Free to Air TV in Australia
Not all that long ago it provided only five channels, but today, Australian free to air TV boasts around 25 diverse TV channels from five major networks, offering viewers plenty of choice when it comes to free TV viewing.
Across these channels are all kinds of free TV. There’s 24-hour news, all-night music, drama series, movies, kids’ shows and more.
For those who enjoy the age-old Australian pastime of kicking back on the couch and channel-surfing, there’s more to watch than ever before.
All you need to watch the whole range of channels is a TV with a digital tuner – the default these days – and an antenna.
Your TV will tune into the five networks that make up “Freeview” – ABC TV, SBS, Seven, Nine and Ten – and you’ll be ready to go with around 25 free to air channels.
What’s in this Guide?
Latest Free-to-Air TV shows
Each and every week there are plenty of mouthwatering new titles and sports you can watch via free-to-air or the Freeview app (which includes HD channels). Australian television content has never been so good!
|New Free-to-Air Shows||Airdate||Channel|
|Swiping Game S2||New episodes streaming||SBS On Demand|
|Max Anger: With One Eye Open||25th November 2021||SBS On Demand|
|The Adventures of Paddington: The Lost Letter||1st December 2021||ABC|
What’s on Free to Air Television This Month?
The TV guide used to only have to list five channels, but now with dozens available, it can be hard to figure out what to watch.
Luckily, it’s easy to see what’s on without a printed TV guide – your TV can pull up an on-screen program list whenever you like, and there’s a Freeview app for mobile devices that contains updated show info as well.
Here are some of the most popular shows trending on free to air channels right now:
Latest Free-to-Air shows on ABC TV
There’s plenty to watch on Australia’s own ABC, from the exciting new Aussie drama The Newsreader to comedy like the latest seasons of Rosehaven and Hard Quiz.
ABC News 24 provides around-the-clock updates, while ABC Kids is packed with afternoon shows for the little ones, including Bluey.
Latest Free-to-Air shows on SBS
Across its five unique channels, SBS brings viewers some of the best international TV available, as well as its own local programs, live coverage of key sporting events and global news. Current highlights include the second season of War of the Worlds and a brand new season of The Good Fight.
Latest Free-to-Air shows on Seven
A big get for the Seven Network was its takeover of popular singing competition show The Voice, which is attracting a lot of attention to the network – and huge ratings. Seven is also the free to air home of Supercars, Australia cricket tests (including the Ashes) and of course, AFL.
Latest Free-to-Air shows on Nine
The long-running build-a-thon series The Block is dominating the ratings for Nine at the moment, along with their top-rating news and current affairs line-up, including 60 Minutes. Nine has also added Super Rugby and Wallabies rugby to a live roster that already included NRL.
Latest Free-to-Air TV shows on Ten
Attracting tons of viewers with its latest season on Ten, Australian Survivor continues to be a hit with its move to the Aussie outback, with episodes airing on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
Powerball and OZ Lotto
Each and every week millions of Australians tune in to watch live Oz Lotto and Powerball Australia draws to see if they have won life-changing amounts of money! Powerball numbers often throw up the biggest jackpots, with draws taking place every Thursday at 8.30pm AEST/9.30pm AEDT.
Sport on Free To Air
Free TV in Australia grew up around sport, and even with live sports streaming providers taking over most of the action, free TV has got plenty of sport on tap without the need to pay a cent. Here’s what’s coming up this month:
One of the most popular sports in Australia is motor racing, and you can still watch Supercars round live on the Seven Network. November sees the Championship return with three races in Sydney before the Bathurst 1000.
If you want to watch every Supercars round live, you’ll need a Foxtel or Kayo Sports subscription – but Seven’s free 7plus app also offers highlights from every race.
The Socceroos continue their charge to qualify for the 2022 Fif World Cup with games against Saudi Arabia and China. The Australian side goes into these matches as favourites, and you can watch all the action live on Ten or their streaming app, 10Play.
Replays of games will also be available on Ten, which will also broadcast live A-League games this season.
TV and Movies on Free To Air
You don’t need to pay a cent to get some solid couch time with the TV series and movie offerings on free to air TV. Whether its classic blockbuster movies, brand new drama, reality TV, documentaries or even movies from around the world, there’s plenty to discover.
You can search through the current free TV offerings below to find exactly what you’re looking for – and find out when to watch it.
Australian Free To Air Channels
In response to the growing dominance of streaming services, the free to air networks added extra channels, something that had been possible since the start of digital TV but largely ignored.
Each network’s channels have themed names, rather than just numbers – something that started with Seven coming up with 7Mate as the name for their male-directed channel.
It seemed odd at the time, but now every network is doing it – from 10 Peach to SBS Viceland to 9Rush to Seven’s dedicated Racing.com channel, the names are there to give you some idea of what to expect. Only 7Two remains as a relic of the pre-naming era.
Famous for years for their coverage of AFL footy and their very Australian approach to content, 7 has its main channel (now the home of Big Brother and The Voice) and four extra channels – 7Two, 7Mate, 7Flix and in Victoria, Racing.com covering everything to do with horse racing.
Known since the early days as the home of live television, Nine attracts huge audiences to its five distinct channels, with Nine joined by 9Gem, 9Go!, 9Life and 9Rush.
The home of MasterChef, Australian Survivor, Bachelorette Australia and The Amazing Race Australia, Ten is owned by the American CBS network, which means there’s plenty of television to play across the network’s four main outlet as well as 10BOLD, 10SHAKE and 10Peach.
Funded entirely by the public and completely ad-free, the ABC also broadcasts ABC News 24, ABC Kids/ABC Plus and ABC ME.
