Freeview brings digital television to Aussies in an over-the-air format for free.
Freeview was first launched in 2009 with Network Ten’s One sports channel. Over the next few months they began distribution of their Freeview certified devices. These certified set-top boxes and integrated digital televisions contain the Freeview EPG device that allows for the free-to-air (FTA) broadcasters to have one consistent platform to air their programs.
As a part of their plan to bring free television choices to Australian homes, the set-top boxes must be certified to receive the service. The first devices are high definition, with advanced video encoding (MPEG-4) that does not allow for the recording device to skip over paid advertising. This also ensures that digital rights management is enforced. Any device certified for Freeview must be able to support HD format with at least one of its tuners.
The Sony Playstation 3 has added Freeview compatibility to their boxes produced in Australia, but has disabled ad skipping, and reduced the speed of the rewind and fast forward functions. The ability to copy recordings to other devices has also been removed, but all of these restrictions can be bypassed, not like with other set-top boxes that are Freeview enabled.
Having a Freeview compliant device means that the user will be able to access all digital channels that are being broadcast in their area. Your viewing selection will therefore be affected by what is shown where you live. The vast majority of free-to-air channels broadcast using the EPG for Freeview users to access them, with the notable exception of WIN Television.
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Freeview and Internet Television
While the devices used to access Freeview do not support video streaming at this time, there is plans amongst the free-to-air broadcasters to create an industry wide video hub. ABC’s iView is considered to be a frontrunner for delivering this service. This should allow for Australian’s to use the set-top box or other compatible device to carry their subscriptions for internet TV with companies like Netflix.
In the meantime, many of the broadcasters shown over Freeview offer catch up internet television services, which allow you to view local and foreign content after it has been aired on its respective channel.Back to top
Freeview Plus is an enhancement to Freeview that allows you access to premium features like an electronic program guide and easy access to catch up TV. This service is delivered over a broadband network, preferably an ADSL2 or faster connection. Viewers interested in this feature will need to buy the supporting hardware that bears the Freeview Plus logo.
While this is still a free service for Australians, the connection to broadband makes it a metered one. That means accessing and using the features will count towards your data limit. You should also note that even when using the basic Freeview, a small amount of usage is taken up in the start of the device. Freeview Plus is a streaming service only, so viewers are restricted from downloading any of the content viewed on Freeview Plus.Back to top
There are currently 29 channels being broadcast through Freeview, but where you live will make a difference in what you are able to see. Of those you will find a number that are offering programming in HD.
- ABC1, ABC2, ABC3, ABC News 2
- SBS ONE, SBS TWO, SBS HD
- Seven, 7TWO, 7mate
- Nine, GO!, GEM
- TEN, ONE and ELEVEN
Frequently asked questions
The following addresses any questions you may still have about Freeview, its services and features.
Why am I no longer able to get free broadcasting with analog?
Beginning in 2010, Australia made a nationwide switchover from analog to digital free-to-air television. This move has made analog television obsolete in Australia.
Is Freeview and Free TV the same thing?
No, while Freeview is a free service, Free TV refers to a sector of the industry that is commercial free-to-view television licensees.
Are community TV stations available on Freeview?
Yes, you can see TVS, C31, 31 Digital, 44 Adelaide, and WTV CH44 with Freeview.
How much does the Freeview set top box cost?
The prices vary depending on the features but start at around $50.
Where can I buy a Freeview set top box?
Major retail outlets, such as Dick Smith, sell the set top boxes.
Are Freeview channels on Pay TV?
That is dependent on the broadcaster, they can choose to broadcast to different cable TV and other providers.
Freeview is a service meant to assist Australians receive the free-to-view channels after analog was phased out of Australia. For the cost of the one-time purchase of a compatible device, most Australian households are able to enjoy the programming on these channels as well as catch up TV programming.