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Are you ready for the ‘Big TV Switch Off’ in Spain?

PUBLISHED: February 7, 2013 at 1:06 pm  •  LAST EDITED: May 19, 2014 at 2:03 pm
Entertainment, Features  •  1,196 Comments

Are you ready for the ‘Big TV Switch Off’ in Spain?

• Louis Smith with partner Flavia Cacace

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Internet TV specialist Michael Coard explains why and when you will be losing your British TV this year

WHEN Channel 5 disappeared in a puff of smoke before Christmas taking with it all those chestnuts such as CSI and Celebrity Big Brother, there was – perhaps understandably – little more than a minor ripple of concern

That was until the million or so British expats in Spain learnt that ITV and BBC might be next.

The horror of losing Coronation Street and Eastenders, not to mention X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, was too much to bear for some people, with one even commenting in a recent article that his wife would ‘force him to move back to Blighty if she lost her British TV’.

Action stations then for many, rushing out to find the best value solution to the upcoming problem… but do they really need to worry?

Well the short answer is ‘yes’, but it is not imminent and nobody knows exactly which parts of Spain will be affected.

What is pretty certain though is Andalucia is in for the chop. And even if you live in Gibraltar you will almost certainly lose your Freesat channels this summer.

It all stems back to the launch of the SES Astra Satellite fleet some 13 years ago since when expats on the Costa del Sol could enjoy their favourite television programs via this satellite with little interruption.

However the recent and planned improvements to the Astra Satellite fleet will change all this.

Let me explain.

Our television is provided by several individual satellites positioned in geo-stationary orbit at an approximate height of 22.000 miles above the earth at 28.2deg east of south.

The individual satellites are placed several miles apart from each other and they all help to create a strong and reliable TV signal for their clients; the TV networks, such as Canal Plus, Rai Uno and ITV.

The problem is that the life of a satellite is around 12 years and as most of the present fleet were launched around 13 years ago they need to be replaced.

This was demonstrated by the rapid decline in performance of the satellite Astra 2D.

Although launched in late 2000, its performance declined so quickly that a quick fix was required and all channels were transferred to Astra 1N, a satellite intended for the use of German and Spanish channels at a slot of 19 degrees, but moved to 28.2 to assist the failing 2D.

All of the popular British channels were moved from 2D to 1N early last year and reception throughout Spain improved especially in Gibraltar and the Balearic Islands, with Andalucia also faring well.

However this is certainly all about to change this summer when 1N will be moved back to its original slot of 19deg as originally planned and all British channels will be moved to the new ‘big birds’ called Astra 2E and 2F.

Astra 2F was put into service in December 2012 and Astra 2E has a predicted launch date at the end of May.
These two satellites are of similar build and specification and have two main broadcast beams.

These are a ‘UK spot beam’ concentrated entirely on a UK domestic client base and a pan European beam.

And that is the problem as the UK spot beam will not be received on the Costa Del Sol even with a whopping three metre dish and therefore all channels will be lost.

How do we know this?

Well it has, in fact, already been proved when Channel Five moved to the UK spot beam in December and disappeared from our screens (apart from Five HD (High Definition) which is a part of the Sky package).

The date for the major ‘switch off’, as it has come to be known, is being estimated to be at some point this summer when all the UK public service channels will move to the spot beam.

It is likely to happen around two months after the satellite has been launched, positioned in the correct place and tested properly, so at a guess I would say late July.

This is already backed up by missives from the BBC (see end) where they explain about the changes being due to the need to improve services for all UK based viewers, particularly in places like northern Scotland.

Ultimately it seems certain that there will be a loss of channels in Andalucia, as well as Portugal and the Canary Islands.

Sky channels are less likely to be affected as it is probable that they will be broadcast via the pan European beam that can be received in Southern Spain without problem.

They’ve got plenty of clients down here, after all. But nothing is certain.

Luckily there are alternatives to continue getting UK TV using your internet connection.

Some free services, such as Filmon, already exist but you view on your PC or connect a cable to your main TV, however the image quality isn’t so good, and you have to pay if you want it in HD.

