UK Satellite TV in Spain. UK TV Spain. British TV Spain. English TV Spain. Television in Spain. UKTVinSpain
In order to receive UK satellite TV in Spain, you will require :
a satellite dish – the size of dish required will depend where exactly you are in Spain,
a Low Noise Block (LNB)
and a digital satellite receiver / decoder – like a Sky digibox or a Freesat set top box.
The satellite dish collects the signals and reflects them to the LNB which collects the signals and sends then down the cable to the digital satellite decoder which then turns those signals into pictures and sounds.
Many satellite TV channels are available for free (with no subscription) and there are also Pay TV channels that require a viewing card and a monthly subscription – like the Sky TV channels.
Satellite Signals (North Beams, South Beams, UK Beams, Astra 2 Satellites)
The UK Satellite TV channels like BBC, ITV and Sky TV are broadcast from a series of satellites located at 28.2 to 28.5 degrees east.
Previous UK TV satellites have been Astra 2A, Astra 2B Astra 2C, Astra 2D and Eurobird 1 / Eutelsat 28A.
These satellites transmit signals aimed at Europe but the coverage on the ground varies considerably, due to the beams the satellites transmit their signals on.
The two old satellites, Astra 2A and Astra 2B, have two beams, a north beam and a south beam. The north beam is / was harder to receive in Spain than the south beam. This is why some UK Satellite TV channels were unavailable mid afternoon, even on the larger satellite dishes. Astra 2D had a narrow beam or spot beam, heavily focused on the UK. This beam used to carry the BBC and ITV channels, and this beam was the reason why areas of Spain like the Costa Blanca required big 1.8m and 2.4m satellite dishes.
It is also worth noting that the BBC TV, ITV, Sky TV and other channels on the satellite do not own any satellites; they just rent the frequencies on them from the satellite owners – Astra. It is, therefore, a misconception that “Sky change the signal footprints of the satellites” as in fact the signal footprints are determined many months before the satellite is even built!
The default transponder frequency setting for Sky TV in Spain is 11778, V, 27.5, 2/3 – Sky Default Transponder Frequency Settings
UK Satellite TV Changes
In February 2012, the channels on Astra 2D were migrated over to Astra 1N. Astra 1N was a temporary satellite, as Astra 2D was coming to the end of its operational lifespan. This has meant that many UK Satellite TV channels like BBC and ITV, that previously required a large 1.8m and 2.4m satellite dish, were available on smaller 80cm or 100cm satellite dishes in Spain.
In February 2014 the UK Satellite TV channels on Astra 1N were migrated over to Astra 2E, their new permanent satellite home. This has meant that reception of many UK Satellite TV channels like BBC and ITV changes in many areas of Spain. Some areas, like Valencia and the Costa Blanca, can still use smaller satellite dishes, but other areas of Spain now require the much larger 1.8m and 2,4m satellite dishes.
Getting UK Satellite TV Abroad. How can I watch British TV outside the UK?
A question we are asked many times – how can I watch UK TV overseas?
The main reason why UK Satellite TV is restricted to the UK, and not freely available abroad, is mainly down to broadcast rights, copyright and territories.
All TV programme producers sell their programmes to be broadcast in certain regions and countries. Broadcasters pay to show content in those territories, normally under some exclusivity deal. If these programmes were able to be viewed freely in other countries, then the programme makers may not be able to get sales from other countries channels…and therefore not make any money! Some channels are not so strict, as they rarely have such “copyrighted” material, and hence why such channels as BBC News and Sky News can be freely available around Europe.
You are only allowed to watch Sky TV subscription channels if you’re living in the UK Republic of Ireland. Sky will not accept subscriptions from outside of these areas, as they will only issue Sky TV subscription viewing cards to UK and ROI addresses.
As the satellite signals used by Sky TV are available outside the UK, due to the nature of how satellite broadcasting scan send a signal over a large area such as Europe, many of these programmes are encrypted and only available with a sky TV viewing card issued to a UK address.
Free to Air TV / Subscription Free UK TV in Spain
There are over 200 channels including BBC TV and ITV channels available to watch for FREE without any form of subscription. These are referred to as Free To Air (FTA) channels.
