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Explanation of all TV services available for expatriates in Spain.

tvtechnologyPosted by tvtechnology on Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:01am in Broadband Internet, Wifi, Phone and TV
2 replies872 views3 members subscribed

This article covers all the options which are available in Spain for UK & European expatriates wishing to receive TV services in their own language.


SATELLITE & DISHES

Receiving your programming content overseas can be confusing, with a myriad of different options. Below we explain all the available services. This webpage covers Satellite, IPTV / internet TV, rebroadcasting localised services and rental options. In the UK most free to air systems for reception of the main UK terrestrial channels are based on two options – either Freeview or Freesat. The former being based on terrestrial antenna system (which we cannot receive in Spain) & Freesat or Free to air, which can be received locally with a Satellite dish.

There is also Sky from the UK & the reception of this overseas is possible. For free to air content, satellite systems are generally the first recommendation, as offer the original and highest quality format, with the widest channel availability. An important point – these are without further subscription costs. Once you install a satellite dish, for free to air TV – BBC / ITV etc, there are no ongoing costs with this type of system. UK terrestrial channels are available High Definition options and Dolby Digital sound.

You can connect to surround sound systems or soundbars.

PROS

No subscriptions for free to air TV (the UK & other European countries).

UK Sky is available if required with the appropriate subscription.

Original quality including 3D, HD & Dolby Digital Surround audio – as per the UK.

Most developed system & fastest receiver hardware.

Can connect any amount of people to a dish, from a single user to a large community or apartment block.

Satellite receivers now can offer IPTV as well as satellite reception in a single set top box. 

Receiving English language free to air TV directly via satellite in Spain is fully l/legal, as defined under EU law.

CONS

You will need room for a satellite dish, as dishes are required to be larger than in the UK, as the signal overseas is weaker. Costa Blanca South, for example, a minimum of a 1.4-metre dish is recommended, though in some locations larger dishes or smaller dishes may be required due to the variable signal. Signal will not be available in all locations – difficult outside of Europe and even in parts of Spain.

Different dish grades/types, LNB’s & brackets are supplied. Careful consideration of combined equipment will affect performance and overall channel reception & stability.

SATELLITE DISHES & TYPES

The most used option for Free to air TV is a satellite dish, as this gives you the best original digital picture, does not require an internet connection & once installed, there are no further subscriptions for free to air TV.

In many locations, a minimum of a 1.3-1.4 metre dish will be required for reception of UK TV channels in parts of Spain. For other countries, please review reception maps. European footprint map link. Dishes can be used privately in Spain under EU law & can be used individually or shared between neighbours or communities.

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Single panel dishes produce the best signal.  Segmented panel types which do not perform well are generally best avoided in weak signal areas. Of the single panel dishes, there are two types – one is spun (Turkish or Eastern European origin) the other is pressed.

The pressed dishes tend to be of a thicker construction and generally perform to a better standard. Spun dishes are generally of a thinner construction and in most instances have a lower signal gain. As most manufacturers do not put their name on the dishes, another way of checking is the quality of the mount and base. Budget dishes will have thinner metalwork & brackets which are not as strong as the larger diameter tubing on better quality dishes. 




IPTV & UK TV STREAMING THROUGH THE INTERNET

Depending on where your router is located, when streaming video content, a hard-wired connection is preferable to a Wi-Fi connection. 

Wi-Fi connection can slow internet speeds between 10% – 50% depending on the location of router and property construction type. If you have good speed initially and strong Wi-Fi connection, then usually not problematic - though Wi-Fi signal is variable, so will depend on each location, property & where the router is in proximity to the set-top box or other device being used.

Devices are available that offer both hardwire and Wi-Fi options, the highest specification offers best-combined options.

Speed-wise most IPTV services used around 2Mbps for SD and 6Mbps for HD. Make allowances for internet providers speeds dipping during busy periods. Those on fibre optic internet should have no issues, those in rural locations using old type cable connection or Wimax type rebroadcasting internet (small 20cm dish on the roof) have slower speeds and need to check. Check your internet.

