Do I still need an aerial to watch Freeview?

By Mike Atherton 22 Aug 2017
Do I still need an aerial to watch Freeview?

In the UK, Analogue TV was switched off in 2012, which means you'll need to be able to receive a digital signal to be able to watch TV. There are a few different options for watching digital TV, and we'll take you through them in this article.

If you subscribe to a cable TV or a satellite TV service, or have a dish for Freesat, you won't need an aerial. But to be able to watch Freeview, you'll need some kind of aerial, and the type you need depends on where you live and the signal strength in your area.

Signal strength can vary in different parts of the country, depending on where your nearest transmitter is, or what your physical surroundings are like - things like high rise buildings or mountains can obstruct the signal. If you're new to Freeview, it's worth checking the quality of the signal in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode at

Different ways of watching digital TV


There are a few different ways you can receive digital TV without having to subscrube to a satelite or cable service:

  • Freeview box - a separate box that plugs into your TV, then connects to your TV aerial.
  • Digital TV - all new TV's come with Freeview built in, you'll just need to connect it to your TV aerial.
  • Freesat box - similar to a Freeview box, but you'll need to connect it to a satelite dish, rather than an aerial.

If you've been watching analogue TV with an aerial that works well and gives a good picture, you should get a good digital signal from it when you connect it to your Freeview box, or digital TV. But if you live in an area that doesn't receive a strong signal, you might need to upgrade your aerial.

Different types of aerial


All new TV's come with Freeview built in, so you'll just need to connect it to your aerial, but the type of aerial you use can determine the quality of the picture you see. There are two main types of aerial:

Indoor aerials

These can be cheaper and more convenient than an outdoor aerial, but depnding on the signal strength in your area, they might not be the best option. Some indoor aerials come with 'amplifiers' to boost available signals, but they can also amplify interferance, so if you've put up with a snowy picture at times, you might want to consider a different type of aerial.

Outdoor aerials

These are usually installed on the outside of the building. The higher the aerial is, the better signal you'll get. The quality of the signal can sometimes be affected by high rise buildings, hills, trees, or poor weather conditions, but as long as the aerial is working correctly, you should receive a signal.

These types of aerial can sometimes be installed inside your home, usually in the loft space. But this can reduce the signal quality, so we only recommend it if you live in a strong signal area.

If your current aerial is working well, it's unlikely that you'll need a new one unless it's faulty or damaged. If you think it needs to be replaced, we always recommend that you find a Registered Digital Installer (RDI), rather than attempting install it yourself.

The latest from Team Knowhow

Not Available
Not Available Not Available