With many people and installers getting confused with terminology used for TV, hopefully this guide will help people understand what is and is not available in Spain.
It should also help people to determine what equipment they require to receive UK TV in Spain.
Many times I have been contacted by people who have read incorrect information on the internet, or given bad advice by people. Most have Freeview boxes, and were attempting to connect them to a satellite dish, or expecting UK TV when connecting them to a TV aerial in Spain – both of which is not possible, despite what they may have been told.
Channels can be broken down into four categories:
Free to air – channels that are transmitted “in the clear”, with no encryption, or subscription. Examples include BBC, ITV, Channel Four.
Free to view – channels that are transmitted with encryption, so require a viewing card, but do not require a subscription.Examples include Motors TV, LFCTV.
Pay channels – channels that are transmitted with encryption, so require a viewing card, and a subscription. Examples include Sky One, Sky Atlantic, Sky Sports
Pay per view – channels that are transmitted with encryption, so require a viewing card, and one off payment. Usually boxing and WWE Wrestling
UK TV channels are sent via terrestrial, satellite or internet systems.
In the UK the terrestrial system is called Freeview.
Freeview is received via a TV aerial.
It carries free to air channels.
UK TV Channels can also be received via satellite.
Freesat allows the reception of some free to air channels via satellite.
To receive Freesat you will need a Freesat branded receiver. Only Freesat branded receivers can receive Freesat. If your receiver does not have the Freesat logo on the receiver, then it is not a Freesat receiver – http://www.satandpcguy.com/blog/2015/07/installers-in-spain-selling-non-freesat-satellite-receivers-as-freesat-set-top-boxes/
Not all free to air channels are available on Freesat, and for some free to air channels, you may have to use the Freesat receiver in “non Freesat mode”.
Note that Freeview is not Freesat. There are some channels on Freeview that are not available for free on satellite. There are some channels on Freeview that are not available on satellite.
A free to air receiver will receive the same free to air channels as a Freesat branded receiver, but without the Freesat software, automatic channel updated and Freesat Programme guide.
A Sky box, even without a Sky viewing card will receive the same free to air channels as a Freesat receiver.
Freesat from Sky Channels
Freesat from Sky requires a Sky viewing card, but no monthly subscription. It allows access to the handful of free to view channels on satellite, such as Motors TV, LFCTV and Sony Movies.
Subscription Channels (Sky TV in Spain)
Sky channels are encrypted and require a viewing card and a monthly subscription.
Sky offer “bundles” of channels, which bundle you opt for will determine the cost of the monthly subscription..
As far as I am aware, the use of a Sky viewing card outside the UK is NOT illegal under EU Law, but you may be breaking the terms and conditions of the sky contract by using the card outside the UK.
If you are not paying a monthly sky subscription, and do not have a Sky viewing card, but are watching Sky pay channels, then you are doing so fraudulently and illegally (either through cardsharing or internet tv service).
Internet TV / IPTV
UK TV Channels can also be received via the internet.
Most UK broadcasters have access to their TV channels via the internet, as a catchup or iplayer service.
However these are intended for viewing in the UK and UK only, and as such their content is blocked outside the UK.
Services like a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can be used to bypass these geoblocking restrictions, so you can watch the catchup or iplayer service direct from the broadcasters. http://www.satandpcguy.com/Site/uk_tv_internet_vpn_proxy_spain.php
There are also other internet TV services available, such as Android XBMC Kodi TV boxes, that provide UK TV via the internet. However, these systems do not offer channel direct from the broadcasters, but via third parties. As such, there will be a drop in image and audio quality as the stream are not direct from the broadcasters. These third parties may or may not have the required permissions to redistribute the channels. And as many of these Android systems offer pay channels with no or little payment, sale of boxes preloaded to do this is illegal. The user is also obtaining Pay tv channels fraudulently.
So what is the best UK TV systems for you
If you are in our service area, and want the free UK TV channels like BBC and ITV, then a Freesat satellite system is ideal.
The main UK TV channels, via satellite, with no subscription, with 11 channels available in HD.
If you are in our service area, and want the free UK TV channels and the Pay channels (Sky TV) then a Sky HD satellite system is ideal.
Direct from the broadcaster, with many channels in HD, with a monthly subscription and Sky digibox and viewing card.
So to arrange for a direct from the broadcaster satellite system please do not hesitate to contact us.