Can You Watch Freeview on Apple TV in the UK?

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If you’re a new Apple TV owner or you’re considering purchasing one, you may be wondering whether it’s possible to watch Freeview directly on your Apple TV?

No, you cannot watch Freeview on an Apple TV using native features because it does not have an aerial input. However, if you have the Apple TV 4th generation (launched 2015) or the newer Apple TV 4K, you can install the broadcaster apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, and All4 to access live TV channels.

Keep reading to find out more about which channels you can access live on an Apple TV and for a third party app that brings all the channels into one place.

How to Watch Freeview on Apple TV in the UK

For British TV viewers, Freeview has long provided staple over-the-air channels including BBC, ITV, Channels 4, and more. But does Freeview integrate with newer ecosystems such as Apple TV?

No, it’s not possible to watch Freeview on an Apple TV because this is delivered via a traditional aerial cable rather than over the internet and Apple TV’s do not have an aerial input. However, that doesn’t mean you have to forego live TV.

You can still watch most free over-the-air channels in the UK on an Apple TV by installing the relevant broadcaster apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, and others.

Here is a rundown of the live TV channels on the Apple TV and which apps you need to watch them:

AppLive TV Channels
BBC iPlayerBBC 1, BBC 2, BBC 4, BBC News, BBC Parliment, BBC Scotland, BBC Alba, S4C, CBBC, Cbeebies
ITV HubITV, ITV 2, ITVBe, ITV 3, ITV 4, CITV
All4Channel 4, E4, More 4, Film 4, 4seven
UK TVDave, Drama, Yesterday

However, this option is only available for Apple TV 4th generation (also called Apple TV HD) and Apple TV 4K.

If you have the Apple TV 1, 2, or 3, you can only update the default apps such as Sky News and Netflix. Unfortunately, you cannot install new apps such as BBC iPlayer so it is not possible to watch live TV channels in the UK on these older devices. See instructions below to find out which Apple TV you have.

What about the Freeview app?

While there is a Freeview app for the iPad and iPhone, it is not available for the Apple TV. However, you cannot watch live tv via this app anyway, it is simply a TV guide that launches other apps like iPlayer or ITV Hub.

What about third-party apps?

There are a number of unofficial apps such as TVPlayer that provide streaming of Freeview channels direct to the Apple TV with no middle device or app required. The benefit is that all of your live channels can be found in one place.

However, the catch with TVPlayer is that the creator charges a monthly fee and it only streams in SD, so the picture is not up to the same standard as broadcaster streams. Plus, it lacks the full Freeview line-up of channels so it’s not recommended.


Which Apple TV Do I Have?

Your Apple TV model number will tell you which generation of Apple TV you have.

To find the model number of your Apple TV:

  • Choose ‘Settings‘ from the home screen
  • Select ‘General
  • Select ‘About
  • Here, you’ll see the Model number

The below table corresponds the model number to the Apple TV. Remember, you can only install new apps on Apple TV 4th generation and later.

Apple TV GenerationModel No.
Apple TV (1st generation) – 2007A1218
Apple TV (2nd generation) – 2010A1378
Apple TV (3rd generation) – 2012A1427 or A1469
Apple TV (4th generation) – 2015
*Also known as Apple TV HD
A1625
Apple TV 4K (1st generation) – 2017A1842
Apple TV 4K (2nd generation) – 2021A2169

Can You Record Freeview on Apple TV?

No, it’s not possible to record Freeview on Apple TV natively. This is because it does not have an aerial input or a native TV app for traditional channels.

The best way to watch Freeview shows on Apple TV after the live broadcast is to use the broadcaster apps such as BBC iPlayer, All4, and ITV Hub. However, shows on these platforms will expire after a certain period, this can be anywhere from 7 days to a year depending on the show and the broadcaster.

If you are likely to be without internet or you want to keep shows permanently recorded for viewing in the future, you can try creating a Plex media server in your home. By connecting an aerial direct to your Plex setup, you can record shows for future viewing.

There is a companion Plex app for Apple TV which can then be used to watch the recording. However, this requires a lot of expertise to set up and isn’t for beginners.


Related Questions:

Can You Watch BBC on Apple TV?

Yes, you can watch BBC channels and shows on Apple TV thanks to the arrival of the tvOS Apple TV store. There is an iPlayer app for the Apple TV which provides access to BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC News, CBBC, and more. You can watch both live TV and on-demand. BBC content is integrated into universal search on the Apple TV so shows are easier to find.

Can You Watch ITV on Apple TV?

Yes, you can watch ITV on an Apple TV by installing the ITV Hub app. However, this is only available for the Apple TV 4th generation and the newer Apple TV 4K which have TVos. Using this app you can watch all the ITV channels live or watch on-demand content.

Can You Watch Channel 4 on Apple TV?

Yes, you can watch channel 4 on the Apple TV thanks to the All 4 app which provides direct access to channel 4’s live TV channels and on-demand programming. Channel 4 shows are integrated with universal search on the Apple TV making them easy to find and schedule watching.

Can You Watch UK TV on Apple TV?

Yes, you can use the UKTV Play app to watch UK TV on Apple TV. You will be able to watch Dave, Drama and Yesterday live TV channels as well as catchup for thousands of new and classic episodes.

Can You Watch Discovery UK on Apple TV?

Yes, Discovery UK shows are available on Apple TV using the Discovery+ app. This gives you access to a range of the broadcaster’s channels including Discovery UK, Quest, Really, Animal Planet, and more. However, some premium channels require the Discovery subscription to access them.

Kieren

I have been building up my smart home since 2016 so I'm a bit of a smart home expert by now. On this blog, I share my favourite smart home devices that I've tested along with tips and tricks I learn by watching countless YouTube videos, scrolling through forums, and tinkering around with my own smart devices. I've always been a Google Home user but I'm starting to think Alexa might have the edge, what do you think?