Jan 182016

A lost satellite is starting to cause headaches for satellites operators, which may impact TV viewing across Europe.

Amos 5 has been declared as “dead” after suffering a major electrical problem in November just after launch. All attempts to recover the satellite were finally given up on in the past week.

However, without any control over the satellite, it can’t be moved away from its current orbit, into the so-called graveyard orbit out of the way of operational satellites.

The powerless satellite, originally located at 17 East, has been moving slowly eastwards along “Clarke Belt”, the operational satellite arc, towards other operational satellites.

Amos 5 has now reached 19 East, and is closing in on the Astra 1 satellite cluster, which carries a lot of European channels, like German and French TV.

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Dec 152015

The BBC and ITV have announced how they will be sharing the coverage of the Euro 2016 Finals.

The opening match of the tournament between hosts France and Romania on 10 June will be on ITV.

The BBC will broadcast the highly anticipated home nations clash between England and Wales on 16 June while ITV will show England’s first and final group games against Russia and Slovakia.

ITV will also show Northern Ireland v Ukraine, Russia v Wales and the Republic of Ireland’s games against Belgium and Italy.

ITV will have first pick of the round of 16 while the BBC will have the first two picks of the quarter- finals

ITV have first pick of the semi-finals.

Both BBC and ITV will show the final.

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Aug 142015

Is watching UK TV in Spain legal?
A question that has confused expats living in Spain for several years.
And the answer is yes and no.
It all depends which UK TV channels, and how you watch them.

Is watching free to air UK TV channels like BBC ITV in Spain legal?

Firstly, the free to air UK TV channels like BBC ITV C4 and Fives.
It is not illegal to watch these channels via satellite direct from the broadcasters.

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Aug 022015

Football League Tonight
Channel 5
Starts August 8

Channel Five is the new home for the Championship Football League and League Cup highlights.

The highlights show will be on Saturdays at 9pm, and promises to show all goals from all matches in the football league.

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Jul 192015

Formula 1 returns from its brief break due to the cancellation of the German Grand Prix, with the Hungarian Grand Prix from the Hungaroring.

And with the tragic news on Friday of the death of Jules Bianchi several months after his horrific crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, the weekend will have a sombre mood.

The Hungarian Grand Prix is on the weekend of the 24th to 26th July 2015.

The race weekend will be live on BBC TV, Sky Sports F1, BeIN Sports and Antenna 3.

Continue reading »

Jul 192015

After reading a few posts on an UK Expat website, about reception of UK TV in Spain, many posters were getting confused with some of the “brand names” being used.

People were recommending a Dreambox, but people were getting confused between the Dreambox satellite receiver, and the Android TV box that is being sold in Spain under the name DreamboxTV.

A Dreambox is a make of satellite receiver that receives is TV signals via a satellite dish.
A Dreambox can be used to watch subscription free and Pay tv Channels (with the correct viewing card)

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Feb 282015

BBC licence fee to remain for a decade

A committee of MPs has decided to support the retention of BBC licence fee for the next decade, however, has stated the licence has “no long-term future”.
The fee has come under pressure with the shift in national viewing habits as audiences increasingly catch up on programmes online.

Figures released by the BBC show that the BBC iPlayer received over 2.6 billion requests for television programmes in 2014—requests from tablets increased by over 50% to 801 million, while those from mobiles were up by over 30% to 662 million.

Continue reading »

Feb 122015

Astra has premiered an Ultra HD demonstration channel for UK and Ireland. The simulcast of the existing demo channel for continental Europe is being broadcast from 28.2 degrees East.

“We are delighted to have set up this demonstration channel at the prime orbital position for the UK market,” said Mike Chandler, managing director of ASTRA (GB) Ltd, SES’s subsidiary in the UK. “We are making use of the capacity to enable UK and Irish retailers, installers and enthusiasts to understand the technology that makes UHD possible, and what it will mean for their viewing experience. We encourage our trade partners to show our Ultra HD demo channel at their points of sale for demonstration purposes.”

The channel features a mix of colourful and extremely detailed scenes that demonstrate the clarity of Ultra HD television – urban sports, exotic animals and nature, cityscapes – along with footage of SES’s headquarters in Betzdorf. It can be received with a standard satellite dish connected to a state-of-the-art Ultra HD flat screen TV featuring an integrated satellite tuner and HEVC decoder.

Astra Ultra HD Frequency :
Satellite: ASTRA 2E
Frequency: 12.441 GHz
Polarisation: Vertical
Symbol Rate: 29.5 MS/s
Modulation: DVB-S2 QPSK
FEC: 3/4

Oct 172014

The BBC Satback service, operated by Arqiva on the Intelsat 907 satellite at 27.5 west is there for back up to the UK Freeview service.
BBC Satback operates a limited amount of UK TV channels, BCB1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, ITV1 and C4.
The BBC Satback service is encrypted and is not for public use.

But since the change of the main UK TV channels to the new Astra 2E and Astra 2F satellites, meaning a loss of these channels in some areas of southern Spain and Portugal, some installers have been installing systems to enable reception of these channels on BBC Satback. Access to BBC Satback involves hacking into the system, using code keys from the internet, to access the BISS encrypted channels.