Another, better alternative is to subscribe to a professional streaming service and connect an IPTV set top box to your main television.

You will need a stable internet connection of at least 2M and will be able to enjoy many advanced features such as ‘never miss a program’ catch up TV, programme-recording, up-to-date movies in English and live Premier League football.

And to boot, you will be able to use the IPTV set top box to access YouTube, Google and everything else…

My advice, don’t hang around… get prepared for the ‘big switch off’ whoever you choose.

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Reader Comments »

Bertie Wooster

February 7th, 2013 2:14 pm

In Gibraltar, we can access BBC iPlayer but not the ITV and Channel 4 equivalents.

Perhaps HM Goverment of Gibraltar can negotiate a deal whereby computers with Gibraltar IP addresses would be allowed to access these ‘players’ on account of Gibraltar being sovereign British territory. This would be entirely justified on the basis of close cultural links, our schools following the UK national curriculum, etc.


February 7th, 2013 2:43 pm

This is the first expert who has come out and said we will definitely lose our British TV channels, others have said lets wait and see what happens when the satellites are in position and all the channel moving has taken place, they have suggested it may be just a case of shifting your dish. I am taking the optimistic view that if SKY is going onto a pan European satellite their package includes the free to air channels (unless they are going to encrypt even those). I think I will keep my money in my pocket fr now.

ian R

February 7th, 2013 3:11 pm


all you need to do is set up a UK VPN or buy a VPN Router if you have more than one device and this will make it look like you have a UK ip address.

Regs ian


February 7th, 2013 6:04 pm

‘Satelite Plus’ pretty much fits the need, as long as you remember to switch the ‘language’ button on films and serials to English. Those programs in Spanish, plus the various sport and news channels, might even become useful for other reasons…


February 7th, 2013 10:05 pm

It’s been known for some time that we were going to lose these programmes. What needs to be cleared up is why have SES have managed to set their ‘new’ footprint to exclude Gibraltar but manages to cover the Canary Islands. It makes you wonder how much influence of the Spanish Government manages to exclude Gibraltar?


February 7th, 2013 11:48 pm

The SES footprint diagrams show that southern Spain should receive coverage from Astra 2E and 2F, in the larger dish sizes (90-120cm). Therefore it seems SES’s own data is incorrect?


February 8th, 2013 2:20 am

Maybe you should have stayed in the UK if you care about British tv that much.


February 8th, 2013 10:46 am

People like to watch their tv abroad, what’s wrong with that?! But turn it all off for me. It turns you into an unproductive unhealthy zombie. Dog The Bounty Hunter’s ok though! actually no.. all off please!!.. oh and Masterchef…


February 14th, 2013 1:45 pm

Despite this info. O.P. STILL runs ads. for satellite T.V. Caveat Emptor!


February 14th, 2013 6:11 pm

that is very unfair of you to say that the Brish have boosted you spanish economy for years


February 24th, 2013 3:28 pm

I’m in the canary islands and have always had a 2.7m dish. This size of dish was required to receive UK TV off the old satellite (2D). Then along came N1 (to temporarily replace an old and failing 2D) and everyone got a much better, stronger, signal and was able to get UK TV on smaller dishes. Now 2F is in place and some channels (like channel 5) have already moved from 1N to the new 2F (which has a very tight UK spot beam). However, I can still get channel 5 today so I also expect to get all of the other channels when they finally migrate to 2F (and the other 2 new birds later this year and next year). So, in reality, my experience in the canary islands is that things have gone back to more or less how it was when 2D was around. The real issue here is the unscrupulous satellite installers who sold small dishes to unsuspecting buyers when they new full well that 1N was a temporary solution for ASTRA and that, come the day 1N was replaced, these small dish’s would prove ineffective. Well, that day has come.