It is NOT illegal to watch UK Satellite TV channel like BBC, ITV outside of the UK. It is generally accepted that signals designed to be limited to a specific country, like the UK, may “overspill” to other countries, and be able to be received with the relevant size dish.
The main UK broadcasters have to use this “weak signal” satellite for their channels to try and ensure that their channels are not easily available outside the UK. This ensures compliance, to the best of their ability, without affecting the reception in the UK, of their contract and copyright agreements with the programme makers.
However, it is still possible to receive and watch these free to air channels, even though the broadcasters have tried to limit their “reach” across Europe by having their channels on this weak signal, by he use of the big satellite dishes. As far as I am aware, you are not in breach of copyright laws by viewing them, as the signals are unencrypted, free, and the broadcaster has taken steps to limit the reach of these channels, then there is little that can be done.
In fact the Freesat official site says:
“Freesat is run as a UK service for television viewers in the UK. The broadcast signal is focused onto the UK, and Freesat equipment is only sold in the UK and requires a UK postcode to install. However, it may be possible outside the UK to use a satellite receiver to pick up channels available on Freesat. We recommend you take advice from a specialist satellite retailer or installer.”
UK Sky TV Systems
The main UK Satellite TV pay provider, Sky TV, also operates from the satellites at 28.2 to 28.5 degrees east. These channels are broadcast with encryption, and can only be viewed by the use of a Sky subscription card. The amount of channels that are “unblocked” will depend on the subscription charge you pay.
As far as I am aware, it is NOT illegal to use a Sky viewing cards or watch Sky subscription TV channels outside of the UK. However, you are breaking the terms and conditions of you Sky contract, which states that the Sky viewing card is only for use within the UK only. This is Sky’s method of ensuring that their contracts with the film, sports and other TV program makers is satisfied, as a Sky card can only be issued to a UK address.
Is it illegal to watch Sky premium channels and not pay a subscription? Are cardsharing systems legal?
Simply Yes. The viewing of pay TV channels without the proper subscription to the channels operators is illegal. So if you are watching Sky Sports or Sky movies on a system without an official Sky viewing card, or by not paying Sky a monthly subscription, or via an card sharing system then you are watching those channels illegally.
High Definition (HD) / HD TV in Spain
To receive and view HD channels you will require a HD decoder and a HD TV. There are a number of free HD channels available, such as BBC HD and Channel4HD, and an increasing number of HD subscription channels. The number of HD channels is slowly increasing and eventually all channels will be in HD. There are two forms of HD, 720 and 1080. These refer to the number of lines of data the TV’s can replicate, so a 1080 HD TV provides a picture with more lines of data than a 720 HD TV, and thus a clearer and more defined picture.
Mesh / Microwave Rebroadcasting systems
Sometimes people ask “How do I watch view Sky TV in Spain without a dish or without subscription?”. The simple, and only answer, is illegally!
Some companies offer a service that can provide TV without the use of a satellite dish. These systems use a relay system to rebroadcast the satellite signals from a base station. This base station can be many hundreds of kilometres away so you can in effect be receiving a tenth generation signal. These systems are not authorized by any broadcaster (BBC, ITV or Sky) and are in breach of international copyright laws. In fact some suppliers have removed the Sky subscription channels (Sports, Movies etc) due to pressure from the
legal broadcasters and copyright holders leaving many customers unhappy, especially as they have been replaced by channels that can be received on a small 80cm dish for FREE!! Many customers made the assumption that as the company providing the service was legal (eg paying taxes and properly registered), the channels it was providing were also legal, which they were not. They ask for a monthly subscription for FREE TV channels, and are very limited as to the number of channels and interactive, teletext and other “Red Button” services that they provide.
Freeview / TDT
You cannot receive or watch UK Freeview in Spain. Freeview is not the same as Freesat – a common misconception. Freeview is transmitted in the UK only by the local TV transmitters, and is only receivable via a TV aerial, and Freesat is transmitted from satellites and only receivable via a satellite dish. So you cannot receive UK Satellite TV in Spain on Freeview or on TDT
The Spanish version of Freeview is TDT. Although it only broadcasts Spanish television channels, many programmes are available to watch in English.
See our TDT pages for more information.
Other Satellite TV Options
There are many other English satellite television channels available on other satellites, such as Arabsat, Nilesat, Astra, and Hotbird but the main UK channels are only available from one “satellite constellation”.