This is a FAQ about FreeSatfromSky, for the newly launched FreeSat from BBC and ITV see the articles on the main page

What is Freesat?
Freesat is a name for all the UK satellite TV and Radio channels which are availabe for free in the UK. No subscription is required and no monthly fees charged in order to access to the service.

What do I need for Freesat?
You need to have a satellite system installed. This includes a satellite dish with an LNB pointing at the Astra 2 satellite, the cabling, the satellite receiver such as a Sky Digibox, and – if you want to watch C4, Five, Five Live, Five US and Sky Three – an FTV card. The FTV card is available for a one-off payment of £20 and there are no further monthly or subscription charges.

Where do I get Freesat from?
One option is to get the satellite equipment and the installation from (or call 0870 240 5651). Alternatively you can get all the equipment yourself (e.g. second-hand off eBay) and do the installation yourself with the help of this site. Note that in order to watch C4, Five, Five Life, Five US and Sky Three you need an FTV card, also available from

How much does it cost?
£150 which includes the satellite dish, LNB, Digibox, FTV card and installation.

Can I not get it cheaper?
Yes, you could buy all items second hand (e.g. on eBay) for about £50 – £70 and install it all yourself. But if you wanted all new equipment, it would be only slightly cheaper and you’d still have to do the installation yourself.

I already have a dish and a Digibox, what can I do with them?
You can watch all the Free To Air (FTA) channels, including BBC and ITV. For C4, Five, Five Live, Five US and Sky Three, you need a Freesat FTV card which you can obtain from for £20.

How do I install the system?
For dish installation, see the installation guides on this site. Then just insert your card and wait up to 72 hrs for the card to be activated.

What is the difference between Freesat and Freeview?
Freesat is a satellite based service. Freeview is a terrestrial based service. That is, with Freesat, the TV signal comes from a satellite and you need a satellite dish and a satellite receiver to pick up this signal. With Freeview, the TV signal comes from a broadcasting antenna near you and you can pick up that signal with a rooftop aerial on your house and a terrestrial Freeview receiver.

For more information on the differences, see the article Freesat vs. Freeview – which one to get.

Do I need to connect the Digibox to the phone line?
No, this is not necessary (not even during installation/activation).

Can I delete the subscription channels from the EPG?
No, deleting and reordering the channel lineups on a Sky Digibox is not possible. But you can add the channels to your favourites list and surf through them with the blue button. You can also show the favourites in a custom EPG if you are on EPG Ver 3.4.4b or newer. Just press TV Guide and then blue. To check which EPG version you have, press Services and then system Details.

Can I later subscribe to Sky?
Yes, go to or ring them up and they will be more than glad to welcome you as a new customer.

Will I get a substandard or refurbised Digibox when I order Freesat?
No, the equipment will be all new and the same as you would get from a Sky subscription. It will come from the same stock the installer currently has.

Do I get warranty with my equipment?
If ordered through , all equipment come with standard warranty.

Can I get pay-per-view movies from Sky Box Office with Freesat?
No, this is not possible. You need at least a basic Sky subscription in order to be able to order PPV Movies.

Will the installer bring the Freesat FTV card?
No, the FTV card will come through the post.

Is a Freesat FTV card ‘married’ to a specific Digibox?
Matching up or ‘marrying’ a card to a Digibox happens only with the Sky premium subscriptions. FTV cards are never married to a box.

I came back from holiday and now I can’t get the encrypted channels?
If you had switched off your Digibox from the mains or removed the card for some time, it will automatically de-activate itself. All you need to do is power up your Digibox and insert the card. Then wait for up to 72 hrs for the card and channels to be re-activated. During this period, you should have the box at least on standby. Note that some channels might be activated earlier than others.

I have not inserted the card for a year, will it still work?
If it’s a blue yellow house card, it will still work even if you haven’t used it for over a year. All you need to do is power up your Digibox and insert the card. Then wait for up to 72 hrs for the card and channels to be re-activated. Have the box at least on standby during this period.

Do I have to use a Sky Digibox? Can I not use any other receiver?
For the FTV channels, you can use any other receiver. For C4, Five, Five Live and Five US, you need a Sky Digibox. Having said that, you can obtain a special NDS cam for non-Sky receivers to work with the FTV card.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a non-Sky receiver?

