Freeview: Free to Air Digital TV in Australia

TV in Australia and the UK compared.

Not so long ago here in Australia the very last analogue TV signal was switched off. Australia’s analogue shutdown actually began on 30 June 2010 in Mildura and was complete on 10 December last year when remote Central and Eastern Australia were finally switched off.

Goodbye analogue…


Hello digital!

Old analogue TV sets didn’t exactly die though, their lives could be extended by the purchase of a digital set-top box, some of which can be bought for as little as $20 or so these days.

If you want more bells and whistles though, ability to record programmes, that sort of thing, then you could invest in a more expensive PVR, or Personal Video Recorder. Of course, most TVs have been ‘digitally ready’ for quite some time here in Australia, so for most people there wasn’t any need to invest in anything extra.

In the old days, we used to call free television terrestrial television, these days it’s called Digital Television or even Digital Terrestrial Television by some. The short name for it here though is…


People living in the UK though will think this is a very old story indeed. Back in Britain, the analogue TV turn off began 7 October 2007 and was completed on 24 October 2012. It too has been replaced with digital television and they have called theirs…


So, which country has the best Freeview?

Time for the big Freeview face-off, it’s…

Freeview (AUS) versus Freeview (UK)

First, let’s start with Oz; here is what we have on…

Australia Freeview:

Freeview AUS1Source: – You can visit their site for more information about these programs.

A quick add up…

Total = 23 channels

Now let’s take a look at…

UK Freeview:

First, the HD channels, some still being rolled out…

Freeview UK2Then they have…

Freeview UK3 Freeview UK4 Freeview UK5 Freeview UK6 Freeview UK7 Freeview UK8

Source: – You can visit their site for more information about these programs too.

And after a not so quick add up…

Total = 62 channels

63 if you live in Grimsby!

73 if you include all the HD channels!!

Admittedly at least 10 of those channels (from what I can see) are simply trying to sell you something, constantly, but the same can be said for a least four of our Aussie channels as well.

So there’s no denying it, in this particular Australia versus the UK comparison, the UK wins hands down.

From as far back as I can remember it has always been generally agreed that the UK has the best TV in the world and that probably still holds true today.

Luckily, I didn’t move to Australia to watch the telly.

For more articles on Australian TV, see…

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{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Ben October 22, 2016, 3:58 pm |

    Hi Bob. We are moving to Brisbane shortly and I’m wondering if my Samsung Smart Tv will work in Aus. It’s 2014 so fairly new.
    Hoping you or one if your readers can help please?
    Cheers Ben

    • Ben October 22, 2016, 3:59 pm |

      Sorry, from the UK! !

      • BobinOz October 24, 2016, 5:01 pm |

        It’s hard to say with these smart TVs with digital tuners, but it’s possible. It might be an idea if you have a look at the setup menu to see if you can change the location from the UK to Australia. If it’s possible to do that, it is reasonable to expect it to work when you get here.

        If it doesn’t work though, you can always attach a set top box, you can pick those up for $25 upwards, which will tune in to all the channels here. Or it would work with Foxtel or Fetch TV, either way it wouldn’t go to waste. Hope that helps, Bob

  • Valter Russo February 26, 2014, 10:54 am |

    hi Bob, whats up

    well, if you decide to visit Portugal (lol) you will see that we only have 4 chanels, the 4 we had when we had terrestrial, but now we have bad connection when it rains… and yes,it rains a lot here in Europe (though Portugal is a warm place to be fair)

    Valter Russo

    • BobinOz February 27, 2014, 6:58 pm |

      Ha ha, reminds me of the UK circa 1983. Look on the bright side, makes choosing what to watch a lot easier.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Michael James February 20, 2014, 9:10 pm |


    I think the population comparison is missing
    UK 63 Million OZ 23 Million so just over a third…
    or one channel per million.. approx in both countries!
    and add PAY TV to the mix?


    • BobinOz February 21, 2014, 1:33 pm |

      I think that’s a fair comment Mike, our audience is much smaller here which makes starting a niche TV channel less attractive than in other larger countries.

      I suppose we should be grateful for what we’ve got 🙂

      Cheers, Bob

  • Nick February 13, 2014, 8:24 pm |

    For sure, couldn’t agree more. Not only do I pay for Netflix I also pay for the proxy service. It’s a far better way to consume media. The quality of programming is also of a high standard.

    With NFL Now and WWE Network set to launch it will be interesting to see if the AFL and NRL follow suit over the years. Not sure if the Barcleys Premiership will ever escape Murdoch’s evil grip…

    • BobinOz February 15, 2014, 12:11 am |

      I actually surprised myself last month when, after having paid for Sky/Foxtel since who knows when, probably the late 90s, I actually cancelled their service.

      The reason?

      Just before Christmas they sent me a little letter saying that they were going to be raising the cost of my service by $2 per month, so I would have to pay $124 per month instead of $122.

      In a time when choices are much wider than ever, I wondered why they felt they could justify raising their prices, when they should be thinking about becoming more competitive and lowering them. So out of principle, I ditched them.

      When someone like me cancels Foxtel, they really are in trouble, I absolutely love watching the Premier league, but that’s about all I watched on their service. The rest of it is utter rubbish and I could no longer justify paying over $120 just watch for five live games a month.

      I’m a tech savvy guy, I’ve got Apple TV, streaming services, Wi-Fi, a PC and I know how to use it. $124 can buy an awful lot of entertainment, much more than a month’s worth if you don’t waste it on Foxtel.

  • Rupert February 13, 2014, 7:04 pm |

    I work in the media and the writing’s certainly well and truly on the wall for broadcast television as we know it. We will be watching everything online pretty soon. Even buying DVD box sets will seem quaint. It’ll all be in ‘The Cloud’ baby.

    The trouble with the internet is that there is no fair and workable revenue stream, not yet anyway, so in the meantime we have to put up with cheap ‘programmes’ made for idiots with umpteen commercials on Freeview, or pay Murdoch for more of the same crap – also with umpteen commercials. Thank goodness for the BBC and the ABC (and no Mr Abbott, the ABC is NOT unaustralian!)

    Believe me, employees at TV channels are soiling their trousers at the prospect of being unemployed in five years.

    We live in interesting times…

    • BobinOz February 15, 2014, 12:01 am |

      Yes, the writing is on the wall and TV, Foxtel, and even Hollywood are going to have to adapt or die. These are indeed very interesting times, it’s difficult to imagine how people are going to get paid for being creative with media when fewer and fewer people are prepared to pay to be entertained by it.

      Interesting indeed.

  • Nick February 13, 2014, 11:06 am |

    Wow there’s a lot more channels back in the UK. I find sport in Australia is a bit better, nice not to be have everything locked exclusively to Sky Sports

    • BobinOz February 14, 2014, 11:57 pm |

      Yes, SBS do a pretty good coverage of sports here, they even show a bit of Champions League football now and then.

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