DIFFERENT HARDWARE AND IPTV SERVICES. HOSTED VS SUBSCRIPTION FREE OPTIONS

One of the benefits of IPTV services is the option of multiple service languages. This is beneficial over a satellite system, as often you need a satellite dish for each language, so not always practical or affordable to install multiple dishes for a single user system. With IPTV, you can have a mix of international languages within one service and set top box.

Other service options for hosted providers and hardware includes catch up services of UK & other channels, recording and inclusive video-on-demand content. 

Hardware subscription-based - IPTV Set-top boxes are available from a number of manufacturers. Check with your TV provider to confirm that your set-top box is compatible with their service. For subscription-based content, manufacturers such as Octagon, Mag, Blademedia, Opus & Formuler are some well-known brands.

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The functionality of subscription-based boxes is they are set up for the service provider and designed to be easy to operate for the typical home user. This is very different in use, to the KODI or Android-based solutions, rather than multiple applications, which are often designed by independent developers, the subscription-based hardware usually uses a singular and simple operating system - much like a UK Sky or Freesat box, with everything integrated - Full program guide, catch up and on-demand services.

Hosted solutions offer set packages, content and services & support. Not all hosted services offer the same standards. Some over share content which leads to poor system performance. 

The general rule of thumb is the cheaper it is, the more likely it is to be a less stable service. So if very cheap - usually for a reason!

Applications for different devices are available with hosted solutions. Examples include Apple ipad, iPhone, Apple TV, also the Android phones, tablets and TV boxes. PC & MAC also have applications available.

This allows options of watching TV on multiple devices, anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection.

Hybrid equipment & receivers SATELLITE + IPTV Options now are available which combine a single set top box solution, to access multiple services. 

SUBSCRIPTION FREE IPTV SET-TOP BOXES. EXAMPLE - THE AMAZON FIRESTICK.

Subscription free equipment usually uses the Android operating system with a media application for the TV called KODI.

KODI allows other apps to be loaded onto the equipment, which then scrapes the internet for the free content you wish to watch.

Technically, this type of service is more 'home hobbyist' rather than the 'average home user'.  It is technical in terms of use & not what you would usually expect from the main manufacturers type of TV equipment. 

Most home consumers, unless patient and technically minded, now do not generally use this type of equipment as simply not always the case of turning on the TV and watching it, without potential issues. Multiple applications and updates, lack of stable software and known or unstable resource material or servers -  cannot be defined as a simple ‘integrated solution’.

With anything free on the internet, video streaming wise - there are other issues. Free servers have limited capacity. As they are usually unmonitored,  often with live TV,  too many people connect to the servers, then they get overloaded and issues with viewing begin. Usually, stuttering, freezing or black/blank screens = no TV. 

Caution - 'Amazon Firestick you can get everything free on'. All use the same KODI system and underlying applications, which often are written by individuals or small teams, not large companies and often not updated. Apps also have been pulled for legal reasons of apps allowing access to certain content. 

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Often apps within KODI do not work and there is a continual type of cycle of updates required. This is not official Amazon software and does not operate in the same way as a stock Amazon product.

The popular Amazon Firestick does not work in Spain or overseas in the same manner as the UK or the original country of service. No BBC iplayer, catch up or any of the UK services, when overseas, as device picks up you are overseas. You can purchase the Firestick internationally, though content and services will be specified in the language of residence. 

Some sellers offer the Amazon Firestick 'Fully Loaded' with free everything. In this instance, the Amazon software is not used, with KODI sideloaded and then the Firestick behaves in the same manner as every other Android / KODI Android box. No longer operating with the Amazon software and integration with Amazons services. 

This can mean the content is unstable for much live TV as resources are freely available ones on the internet and not hosted and monitored. Unlike Amazons own service or Netflix.

Software and functionality can differ between this type of equipment depending on how the set-top box has been set up & also the specification of hardware. Equipment is available from €50-€250. It should be noted whether buying a €50 set-top box or a €250 one, if the freely available streams host servers are overloaded, then reliability and overall stability will not be much different, whatever the cost of the hardware.

Use of this type of subscription-free IPTV equipment is different user experience to a traditional satellite or cable receiver.  We would not recommend this type of system to those individuals who are not technically minded and / or require a simple, straightforward and stable solution.

