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Digital TV - Options
There are three ways of receiving digital television: terrestrial, satellite and cable

Terrestrial TV (DDTV)
Terrestrial TV simply uses your existing aerial to receive digital signals, which are turned into TV by your set top box (or your TV's internal receiver if you have an integrated television). It's often the cheapest way of watching digital TV. The digital terrestrial TV network in the UK is called [Freeview] and comes with over 40 free digital TV channels and over 20 digital radio stations as well as on demand content. Other channels and HD content are also available this way for additional subscription charges, which may require you to buy more hardware, such as a BT Vision Recorder or iDTV with a card slot or separate card adaptor. You may also need to upgrade your aerial and you will definitely need SCART leads to connect everything up. The big drawback with freeview is it's currently not available everywhere and you will need to check your postcode to see if you can get it. Availability will improve after the digital switchover in 2012.
Equipment Required
  • Digital Box (or integrated TV or PDR)
  • SCART cables
  • A modern aerial
  • Freeview
  • Extra channels without subscription
  • Low one-off costs
  • Top Up TV
  • Not always available
  • New aerial may be required
  • Limited channels compared to subscription service

Satellite TV (DSat, D-SAT)
There are two major satellite services: BSkyB (commonly known as just Sky) and a no-subscription service run by BBC and ITV called Freesat. Sky offer a variety of packages and have hundreds of channels available, including their own movie, entertainment and sports channels and pay-per-view programming. Like the BBC and ITV, Sky also offer a set of channels that are free to anyone with a satellite connection, called Freesat From Sky. Both Freesat and Freesat From Sky will only cost you a one-off payment for a satellite dish, digital box and installation fee and will currently give you access to hundreds of channels.
Equipment required:
  • Satellite dish
  • Digital box (or integrated TV or PDR)
  • SCART cables
  • Freesat iDTV, HD set top box or Sky HD box (To receive HD channels)
  • BBC & ITV (Freesat)
  • BSkyB (Sky and Freesat from Sky)
  • It's available everywhere
  • Requires a satellite dish to be installed, and you may need permission to do this.

Cable TV
Cable TV is usually provided as part of a package of communications including web and phone lines. You will be charged a monthly subscription for the whole package, and the costs will depend on which channels are included in the package. The Freeview channels will be included in the basic package. The cable connection and set top box are installed for you, usually included in the subscription price.
Equipment required:
  • A digital box (supplied by your provider)
  • A fibre-optic cable (installed by your provider)
  • BT, Virgin etc
  • Hundreds of channels
  • Installation is included
  • TV, phone line and internet connection all rolled into one package.
  • Limited availability
  • 12-month subscription contract is usually required.
  • Find out about the different types of TVs available on Asda direct
  • Find out about High-Definition (HD) TV
  • Find out what you'll need for the digital switchover
  • Get impartial advice about the various digital TV options
  • Confused about a specific aspect of digital TV or HD viewing? Try our comprehensive Jargon Buster