Many television sets now come with Freeview tuners pre-installed, and Freeview boxes are one of the hottest selling electronics in the country. Understandable, as the ability to watch television programmes with little to no charge is not something offered by many companies. Freeview offers the customer over 50 channels with enhanced sound and picture quality for no month-to-month fees; all that a customer needs is a television with a Freeview tuner or a Freeview box.. Freeview is a digital service, and therefore, can be accessed by anyone within a Freeview coverage area. Most of the UK is covered by the signal and the country plans on going all-digital by the end of 2012.
In many cases, Freeview cards are needed instead of a subscription. These viewing cards allow a buyer to watch free-to-view channels. Most Freeview cards can be purchased online at sites like eBay. For the best purchase results, the buyer should understand why the card is important, what Freeview is, how to get it, how to navigate the eBay site easily, and the options available to him or her.
Why Buy a Freeview Card?
Any television set or Freeview box with a card slot needs an activated viewing card to allow access to the free-to-view channels from the broadcaster. The card then allows the user to pause, rewind, and forward a running live programme under Freeview coverage. There are advantages and disadvantages to card-based services, of course.
Easy to use and activate
Inexpensive because most television sets on the market are Freeview-ready; need only the card for access to free channels
Cards from different countries, like Al Jazeera cards, can be used as long as they are in the coverage area
Cards wear down easier and need to be replaced more often
Most Freeview installations and activations need a one-time payment before unlimited access is allowed to the broadcasting companies’ Freeview channels. The buyer only needs to acquire a viewing card and activate it; there are no succeeding monthly subscription payments. Cards can be acquired through the manufacturer or at various tech websites, and also on eBay. Note that it is possible to buy used cards on eBay but there is a fee for activating such cards on a new television.
Free-to-View vs. Free-to-Air
Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they are different. Free-to-view channels are those that do not ask the viewer to pay month to month fees, in general, needing only the viewing card for access. Free-to-air channels can be received without a viewing card or a subscription fee. An example of a free-to-view service is Freesat from Sky (fSfS), offered by the Sky Broadcasting Group. This can also be confusing as the BBC backs a free-to-air service also called Freesat.
Note that Freeview channels can be accessed even without a subscription, so if a buyer cancels a regular television subscription contract, they can still access Freeview channels if they have a card. Since Freeview offers over 50 channels and 25 radio stations, paying the one-time fee to get a lifetime of free viewing is attractive to many, most electing not to pursue the regular subscription at all. Of course, if there are channels that the buyer wants that are not covered by Freeview, then a regular subscription is needed.
Options for Freeview
Buying a card does not mean that the viewer’s television is automatically ready for Freeview. The television has to have additional components for Freeview viewing, all components can be found on eBay. Mentioned earlier was the fact that many televisions come with Freeview tuners installed. However, if the television that a buyer is not using does not have a pre-installed card slot and is not Freeview ready, then it is possible to purchase a Freeview box. Freeview boxes only need to be plugged into a television and are ready to receive the card at any time. Satellite dishes are not needed, standard aerials are good enough to pick up the Freeview signal, so do not spend cash on expensive satellite dishes.
Types of Freeview
Set up boxes are more expensive than standard Freeview boxes
HD boxes are needed to access high-definition channels
Set up boxes can be used to pause and rewind live television
Can record programmes easily
HDTV attracts more and more converts every year, such as people wanting the superior picture and audio quality that these enhanced units offer. Freeview can also be accessed in HD in similar ways to regular Freeview. There is also Freeview+ in regular and HD formats; Freeview+ recorders allow the buyer to pause live television and schedule the recording of television programmes. Some Freeview+ devices can record two programmes at once. Cards for these different services can be purchased online or from the broadcasting company.
What to Consider When Buying Freeview Cards
There are several types of Freeview and several companies that offer Freeview cards to the public. Knowing and understanding these options help a buyer expedite a more satisfactory transaction on eBay.
There are several media businesses that offer Freeview cards, and they may or may not have the same channels, though they are pretty much the same. Sky is foremost in the card-based Freeview race. A TopUp TV card allows a buyer to add extra channels to a Freeview channel roster, in case the channels that a viewer can access are not enough for him or her. Quite a few customers elect to have Freeview services installed with free satellite television to get the full range of channels available from most broadcasting companies.
Channels on a Freeview roster can change occasionally, so it is a good idea to rescan or retune a box or TV so the new channels are added to the viewer’s list. There are Freeview boxes that rescan automatically, so check before doing it manually.
If a buyer wants a Freeview HD card, they have to make sure that their television can take that type of format. Most television sets that people buy are HD-capable, but it is always a good idea to make sure. For those who want Freeview+ services, there are a number of digital recorders that are compatible, although remember that the Freeview+ functions do not work without the card.
When looking for TV sets on eBay, be sure to check whether the set is Freeview ready and has a slot for a viewing card.
Satellite vs. Aerial
Satellite dishes are not needed for Freeview, although if a buyer is planning on satellite TV to get channels not offered by Freeview, then the dish may be needed. For Freeview access, all that a buyer needs is a terrestrial aerial antenna. As long as the area in which a buyer lives is under coverage, the aerial is all that is needed. For those who are at the fringes of the coverage area, a good quality aerial is recommended, and the viewer needs to find the ideal place to get a signal.
Freeview Set Up Box
These set up boxes are needed only if a television unit does not come with a Freeview tuner installed. They are fairly easy to set up, only needing to be plugged into the television set, much like other external components, like DVD players. Also, there are Freeview boxes that now connect using the television’s RF socket, so be sure to ask about these kinds of connections.
There is a wealth of choice on eBay when looking for digital boxes. Compare each item carefully if a box that would be compatible with a particular television is to be had, although most boxes are universal.
Buying Freeview Cards on eBay
There is a good selection of Freeview cards on eBay, one of the more popular online retailers. Navigating eBay is easy, all you need to do is access any page and type what you want into the site search bar. Keywords like "Freeview", "Freeview cards", or "viewing cards&" get you a decent results list that can be ordered or rearranged according to preference using the site tools provided by eBay. More specific keywords, like "Sky Freeview card&" or "TopUp TV Freeview cards" give you results that are more relevant to what you are looking for, but if you want to browse all of the options that you have, the more general keywords are better choices.
Remember to evaluate both seller and product thoroughly before committing to a purchase. Always check the seller feedback and the buyer comments on his or her profile. The product page of a reliable seller is professional and well done, lying out relevant information in an organised and concise manner. Check the reliability of the shipping company or courier as well. Small-sized purchases, like cards, are more liable to become lost among larger packages.
Nearly all television sets out on the UK market are Freeview-ready, and no wonder, as more and more people are subscribing to Freeview services. Note that not all services that offer free channels need a card, although many, like the broadcasting company Sky, do. Before buying a Freeview card on eBay, make sure that the television has Freeview capability. If not, it is always possible to purchase a set up box for Freeview from several companies that offer the service. To activate the card, the buyer only needs to insert it into the card slot and tune it to one of the Freeview channels.
There are over 50 channels and about half as many radio stations on Freeview; certainly enough to satisfy any viewing enthusiast. Freeview, Freeview HD, and Freeview+ can be accessed with cards. A buyer should know his or her options before purchasing a card; he or she should also know whether the hardware owned can run these options. Doing a little research on Freeview certainly helps the customer make a well thought out decision regarding what is needed or wanted before committing to a sale.