Is it possible to get Freeview without an aerial? Can You Watch Smart TV Without an Aerial? In this non-techy guide, you will find everything you need to know about aerial and we will also share the best solution to watch your favorite content on TV without aerial.
Smart TVs are now available at entry-level prices thanks to the rapid development of digital streaming platforms and accessible internet plans. Provided that you have clicked on this article – chances are you recently invested in the smart TV ecosystem.
However, many of you are probably wondering whether you should continue your aerial package or switch to other options to watch your favorite TV shows. Since it’s a difficult decision to take, we have prepared this article to help you out. Make sure to read until the end.
Can You Watch Smart TV Without an Aerial?
Is watching smart TV without an aerial viable? Yes, that’s the point of using a smart TV. It’s designed to free you from an external solution, such as a cable or aerial set-top box. While a few smart TV models come with Freeview, most don’t include it due to licensing expenses.
However, you can purchase an external Freeview-capable digital tuner and connect it to your smart TV to gain access to Freeview channel broadcasts.
What can you watch on a Smart TV Without an Aerial?
Even if your smart TV doesn’t offer Freeview, you can access an ocean of on-demand content as long as you have an internet connection in your house. There’s plenty of video streaming services to choose from in the United Kingdom, offering both live and on-demand content.
Streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and BritBox offer endless catalogs of premium content. While the following services require users to pay for a monthly or annual subscription, ad-supported platforms like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, My5, and UKTV Play are entirely free to use.
You can watch the latest shows, documentaries, boxsets, and films from the following apps for free. Unlike the Freeview Play service, none of the ad-supported platforms above need you to have an aerial connection. The only things you need are an adequate internet connection (w/ at least 10 Mb/s bandwidth) and a TV license.
In case you didn’t know, watching television broadcasts without a TV license is a criminal offense in the United Kingdom, no matter if it’s over cable, aerial, or internet.
Can you watch Live Channels on a Smart TV Without an Aerial?
Many people have the misconception that online video streaming platforms only offer on-demand content. Although that’s mostly true, services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, My5, and All4 offer access to live channel streams as well.
Even if you decide not to pay for an aerial connection anymore, it won’t hamper your daily watching activities by any means. You can still watch the latest episodes of your favorite TV shows on the schedule instead of waiting for them to go on-demand at a later time.
However, your smart TV needs to be connected to a strong Wi-Fi network or directly to your network router over a wired Ethernet connection. A 720p live channel stream requires a minimum of 5 Mb/s bandwidth for smooth and buffer-free playback, so make sure to buy an unlimited data plan accordingly.
If your internet connection is unstable or your smart TV has trouble connecting to your home Wi-Fi network, you will experience frequent buffering and a noticeable drop in video/audio quality when watching a live channel broadcast. In that case, you have no option but to invest in an indoor Freeview tuner or set-top box to watch Freeview channels.
Can you Access Catch-ups on TV without Aerial?
It doesn’t matter if your smart TV has Freeview or not; you will less likely miss out on catch-ups of your favorite shows or special events. Popular streaming services in the UK, such as the BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub, offer up to 30 days of catch-ups for almost all the broadcasted content.
As long as you have the following streaming apps loaded on your smart TV, you can access the catch-up library and replay the most recent broadcast that you have missed out on. You will need neither a cable nor an aerial connection.
On supported smart TVs, you can also plug in external storage drives and download the catch-up content to watch later offline. However, it depends on whether the video streaming app allows users to download DRM-protected content or not.
Do you Require Aerial to watch Freeview?
Unfortunately, the Freeview Play service on compatible smart TVs and set-top boxes require viewers to pay for aerial on top of an internet connection.
If you are wondering, Freeview Play basically combines the existing live TV platform with catch-up services, similar to how YouView works.
The regular Freeview service doesn’t require the internet to function. Despite the fact that Freeview Play provides more features, its requirement for both an aerial and an internet connection makes it irrelevant to smart TV users.
It’s worth noting that Freeview-compatible TVs rely on aerial to receive Freeview channel broadcasts, even if it isn’t necessary for free video streaming apps like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, My5, or UKTV Play.
Upon further evaluation, it’s quite clear that you don’t need an aerial to watch content on a smart TV. To watch smart tv without aerial, You can simply connect it to the internet and start streaming the latest films and shows from your preferred streaming apps.
Furthermore, the UI layouts of popular streaming apps are as user-friendly as traditional aerial set-top boxes, making them accessible to everyone in your house. Just in case you still wish to have access to terrestrial television broadcasts, consider paying for an entry-level aerial package instead.
As mentioned previously, you can also get an indoor satellite TV tuner and configure it with your smart TV to watch over-the-air channels for free.