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Freeview Set Top Box

Introduction

One way to get Freeview is using a set top box. There are so many of these available that it can be difficult to choose the one that is right for you. This page should help you come to some decision.

Main Features

There are some fairly large decisions you need to come to first. There are 3 main types of freeview box available:

  • Standard Set Top Box
    Your TV aerial is plugged into your set top box, which is connected to your TV (usually using a SCART socket). The set top box decodes the digital signal and outputs it in analogue format for your existing TV to display. This is the cheapest option for receiving Freeview.
  • PVR
    Similar to the standard set top box, but had a built in hard disk. This can be used to pause live TV and record programs for watching later. The cost of PVRs has fallen, making them an attactive option now.
  • DVD Recorder
    Similar to the standard set top box, but had a built in DVD recorder, which can be used for record programs. Make sure it's got a Freeview tuner in it though or you won't get Freeview.

Freeview TVs are also available - if your TV needs replacing you may want to consider replacing it with a TV capable of receiving Freeview.

Other Features

Some other features that you may want include:

EPG (Electronic Program Guide). Shows TV listings on your TV screen. Most EPGs show 7 days of programmes.

Interactive Services (Digital Text). Many channels have interactive services. These include information services, games, placeholders (displayed when a channel is not broadcasting) and true interative services allowing you to choose different video streams to watch during a program.

Dual SCART connections. Allows connection to your TV and your VCR so that you can watch or record Freeview (note you probably can't do both at the same time). Some receivers have "RGB Passthrough", allowing you to connect your DVD player through your set top box, saving a SCART connection on your TV.

RF Modulator. If your TV does not have any spare SCART sockets then you need a set top box with an RF modulator. This encodes the signal to radio frequencies. You can then tune a spare channel on your TV to this, just as if it was another channel being broadcast from the transmitter. If your TV has spare SCART sockets, use them instead - you'll get a better picture.

Common Interface. Allows connection of an external module that can be used to receive "Top Up TV" service. This service gives you extra channels for a monthly fee.

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Digital Video
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Video Editing
Intro

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Freeview
Introduction Aerial Channels Coverage PVR Recording STB Guides TV

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