Cast 87 (May '13)
Getting Extra Channels on Freeview
Looking for information on how to get Top Up TV channels on your Freeview set-top box or TV?
Five extra Freeview channels
If you have a Freeview box or a TV set with Freeview built-in, when you do a channel search, you will find the following Top Up TV channels:
- Sky Sports 1
- Sky Sports 2
- ESPN (2pm to 4am weekdays, noon to 6am Saturday and noon-4am Sunday)
- G.O.L.D (6pm - 11:30pm)
- Home (formerly UKTV Style) (2pm to 4pm)
These channels are available via Top Up TV. Here, we explain how to get to these extra channels.
Top Up TV no longer recommended
The service no longer offers extra channels, and increased price mean it's no longer good value for money.
Instead, we recommend YouView, with extra content, movies, on demand and catch-up TV
Subscription Free YouView?
YouView boxes are available from Amazon
With BT Already?
Want Sky Sports?
So, what is Top Up TV?
Top Up TV launched in 2004 offering an extra 10 TV channels to the Freeview channel lineup. These channels included UK Gold, UK Style, UK Food, Discovery, Bloomberg, Boomerang, British Eurosport, Cartoon Network, E4 and Toonami.
Things have changes, and now Top Up TV offers the Freeview channels, Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, ESPN, and a few hours of GOLD. Using a special set-top box, you can also get extra TV shows and movies delivered over-the-air.
The Anytime service uses a special set-top box that has a built-in hard disc recorder. Rather than offering extra TV channels, Top Up TV sends extra TV shows overnight to the special box, and you can replay the downloaded shows over the next seven days.
More details can be found at www.topuptv.com.
How can I get these extra channels on my Freeview box or TV set?
If you have a TV set or a Freeview box with a subscription card slot, you can't use this to get Top Up TV - you need a Top Up TV Anytime box.
With the Anytime box, you can also view a very limited amount of live content from just two channels: G.O.L.D (less than 7 hours a day) and Home (3 hours a day), or for an additional subscription, get ESPN Sport.
A Top Up TV Anytime box will give you access to an extra 100 hours of TV content a week, downloaded via your TV aerial overnight, for you to watch in a seven day window. TV shows are provided by G.O.L.D, Comedy Central, BBC, SyFy (formerly Sci-Fi Channel), MTV, History Channel, National Geographic, British Eurosport, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Disney and Nickelodeon. Note that you'll get around 150 shows downloaded a month - these aren't available as channels.
As well as buying the box (from £40), you'll pay a £12.99 a month subscription.
What about ESPN?
Slightly different. You don't need a Top Up TV Anytime box to get the ESPN sport service - although if you have a Top Up box, you can get ESPN.
If your Freeview box or Freeview TV set has a suitable card slot, you may be able to get ESPN without buying a new box. For full details on how to do this, go to the Radio and Telly ESPN on Freeview section.
Our opinion of Top Up TV Anytime?
- Top Up TV Anytime is not especially good value for money. You don't get all of G.O.L.D, and you only get a small selection of TV shows, and not dedicated channels. It's fine if you're after a selection of extra TV shows that you can watch to during the week, but not if you're looking for lots of extra channels, or a wide selection of on demand content. See below for other options.
Get More Freeview Channels - Audio Guide
We looked at the ways to get more from Freeview in Show 39. Download the show as an MP3 file, or listen over the Internet, using our pop-up player.
Other ways to get more from Freeview
If you decide you don't want to get a Top Up TV Anytime hard-disc recorder, there are a couple of other ways to get more content via a TV aerial...
If you're happy to get your home Broadband from BT, you could take a look at BT Vision.
You get a BT Vision+ box that lets you can watch and record Freeview channels, and there's a wide selection of TV shows, sporting events and movies that you can watch over your Broadband connection. ESPN is also available free with any BT Vision value pack.
We're happy to recommend BT Vision. Links: Sign up to BT Vision
You could consider getting a wider choice of TV channels from Sky Digital, YouView, Freesat or Virgin Media. See our Digital Made Simple page for the options.
Got a question on Freeview? Leave us a voicemail on 020 8133 4567 or send us a message