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English Television Costa Blanca & Costa Calida, Spain
 
Everything you need to know about receiving UK TV  in Spain - (0034) 966783944

 

 

 
 

 

Daily UK expat TV news
 

 
 
 
 
 
Below shows all available options for different systems for the reception of Expat UK TV Costa Blanca & Calida.

Satellite & Dishes

Unlike TV in the UK, recieving your programming content overseas can be a confusing. There are a number of different services & providers.
 
In the UK most free to air systems for reception of the main UK terrestrial channels are based around two options - either Freeview or Freesat. The former being based on terrestrial antenna system (which we cannot receive in Spain) & Freesat via a satellite dish, which we can receive.
 
Satellite systems are generally the first recommendation as offer the original and highest quality format, with the widest channel availability.
 
This includes all your UK terrestrial channels with readily available High Definition options and digitially encoded Dolby sound - which you can connect to surround sound systems or sound bars.
 
 
 
Satellite System Pro's
 
Original service provider - no third parties.
 
Original quality including 3D, HD & Dolby Digital Surround audio - as per UK.
 
Most developed system & fastest receiver hardware.
 
Quick response times, with menu & channel change.
 
No requirement for any subscription payments to receive you UK TV overseas.
 
Can connect any amount of people to a dish, from a single user to a complete community.
 
UK Sky is available if required with appropriate subscription.
 
Satellite receivers now can offer IPTV as well as satellite in a single set top box.
 
Receiving English language free to air TV directly via satellite in Spain is fully legal, as defined under EU law.
 
 
Satellite System Con's
 
You will need room for a satellite dish, bigger than in the UK - in Costa Blanca South, for example a minimum of a 1.4 metre dish is recommended, though in some locations larger dishes may be required where signal a little weaker.
 
Different dish grades / types, LNB's & brackets available. Right choice of combined equipment will affect performance and overall channel reception & stability.
 
 
Dish types
 
Of the single panel dishes, there are two types - one is spun (Turkish or Eastern European origin) the other is pressed. The pressed dishes tend to be of a thicker construction and generally perform to a better standard. Spun dishes are generally of of a thinner construction and in most instances have a lower signal gain. As most manufacturers do not put their name on the dishes, another way of checking is the quality of the mount and base. Budget dishes will have thinner metalwork & brackets which is not as strong as the larger diameter tubing on better quality dishes. Not all dishes are the same quality, even at the same size, this does affect signal performance.
 
 
In certain locations within Costa Blanca / Costa Calida reception of the main UK channels can be received with a 1.40 - 1.90 metre dish depending on regional variations.
 
 
 
No satellite signal ? IPTV & UK TV streaming through the internet
 
Whilst a satellite dish in most applications is the preferred method of reception, due to general ease of use and picture quality,  in some instances this may not be viable due to building restrictions, space or location lack of reception in overseas location.
 
IPTV:            Internet Protocol Television - TV over the internet
Streaming:  Watching video & other services through the internet
 
When streaming video content a hard wired connection is usally preferable to a Wi Fi connection. Wi Fi connection can slow internet speeds between 10% - 50% depending on location of router and property construction type. Devices are available that offer both hard wire and Wi Fi options, the highest specification offers best combined options. 
 
A number of solutions on the market are being released, with different hardware & channels being available. There are two main types of services:
 
 
  
Internet based, subscription Free set top box::
 
Software and functionality can differ between this type of equipment depending on how set top box has been set up.  New generation models offer up to Octo core performance equal to that of the latest smart phones at many times the price.
 
All UK channels and many applications are available for accessing a variety of content, however this type of setup and software is not standard with this hardware & usually this is not preinstalled. 
 
With this type of hardware, similar to your PC, both  the specification of hardware and software installed will define overall performance & usability . Many companies are selling Dual core models, which are cheaper than Quad, which in turn do not perform as well as the latest Octo core models. This is where you will see differences in both performance & hardware prices.
 
These systems generally require specialist setting up as are not supplied with required software for UK channel viewing & for initial set up is far more complex than most consumer products. Use of these is different user experience to a traditional satellite or cable receiver.
 
