Entertainment plays a huge role in all of our lives, but as time goes on, it is getting increasingly expensive. There are more subscription packs available than ever before. But what if you could get quality entertainment for free?
Thankfully, Freeview has been bringing entertainment to UK viewers for years without the need for super pricey subscriptions. But what’s the cheapest Freeview box worth buying right now? And what’s the best Freeview box to replace Sky Q with?
Keep reading, and I’ll give you the full lowdown.
What is Freeview?
As the name suggests, Freeview is a way of getting free TV. With Freeview, you can access more than 70 standard channels and up to 15 HD channels through a standard set-top box.
Unlike regular television, with Freeview, you do not have to pay any subscription fees. Once Freeview is set up in your home, it remains free to use for as long as you need it!
However, you need a working aerial, a compatible TV, and a Freeview box to access the service. Thankfully, there are multiple Freeview boxes on the market, with many different options, price points, and perks.
What’s the Best Freeview Box (To Replace Virgin or Sky)?
Good question – here are a couple that I’ve checked out for you that seem to do well with UK viewers in several categories.
Manhattan T3 Freeview Play 4K Smart Box
- The ultimate subscription-free TV experience: the T3 perfectly combines over 85 Freeview channels with on demand TV from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play and more.
- Catch up with the last 7 days straight from the TV guide (with supported channels & programmes).
Manhattan’s a brand I’ve come across a few times when shopping around for TV boxes, and thankfully, their T3 doesn’t disappoint on the Freeview front.
The Manhattan T3 arrives with a 7-day TV catch-up, thanks to the easy-to-use TV guide. You can also save the programmes you want to watch later and create your own watchlist to save yourself from tedious nights trying to find the right show to watch.
As the T3 readily supports WiFi, you can easily use apps such as YouTube straight from the box and catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, and more.
You also have access to over 85 Freeview channels for live entertainment, providing both Ultra-HD and HDR viewing (as long as you have a television that can support it).
Finally, this particular box is known for its lightning-fast speed and very low energy consumption. It’s one of the best on the market.
- 7-day TV guide
- Supports WiFi
- TV recording function
- No ability to pause live TV
- Record up to 500 hours of SD TV, Record, pause and rewind live TV. UPnP compatibility
- Over 100 TV and Radio channels 15 in HD. Frequency Range - 470MHz to 862MHz (UHF)
This impressive piece of kit lets you record up to 500 hours of programmes in SD, though it’s built to record HD, too.
What I like about this particular box is that it’s set up for unlimited plug and play – meaning it should connect to various TVs and other peripherals.
As you’d expect, you have access to a variety of different catchup services through this box, and you don’t need an extra dongle to connect to your home WiFi. All the technology is built right into the box – and setup honestly doesn’t take long at all.
What’s also really impressive about this box is that you can rewind and manage live TV recordings, and you can even stream Spotify if you want to listen to music while you’re working around the house.
Be warned, it’s a little pricier than most Freeview boxes, but it’s an absolute powerhouse (and great value with it).
- Records 500 hours of TV (in SD)
- Tons of streaming options
- Available as 1TB and 2TB if you prefer
- One of the most expensive options
HUMAX Aura Android TV 4K Freeview Play Recorder
- Ultra High Definition - up to 4x the picture quality with 4K UHD and HDR
- Android TV - easy setup with your Google Account, access your favourite apps and games
If there was any Freeview box that was to take the crown for the most feature-rich and most technically impressive, this little workhorse would be the candidate.
Not only can you record TV and enjoy shows through apps such as Prime Video and Disney+, but you even have access to Google Assistant for a hands-free browsing and viewing experience. Better yet, there’s even Chromecast built-in, so you can cast videos directly from your phone to the TV.
As an Android device, simply log in with a Google account and enjoy 4K definition streaming through a plug and play device that’s well worth the money.
I especially love the smart home compatibility here – yes, you can even control other devices through the voice function!
- Incredible sound and vision
- Up to 1 TB of storage. There’s also a 2TB version.
- Smart features and voice control
- Very expensive for many people
BT Youview Set Top Box
One of the cheapest Freeview boxes on the market today is undoubtedly the BT Youview. With this box, you can easily scroll back through up to seven days of television and watch whatever you want straight from your TV guide.
Unfortunately, this box does miss out on an important feature – the ability to record or pause and rewind live TV. But the price more than makes up for it.