  • You can change, add, delete and reorder the channel line up.*
  • You can use it to receive non-Sky channels on other satellites such as European channels (Sky Digiboxes are severly limited for such use).
  • They are sometimes better for fringe reception.

  • You can get a PVR receiver and record programmes without paying Sky additional money for their Sky+ services.
  • You cannot get C4, Five, Five Live and Five US without a special NDS cam. Usually, you will still need a Sky Digibox to keep the card activated every now and then (exceptions exist on e.g. the Dreambox). But you can get these channels on terrestrial Freeview if this is an option.
  • EPG is limited to Now and Next on non-Sky receivers for UK channels. 7-day EPGs are only available on Sky Digiboxes.

Where can I get more information regarding satellite reception?
Read the installation and technical guides on this site.

44 Responses to “Freesat FAQ”

  1. David says:

    But coming shortly to a dish near you…

  2. Brian Jenkins says:

    It’s going to be very important to differentiate now between Freesatfromsky and the real Freesat from the Beeb and ITV. Our site will try to help enlighten and inform over the coming months – which should be a very interesting period for UK satellite viewing!

    Satellite no longer means Sky 🙂

  3. Douglas Phillips says:

    Thank you for a most informative and useful article. As a pensioner of advanced years some of the terminology bandied about has left me confused. I do not have a television so I am starting from scratch and my budget is somewhat limited. You have helped me to understand just what I need. Once I have bought a television I will go to the site you have recommended as I will be happier buying new equipment. I can probably install it myself – as long as someone holds the ladder ! I am most grateful for your advise. Thank you. Doug

  4. lynne smith says:

    We have poor signal and unable to get freeview via a digibox, so opted to have basic Sky for the past 2 years. We hardly watch TV and want to cancel the subscription. Will we still be able to get a signal freeSat without adding any extra cards or box? Thank you.

  5. Alan says:

    Once you cancel the subscription, the card becomes a freesatBySky card which you will need in order to see Channel 4 and Five channels. You can continue to use your box to watch BBC, ITV, Ch4, Five and many more channels.

  6. Gary from Derby says:

    I have a sky HD digiboxwhich allows you to record a programme simply by pressing a button once the programme is highlighted in the EPG. Its very simple to use. However I want to know if this box of tricks will still work if I cancel my sky subscription and will I need to do any reprogramming? Obviously I will be left with the dish and the digibox but will it all still work the same?

  7. Mike Tully says:

    I have sky sat system at present – if I use Freesat HD box can connect to same dish and will the direction of dish be the same

  8. Alan says:

    Yep, just take out the cable from the Sky receiver and plug it in your Freesat box. That’s all.

  9. David says:

    Hello I am looking around for a new free to view system and I am in an area that does not switch over until 2011 (Why is this so far out ?)
    Any how I had Sky digital about 3 years ago and cancelled this and have been using it ever sincefor BBC1,2,3 ITV1,2,3 C4 etc. But the digibox has given up the ghost. Can I replace it with a new FREESAT box and still use the SKY sat dish ???

  10. Alan says:

    Yes, get yourself a Freesat box (or an old sky digibox) and you’ll be fine again.

  11. viccos says:

    I’ve got 2 satellite dishes ( sky and hispasat 13E Portugal and spain tv) Can i plug the 2 dishes via a diseq switch to a Humax Foxsat HDR freesat and be able to record the available channels on the 2 satellites ?

  12. Alan says:

    Viccos: Theoretically yes but not sure if the software on the receiver will let you do that. It could be that the Humax Foxsat HDR only records Freesat EPG channels – and since I don’t have one I can’t tell. But maybe someone else here can confirm that.

  13. JB says:

    I live in spain and would like to get free USA sat TV how do I go about doing it?

  14. Alan says:

    JB: Don’t think you’ll get any US tv over here (except bloomberg etc..)

  15. Chris says:

    I use a Freesky box, but would like HD without subscription and with recording ability. If I replace the Freesky box with the new £300 Humax recorder, should work without moving the satellite dish? Can I add the Humax Freesat box and keep the Freesky box operational by splitting the satellite feed in the living room – presumably with some splitter box and amplifier? Current signal strength and quality are middle-of-meter



  16. Jacqui Roberts says:

    I have two receivers and one satellite dish. I thought I would be able to use a splitter to use both receivers. One works and one doesn’t. On the splitter there is one input and two outputs. One is black and one is red, the red works but not the black. I have two freesat cards, both activated. One televisions receives the satellite signal on the red output, but the other receiver is stating “No satellite signal being received.
    What am I doing wrong please?



