If you’re talking about subscribing to a service for Digital TV, then the short answer to this question is “No, you don’t have to pay for Digital TV”. Assuming that you already own a TV, all you need to buy is a set-top box which receives Freeview Digital Signals and if you don’t own a TV already, you could buy one with a Freeview Digital TV Tuner built-in.
Freeview is a free digital TV service offering over 30 TV channels and 20 radio stations for just a one-off payment and no contract. Freeview is received through your normal rooftop aerial which you feed into the back of a set-top box.
The UK’s TV broadcast system is changing to digital in a process called ‘digital switchover’. Compared to traditional TV, digital switchover will bring many exciting new ways to enjoy your TV such as, extra channels, improved quality of your TV picture, and new features including on-screen TV guides, true widescreen, interactivity and digital radio through your television.
A set-top box is simply a Digital TV Tuner, which uses your standard aerial to receive digital broadcasts and outputs them to your TV. You connect the box to your TV using a SCART or Coaxial (regular TV) cable just like a DVD player or VCR. You can get simple set-top boxes for less than £50, or you can pay more for a Digital TV Recorder, which allows you pause and rewind live TV – just like Sky Plus.
Yes, you can pay for a subscription to Digital TV, usually through a well-known supplier like Sky TV or ntl. The benefits of a subscription service are that you receive many more channels than on Freeview, but the downside is that you have to pay for them!