What is Freesat?
Created by the BBC and ITV, Freesat is a satellite television service providing access to subscription-free channels such as BBC One, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and UKTV’s portfolio of free to air channels, many of which are also available in High Definition.
I’m a former Sky customer, is Freesat for me?
The service is especially popular with former Sky subscribers looking to put their existing dish to good use.
While it’s possible to use an old Sky+ HD box to keep watching free channels once you’ve cancelled your subscription, newer Sky Q boxes must be returned once your subscription ends so a new box is essential if you want to keep watching.
Even if you have a Sky+ HD box handy, buying a new Freesat box has the advantage that you won’t need to keep scrolling past lots of unavailable pay channels when looking for your next show.
Which Freesat box is for me?
Popular auction and market sites are awash with set top boxes which can be used to watch free to air satellite channels, however there are only three boxes currently approved by Freesat:
Manhattan SX Freesat HD Set Top Box
The most wallet-friendly of the boxes on offer with an RRP of around £50, Manhattan’s SX Freesat HD Set Top Box is a compact, easy to use and unashamedly no-frills way to keep watching your favourite free channels.
The 8-day programme guide lets you set reminders for anything you might fancy watching and offers a mini-screen so you can carry on watching your current channel while seeing what else is on.
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Freesat 4K TV Box
Manufactured by Arris on behalf of Freesat, the 4K TV Box takes things up a notch by including catch-up players such as iPlayer, BBC Sounds and ITV Hub.
There are also premium apps including BritBox, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and, as the name suggests, the box is capable of supporting 4K films and programmes from the last two of these.
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Freesat Recordable 4K TV Box
Also made by Arris, this box carries over all the same features but adds the ability to record up to four shows at once. A small caveat here though – this number is dependent on the type of LNB (the ‘cone’ fitted to the end of the arm) fitted to your dish.
To achieve the maximum, you’ll need a wide-band LNB which is the same type supplied when Sky Q is installed. Former Sky+ HD users are likely to have an older standard LNB which will limit the number of simultaneous recordings to two.
Freesat offers a 500GB, 1TB and 2TB models, with the 2TB option offering space for up to 1,000hrs of Standard Definition recordings. High Definition recordings will take more space.