  17. Dick says:

    Do you know of a list of channels against multiplex for FreeSAT?

  18. suleman says:

    hello ive had sky for afew years only for the free channels as my standard aeirel intvery good ,what i want to know is that can i change the lnb to say a quad one and have four individual (freesat hd) recivers in my home…….could it be this simple?

  19. charlie says:

    hi just put up a dish but dont on which sat to point at for english channels the one ive picked up is astra2 ? lot of german ch can you help

  20. Alan says:

    charlie: you need 28.2 East

  21. Neil says:

    I have Freesat & cannot get Fiver or Five US are they available on Freesat? I do not have Freesat from Sky just the normal Freesat with a Freesat+ box.

  22. Alan says:

    No, they are not on Freesat.

  23. Brian says:

    I’m considering buying a Humax PVR. Whether it’s freeview or freesat depends: I have a no longer used non-digital twin LNB satellite system. Can this be used for Freesat digital reception? If not, what is the minimum I need?

  24. Alan says:

    If the LNB says UNIVERSAL on it, you’re good to go.

  25. Sunit says:

    I have a sat dish (installed by Sky but I am no longer with them). 2 sky digi boxes and a normal aerial on the roof. I am now with BT Vision but want to give up subscriptions. What is best for me? Is Freesat better than Freeview in terms of quality and number of channels? Do I need an installer or can just buy the box and connect it myself? ( I am no expert). Which is the best box to buy either in Freesat or Freeview I can now record programmes ( I have a HD Ready Samsung TV ) but once I give up the BT Vision Box will I be able to record. If I cannot then do I have to buy Freesat Recorder or Freeview Recorder ( more expensive). As a pensioner of advanced years I feel confused. Can someone please give me some advice? Many thanks


  26. satandpcguy says:

    Both Freesat and Freeview have the advantages and disadvantages.
    Some channels on Freeview are part of the SKy pay subscription.
    Freesat / free to air has a lot more channels available than Freeview – due tot he amount of frequencies available via satellite vs those on Freeview terrestrial tranmitters.
    You can get all the channels on Freesat using your Sky box – as a Sky box with no sky card receives the same free to air channels as a Freesat box.
    Both Freesta and Freeview fdo recorders, and HD.
    check out for freeview channels.
    check out for freeview channels.

  27. Tiddler says:

    I have a Technomate TM-5000 DATCI Digital / Analogue satelite reciever, with a motorized 1 Mtr dish. Can I pick up Freesat on it? Or what can I now receive? Please help.

  28. satandpcguy says:

    Only a Freesat branded receiver can pick up Freesat!
    Freesat is simply a programme guide and software!

    In the same way that only Sky boxes can pick up the Sky channels using the Sky EPG.

    Freesat receivers allow access to the free to air channels.
    A Sky box with no skyc ard also has access to the same free to air channels.
    Any digital satellitre receiver will be able to pick up the free to air tv channels.

    Its difficult to say what channels you will get on your dish – where are you – as UK satellite signals vary across europe. If in the UK no porblems, mid to southern europe then you may find you will not getthe main BBC ITV C4 Five channels as your dish is too small.

  29. Tiddler says:

    Hi satandpcguy:
    I thought as much. My dish can pickup quite a few satellites from 40 deg East to 32 deg West. I am in London. I used to get German, Italian, and lots of European channels free to air. Have found that now most of them have gone. 1 deg west all channels seem to have gone. There used to be a magazine called What Satellite, nows thats gone there no one to my knowledge that has any up to date channel information for a satellite receiver shuch as mine. Thank you for your help.

  30. steve says:

    we live in a block ov flats, we all share the satalite dish .i have a h.d. built in tv and freeview but cannot get any programmes only 1,2,3,and 4 .would it be best to get a new arieal or join sky or freesat,we have a box but signal is no good .what would you suggest .

