The Future of UK TV in Spain – posted in 2012

 

The Future of UK TV in Spain. UK TV Spain. Sky TV Spain. Changes to UK TV Spain. New Satellite Spain. Changes to Reception in Spain. The Latest News on UK TV in Spain. The Latest News British TV in Spain. Latest updates on Satellite TV in Spain

“So what is all this I am hearing that British TV channels in Spain going off air” and “what is the latest news about the Sky switch off in Spain”
“Are we losing freeview channels in Spain?” and “Will we lose UK TV in Spain this year?” and “Is Sky changing satellites in Spain”?
“Rumours about Loss of bbc and itv in spain in 2013”, “Loss of bbc and itv in spain due to new satellite”
“Are all these rumours being spread by sellers of IPTV Spain / Internet TV in Spain true, or scaremongering?”
“Will Spain lose sky t.v?”
“Is satellite tv going to be switched off in Spain?”

Over the last few weeks I have been inundated with emails and phone calls from many people confused about what they have heard or read about the current availability of UK TV channels and Sky TV in Spain on a small satellite dish.

This has been made even more confusing with the usual Expat “bar talk”, rumours, and with “satellite installers” saying different things, some acknowledging that things will change, others not saying anything, and others being very “economical” with the truth.

So hopefully this will help confirm some of the facts and dispel some of the rumours about the availability of UK TV on smaller satellite dishes, and try to put forward what may well be happening with regards to the future of UK TV in Spain.

 

The reasons for reception of UK and Sky TV in Spain on small satellite dishes.

As many people are now aware a new “more powerful” satellite, Astra 1N, is providing a much stronger satellite signal that previously available. This has meant that many channels that previously required a large 1.8 metre satellite dish or a 2.4 metre satellite dish are now available on smaller 1 metre satellites dishes.

UK satellite TV has been transmitted from 4 satellites: Astra 2A, Astra 2B, Astra 2D and Eurobird 1. These are located at 28.2-28.5 degrees east. Many of the main UK TV channels, such as BBC and ITV, were transmitted from the Astra 2D satellite.

The Astra 2D satellite had a tight reception footprint. This means that the further away from the UK you went the Astra 2D signal became harder to receive. To overcome this reduction is signal strength, larger satellite dishes, the 1.8 metre and 2.4m metre, are required in Spain for these signals.

 

The new UK TV Astra Satellites and Astra 1N temporary mission.

Satellites need replacing, as they only have a finite lifespan. SES Astra, the Luxembourg company that own and operate the Astra satellites have said that Astra 2A, Astra 2B, Astra 2D will be replaced between 2012 and 2014. This was always been known as the expected useful lifetime of the satellites are published on the SES Astra website.

The UK TV satellite replacement process started with the launch of the Astra 1N satellite in October 2011.

Astra 1N, as per its “1” designation, was designed for 19 degrees east, and to provide more satellite capacity to that location that serves France, Spain and other European countries. However, in the short term, its mission was to help out with the replacement process of the Astra 2 satellites.

By February 2012, all the channels on the Astra 2D satellite were transferred over to Astra 1N. Astra 2D was coming to the end of its mission life and was also rumoured to be experiencing some transmission problems, meaning channels had to be transferred to another satellite.

Because it was designed for another location and not for UK TV, Astra 1N has a more “generous” signal footprint than Astra 2D. This has meant that in some areas of Spain many channels that previously required a large 1.8 metre satellite dish or a 2.4 metre satellite dish are now available on smaller 1 metre satellites dishes.

However, reception of these channels on Astra 1N is only temporary. SES Astra has confirmed the launch of Astra 2F in quarter 4 of 2012. When Astra 2F has been launched, tested, and positioned, it is expected that the channel s on Astra 1N will be transferred over to Astra 2F. Then, as SES Astra have confirmed, Astra 1N to be in its proper location, expected to be during 2013.

 

Reception in Spain of the new UK TV Astra satellites

In March 2012, SES Astra made reception footprints available for the three new Astra 2 satellites: Astra 2E, Astra 2F and Astra 2G. These footprints show that the new Astra 2 has a mix of both Pan European and UK “Spot” beams.

The Pan European footprints maps for the new satellites do actually show that reception of channels on this beam should be available using 80cm satellite dishes and 1meter satellite dishes in Spain.

The UK Spot beam footprints maps for the new satellites do not actually show any meaningful data, and give no indication as to reception outside the UK.