The more feature loaded Youview+ box brings in the recording capacity, but at a higher price point of £100 to £130. That box brings in 300 hours of recording capacity with its hefty 500 GB storage drive. That’s great for those extra special episodes of your favourite series or movies you just can’t get enough of.
This box also has a great library of on-demand tv shows and films. Plus, just to ensure that nothing distracts you from your favourite shows and movies, this box runs extra quietly. So, no random fan noises going off in the corner to ruin the tense scenes!
Finlux T7655 500GB Freeview PVR HD Recorder Set Top Box
Note that this product tends to have trouble being in stock at Amazon. If you’re interested in a cheap option, this is definitely a good choice. However, you may have to rely on your luck to find it in stock while shopping! I’m simply mentioning it here for completeness.
So back to the Finlux T7655: While cheap (typically priced around £45-50), it is seriously impressive. It comes with up to 342 hours of HD recording capability thanks to its 500 GB hard drive.
As you might expect, you have access to all of the best Freeview channels in HD and the ability to record, pause, and even rewind live TV. But what if multiple shows are on that you want to watch at the same time? No problem. You can easily record up to two shows while watching another!
What’s more, for the live shows you missed, you can rest assured that you have up to a week to catch up! This Freeview box also supports WiFi and even comes with a one-year warranty. Just make sure you register to protect your product.
- Long recording history
- WiFi supported
- The warranty only lasts one year
Best Freeview TVs
If you’re looking to enable your TV to receive Freeview via a set top box, a better option might be to upgrade to a TV with a built-in Freeview receiver. This makes it easy to operate and you end up having only one remote control to fiddle with. This means it’s easy for seniors or the less technically savvy to operate. Interestingly enough, many of these TVs are not very expensive either.
If you’re interested in that option, here are some of the best sellers on Amazon for Freeview-equipped TVs. It’s worth checking out!
- The RCA 42 inch TV is a great choice for those who want a basic, nonsmart TV. This TV offers the same quality picture as a Smart TV, but without all the bells and whistles. It's also more affordable than a Smart TV, and you don't have to worry about being overwhelmed by complicated technology. Plus, it has enough ports and connectors to support your basic cable and streaming needs. So if you're looking for a reliable, affordable television for your British home, this TV is the perfect choice.
- The RB42FD1 nonsmart TV is the perfect choice for those who want to enjoy the best of British TV. With freeview, you can access over 70 digital channels and 25 radio stations, letting you stay up to date with the latest news, sports, and entertainment.
- Watch 4K HDR content in all its glory on the all-new Ultra HD with Fire TV built-in. Dolby Vision HDR transforms your TV experience with ultra vivid picture quality.
- Toshiba TRU picture technology provides smooth, upscaled and more detailed viewing whatever you’re watching.
- This Blaupunkt LED TV can be connected to an array of devices using the 3 x HDMI, USB, Component, Composite and Digital Optical Audio ports
- Freeview Play is live and on demand. You can watch catch up through your TV guide and stay on top of the last seven days’ viewing, so all your favourite shows are available when you want them
Before You Go…
Finally, if you’re set on getting a box, you may want to look at Freesat as well. If you’re interested in checking out some options, I have a dedicated article on the Cheapest Freesat Boxes that would be worth your time.
What is the cheapest Freeview box?
Currently, the cheapest Freeview box on the market is the Teknikal TV HD Scart Freeview Receiver and Recorder. However, if you’re looking for quality, investing a bit more money in extra features and a longer-lasting build is generally better.
Can I use a Freeview box for Netflix streaming?
You can indeed use a Freeview box for streaming Netflix. However, your Freeview box needs to support a network connection. That can either be through WiFi or via an ethernet connection cable (so it can connect directly to a router. Not all Freeview boxes have internet connectivity available!
You’ll also need a Netflix subscription if you want to stream via Freeview – so make sure you’re set up and ready to go beforehand!
Can I get a NOW TV box with Freeview?
You can get a NOW TV box with Freeview. However, you will need to connect your NOW TV box to your aerial – so you can access all your favourite Freeview channels alongside NOW’s extra features.
Is Freeview worth the money?
That really depends on what you’re looking for in regular TV entertainment! If you just want access to the best channels and aren’t too worried about streaming services, even basic Freeview boxes will be worth the money. If you really want to avoid getting tied into contracts, you’ll only need an aerial to get started.
Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links