February 28th, 2013 3:54 pm

I agree with Peter saying he will keep his money is his pocket for now. It is probably better to wait and see what happens rather than panic. There are other alternatives such as TV over internet provided by some phone/broadband providers who advertise in the ex-pat press, and presumably these services will be unaffected. Only thing is you need a proper land line for those. Streaming TV over your own internet connection is possible provided you have a UK IP address, which we do have via a legitimate pan-European satellite internet provider – some of you will know what company that is, otherwise you can search on the internet and you will find it easily!

We noticed Channel 5 disappearing a while back but frankly thought ‘so what’. We rely on the BBC for things like the news and Casualty (each to their own…) and radio, but my real fear is losing ITV2/3/4 if the free to air channels were to go. We subscribe to Sky so Sky channels may be OK and the FTA ones might even be included if you subscribe, but we will need to upgrade the internet to a larger monthly quota to watch TV over internet all the time so don’t feel like paying extra for that while still paying for Sky as well.

Re. Ray’s remarks, I wondered how recent installations managed with such a small dish even in mainland Spain, now I’m glad we stuck with a 1.35m dish which we moved when we moved house!

To Pedro I understand your sentiment but I have no objection to Spanish people watching Spanish satellite TV in the UK and I know for a fact that most of the Eastern Europeans in Britain watch their own TV as well as UK TV, why shouldn’t they? You don’t see The Guardian slating them the way they call British ex-pats in Spain the ‘baked bean brigade’, so why shouldn’t we watch UK TV here? We have a Spanish aerial as well.


March 14th, 2013 5:53 pm

If anybody is still reading this article BEWARE do not buy a box and pay for your British TV to be broadcast over the internet. The good old EU that bastion of democracy and freedom has ruled that it is illegal to re broadcast TV channels over the internet except for a very basic service. They are also discussing a pan European ban on pornography (doesn’t bother me) but what next will be banned and how long before the EU gives itself the right to shut down the internet as and when it sees fit such as a civil uprising in one of the countries gripped by austerity.


April 26th, 2013 12:22 pm

I get BritishTV over the Internet. The difference with me and everyone else is, I don’t watch very much TV, so it doesn’t bother me. There will always be ways to access British TV stations. Like others have said, wait and see and then find a way round it!


April 26th, 2013 12:50 pm

Another alternative satellite provider is Canal Digital Plus. Lots of English content and news (inc BBC World) can be found there. Also, it supports version original (VO) so you get English audio track on films. InternetTV is now very cheap, there are now suppliers for just 5 euros a month in Spain.

tristan gaskell

May 3rd, 2013 6:22 pm

you cant say were going to loose them nobody knows unless there is some inside leak from astra in valencia were still getting channel 5 and theres a lot of companys saying this and that its all speculation you just have to sit tight and wait till august september.


May 4th, 2013 3:43 pm

learn spanish and stop whinning, you are in another country. The sooner they remove english language channels the better. if you do not like it, then go home.


May 4th, 2013 8:07 pm

“stop whinning”

Best learn English first, Aron. lol.


May 6th, 2013 5:01 pm

Fred who are the suppliers of Internet for as little as 5 euros a month as the cheapest I have found is 19 plus Iva ?


May 7th, 2013 12:34 am

@Louise, I was referring to an Internet TV (IPTV) provider, who does not provide Internet access, just the TV. I saw a 5 euro (+IVA) a month service in one of the expat magazines. I will have a look and try to find it again.


May 15th, 2013 9:43 am


Miraríamos tu tele encantados su tuviera una calidad media-apta para seres inteligentes. Pero como la tele española da vergüenza y solo hacéis tele para imbéciles, no nos queda otra opción que mirar la nuestra (que por cierto es la mejor del mundo).


May 15th, 2013 2:33 pm

***Mike***. Perhaps you should improve your skills in written Spanish before offering your opinions in that language. Perhaps next, find out how to select the language on digital transmissions. You will find that the original soundtrack of English language productions is available. And it won’t cost you a cent!. What do you pay in the UK??. Well over a hundred pounds a year I would think. And for what?. repeats and telebasura.


