Free to air digital TV from Sky

This content is 18 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

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 £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 £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.

Some of the popular free-to-air digital TV channels

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.

7 thoughts on “Free to air digital TV from Sky

  1. Tony,
    I’m not familiar with the Maplin kits but yes, anything that can receive a Sky signal should allow you to view the unencrypted channels. Beware that the signal seems to have become more heaviliy compressed since I originally wrote this and in some cases the terrestrial analogue signal is actually better quality.


  2. This may be a silly question but is it possible to use a BT vision box with Sky tv, we do not get chanel 5,as we are in a rural area, so do not get freeview tv, we have sky, also Bt home hub and vision box, is it possible to use them together and not buy a sky plus box, thanks Bernie

  3. It’s kind of fun going back and reading these old posts. It shows you a lot. I found this one through a search engine but I’m going to try the 2004 archive next.

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