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United Kingdom (UK) - TV

The United Kingdom, like the United States, has switched their TV services to digital. This change happened in late 2012. Northern Ireland was the last of the four countries to convert to digital broadcasts. Analogue terrestrial transmissions have been converted to digital terrestrial television in most areas and some are to be used for 4G data networks. One thing that has been maintained in the United Kingdom is Freeview. This television service offers 40 subscription free channels for individuals to access with an antenna (aerial). The only change from analogue to digital was the need for a new antenna or aerial to pick up the digital signals. Some of the newer TVs were built with an aerial, but most require a secondary purchase.

Television has changed a great deal in the last 20 years. In 1999, when the first digital signals began to hit the market and the internet was starting to gain in popularity, it was decided that more television options would be necessary. Today customers can choose between cable television, satellite, IPTV, mobile television, and Internet television.

IPTV Television Options

IPTV is the operation and control of television services by a single company like BT TV or Talk Talk Plus TV. IPTV consumers use a set top box to receive broadcasted channels.

Mobile Television

Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange are three companies that offer 3G television signals for mobile phones. Through the mobile connection, providers offer live TV with a mix of regular channels and looped content created specifically for mobile.

Internet TV

This option provides several choices for how to access the broadcasts. There are free, pay per view, and subscription options. The only way to watch Internet TV is via an Internet connection. Smart TVs, PlayStation 3 and some other devices can be used to broadcast television shows.

Arranging your Connection

The first thing to do is decide how you wish to connect to TV broadcasts. With so many choices it is possible to obtain local channels and several other broadcasting channels through free signals. For those who wish to watch more than the standard channels, including those from their own country, a subscription will be necessary.

If you decide that you want cable or satellite, you need to contact a provider, decide on the plan you require, and then set up an appointment for the installation. The TV service will be installed by the provider to ensure all channels are being received and that the signal is working. If a box or multiple room setup is needed, the installer will also deal with this.

TV Licensing

The United Kingdom requires a licensing fee to be paid each year. The fee is fixed at £145.50 and is set until 2017. Negotiations will begin in 2015 for the fee to be changed or taken away. However, the Royal Charter is able to keep the licence fee until 2026 before negotiations can happen to fully remove license fees. The licensing fee is mostly given to the BBC for the television, radio and online services they provide. This fee is considered a tax. For those who do not wish to pay the entire amount in full annually, there are quarterly payment options in which Direct Debit can be used to make the payments. Usually there is an additional fee for making multiple payments.

Available Channels

All UK broadcasted channels are available, along with special channel options for those who wish to pay for them. Channels broadcasted in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and all other locations can be paid for should someone wish to access programs from home. These channels are limited compared to local broadcasting options.

TV Providers


This is an IPTV and digital terrestrial transmission provider.


Freeview is a free transmission sent over the digital terrestrial network.


Sky offers digital satellite transmissions under Freesat from Sky, Freesat, and their main Sky brand.

Smallworld Cable

Smallworld Cable is a digital cable network provider.

+44(0) 800 070 6150

Talk Talk Plus TV

This is one of the other IPTV transmissions available

+44(0) 800 049 7834

Virgin Media

Virgin Media group offers digital cable broadcasts and with Virgin TV there are analogue broadcasts that are normally free if you can still access them.

+44(0) 84 5840 7777


This was once called Wight Cable and is a digital cable provider.

+44(0) 198 324 0240

Expat Health Insurance Partners


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.

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