May 16th, 2013 8:35 am


Gracias por tus consejos y perdona si trato a tu idioma de forma abusiva. Sabes a lo que me refiero y sabes que tengo razón. Me ofenden comentarios de necios como el tio ese – no es mi intención ofender a los demás.

No quiero entrar en un debate de “mi tele es mejor que la tuya” – cosa que parece más apta para un plató de ‘famosos’ aquellos que se trasmiten diariamente y durante horas en la mayoría de vuestros canales. Hay que decirlo: la tele español da auténtica pena y cualquier español(a) con medio cerebro opina exactamente lo mismo.

¿Lo sabe(s) o no lo sabe(s)?


May 16th, 2013 8:56 am

Un punto más Amparo: ¿no lo ves curioso que a pesar de tu excelente control del inglés has tenido que recurrir al castellano para poder definir exactamente lo que es “telebasura”? Sociolinguísticamente hablando, creo que eso lo dice todo.


May 16th, 2013 3:57 pm

It’s quite possible that there is little difference between the two. However, before condemning all of Spanish tv as exclusive viewing for ‘los imbéciles’, perhaps you should explore what IS available just a little more, not only the good quality Spanish productions but also excellent imports transmitted with their original soundtrack as an option.

Mantén tu mente abierta y puedes lograrlo si verdad estás empeñado en ello. ¡Aquí, estamos en España, no en una colonia britanica!. ¿Sabes?.


May 17th, 2013 8:46 am

Sabía que llegaría la conversación a lo de siempre Amparo. Estamos hablando de diferentes culturas televisivas, nada más. Llevo más años de mi vida viviendo en España que en Inglaterra y creo que me he integrado muy bien, gracias. Todos los paises tienen sus puntos buenos y malos y el hecho que he escogido España para vivir y tener mi família en vez de mi pais natal lo dice todo (mi mujer es de Salmanca – odia la tele española por cierto – y mi hija sevillana). Hasta cogería yo la nacionalidad española pero los mismos funcionarios me dicen que no vale la pena entrar en ese túnel particular de burocracia (pero eso ya es otra cosa).

Si quisiera vivir en una colónia británica, tengo uno justo al lado, pero nunca me lo plantearía. Pareces una persona bastante inteligente, y él ‘Estamos en España’ no parece muy propio de tí.


May 17th, 2013 2:13 pm

Oh stop showing off and trying to outdo each other. This is an English language publication.


May 17th, 2013 4:15 pm

Fair enough. Spanish TV is utter shite though.


May 17th, 2013 4:38 pm

Some comments on here seem to suggest that there will be ‘no problem’ in maintaining access to UK TV channels as all that is required is to subscribe to a VPN provider for about a fiver a month. Not quite as simple as that, I’m afraid, as your ability to stream telly to your PC or onwards to your TV set is limited by what UPLOAD speed you are getting from your provider. A bare minimum of around 1Mb is required for even grainy standard definition, and anything halfway decent requires around 2Mb or more. At time of writing, in Portugal, where I am, the national average is only 1.2Mb, so there are a lot of people with speeds much lower than that. To access a VPN you can’t just use any old Modem/router,either.
There are plenty of sites on which you can check your speed. I find quite useful for that. So if you’re fortunate enough to have a cable connection or even fast ADSL, i.e. in most major cities, well lucky you, VPN ia a viable option, but still shop around. There are a number of potential providers out there who will give you the impression that all will be OK if you pay for their service, but some of them become rather coy when you start talking about slow download speeds. Beware.

James Gold Marbella

May 18th, 2013 1:54 pm

We have taken the plunge and purchased a internet tv box, i was recommended to them via a friend. I placed my order on Tuesday and the box arrived “opened” yesterday, I specifically requested that the box be “ready to go” so all of the channels are loaded up, the only thing i needed a hand with was connecting the box to the router at home as the router is by the door so my local spark run another cat5 cable from the router to behind the telly. I am very impressed with the box as I can use it as a satellite receiver and a iptv box, have now got channel 5 back! The Mrs is a big neighbours fan (i know, i know) so we had to find a solution. Best bit is that there is no monthly fees and I in a couple of weeks I can insert my sky card.

