Owners of digital video recorders (DVRs) may not be aware of the Freeview promotional campaign, as they’ve probably skipped through the ads while watching their recorded shows. These campaigns offer little in the way of information but promise a new digital world that Freeview can deliver for free, which sounds a lot like the current roll out of digital TV.
Do you get any more stations with Freeview?
Many people have been asking exactly what channels a Freeview box will be able to receive. Freeview boxes will give you the same digital channels you will get from a non-Freeview High Definition (HD) digital box. Every FTA channel will be available to both types of equipment. Boxes that only receive a Standard Definition (SD) digital TV signal can’t get a Freeview sticker. However if you make a clear enquiry before you buy your digital TV product that you want a HD product, whether it be a set top box, TV or DVR, there should be no issue getting all the available HD channels.
Freeview has said that up to 15 new channels will be introduced. However most of the new channels are already here (if you have a HD digital box). Until recently most TV networks had 1 SD channel (a simulcast of the analogue version) and 1 HD channel (sometimes offering unique content, but usually just a HD version of the SD channel).
Networks are currently providing 2 SD channels and 1 HD channel. New channels such as One HD (24 hour sports) and GO (an entertainment channel for 20-30 year olds) deliver some added content and you also get new TV content on ABC2 and SBS2.
Testing on a selection of older digital TV products from past CHOICE tests has found no problem at all capturing the latest ‘Freeview’ channels.
There is no doubt that you will have more new content to watch when you switch from analog TV to HD Digital TV. However you don’t necessarily need a Freeview sticker on the product to enjoy everything HD Digital TV has to offer.
Please note: this information was current as of October 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market.