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Freeview Play vs YouView: Which is better value?

Published 6 February 2017 by

Even if you’re on a strict budget, you might be able to afford some luxuries once you've covered for your bills. And what you choose to spend this money on will depend on your interests.

If after a long day at work, you enjoy sitting on the couch and watching a good drama or new film, you might put this money towards a new TV package. But what if you can't afford Sky or Virgin Media? We take you through two alternative packages, Freeview Play and YouView, and which one is better value.

What's the difference?             

Freeview Play, which launched in 2015, offers catch-up TV and on-demand services without a subscription. As part of this service, you'll be able to scroll back over the last seven days and select shows to watch that you have missed. You'll also be able to enjoy popular catch up services like BBC iPlayer.

YouView is a similar service that provides access to digital channels and catch-up services. You can also watch subscription services like Netflix or NowTV (that you pay for separately) through this. You're able to pause and rewind live TV and if you upgrade to YouView +, you can record live TV and set programmes to record while you're out and about through an app.

Freeview Play and YouView claim to have over 70 digital channels and up to 15 HD channels each. And both offer access to catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and Demand 5.

Which is cheaper?

This will depend on the type of TV you have as you might already have one that comes with either service.

Freeview Play is built into some Panasonic, LG, JVC and Finlux TVs – so it might be worth checking your TV if you recently brought it. Alternatively, you can buy a Freeview Play digital recorder or set-top-box. There are a few on the market including the Humax FVP – 4000T (500GB) or the Panasonic DMR-HWT150EB (500GB) – both retail under £200.

There are a number of ways you can get YouView. It is built in with select Sony TVs (so check your TV), as part of a bundle with a broadband package with BT TV, TalkTalk TV and Plusnet, or by purchasing a set top box.

You could choose a YouView+ box (500GB) if you want the ability to record live TV and use an app to record programmes. This is available from John Lewis for £149.95. Or you can get a standalone YouView box from BT for less than £60. 

It is cheaper to get a YouView set top box than a Freeview Play one. However, you might prefer one service to the other depending on the range of features it offers.

Can't afford one of these services? We take you through whether you need a TV licence to watch Netflix and Now TV.

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