I think divorce lawyers in Marbella will be rushed off there feet if we loose bbc & itv.


May 19th, 2013 2:06 pm

Hi James,

Where did you get the box from? Is your internet also supplied via satellite now then?


May 19th, 2013 7:08 pm

@Louise, the fiver a month service is “” and is advertised in this months OP in fact. Knew I’d seen it somewhere lol.

James Gold Marbella

May 19th, 2013 11:42 pm

Hi Mike, If you go on google search for mr sky tv they sent me a demo video but I cannot find it, I dealt with Jason. if you get stuck will dig out the factura. I am using the basic telefonica package, we only use it for the odd e-mail and skype, I did the speed test and we have 3GB.


May 20th, 2013 10:22 am

Re. Mr Sky TV – they are satellite TV engineers, so unless they’re moving into internet/VPN connections, they won’t be able to help if all other channels follow Channel 5 to a new satellite this Summer. Even a 3 metre dish won’t help, as the signal footprint just won’t be there in Southern Spain/Portugal. As for VPN providers, there are many out there in addition to Expattelly. TVwhenaway/Hidemynet/My privatenetwork/Britishtvanywhere/TVabroad to name but a few. But do check your UPLOAD speed before you sign up to anything, as its vital you have minimum 1Mb and ideally 2Mb, otherwise buffering will make a mess of your viewing.

James Gold Marbella

May 20th, 2013 7:59 pm

Hi micme,

We tried expatv and vpn etc etc but Mrs Gold got fed up having to use a PC what we wanted was something that had a remote control like we are used to and all the BBC ITV CH5 etc that would work via the internet as it looks like we would require a 6M dish to get BBC ITV etc and our El Presidente would have a heart attack if we asked him for one that big.

A friend of ours in Hong Kong recommended mr sky tv as they purchased a box from them 3/4 years ago. We spend 6 months a year in Spain so not having any TV would be a real issue for us. I did my homework (as with any purchase), there first iptv demo video on youtube was in 2008, so not a quick start up looking to cash in. I am just waiting to get an additional piece of software so that I can insert my card from UK to watch sports etc

I think you will find that UPLOAD is irrelivent, it is DOWNLOAD speed that is of IMPORTANCE.


May 20th, 2013 10:53 pm

Upload speed is the more critical for live streaming, particularly as its usually about a tenth of the download speed from any given ISP. You’ll need at least 0.7 to 1.0 for anything watchable, and up to 2.0 for HD. Loads of info on the net to that effect.


May 20th, 2013 11:09 pm

“a 6M dish to get BBC ITV etc”

James, a 60m dish won’t help you get the channels you desire as there is no signal in southern Spain. Mid-Spain gets a signal, but not Andalucia.

James Gold Marbella

May 20th, 2013 11:28 pm

Hi Mike, I have eventually found that video link on youtube, my inbox dissapear on my samsung, think I need to stick to old fashioned “green” and “red” button mobile in future ha ha i still miss my old nokia, its all touch screens and apps now.


Good luck


James Gold Marbella

May 21st, 2013 12:13 am

Hi micmc

I think you are getting confused with “slingbox” you do not need to upload anything with this iptv box that I purchased you just “download” I have nothing to “upload”.

What system or way are you going to use once the signals disappear in a “puff of smoke” ???

Mrs Gold is Happy, and I am happily surfing web at same time and no picture break up.

Hopefully BBC & ITV will come to there senses.

God bless



May 21st, 2013 9:24 am

This box appears to merely stream which you can do with your own laptop and a decent connection. is unstable and channels can disappear as quickly as they appear. I think I will wait until all migration has taken place and see what I can get on the pan european satellite.


May 21st, 2013 9:34 am

Thanks very much for the the info James. When work allows I will check it out some more. I must say I’m also struggling to get my head around exactly how it works as putting your UK sky card in is all news for me and doesn’t stack up with what I know right now about IPTV. Anyway, it’s clearly working, which is not only a relief, but a challenge to find out how.