 
  
These set top boxes are designed for internet connection only & usually are offered with a channel selection of main UK terrestrials & premium content, as well as other options for Swedish, Norweigan & Russian. They require a stable internet download speed of 2 meg or over. Whilst generally not quite up to the channel availability, quality / response of a direct satellite system, this will still offer a good service where no dish option (or satellite reception) is possible. More information here.
 
 
IPTV Pro's
 
No satellite dish required
Non subscription based options available
Wide range of hardware
Upgradeable
Free content - Films, Catch up TV & other channels (depending on box & service provider)
Receivers available which allow both IPTV & satellite

 
IPTV Con's
 
Quality & screen resolution generally less than HD satellite system
Reliant on internet. No internet = no TV.
Internet speed will affect quality of picture
 
Careful choice of hardware required - considerable variation in terms of performance and speed.
 
Subscription free systems are usually more technically complex than traditional type TV systems.
 
Subscription free software customisable, boxes are all set up differently - quality & user experience vary.
 
Slower channel change & navigation in comparison with satellite system.
 

 
 
  
 
Rental Schemes - all types
 
TV service rental schemes can cost over €300 per year per household - monthly subscriptions, usually €18 - €25 or more per month + VAT / IVA.
 
There are companies which offer this type of scheme via satellite or rebroadcast (below).  
 
 
Rental Scheme Pro's
 
Includes service
Reduce initial installation cost
 
 
Rental Scheme Con's
 
Very expensive over a period of time. At €300 per year, after 5 years you would have spend quite often in excess of €1500 to receive free to air TV. A comparitive one off payment for a satellite system would cost around one quarter of this, making it far more cost effective long term.
 
Over 5 years you would save a minimum of €1000 & retain ownership of all equipment.
 
You do not own hardware, as paying a 'rental fee'
 
With dish rental schemes sometimes claim to offer a risk free service, though when reading the terms and conditions, you will find they do not cover changes to satellite frequencies or general reception changes, meaning the equipment installed may not be suitable for long term purpose as you may be forced into additional costs or upgrading dish installed.
 
With rebroadcast (below) rental schemes sometimes claim to offer a risk free service, though when reading the terms and conditions, you will find that any replacement equipment (remote controls etc) will need to be paid for & given issues with legal status, service may not continue in the future. This type of equipment cannot be reused for satellite or other systems.
 
  
 
Rebroadcasting services

These companies uses a local mast to rebroadcast the signal to a 20-40 cm dish or square mesh type antenna with a basic receiver.  If you are offered these channels through a small dish, it will be from this type of 'Rebroadcasting' service. HD / 3D services & dolby digital audio are not available with these type of systems as are a compressed and retransmitted signal.
 
Due to bandwidth restrictions a limited selection of the FTA channels are available with this service, some of these companies are offering subscription channels illegally from other service providers, with no permissions.

Using a rebroadcast service, you will be asked to pay an ongoing monthly subscription charge, usually beween €20 - €35 per month for as long as you wish to use the service. Should the service be interrupted or stopped you will not get any refund of the system or installation charges.
 
Picture quality & resolution is lower than that of a direct service as signal is compressed due to bandwidth restriction giving on average a picture resolution of 20% - 30% below a standard definition picture. Whilst this is less noticeable on a smaller television, as the screen size becomes larger this drop in quality becomes more obvious.
 
 
Rebroadcast Pro's
 
Only a small dish required
Service included with monthly payments
Reduced installation costs
 
 
Cons
 
Compressed channel service, with variable picture quality - depending on location
Paying for free to air content, expensive over a period of time
Limited channel selection in comparison to Satellite & IPTV
Ongoing legality issues (below)
Potential closure due to illegal content being resold without licenses.
 
 
 
Rebroadcasters Simulsat & Torresat have been in court and have further hearings scheduled regarding the rebroadcasting of broadcasters channel content without permissions or licensing agreements. Superbeam, Teleast and Surpris 07 all of which have no permissions for rebroadcasting premium or pay per view content.
 
 
Similar systems are available in other locations via a cable service in certain expatriate locations, these are also classed as rebroadcasting as the signal format is still received via a large dish - then format changed / decrypted & sent out via cable.
 
Statements made by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky have all mentioned that there are no rights to rebroadcast their content in Spain, as this is infringment of copyright and intellectual property rights. This is also stated within EU copyright law.
 
 

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