Apparently Arqiva are aware of this and they, and the broadcasters, are not thought to be pleased about their encrypted service being hacked and used for watching UK TV in areas that the broadcasters are not intended.

There have always been rumours that the BBC Satback service would either change their encryption to a more secure encryption or cease operations altogether.

Well the current rumour, supposedly form someone at Arqiva, suggests that changes may happen before Christmas.

So we shall have to wait and see….

May 162014

Over the last week or so a number of posts on satellite forums have reported weaker signals from the Astra 2E satellites UK spot beam.

This UK beam carries the majority of the BBC and ITV channels.

Reception in the UK is not affected, but in some areas of Europe, some people have noticed a lot more “pixilation” or loss of some of the BBC and ITV channels recently.

Some of these people are living in areas where the satellite dish they have is “on the edge” and so any changes in signal would be more noticeable. Just one of the problems of going for the smallest dish possible and not a larger dish that allows for that little bit more leeway if the signals change.

Various theories about this recent change in signals have been banded around.

Satellites do have a tendency to “move” around in space – they are not always in the exact same place. So every so often the satellites have to fire up their positioning thrusters to perform some “station keeping”, moving the satellite back into its correct place. This will have an effect on the signal footprint back on earth.

We are moving into summer. Heat and humidity can cause problems for satellite signals. IN areas where the signals is already weak, loss of more signals due to heat and humidity can cause a loss of channels.

Sep 262013

Astra 2E News Update: 26/09/13 : Astra 2E satellite, the new UK TV satellite, and its launch vehicle, the Proton M rocket, have been rolled out onto Pad 39, in preparation for its launch on Sunday night. (see video below)

“Proton-M” rocket with the upper stage “Breeze-M” and the “Astra-2E” UK TV satellite moved to launch platform “Pad 39”

This is in preparation for the launch on the evening of Sunday 29th (Eurotime) and 30th Sept (Baikonur Cosmodrome time).

Launch time: 2138 GMT Sunday / 22.38 UK and 23.36 Central Europe

The launch will also be shown live on Astra 19 East, frequency 11.023MHz SR 22000, FEC 5/6, and will begin half an hour before the satellite launch.

More Astra 2E news and updates at :

Aug 232013

This is an article / advertising feature that appeared in an expat “newspaper” under the heading of “Spain faces UK TV turn-off” – which is yet another example of misleading and incorrect information about UK TV in Spain and the “rumoured” UK TV Switch Off in Spain”!

RESIDENTS of Spain will find themselves without British television next month if the re-scheduled launch of the Astra 2E rocket is successful.

The rocket is due to blast-off from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan on September 15, replacing the existing device and providing free-to-air and encrypted direct-to-home digital TV and satellite broadband services for Europe and the Middle East.

The new satellite, however, will not broadcast BBC television channels or radio stations to Spain, leaving residents that receive transmissions through their satellite dishes without the extensive range of British channels.

Mike Crompton, proprietor of an internet tv provider, said: “So far only the BBC has made any formal statement. Alix Pryde, the Corporation’s director of communications, said the new satellite would signal the end of BBC broadcasts in Spain as it looks to focus on the quality of service transmitted to license fee payers in the UK.

“But the signs for other channels are not good. Be prepared to lose your free to air British TV via your satellite dish setup in the not too distant future.”

ITV were unavailable to comment at the time of writing.


Those viewing via IPTV, a service which provides broadcast via your broadband connection, will not be affected by the change and concerned viewers are being advised to switch to an IPTV provider as soon as possible to avoid being left without the channels.

Crompton said: “We are preparing for a surge in demand for our IPTV service , but we urge viewers to get in touch sooner rather than later so they are not affected by the change.”

The rocket was originally scheduled for launch in July, but was postponed following the failure of the preceding Proton launch.

The Proton-M crashed seconds after take-off, exploding into a fireball and contaminating the crash site with around 500 tonnes of poisonous fuel.

An investigation into the crash found that one of the parts had been incorrectly fitted, causing the rocket to head towards the ground rather than skywards.



Our thoughts and views after someone sent us the article:

A potential scare story, as until the new satellite is launched, tested, positioned, and operational, no-one will know what reception or what sized dish you will need. And this is expected to be late October / November – so no immediate rush.

Some BBC channels are already on the first new satellite, and are accessible on an 80/90/100cm satellite dish in some areas of Spain, like the Valencia area. But yes in other areas of Spain such as Barcelona, Andalucia, and Costa del Sol, a 1.8 or 2,.4m or larger satellite dish may be required – which proved that many of these articles are very general in their information, ,yet actual satellite signal reception is very area specific, and varies a great deal around Spain.

It is all down to signal overspill, and although the “beams” will be UK focussed, there will be overspill into other areas – like there has been overspill onto other areas for the last 20+ years.