What’s the picture like? When I’ve watched IPTV it’s been PC-style CGI graphics, which look particuarly bad on a 55″ plasma. I hope it doesn’t all completely go as Mrs. Mike isn’t going to be happy if I insist on moving back to Barcelona just to be able to watch civilised telly!


May 21st, 2013 11:00 am

My ‘last post’ on upload speed. See
The same applies to any other ‘streamer’, e.g. iplayer, itvplayer etc. I’m not making it up… honest.. The same limitation will apply to IPTV as to PC routed VPN, PS3, Xbox or anything else. It all depends on the speeds which your ISP is providing. Personally, I’m waiting to see what happens later this year before I decide which way to go.

James Gold Marbella

May 21st, 2013 11:27 am

Hi Mike, in order to use card from UK I will connect the box to my dish in addition to the internet connection, so I will be able to switch between IPTV & SATELLITE. I am also confused and will put my hands up to being rather clueless on internet stuff, but I am getting a good crisp picture on my Panasonic LED TV. Once I have the card bit working will let you know as they are yet to provide the software update. At the minute I use my sky box from UK and this IPTV box, my sky box is on HDMI 1 and the IPTV is on HDMI 2 so just need to press one button to flick between both, Mrs Gold is a Animal Planet fan on SKY so that is usually on after Neighbours.

Alex B

May 22nd, 2013 5:45 pm

It is no secret that IPTV is the way forward, especially if this is going to be the only way we will be able to get our TV here. I believe that it is therefore also just as important to carefully pick out the service because at the end of the day, this is a whole load of data that is constantly being streamed over an Internet connection. Bandwidth is key, and it needs to be fast, reliable and constant so it is therefore just as important to pick the right ISP. Make sure that your ISP will not penalise you for consuming over “X” GB/month, or that the speed is not restricted after certain limits etc.
I believe that the relationship between the ISP and the IPTV service is crucial, because the ISP is able to set the QoS and specify preferential bandwidth to make sure that the IPTV service is not interrupted. Providers such as Direct Telecom and Europa Network have been at it for a while, but from what I have heard, DT have got a lot further by being able to even control the bandwidth prioritisation through the Router as well as the ADSL network.

This makes sense to me, because you want to have an ADSL with an ISP that will be opening all the doors and setting no limits to the bandwidth needed for your IPTV to work well. The business is going to be in the hands of the ISP’s and only the IPTV services offered by them will work best for logical reasons. I have tried and used all of the above and was pleased with europa until I tried the service from DT. Took them ages to get it right but for me it is now spot on and would certainly recommend them,. They control their adsl network and they provide their own uktv channels, 14 days catchup, and even a Video Club kind of section with movies. I warn you that the “Movies” Video Club is not a real movies data base, they are just being smart and they have only made a video club style representation of the movies that are already in catchup but hey…makes it easier to find i must admit. For me, what does it is that it is 1. its for free if you have their ADSL, and 2. it works on ipads, smart phones and you can watch different channels on each. Their Set Top box is lacking a good remote control, but does its job once you get used to it. Yes…..i am paying an extra 10€ for the “MORE” bundle, but for me it is worth it until I find something better to test out ;-)
here’s the link:

James Gold Marbella

May 23rd, 2013 11:40 am

(laughing) Just got call from supplier that I purchased my IPTV box from. He just read this string, appreciated me posting his link on youtube and has told me I will get the software update next week so I can also insert my sky card.
My system is still working, have spoken to Telefonica & told them we where worried about usage as the box is on from 8am until 11pm every day, have switched to a different package 34.95 a month and been told that we will have no issues & get FREE calls to UK after 6pm. I do not pay any monthly fees for our iptv service its free, oh also there are free movies on the box via movie2k and its all free no monthly charegs.

Mrs Gold still happy, got channel 5



John S

May 26th, 2013 10:13 am

Got one of these Internet Boxes, get over 60 UK Channels including all the Sky & Setanta. Is a steal for €390! I pay €125 every 3 months, but hey..still half price of that what Id normally pay! Great Service!Highly Recommend this to anybody.