Reception of this UK spot beam in Spain can only be speculated. Although the new Astra 2 satellites are more powerful than their predecessors, the amount of signal drop off at the edge of reception, in areas like Spain, is pure guesswork, at least until the satellites are operational.

 

Future UK TV and Sky TV Reception In Spain – Speculation and Guesswork

“What is going to happen to our British TV channels and Sky TV channels in Spain”

As SES Astra are aware of the requirements for the UK Spot Beams for its clients, including BBC and ITV, you can almost certainly expect those channels to be located on this UK Spot beam, just like the channels were located on the UK spot beam on Astra 2D. This means that the BBC, ITV and other broadcasters’ contractual obligation with content owners that requires that transmission of that content for reception in the U.K. and Northern Ireland, are satisfied. If channels are moved to this UK Spot beam, is is highly likely that they will not be available on the smaller satellite dishes like they currently are.

You can also expect that, with the advances of satellite beam shaping technology, the erroneous “sidelobe” of Astra 2D to be corrected. This sidelobe confusingly allowed reception of channels on smaller satellite dishes, like 1.25m and 1.4m dishes, in the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca south, whereas north of these areas, in Alicante for example, 2.4 metre satellite dishes were required.

Not all UK TV channels will be located on the UK beam, so you will not lose all reception of UK TV. You can expect many of the Sky pay channels to be located on the European beams, just as they currently are today. This would certainly help Sky retain some revenue from the many expats who subscribe to the Sky Pay TV service. Although contractually, many Sky channels do not own the broadcaster rights to transmit programmes in Spain, by making reception of these pay channels harder would certainly mean less subscribers and thus less revenue for Sky.

Another reason for these new satellites for having Pan and UK beams could be to cover any future changes in broadcast right requirements within the EU. It could be that in the next decade, the EU could force all EU broadcasters to make all their signals available to all EU countries. Currently no legislation or law covers true Pan European broadcasting for all EU citizens. This is due to how broadcast rights are currently sold (on a country by country basis), and, as the EU has admitted during the recent “Portsmouth Pub Landylady VS Th FA” court case, how complex it would be to deal with these rights contracts for all EU countries as a whole. For example, how to overcome the issue where a few countries fund their public broadcasters via a tax or
licence fee, yet it would be unfair to make those signals available freely to other countries that have no legal requirement to fund that broadcaster.

 

Summary

In summary, reception of the main BBC ITV Channel 4 and Five channels on a small satellite dish in Spain is only a temporary situation. With the launch of the first of three new Astra 2 satellites it can be expected that these channels will return to a UK Spot Beam in late 2012 or early 2013/2014.

The size of satellite dish required for reception of channels on this new UK Spot Beam in Spain will be unknown, probably until the channels actually move onto this UK Spot Beam.

All satellite TV installers and companies operating in Spain and the Costa Blanca should be aware of this situation. If they are not aware, then they should not be in the business.

And there are some satellite installers and companies that are happily selling these smaller 1m satellite dish systems, knowing full well that it is highly possible that the main UK TV channels like BBC and ITV may not be available on them by next year (2013). But, worse of all, they are not informing this clients of this potential loss of the channels on their small satellite dish. And when asked reply with a very vague answer, or say that “they are not in control of what the channels do”.

We tell our potential customers of the changes that may happen and the potential loss of the main UK TV satellite channels in Spain. We do this so the clients can make their own mind knowing the full facts, about whether to proceed with the installation or not.

 

December 2012 Update : Channel Movement From Astra 1N to Astra 2F satellite

On Tuesday 4th December 2012, a number of channels and frequencies moved from their temporary satellite Astra 1N, to their new home on Astra 2F satellite.

The channels and frequencies affected are :

10.964 H SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (CH5/5USA/5*/Channel 5+1),
10.994 H SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (ITV 1 Granada HD/ITV 1 Central South West SD/ITV 1 Anglia West SD/ITV 1 Meridian North SD/ITV 1 Yorkshire East SD/ITV 1+1 Yorkshire SD),
11.052 H SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (ITV 1 Central South SD/ITV 1 Central East SD/ITV 1+1 Wales SD/ITV 1+1 Westcountry SD/ITV 1+1 Tyne Tees SD)
11.126 V SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (Channel 4 HD/4Seven SD)

There have been many reception reports for Astra 2F in Spain.

The initial indications are that the areas of Spain that are now experiencing “no satellite signal” messages for these channels are the southern areas of Spain. So as a result of this change of frequencies and satellite there has been some loss of TV channels in areas like Andalucía, Malaga, Marbella, the Costa Del Sol, and the Algarve in Portugal. This is because current dishes are too small receive the signals on Astra 2F.

