Freeview? Better off with ExpensiveView

Ronnie’s asking about Freeview, and I’ve given him some expert advice: Freeview is teh sux0r!

If you’re not familiar with Freeview, the idea is that it gives you most of the benefits of satellite TV without the cost of Satellite TV. However, in reality what you get is a bunch of rubbish channels with no option to upgrade (unless you want the overpriced and unimpressive Top-Up TV, which requires a more expensive set-top box and a monthly subscription).

Here’s what you get:

BBC1, 2, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 – just like a normal TV!
BBC3 – occasional comedy goodness
BBC4 – worthy stuff you’ll never watch
ITV2 – the stuff that isn’t good enough for ITV1
ITV3 – the stuff that isn’t good enough for ITV2
Sky Travel – pffft
UKTV History – worthy stuff you’ll never watch
FTN – no idea, never seems to have anything but ads
ABC1 – doesn’t seem to broadcast in my area
Yooplay – search me!
Men & Motors – programming for pimply masturbators
E4 – big sodding brother
E4+1 – big sodding brother, an hour ago
CBBC – unless you have kids, it’s a dayglo horror show
Cbeebies – see above
The Hits – really lame music channel with nasty, compressed, mono music
TMF – as above, interspersed with the odd VH-1 documentary
A couple of news channels
Teletext – this is a selling point?
UKTV Bright Ideas – occasional programming from the other, better UKTV channels that only seems to broadcast when you’re not home.
Ideal world – shopping channel
QVC – shopping channel
Bid TV – shopping channel
Price-drop TV – shopping channel
Teachers’ TV – tv programming for teachers. Like a less interesting open university.

If you want access to digital radio stations, by all means get Freeview. But if you want decent telly programming, stick to cable or satellite.

Anyone want to buy a Freeview box? Philips dual-scart model, used twice…

16 thoughts on “Freeview? Better off with ExpensiveView

  1. David says:

    I think you’re being a bit unfair. Freeview isn’t a competitor to sky/cable, it’s an alternative to anaolgue TV. Reception and quality is really good compared to analogue (except the music compression!), there is no subscription and the kit is relatively inexpensive (unless you have a crap aerial).

    ITV2/3 – it’s getting better.
    FTN – It’s a bit like Bravo. Very, very occasionally they’ve got something worth watching.
    ABC1 – Mainly american sitcoms like scrubs and mad about you. I actually watch it quite a lot. Uses partly american ad breaks – one immediately after the titles and one immediately before the credits and none anywhere else (including inbetween)
    E4 – Actually E4 is OK when BB isn’t on. Tends to be american dramas like ER and the OC. Ruth watches it a lot. ;-)
    Men and Motors – acutally when it went to freeview they took all the semi-porn stuff off it. It’s all police chase and car programs now.

    The channel list does change though. When I originally had freeview you didn’t have ITV2/3, abc1, m&m or E4.

  2. Stephen says:

    Reception and quality is really good if you have a good aerial; if not the quality degrades in an ungraceful manner (ie blockiness, picture freezes, and sharp sounds that are incredibly irritating) whereas analogue degrades more gracefully.

    Also, can anyone explain why, if you have a dodgy aerial, some channels are perfect, some suffer intermittent signal degradation, and some simply have the red dot. If it’s digital doesn’t it all come down on the same frequency?

  3. David says:

    >>If it’s digital doesn’t it all come down on the same frequency?

    I don’t think so. I think the signals are all at different frequencies but the information contained within the signal is digitally encoded. I think the larger number of channels use more of the bandwidth too – the channels which are harder to get might be at the extreme edges.

    I might’ve made all that up but it sounds feasible. ;-)

  4. ms. mac says:

    I have to say that since E4 became available on freewiew I have been sorely tempted to get rid of our (naughty) Sky subscription. I find the channels you pay for are full of rubbish as well, not showing anything better than the freeview channels. And I got sucked into Film4 which I am too lazy to cancel and therefore am paying them money for nothing.

    E4 is going to start playing music videos all through the night once Big Sodding Brother has gone off the air which may be interesting if they take advantage of the late night slots to play some interesting videos.

    In defence of FTN, it was the first UK channel to show the comedy genius of Kath & Kim. ITVs 1 & 2 really aren’t worth the air space though, very disappointing.

    And just quickly, did you know that at any time of the day or night if you look hard enough you can find Jeremy Sodding Clarkson on your Sky TV? My husband has proved it. If that’s not enough to throw the telly out of the window, I don’t know what is!

  5. David says:

    >>the comedy genius of Kath & Kim

    I must’ve missed that one. I think the Blimmin Chuckle Brothers are funnier. ;-)

  6. Gary says:

    > E4 – Actually E4 is OK when BB isn’t on

    According to media guardian, C4’s moving the imports to yet another channel (which won’t be on freeview, apparently).

    > Reception and quality is really good compared to analogue (except the music compression!)

    The picture quality’s pretty poor, IMO. There’s really noticeable blockiness on most of the channels, and when you compare bbc1 on the aerial to bbc1 on freeview, the aerial has better sound and better picture quality.

    > there is no subscription

    Other than top-up TV.

    > and the kit is relatively inexpensive (unless you have a crap aerial).

    Or need a dual-scart box.

    > . I think the signals are all at different frequencies but the information contained within the signal is digitally encoded.

    Sounds about right to me.

    > find the channels you pay for are full of rubbish as well, not showing anything better than the freeview channels.

    We want the UKTV stuff. Property porn :)

  7. Stephen says:

    Well, at £8 a game I might be prepared to subject myself to Scottish football; how often do they pay you? (I need the money because my current contract ends soon.)

  8. Stephen says:

    I should like to make it clear that the Stephen who is the author of the post commented on by S2 in the previous post, is not me. (Another reason why I don’t like bloody Haloscan, mutter mutter grumble…)

  9. Duncan Hill says:

    “when you compare bbc1 on the aerial to bbc1 on freeview, the aerial has better sound and better picture quality.”

    That makes no sense, Freeview IS via an aerial!

  10. Gary says:

    Um, I think the context made it clear enough: plain old analogue broadcasting versus new-fangled freeview. And you’re correcting a blog comment that’s seven years old :)

  11. Hunnymonster says:

    The content on Channel 5 on analogue is much better than it used to be since they switched the signal off ;)

  12. mupwangle says:

    Moving Big Brother to Channel 5 is fanstastic as there is now almost no chance that I’ll accidentally see it.

  13. Squander Two says:

    I like Channel 5. They show “Person Of Interest” and “Peppa Pig”. What more could you possibly want from TV?

Comments are closed.