In common with a fair proportion of the UK population, I can’t receive digital terrestrial television (Freeview) without investing in an aerial upgrade (as well buying a set-top box) – or at least that’s the way it seemed until I found that there is another, less well known, method to get free digital TV in the UK.
Toffa told me about getting free-to-air digital TV from Sky, who offer a freesat viewing card, plus digibox and dish for Â£150 (or, from deep within their questions and answers page, it seems that if you already have digital satellite equipment, all that is needed to get access to the free channels available on the digital satellite platform is a freesat viewing card which costs just Â£20 – although though some dealers are sell these cards online for significantly more money). After a bit more research, I found that many of the free digital channels are available from Sky without any viewing card – all that is needed is a Sky digibox and a dish.
When we moved into our house, we inherited a Sky minidish which had been installed by the previous occupants. It’s been unused for the last 3-and-a-bit years but after spending a few quid on a nice slim digibox (I bought a second-hand Sony VTX-S760U and Sky remote control on eBay) I can now get 78 free to air TV channels (plus radio) for free and if I do buy a viewing card, then I can add Sky Three, Channel 4 and Five to this list.
So there you go, if you are one of the 27% of UK citizens who can’t receive Freeview, the chances are that you can still get free-to-air digital TV from Sky (who quote 98% coverage) without a monthly Sky subscription.