There are also indications are that the areas of Spain that are now experiencing “no satellite signal” messages for these channels in the north of Spain, in like around Tarragona, Barcelona, and Zaragoza. This is because current dishes are too small receive the signals on Astra 2F.

Previously these areas benefitted from “bonus” reception due to a “side lobe” on Astra 2D, meaning they could receive most of the main UK TV channels on a “medium” sized satellite dish – such as a 1.25m satellite dish

However, with the change of these channels from Astra 1N to Astra 2F, these dishes are now simply too small to receive Channel Five and Channel 4HD.

A larger satellite dish will be required to be able to receive these channels again

However, it may be bests to wait until the main bulk of the UK TV channels, like BBC and ITV move to their new satellite. Only then can you be sure what sized satellite dish you will need to be able to receive these channels. There is no point in buying a 1.4m satellite dish today, if it is unknown and not guaranteed to receive the BBC channels when they move to their new satellite!

There is speculation that the bulk of the BBC ITV and C4 channels may not moved from Astra 1N until early to mid 2013. And further speculation that they will not move to the Astra 2F satellite, but will actually move to the Astra 2E satellite. At the moment, there is no knowledge of what Astra 2Es reception in Spain will be like, and probably will not be until the satellite is operational and carrying the channels.

Indications are that some areas of Spain, such as between Alicante and Valencia, have not been affected by these satellite changes, and there is no significant change in reception..

 

December 2012 Update : BBC Channel Movement From Astra 1N to Astra 2E satellite

As mentioned above there was speculation that the migration of BBC TV channels from Astra 1N to Astra 2F may not take place, and the BBC channels would in fact move to a seconds new satellites, Astra 2E, sometime mid 2013.

On the 12th December 2013, the BBC published a blog with regards to their channels moving from Astra 1N to Astra 2E, sometime in the summer 2013.

This has at least delayed fears by many in the Costa del Sol, South Spain and Portugal, that they would be losing BBC channels on the 16th to 18th December 2012.

 

January 2013 Update : Sky TV Channels Move From Astra 2B to Astra 2A and Astra 1N

During January 2013, the UK TV channels on the Astra 2B satellite were moved to Astra 2A and Astra 1N. This is to enable Astra 2B to be moved to another location (19 east) to be used as “back up”.

In some cases, many of the channels that used to be transmitted from Astra 2Bs north beam, that may not have been available 24/7, are now available 24/7 and even available to receive on smaller 1m satellite dishes.

 

March 2013 Update : Astra 2E expected to be operational September 2013

According to a recent presentation from SES Astra, they expect Astra 2E to be operational September 2013. http://satandpcguy.com/blog/2013/03/astra-2e-expected-start-date/

There are many “satellite installers” that say that they already know what sized satellite dish will be required for the reception of Astra 2E, that 1.4m, 1.8m and 2.4m satellite dishes will be
unaffected by these changes, and what reception of Astra 2E will be like in Spain.

However, the fact is they don’t know for certain. No-one, not even the satellite operators, will know what
reception of Astra 2E will be like in Spain and other areas of Europe until Astra 2E is launched, tested, positioned and starts to transmit channels.

 

May 2013 Update : Smart TV and IPTV distributors using scare tactics to trick people into buying their IPTV and Smart TV systems NOW

Interesting to hear that some companies offering “IPTV” in Spain and Smart TV Costa Blanca, are actually phoning people up and saying “You will lose your Satellite TV later this year, but our IPTV system will work fine”

A few points:
a) How do these companies know what the signal will be like in Spain for a satellite that has not yet left the factory, and expected not to be operational until September?
b) How do these companies know if all of Spain will be affected or only some areas be affected – like the fact between Alicante and Valencia we can get the first new satellite nice and easily on a 1m satellite dish…
c) No matter what, you will always be able to receive SOME UK TV channel via satellite, as some of the channels are on a “European beam” which is nice and easy to receive, and some channels are not even on the Astra satellites that are being replaced!
d) They fail to mention what the quality of IPTV / internet TV is like – which is pretty poor when you watch it on your 50” HD TV – especially when compared to the full 1080 HD image which you can get on Freesat HD and Sky HD – which you can get on a 1m satellite dish!
e) And not to forget that some systems offering UK TV over the internet as simply using the free streams from filmon. Yet some systems even ask you to PAY for these streams even though they get them for free

True, later this year things may change, they may not, they may change for the better, they may change for the worse.

