Most of us now associate live TV broadcasts with Freeview, with HD signals reaching our TVs or set-top boxes via the good old-fashioned aerial. But what if you live in an area with a poor TV signal, where the entire channel lineup – including HD channels – is unavailable?
What if you already have a satellite dish but don’t want to pay the monthly fee for a Sky subscription? Here Freesat is the answer, giving you more than 200 TV channels through a satellite dish, along with a few exciting extras.
Below, we’ve created a succinct buying guide that explains both what Freesat is and how you might go about finding the best Freesat TV box for you. If you already know what’s what, you’ll find our pick of the best Freesat boxes further down the page.
Top 10 Best Freesat TV in the UK for 2022
You can receive many of the UK free-to-air TV channels by installing a small satellite dish and a digital freesat TV. To help you find the best Freesat TV we listed here.
1. Freesat Recordable 4K TV Box 500GB
Humax ruled the Freesat world until last year, when their boxes became slow and obsolete, and they ceased production.
Then, after months of anticipation, Freesat launched a new set of boxes from Commscope (formerly Arris) – so we’re finally getting a modern, fast box that also supports 4K.
This recording model has a wide range of smart recording features and can record up to four programs/channels at the same time (though a Wideband LNB dish is required). You can also set recordings from your phone by using the Freesat mobile app.
2. Manhattan T2-R 500GB Freeview HD Recorder
If being able to record TV shows is more important to you than having access to online catch-up services (or if you already have a streaming device), then this low-cost Freeview box may be the best option. It allows you to record two channels at the same time, and navigating the programme guide is simple and straightforward. You can record up to 300 hours of SD shows on its 500GB hard drive, and the box will notify you if a high definition version of the programme you’re trying to record is available.
3. Freesat 4K TV Box (Non Recordable)
Freesat’s new own-brand STB has it all, including a compact design, built-in Wi-Fi, and an optical out. It’s also more future-proof than previous Freesat receivers, with 4K output, Dolby Atmos audio, and support for future 4K Freesat broadcasts.
Right now, it’s a fantastic receiver, with excellent picture quality and a snappy, no-nonsense user interface focused on assisting you in finding and watching your favourite shows. It’s simple to use and intuitive, and even the remote control works well.
Our only complaint is that, while it supports most catch-up TV services and allows you to rewind to earlier episodes from the TV guide, it does not support All4 or Now. Still, if you already have a TV or streaming device to cover them, go ahead and purchase them.
4. The Exceptional Lite V3 Full HD Free To Air Satellite Receiver By TV Tech
The Lite V3 top quality HD satellite receiver by TV Tech is the best Freesat box in 2022. The device is pre-programmed to obtain approximately 6000 different radio and TV channels to satisfy all of the family’s needs. It is ideal for receiving free air channels in both standard and high picture quality. The receiver can pick up signals from the UK, Poland, Germany, Italy, or Spain, depending on what you tune the box to. Furthermore, by allowing users to pause and record live TV, as well as use the device as a personal media player for Xvids and Avis, this Freesat HD box emphasises flexibility and practicality in each feature it employs. Furthermore, the built-in WI-FI adapter allows you to browse the internet and look for alternative entertainment options, allowing you to get the most out of the small clever box.
5. Humax HDR-1100S 1TB Freesat with Freetime HD TV Recorder – Black
Because of its numerous functions and Freetime features, many users consider the Humax HDR-1100S ITB to be the best freesat box with recorder. Although it was outperformed by the other Humax model with more storage space, this one is still a good choice for those looking for a less expensive option. It has several features, including Free to Air Digital TV channels, 13 HD channels, simultaneous recording, and home networking functions. Users can catch up on missed shows and record over 600 hours of programming, including 250 HD episodes, thanks to its large storage capacity.
6. Edison Free TV (Lite v3) Full HD Free To Air Satellite Receiver, PVR Via USB
The Edition Proton Lite V3 Freesat is probably one of the cheapest options here. There are not many features that are present in the system. It is the most basic version of any Freesat version without even internet connectivity available. But if you are looking for a cheap option, then this is the one you go for.
Coupled with HDMI as well as SCART television connection, this is compatible with most TV sets, even old ones. If you wish to record any programme, then you will need a USB. You will be able to see free channels provided by Freesat.