SBS started life as a national multicultural broadcasting alternative to existing commercial free to air TV, in recent years it has been allowed to broadcast advertising to help pay for its huge library of programming from Australia and around the world.
It operates Viceland (broadcasting more edgy programming), SBS Food, NITV (dedicated to indigenous television) and World Movies, a 24-hour offering featuring diverse films from Australia and around the world. You can even stream live NBA!
Free to Air TV apps?
With streaming apps being the way most of us watch a lot of our TV these days, the networks’ free catch-up streaming apps – available for iOS and Android smartphones as well as for most streaming devices – are essential companions to the live TV experience. All you need is a decent data or broadband connection.
Originally designed to let viewers catch up on shows they missed the previous night, these streaming services are now much more adventurous, letting viewers watch live-to-air streams of every channel, and featuring numerous shows and movies that can only be seen via their free apps (9Now, 10Play, SBS Viceland)
Freeview also has its own app for iOS and Android, which used to be called “Freeview FV” but is now just named “Freeview.” It provides a handy constantly updated TV guide for smartphones and tablets, and brings together live and on-demand streaming from all five networks. This app can also be accessed via smart TVs and is a great source of catch up content.
The first of the TV network streaming services, the ABC iView app allows live streaming of channels like ABC News, ABC Kids and ABC TV Plus in high definition, providing far better quality than the television broadcast version.
iView also often premieres shows before they air on the network itself. For the kids, ABC offers a dedicated app that’s entirely loaded with kids’ content.
SBS On Demand
An app that’s grown bigger and bigger in recent years, SBS On Demand maintains a huge library of films of all kinds, some of which never play on its World Movies channel, along with plenty of quality TV from around the world and lots that’s unique to Australia (especially on NITV). There’s also live streaming of all its channels, very handy when there’s a late-night cycling event on!
Treating their app like its own network, Nine regularly drops entire series onto 9Now without them going to air on television at all, making it well worth checking the app to see what’s new to watch each week. Of course, all Nine’s broadcast shows are here too, and you can play live streams of every channel in HD.
Taking their app to the next level in time for the Tokyo Olympics and now the Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020), 7Plus has drastically expanded both their library of shows and movies, and also added a huge amount of live streaming channels. There’s 16 permanent channels (including one entirely dedicated to the show Nashville) and multiple temporary ones covering the Paralympic Games. There’s even a dedicated racing channel.
Though it runs its own paid streaming service as Paramount+, Ten puts even more of its popular shows on TenPlay for free. Alongside ratings winners like Australian Survivor, The Bachelor and Masterchef, there’s a huge library of full seasons to watch, including fast-tracked episodes of legendary afternoon soap The Bold and the Beautiful, all 13 seasons of Masterchef and three years’ worth of Neighbours for the ultimate catch-up.
Free to air alternatives
If you’re a fan of major shows, from Game Of Thrones and Big Bang Theory to Modern Family and The Walking Dead, you may want to look into some free to air alternatives. Check out what’s on with the following TV streaming providers in Australia.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes it is! Channel 7 has access to cover all Men’s Test matches, all Women’s Commonwealth Bank International matches, 43 out of 59 KFC Big Bash League matches, 23 rebel Women’s Big Bash League matches, as well as the Allan Border Medal and other events.
Yes – it and all the streaming services mentioned here are completely free to use, and are supported by advertising that automatically plays at ad breaks while you stream.
Because smart TVs can also run streaming apps, you’ve got two options for catching up with your favourite shows – you can watch them live as they go to air (you’ll need an antenna cable plugged into the TV) or any time you like via the free streaming apps that come pre-installed on most smart TVs. Some, like those using Android TV, let you download a huge range of other streaming apps too.
Nine these days is wholly owned by Nine Entertainment, a giant company that, as well as owning TV stations across the country, also owns multiple newspapers like The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, web sites like Domain, and streaming service Stan.
Now that TV is entirely digital, the trusty VCR won’t work to record your favourite shows. Instead, you’ll need to use a device called a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) – the most popular ones being Foxtel’s iQ boxes and Fetch TV’s Mighty box. However, thanks to the free catch-up apps being available on almost every TV and device, it’s often easier to just load up the app and watch that way.
Depending on the app, you can sometimes check out TV from another part of Australia, which can be especially useful if you want to watch more in-depth news coverage of events happening, say, in Sydney when you’re in Melbourne. Only 10play actually lets you change your location in the app (the others automatically detect your location), but iView and 9Now cover news bulletins from around the country if you want them.
You can look up the current TV program listings quickly and easily using the Freeview app or web site, which is constantly updated with what’s airing now and over the next week. But an even easier way is to press the “Guide” button on your smart TV’s remote, which will bring up an interactive program listing that lets you search for and jump right to the show you want to watch.
Supported by many newer smart TVs, this clever feature turns your TV into a truly interactive portal to streaming apps and currently airing shows, with everything controlled by the four coloured buttons on your remote. If you’re not sure how to find and run any of the apps, you can access catch-up content straight from here. On TVs that support it, you’ll see a banner appear when you change channels that lets you know which buttons to press.
Yes there is! You can find ABC News 24 on (appropriately) channel 24, which cycles through news bulletins, current affairs and other up to the minute content, 24 hours a day. Viewers in regional areas may also be able to access Sky News without the need for a Foxtel subscription.
Digital TV brought with it the advantage of being able to deliver not just television, but also audio-only services – and if you search through your TV’s program listing, you’ll find that there’s a large range of radio stations available as well, supplied by the ABC and SBS. That lets you listen to everything from Classics, Jazz and current pop music, to talk radio and news, all right there on the TV. A handy way to get some radio into your life!