But until it happens, no-one knows for sure.

So why do these companies insist that they know that all of UK TV in Spain will end later this year, and try to confuse and scare people into thinking they will lose their UK TV channels in Spain come the new satellites, Oh I know – spill the doom and gloom for sales purposes, and to confuse people into buying something when in fact, come September, all UK TV may still be available in Spain.

 

June 2013: The latest news on the new UK TV satellite, Astra 2E, is that it is expected to launch on the 20th July 2013 – more here on Astra 2E News. – and be operational in September. Only when it is in position will the actual reception of Astra 2E in Spain, and therefore required satellite dish size, be known. Not before.

 

July 2013: The latest news on the new UK TV satellite, Astra 2E, was expected to launch on the 20th July 2013 – but this is now delayed due to a rocket failure at the launch site – Details on the delay to the new Astra 2E satellite here on Astra 2E News.

 

July 2013: The English Newspaper in Spain “The Euro Weekly News” recently published a “report” said to contain the latest news on UK satellite TV reception in Spain, and the potential loss of Sky TV in Spain, which was full of inaccuracies and wrong information. – Here is our response to this “story” with the real facts about the future of UK TV in Spain and the new Astra 2E satellite, with no biased advertising for “IPTV in Spain is the future”.

 

August 2013: New Astra 2E launch date confirmed – Details here : http://www.satandpcguy.com/uk-tv-astra-satellites/current-uk-tv-satellites/astra-2e-satellite/astra-2e-satellite-testing-and-news-updates/

 

September 2013: The so called “Big Switch Off” of Sky TV / UK TV in Spain – incorrect and misleading information being spread about the future of satellite tv /UK TV / Sky TV reception in Spain by some retailers of low picture quality IPTV / Internet TV systems in Spain – Details here : http://www.satandpcguy.com/blog/2013/09/more-incorrect-rumours-and-untruths-about-the-future-of-satellite-tv-in-europe-mainly-from-some-iptv-internet-tv-sellers/

Astra 2E News Update: 30/09/13 : Astra 2E successfully launched.

Astra 2E News Update: 06/10/13 : Astra 2E satellite is slowly moving to 43 east, its its test location. It is expected to be there around the 10th October, after which testing will commence for several weeks.

Astra 2E News Update: 01/11/13 : Astra 2E satellite is still performing tests at the test location of 43 east. It has been suggested that Astra 2E will be moved to the UK TV / Sky TV position of 28 east, and be operational and transmitting UK TV channels from late November 2013 or early December 2013.

Astra 2E News Update: 09/12/13 : Astra 2E satellite is still located at 43 east. It looks less likely that there will be any changes to reception of UK TV in Spain in 2013. http://www.satandpcguy.com/blog/2013/12/astra-2e-news-transfer-channels-1n-2e-will-take-place-early-february-2014/

Astra 2E News Update: 14/01/14 : Astra 2E satellite is now moving from the test location at 43 east, towards the UK TV position of 28 east. Any changes to reception of UK TV in Spain are expected to happen mid February. http://www.satandpcguy.com/blog/2014/01/astra-2e-spain-news-update/

Astra 2E Update : 04/02/14 : UK TV Satellite Update: It looks, note looks, like some channels from Astra 2A (north and south beams) have been moved to 2E. http://www.satandpcguy.com/blog/2014/02/astra-2a-channels-move-astra-2e-frequencies-channel-affected/

Astra 2E Update : 04/02/14 : BBC channel to move from Astra 1N to Astra 2E in the “early hours” of Thursday, 6th February 2014. http://www.satandpcguy.com/blog/2014/02/bbc-channel-move-astra-1n-astra-2n-week/

Astra 2E Update : 06/02/14 : BBC channels still available in the Costa Blanca and Valencia areas of Spain using a minimum of a 90×100 “1m” satellite dish.

Astra 2E Reception Reports and required Satellite Dish sizes : Astra 2E Satellite Information – Reception in Costa Blanca and Spain

Astra 2E Update : 25/05/14 : Despite some “experts” – who probably are trying to sell their lower quality internet tv systems – saying in late 2013 that “No BBC ITV C4 or Five channels will physically reach Europe mainland via Satellite” we can confirm that this is not the case, and most areas of Europe can still receive UK TV satellite signals. IN my service areas channels from Astra 2E, like BBC and ITV can still be received on a minimum of a 100x110cm satellite dish.

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