You could find that after a while freeview is not worth watching. In my wiew it's mainly rubbish and lots of old programmes you've seen umpteen times repeated over and over, sometimes 3 times over on the same day on some channels. Take for instance the history programme, at first it is quite interesting but about after about 2 months you've seen it all and it repeats over and over and over and over. Just very occasionally is there something new on just a few of the many channels worth watching. So in my opinion (and of course it's only my opinion) if you can't get it you ain't missing much!
I also live in a no free-view area but I bought a Thomson DTI 2300 digibox cheap (&28) and stuck it on my portable TV with a long extension lead and lo - a few channels. I then tried it on the main TV which has a good aerial and I can get all the channels. I find that I sometimes get sound breakup if a noisy motorbike goes past, - un-suppressed ignition?
Its worth checking as the information on the Freeview site isn't always up to date. We moved from London to Norwich last year and at the time the Freeview site was saying that it wasn't avalable in Norwich although my Sister had had it for quite a long time. We connected up our box and got all the channels even without an aerial upgrade. As far as the content is concerned, the channels are only the same as are available on Cable and Satellite, although obviously not as many. In the Norwich area reception of Channel 5 is almost impossible on the terrestrial transmissions but is perfect on Freeview so its worth it just for that.
If you live in a very poor signal area, ie. one that gives you a poor picture with lots of "snow" on the screen, then a good high-gain aerial with an amplifier and a decent digi-box should give you a picture without all the "snow". BUT ! If the signal is too weak, then all the aerials and amplifiers in the world are not going to help. Your only answer then would be to join the Sky network and pay the one-off fee for the freebies.