7. Freesat Recordable 4K TV Box 1TB
This is the best set-top box to buy if you want subscription-free TV through a satellite dish. During testing, we discovered that it was quick to load programme guides, menus, and on-demand players. With the exception of Channel 4, the box also provides access to the majority of the UK’s major catch-up and streaming services. They’re also integrated into the programme guide, allowing you to scroll backwards and forwards and launch previously aired shows with just two clicks. Unfortunately, there is no search function for finding live broadcast and on-demand shows, but Freesat says this feature will be available soon via a software update.
8. Manhattan T3-R Freeview Play 4K Smart Recorder 1TB
Manhattan’s versatile T3-R Freeview box is one of the best PVRs on the market right now, as UK Amazon can attest. This TV recorder, which combines over 85 Freeview channels with on-demand TV from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, and others, allows you to pause and rewind live TV, record two programmes at once, and record entire series with a single click. The T3-R is packed with cutting-edge technology, including a built-in Wi-Fi and ethernet port, a quad-core CPU for lightning-fast performance, and additional support for Ultra HD and HDR picture quality. Furthermore, the 1TB hard drive allows you to record up to 600 hours of TV shows, movies, or programmes, which can then be organised into categories for easier access.
9. Humax HDR-1100S 2TB Freesat
The 2TB version of the HDR-1100S series has a larger storage capacity and is ideal for people who have a large family. This means that anyone can record their favourite shows without having to worry about the device taking up too much space. The Freesat box includes Freetime, smart TV features, and a recorder.
10. Humax HDR-1100S 500 GB Freesat with Freetime HD TV Recorder
The HDR-1100S is a Freesat recorder that includes Freetime, a smart TV service that lets you watch on-demand content from the previous seven days.
It’s the ideal alternative to expensive services like Sky and Virgin, with access to more than 200 subscription-free TV and radio channels and a built-in 500GB hard disc to record them on. You’re also not at the mercy of poor digital terrestrial reception because it’s delivered to your home via satellite.
Even better, unlike previous Humax Freetime recorders, the HDR-1100S has built-in Wi-Fi, making it even easier to watch catch-up TV. It’s already looking like a good deal at a one-time cost of £189.
How To Buy The Best Freesat Box: Things To Consider
While the number of Freesat boxes available is limited, there are significant differences between them in terms of features and price.
Also, keep in mind that Humax no longer manufactures Freesat boxes – they may still be available in some stores, but they will not be updated with some of Freesat’s new features.
PVR And Recording
Some Freesat boxes come with a built-in hard drive, allowing you to record TV programmes for later viewing (and you can record one programme while watching another one on a different channel). Conveniently, you can also use the EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) to choose future-programmes to record, so you’ll never miss your favourite shows.
If you mostly use the streaming TV apps (such as BBC iPlayer and the ITV Hub), you might not need a recording box – but keep in mind that some of the UK streaming apps are catch-up services, and the programmes expire after a set number of days.
If you intend to record live TV shows, you must also decide how much storage space you want for your Freesat box, as this will determine how many hours of TV you can record.
Freesat Freetime – 7 Day Rollback
Some boxes support Freesat’s “Freetime” catch-up service, which lets you use the EPG to watch programmes that aired during the last 7 days (but only on specific channels).
As mentioned, some Freesat boxes can also be used as internet streamers, in which case you’ll want them to have the relevant apps. The newer boxes also have a Netflix app and an Amazon Prime Video app built-in, which will prevent the need to get another streaming box just for those.
All Freesat boxes come with an HDMI connection, but if you have an older telly, you might need a SCART connection instead – so check if the box you’re looking to buy has one.
Freesat With Broadband Connection
If you want to use the streaming apps, you’ll also need to connect the Freesat box to the internet. Some boxes come with an Ethernet port, which you connect directly to your router, and some also come with a WiFi connection. Connecting via an Ethernet cable is usually more stable and provides better speeds – but if your telly is not next to your router, you might still want to consider WiFi.
So, which is the best Freesat TV box to buy? While there are many great options in the market, the Freesat Recordable 4K TV Box and Humax HDR-1100S 2TB Freesat HD TV Recorder Box tops the list. It gives users the best value for their money and provides essential features.
If you want a box with a recorder from Freesat, you should definitely try the Freesat Recordable 4K TV Box.