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Can I watch Freeview Play without an aerial? What TV equipment is needed?

Here’s a look at whether TV lovers can enjoy Freeview Play without an aerial connection.

Freeview launched in 2002. Over the last 18 years, the service has become one of the most-used TV platforms in the UK.

It’s on-demand service, Freeview Play, offers the addition of over 20,000 on-demand hours of telly. Freeview Play launched in 2015 and comes pre-installed on many TVs noways.

The TV service provides all the most popular TV channels and has great coverage across the UK.

Internet-based streaming sites are on the rise in the 21st century, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It seems that Freeview Play is Freeview’s attempt at keeping up with the competition.

So, can Freeview Play work without an aerial connection? Let’s take a look.

Freeview Play without aerial
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What is Freeview Play?

Freeview Play builds upon the regular Freeview TV service.

As well as live TV channels – received via aerial – Freeview Play adds to this with on-demand TV programmes.

With an internet connection, viewers can watch all their favourite content from the BBC iPlayer, All4, My5, the ITV Hub and more.

Scroll back on the TV guide to watch catch-up TV from the last seven days.

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Can I use Freeview Play without an aerial?

Although Freeview Play is partially an on-demand TV service reliant on the internet, it seems that an aerial connection is required to get the full package.

When setting up Freeview Play, Freeview advises connecting both an aerial and broadband.

Available on mobile, desktop and TV, Freeview Play combines live TV channels with catch-up TV. While it would seem possible to watch Freeview Play without an aerial for the on-demand programmes alone, it isn’t always the case.

Freeview writes that its on-demand content is optional: “If you only want to watch digital terrestrial Freeview TV channels then you won’t need an internet connection. But if you have a Freeview Play device and want to access catch-up and on-demand content, then you’ll need an internet connection of at least 2Mpbs.

It may be possible to watch on-demand shows on Freeview Play via an internet connection alone, however, this isn’t always guaranteed. Any Smart TV connected to the internet should provide internet access to apps such as YouTube,  but when it comes to the TV catch-up channels such as BBC iPlayer, it may not always work.

What TV channels can I get with Freeview?

It’s no wonder that Freeview is used in 18 million households across the UK as the service provides all the greatest TV for free.

Freeview offers 70 TV channels as well as 15 HD channels. Freeview Play adds the on-demand channels into the mix such as the ITV Hub. Channel availability on Freeview is subject to the area you live in. But you can check the coverage in your location by using Freeview’s Postcode Checker.

Viewers can top up their TV programmes even further by adding subscriptions such as Now TV and Netflix.

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