Dec 192012

With all the recent gossip, rumours, and expat bar chat, about the possible loss of UK TV in Spain, and the threat of the UK satellite TV channels “going off the air in Spain”, I hope this quick question and answer post can help with some explanations about what is happening.


Why are we losing reception of out UK TV channels?

Loss of some ITV1 and ITV1 channels, C4HD, 4seven, Channel 5, Five USA and Five 8 from the 4th December 2012 is down to the fact that they moved to a new satellite, Astra 2F.

(see )

The beam for this new UK TV satellite is more focused on the Uk, and so its reception of the channels on this beam are worse than before.

If you have recently lost any other UK TV channels, then this i not as a result of this recently satellite movement.


Will I lose ALL my UK TV channels with this satellite change over?


The new satellites have a mix of UK only and European beams see

Channels on the UK beam you may find are harder to receive than before.

Channel on the European beams should see no changes in reception.


Why have these channels changed satellites?

Simply, the current Astra satellites are old and need replacing.

The satellite are old and after 12 years in service are coming to the end of their lifespan.


Will this change of satellite affect all of Spain?

Yes. But in some areas of Spain it has had less of an impact than in other areas of Spain.

For example, in the Valencia are, there has only been a very small drop in signal levels for the channels that have migrated to the new satellite.

In some northern areas of Spain like Catalonia and Barcelona, and southern areas like the Costa del Sol, reception of these channels on the new satellite has become worse.  This has meant that these channels are no longer available to on your current satellite dishes.

For Astra 2F Reception reports see


How do I get these lost channels back?

Simply, get a larger satellite dish.

Although, rather than jumping now and getting a larger satellite dish, it may be best to wait until the bulk of the main UK TV channels, BBC and ITV, move satellites, and gauge the required satellite dish size on their reception also.


When will the BBC channels move satellites?

The BBC has said that they will be moving their channels to the second new Astra satellite, Astra 2E. This will be launched sometime early to mid 2013.

See :


When will the ITV channels move satellites?

We are assuming they will move to the new satellites at the same time as the BBC channels.


Will this affect BBC HD channels also?

Yes. The move to the new satellite will affect all BBC channels.

See :


Will this affect Sky channels also?

Yes. Sky channels on Astra 1n, Astra 2a and Astra 2B will all be migrated over to the new satellites.

When and in what order is not known at the moment.


When will these changes take place?

These satellite changes have already started to take place, with the first new satellite Astra 2F. The second new satellite, Astra 2E is expected to be operational mid 2013. The final new satellites, Astra 2G, is expected to be operational mid 2014.


Why is Sky changing the footprint for BBC channels?

Sky is not doing anything to BBC channels. Sky does not own the satellites. Sky and all the other UK TV broadcasters rent frequencies from the satellite owners SES Astra.


I pay my UK TV License fee when I am in the UK, why can I not watch the BBC in Spain?

The UK License Fee is a UK tax on TV reception equipment in the UK.

The BBC, and all the other UK TV channels, have no obligation to provide services outside the UK. The only but programme rights for the UK only.

Spain has no TV licence fee.


Can I pay to watch BBC programmes via satellite in Spain?

BBC Worldwide, the commercial part of the BBC, provide a subscription service called BBC Entertainment. It is designed for the expats market. Although it shows content from BBC and Channel 4, not all content shown in the UK is available on this BBC Entertainment service.


EU law (Television without Frontiers) says I can watch UK TV anywhere in Europe?

No it does not.

It does say EU countries cannot block transmissions from other EU countries. But it does not say anything about allowing you to watch UK TV channels in other EU countries.

Television without Frontiers, or now the AVMS Directive, is simply guidelines as to how to govern and regulate TV around Europe.



Didn’t the EU recently say that I could watch Sky TV in Spain?

The recent “pub landlady” ruling, basically said that it is not criminally illegal to use Sky, or other viewing cards, outside their home territory. But the ruling also does not force any broadcaster make their viewing card available in other territories.



Updates and any other Q&A about these recent changes to reception of UK TV in Spain will be posted at :


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