The theory is that if you can receive Channel 5, which has been on the first new satellite since December 2012, then you should, in theory, be able to receive any channels on the seconds new satellite, since the satellites are the same make model and have the same footprint. So it could be that many people will not notice any change, but until it hap[pens no-one knows for sure, and anyone saying they know is only guessing.

The article also references someone from the BBC which something she did not say – “Alix Pryde, the Corporation’s director of communications, said the new satellite would signal the end of BBC broadcasts in Spain as it looks to focus on the quality of service transmitted to license fee payers in the UK.”
Here is the article used for this “quote” –
where she says : “The overspill of the BBC’s services will be reduced so viewers outside the UK will find it even harder to receive them”
“Harder” – not “the end of”.

Is it weird or coincidence that many of these stories / articles come form people selling IPTV services. (someone phoned me recently asking if it was true that everyone would lose ALL UK TV, including all Sky channels in August 2013 – surprise surprise this came from someone living in their village selling “IPTV” android boxes that stream UK TV via the internet). IPTV / internet is fine if you find you are in an area that will have no satellite signal, but:

– why buy an IPTV / Internet TV streaming system now when it may not actually be needed

– how do these IPTV sellers know what the signal will be like when the satellite has yet to be launched – I dare say the satellite owners and engineers do not actually know what the actual reception will be like in Spain!

– although changes will affect Spain, in some areas it could be for the better, others for the worse – as we have found from the first new satellite.

– no matter what you will not lose ALL UK TV channels, as some channels are on a “European” beam, designed for European coverage, and some channels are on satellites not affected by the change over.

– most of these IPTV systems / android boxes simply use the free uktv streams from filmon, or the free XBMC software – so no need to buy anything anyway, as they are available for free on a PC or android tablet!

– if you can get a satellite signal you can benefit from full HD live TV (BBC1HD, BBC2HD, ITV1HD, C4HD, C5HD – and soon more HD from the BBC), something which these IPTV services cannot yet offer – with many live TV streams less than standard definition resolution. Why have a nice 50″ HDTV and supply it with a sub standard definition internet signal ? That’s like having a Ferrari and putting in an engine from a 2CV!


And here are a few comments from other readers of the article:

“I do wish the O***e P***s would stop giving space to these expensive IPTV providers when nobody knows which parts of Spain are going to be affected by the satellite switch or whether a larger dish will solve the problem. Until the switch over is complete nobody can say for sure what is going to be lost or gained.”

“I remember similar concerns when the BBC changed to Astra 2D ten years ago, and only the Costa Blanca was affected.”




Mar 072013

Websites that retransmit live TV over the internet without permission from broadcasters are in breach of copyright, Europe’s highest court has ruled in a judgment with wide ranging implications.

The landmark ruling published on Thursday by the European court of justice (ECJ) means that dozens of sites showing live TV in the UK, including the London-based, must now get rights clearance from broadcasters.

Legal experts said the decision was likely to spark a renewed clampdown by rights holders against similar sites, many of which show live sport.

The case was brought by ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 against, which streams free-to-air shows from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

The ECJ decided that the website, which carries pre-roll advertising before shows, was in breach of a 2001 law that describes the original broadcasters as “authors” of the programming, giving them the exclusive right to approve or restrict its use.

“EU law seeks to establish a high level of protection for authors of works, allowing them to obtain an appropriate reward for the use of those works,” the ECJ said in its judgment.

“Television broadcasters may prohibit the retransmission of their programmes by another company via the internet.

“That retransmission constitutes, under certain conditions, a ‘communication to the public’ of works which must be authorised by their authors.”

An ITV spokeswoman said: “ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 welcome the judgment by the European court of justice. The judgment makes it clear that, subject to some limited defences, broadcasters and content producers should be able to prevent unauthorised streaming of free-to-air channels.

“We now look forward to the UK court’s implementation of this judgment. We reserve the right to pursue any site or service we believe to be infringing our copyright or using our content in an unlicensed, illegal capacity.”

However, the director, Bruce Pilley, insisted that the ruling would impact “barely 30%” of its 12 million registered users.

TVCatchup has argued that licences granted to ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 by media regulator Ofcom also apply to subsidiary channels such as its own service.

Pilley said: “ is here to stay, we are not thinly disguised purveyors of filth, we remain Europe’s first and only legal internet cable service and the ECJ opinion affects only a handful of channels we carry.”

Until Thursday, it was unclear whether the unauthorised retransmission of live TV online was in breach of copyright laws.

Tony Ballard, a broadcast lawyer and partner at London law firm Harbottle & Lewis, said the ruling was significant.

He added: “It is one in an increasingly long line of decisions by which the court appears to be laying the foundations for a new European legal order in copyright and other forms of intellectual property.

“On the one hand, it is strengthening authors’ rights, such as by extending the concept of communication to the public, which subsumes the old broadcasting right, to encompass the activities of those who, like TVC, intervene in the distribution of broadcast services.

“On the other, it is limiting those rights in pursuit of single market principles by outlawing exclusive national licensing, extending the principle of exhaustion of rights to downloads, limiting the amount that copyright proprietors may charge as royalties and balancing owners’ rights against those of users.”