  31. satandpcguy says:

    steve: a bit more informaiton is required – are you saying you are only getting BBC1,2,3,4, or ITV1,2,3,4 or BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, C4?
    Are you sure you are using the Freeview on your TV and that you are not looking at analogue signals?
    What box are you getting no signal on? A satellite box? If you are getting no signal, check to see if your appartment is actually connected to the community dish, as if you are getting no signal at all using a satellite box then there is a disruption between receiver and dish.

  32. Orpheus2000 says:

    I moved house recently. There is a satellite dish installed for the prevoius owner’s Sky box. I wanted to get a Freesat twin-tuner recorder. The retailer said I would need to have an installer fit a second co-ax cable to the dish, and that a cable splitter would not do, as it would with a terrestrial aerial. Does that mean I cannot connect the statellite dish to several TVs, again as I would with a terrestrial aerial (and a booster)?

  33. satandpcguy says:

    Freesat PVRs require two cables from the dish, as this will allow you to watch one channel and reocrd another at the same time, especially when those channels are on different frequencies and polarizations.
    Signals are sent on 4 polarizations – Vertical Lows (eg BBC1), Vertical Highs (Sky News), Horizontal lows (eg BBC2), Horizontal Highs (BBC News).
    So ideally splitters two split one cable to a PVR is not idea.

    You can connect the outputs of one (or more) satellite receivers to many TVs (via coax or transmitters), but if you want to connect watch satellite on several TVs, with different channels, then each of those TVs would require is own receiver and its own dedicated cable from the LNB.

    It is different to how terrestrial aerial work, where you can boost and split th lines to different TVs, the frequency ranges are all the same, so there is no issue when watching different channels.

  34. Orpheus2000 says:

    Thank you, satandpcguy, for your explanation.

    The satellite dish I inherited is, I must assume, a single LNB type. There is only one co-ax from it into the house which the previous owner had installed with a Sky box. I’m guessing that I would have to replace the dish with a dual LNB model in order to receive two channels at the same time.

    I also guess that if I wanted to set up, say, six independent TVs (I don’t really need that many, it’s just to help my understanding) I would need to install more dishes – one dual type for every two tvs/receivers?

    Incidentally, why do the satellite and cable installers always seem simply to poke the co-ax through the wall and not use a connection socket inside? Very sloppy.

  35. satandpcguy says:

    You will not need another dish for each TV / receiver, you just need to replace / upgrade the LNB.
    LNBs come with one, two, four or eight outputs, and are designed for the multiple frequencies on each output.

    Because sometimes there is a loss in signal when connected to a wallplate, just like the small loss when joining two cables together, especially in weak signal areas like where I am!

  36. Orpheus2000 says:

    Thank you. As you can see, I’m quite the novice with regard to statellite TV.

  37. Gerald Wright says:

    My Soney Bravia TV will not recieve Freesat reception on BBC 1 and BBC3

    channels. This problem has onlly recently occurred.

  38. satandpcguy says:

    The BBC changed some of its frequencies for some of its regions and other channels on Monday 18th.
    BBC3 and about 6 BBC1 rgions were affected.
    Do a rescan for the channels and they should appear.

  39. MarkP3532 says:

    Have just installed a freesat dish and used a sat meter to set up. I can recieve loads of german and french channels, but no BBC / ITV or any other English channels for that matter – what have i done wrong.
    Help !!

  40. satandpcguy says:

    MarkP3532- You are on the wrong satellite, probably Astra 1 at 19 east. Thats the problems with simple satellite meters, they say when you are pointing at a satellites, but dont identify which one. From behind the dish, move the dish left and down a bit and try again.

  41. Jacki Boyes says:

    I want to cancel my Sky subcription as it has now become to expensive. I have talk talk, HD and broadband with them. I would like to go Freestat how does talk talk, hd, and broadband affect me cancelling with sky.

  42. satandpcguy says:

    If you have Sky TV, phone, Sky broadband all in the same contract, then cancelling Sky TV may change the terms for the Sky contract as a whole, and you may have to move to a phone and broadband only contract.
    Best speak to Sky and see what they can offer…

  43. bob says:

    i have a freeview humax hd box and do not get bbc hd channel or bbci hd channel but do get itv i hd can anyone help please

  44. william sherwood says:

    I have a humax box, but want to record on thursday night a programme on yesterday in the freeview guide but cannot get the number to tap in . it says 12 in the book but i am not getting it