Due to consumer feedback, we now do not recommend or support any KODI type services. Too many issues reported by consumers, to recommend.

Generally, most request a simple and reliable & stable solution – IPTV wise, KODI is the bottom of the list. The obvious rule applies, if something is freely available & is unmonitored, then there cannot be any guarantees of performance or service - as no one is paying for anything! 

We recommend caution when being offered  ‘every last sports channel for free',  or a one-off payment for the set-top box. Not possible.

No one can promise anything on a subscription-free IPTV service. 

Anyone doing so or making long-term promises of such is providing incorrect or false information.

PROS - SUBSCRIPTION FREE IPTV

No satellite dish required.

Portable hardware solutions.

Systems available for worldwide use.

Multiple language options on the same system. 

Applications are available.

Cheap.

CONS

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No guarantee of any content as hosted freely without payment or monitoring.

Indie applications within Kodi can be unreliable.

Can be frustrating and technical to use for the non technically minded.

RENTAL SCHEMES – ALL TYPES

Localised TV service rental schemes can cost over €300 per year per household – monthly subscriptions, usually around €25 or more per month + VAT / IVA.

There are companies which offer this type of scheme either with a satellite system or via rebroadcasting service, which uses local transmission mast to transmit to a small dish (20cm) on your roof – if signal available locally.

PROS

Includes servicing

Reduced or subsidised initial installation cost.

With rebroadcasting option, uses small 20-40cm dish.

CONS

If a rebroadcast system, quality is below satellite & can suffer interference related issues due to nature of the localised microwave transmission types.

Expensive long term. €300 per year, after 5 years you would have spent in excess of €1500 to receive free to air TV. In many locations €300 worth of satellite dish bought and paid for, as a one-off – rather than rental), works out considerably more economical, as pays for itself in a year, or just over.

You do not own the hardware, as paying a ‘rental fee’.

For the similar monthly fees, there are IPTV services which offer more content AND the catch-up and video-on-demand content.

REBROADCASTING  - LIMITED LOCAL AVAILABILITY

These companies use a local mast to rebroadcast the signal to a 20-40 cm dish with a basic receiver. 

If you are offered these channels through a small dish, it will be from this type of ‘Rebroadcasting’ service. HD / 3D services & Dolby digital audio is not available with these type of systems as are a compressed and retransmitted signal.

Due to bandwidth restrictions, a limited selection of the FTA channels are available with this service, some of these companies are offering subscription channels illegally from other service providers, with no permissions.

Using a rebroadcast service, you will be asked to pay an ongoing monthly subscription charge, usually between €20 – €35 per month for as long as you wish to use the service. Should the service be interrupted or stopped you will not get any refund of the system or installation charges.

Picture quality & resolution is lower than that of direct service as the signal is compressed due to bandwidth restriction giving on average a picture resolution of 20% – 30% below a standard definition picture. Whilst this is less noticeable on a smaller television, as the screen size becomes larger this drop in quality becomes more obvious.

PROS

Only a small dish required

Service included with monthly payments.

Reduced installation costs, as subsidised with ongoing subscription payments.

CONS

Compressed channel service, with variable picture quality – depending on location.

Paying for free to air content, expensive over a period of time.

Limited channel selection in comparison to Satellite & IPTV. 

More modern, better value services with more content now available. 

www.televisiontechnology.eu

[email protected]

865774055



Written by

tvtechnology

tvtechnology

Helpful member

Posts: 217

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Location: Orihuela Costa

Joined: 19 May 2015

killjoy

Posted: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:46am

killjoy

Super helpful member

Posts: 2054

1186 helpful points

Location: Orihuela Costa

Joined: 4 Nov 2017

Posted: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:46am

Moller Clima/SAT in Torrevieja next to Iceland has got it all and knows the best option for your area. Talk to them in your language and benefit from over 40 yeras experience.

Angebadge

Posted: Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:36pm

Angebadge

Super helpful member

Posts: 1111

1595 helpful points

Location: Moraira

Joined: 28 Jan 2019

Posted: Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:36pm

Great, Very comprehensive. So much on the market and it can be very confusing. Will you keep your guide updated, as changes happen? 🤪🥂

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