high quality and will give problem-free reception for years to come. Aerials and cable are CAI benchmarked (when available).

Prices depend on the nature of the work and the size of the property, so the typical prices given here are for guidance only and subject to survey.

JobDetailsPrice
Single room, wall mountedAerial, mast, bracket, up to 10m cable£130.00
Great value!
Single room, chimney mountedAerial, mast, bracket and chimney lashing, up to 15m cable£170.00
Two roomsAs above, plus splitter and second cable run up to 15mAdd £60.00
Three roomsAs above, with 4-way amplifier, three cable runs up to 15m Add £150.00
Four roomsAs above (4-way amplifier), four cable runs up to 15m eachAdd £210.00
Remove aerialWall mounted ¹£25.00
Remove aerialChimney mounted ¹£40.00
¹ No charge if part of replacement or new installation where I would be accessing the wall or roof anyway.

Our area is served by Winter Hill, the highest TV transmitter in the UK, and as most of our area is fairly flat, reception is usually not a problem unless you are in a dip or there are trees (or in towns, tall buildings) blocking your line of sight to the transmitter north of Manchester, near Bolton. If something is in the way, you should certainly consider a satellite dish instead. The problem is not just that trees block the signal to some extent, which could be countered by a larger aerial, but that they diffract the waveform and break it into little wavelets that interact with each other. Instead of a smooth wave, you get a jumble of radio waves like the water in a stream going over pebbles, and it may cause your picture and sound to break up. It is worse when trees are in leaf and worse still when they are wet.

The exception are areas of Congleton and Macclesfield where the topography blocks Winter Hill, and there are two fill-in transmitters. However, they do not carry the full FreeView service, just three of the ten frequencies Winter Hill has. While they do carry most of the main channels, satellite will give a better choice.

But for most of us, terrestrial is a good choice, can give a high quality, HD signal to multiple rooms, and many of us like to have the aerial as backup even if we have Sky or Freesat as our main platform.