Freesat satellite receivers - Spain, operational differences
This article relates on to Freesat branded receivers. Freeview is a UK terrestrial system & Freeview receivers will not work in Spain - Costa Blanca & Calida, for UK TV.
Operational differences relating to the use of both Sky & Freesat branded receivers in Spain.
Whilst these receivers do function, there are functionality differences which can cause problems when using outside of the UK / ROI.
Freesat branded receivers firstly are a licensed brand which allows the manufacturer to pick up the Freesat 8 day program guide. This is software that sits 'on top' of a normal free to air satellite receiver.
Whilst the 8 day program guide is useful, there are issues around this that do operate differently in Spain & need to be taken into consideration.
Freesat epg is not all of free to air channels receivable. On Freesat's program guide there are 150 channels, on free to air over 250. Whilst all the main ones are on the Freesat guide, you are missing a number of channels when using the Freesat branded guide.
BBC iplayer, ITV player and other catch up type services are geographically locked, so this will not function in Spain on a Freesat satellite receiver, outside of the UK. To receive these type of catch up services in Spain generally requires a VPN router / service, which makes the hardware believe it is the UK. More information on VPN routers & services.
The Freesat program guide is similar to Sky's - this is a separate signal distributed to pick up this guide. If the specific datastream is weak for the program guide, then the receiver will not allow you to scan channels in, nor will the receiver function correctly. This does sometimes affect users of Sky boxes - depending on dish size & location. Currently the epg frequency of Freesat is o.k - however if this changes (this is possible as there are changes with frequencies & a new satellite launch shortly), then it is possible that this will cause an issue with the receiver. Whilst this is not a current issue, in terms of longevity of useage of equipment - it is an example of a small change in the UK can affect a piece of equipment being used in Spain.
This type of issue is caused by the receiver was designed to work in the UK / Eire & not to receive of be used overseas, so similar to Sky satellite receivers, whilst they do work - they are supplied with a cautionary note as they do have functionality 'quirks' which are specific to these models.
Many modern free to air receivers (non Freesat) also have the ability to record via a USB ouput port - which neither Sky or Freesat offer this recording option facility, without spending considerably more than the equivalent FTA mode. It is only the Freesat twin tuner models that have an internal hard drive, which have this facility.
As with all of this type of equipment there are considerable difference in facilities & options, depending on budget & your useage requirements.