May 26th, 2013 12:40 pm

“Is a steal for €390! I pay €125 every 3 months”

€30-35 a month for 60 channels and Setanta/Sky is the norm (box extra).

James Gold Marbella

May 26th, 2013 5:56 pm

Sounds like a bargain! What was name of supplier?


May 26th, 2013 6:06 pm

Agree with Peter’s post on March 14th, 2013 5:53 pm

“If anybody is still reading this article BEWARE do not buy a box and pay for your British TV to be broadcast over the internet”.

This refers to providers of UK TV over the internet that advertise that there is no requirement for a proxy or VPN. They normally provide a set-top box, also called an IPTV box. The box connects to your TV with an HDMI cable and to your broadband, either via wireless (WiFi) or an ethernet cable.

The problem is that those providers who re-transmit the TV streams from their own servers, possibly situated in Spain, fall foul of EU law. This internet re-transmission is now illegal (breach of copyright law) according to the European Court of Justice ruling in early March.

The problem for customers who subsribe to re-transmitted UK TV is that those companies may be forced stop the transmission and face significant penalties.


May 26th, 2013 7:24 pm

IPTV boxes seem a rather expensive solution to me. You’re still only getting streamed, internet TV via this box, just as you are with a VPN. OK, you may have a remote with your IPTV box, but you can also use a remote with a PS3 for example, which is perfectly cable of streaming programmes to your telly via a VPN or proxy server. You can get a decent VPN for around 5 Euros per month on an annual deal – so much cheaper than an expensive IPTV box plus heavy monthly charges – for essentially the same programmes. I also have reservations about the legality of some of these IPTV services, and suspect that someone may rein them in before too long. I’m spending the next few months shopping around the various VPN providers to see what quality stream I’m getting with my average download speed of about 12Mbps and upload 0.8Mbps. Great results so far with my first test provider. If I do decide to go that route, my local Telecom company will only charge me an extra 9 Euros or so per month for unlimited download, so no limits on how much I could watch. So basically, I’m still playing the waiting game, and who knows, we may end up not losing the satellite signal after all, particularly if Sky get in on the act.

James Gold Marbella

May 26th, 2013 10:02 pm

Totally disagree with “Jamies post”

“A poor attempt at scaremongering”

Just like some stories about “SKY TV being illegal to watch in Spain” if it was illegal can you imagine? Same thing scaremongering there where loads of threads on loads of forums with annoying prats suggesting that watch Animal planet is against the Law in Spain. (laughable)

With our IPTV box we don’t pay any money as its free and as the Company that operates the streaming is based in Beverly Hills and owned by a eccentric Billionaire. (Alki David / filmon) Snoop Dog & Charlie Sheen are Directors and the guy is 45th richest in UK worth over 1’200 Million. I feel confident that there service will continue, and should it not then another supplier can be found same day.

I think we are going to be OK. I tested several systems & boxes before making a decision. The box I purchased is a “internet TV box IPTV” but also a “satellite receiver” so should the service be shut down we can use another provider or get a feed through our satellite dish if there is any signal there. At the moment we have been using the service for free paying no fees.

I tested a box that was a pay per month solution and the box was only compatible with that “one provider” this iptv box we purchased can be used with any supplier. I have noticed loads popping up almost daily so no shortage of suppliers cashing in on “THE BIG TV SWITCH OFF” Our neighbours have been looking at our box as loosing UK TV completely when the changeover happens would not be good for them or there three kids so they are in the process of buying one from the same supplier.

Any legal wrangling would take years to be dragged through the courts, as far as an ex-pat in Spain watching UK TV in there own home for private entertainment is concerned myself and Mrs Gold are very happy with what we have purchased.

The way I see it is that I have purchased a satellite receiver that also allows us to watch TV via the internet, so in my mind I may have paid €100 more than a normal box but having channel 5 and being prepared for the switch off has given us peace of mind.

Just seeing how happy Mrs Gold was when we got CH5 back was priceless.

I am not fased by the scaremongering…


May 28th, 2013 11:39 pm

This is a very long post. James Gold has provided a wealth of information in his posts. I have attempted to clear up any misunderstanding and have read, with interest, his internet solution based on mrsky.

I am based in the UK and so, although I have an interest in internet TV technology, am not directly affected by the UK TV September switch off. My interest in the switch off is assisting a few friends based in Malaga. I use internet set-top boxes in the UK and have tested them in Spain. The boxes are able to stream from more than one streaming service. That flexibility is important given that companies can have problems maintaining a 24/7 internet service and, of course, the flexibility provides a safety net in the event that a streaming service closes down.

A good combination is BBC live and catchup TV via iPlayer and FilmOn or another streaming provider for live TV. On an Android based set-top box, FilmOn is available via the Android App.

Just to be clear, an internet set top box (STB) AKA an IPTV box is any device with an ethernet connection for broadband and audio-video output (probably HDMI) for your TV. These include the AppleTV box, the XBOX, a range of boxes based on the Android operating system and, for the budget conscious, the Raspberry Pi. Prices range from about 40€ to several hundred.

These STBs are generally controlled with a remote and, in some cases it is possible to use your TV’s own remote.

At least one STB is a hybrid – it is both an IPTV box and a Sky satellite box combined and is available from mrsky:

The price is a shocking €395.

The mrsky box streams UK TV from the FilmOn servers.

If you already own a Sky Plus box then you already have the capability to stream catchup TV from all the major UK broadcasters and so you do not actually need a Sky satellite tuner built in to an IPTV STB. You can use your existing Sky Plus box for catchup (and any live satellite channels still available) and a modestly priced (less than 100€) IPTV box for streaming UK live TV. Both the STB and the Sky box connect via ethernet cables to a single broadband router for their internet connections.

All this begs the question of whether your ISP’s download speed will support at least standard definition.

Another important consideration is IP blocking. Streaming UK channels, both live and catchup, direct from the broadcasters, requires a UK internet location because the UK streams are IP blocked. My own preferred solution is the use of a UK based VPN server to provide a UK IP location.

An alternative to using a VPN or web proxy or other similar technology is the use of a re-broadcasting service. FilmOn is perhaps the best known company. Re-broadcasting companies take the original broadcast of a UK channel and re-transmit it as an internet stream.

ITV won a case at the European Court against a re-broadcasting company – the case I referred to in my earlier post. ITV failed in an earlier case in the UK High Court and the case was referred to the European Court of Justice.

The ECJ’s decision in March sets the principles by which European courts will adjudicate on such cases. It seems likely that the EU ruling, against re-broadcasting using the internet, will be adopted by EU member countries. A company that re-transmits TV from an EU country could face litigation. Any TV broadcaster can now, in principle, pursue a case against the re-broadcaster.

My view is that anyone looking at the internet TV alternatives would wish to know the about the legalities.

I am not aware of any legal restriction on VPN and proxy service providers, whose customers may use the service to access blocked TV streams. I am not aware of any users of those services being prosecuted. There is a partial analogy here with Sky customers who view Sky satellite TV outside the UK. Maybe that is technically illegal – maybe not. If Sky discovered that you were using your account to view their encrypted broadcasts outside the UK – I guess the worst that would happen is you lose your Sky account.

James Gold, in his recent post, seems to think it preposterous and “scaremongering” to suggest that the re-transmission of UK TV in the EU is illegal. He compared the suggestion with what he seems to think equally ludicrous – that watching Sky TV outside the UK is illegal.

He wrote: “Just like some stories about ‘SKY TV being illegal to watch in Spain’ if it was illegal can you imagine?”

Whereas I share his view about watching Sky TV I do not understand how he can reach a similar conclusion about re-
broadcasting. I can only think that he has misinterpreted my view. I am not suggesting that it is illegal for customers or users of TV re-broadcasting to watch the re-transmitted internet streams, any more than I consider watching Sky to be illegal. It is the providers of those re-transmission services, meaning the companies who re-broadcast the streams, who risk prosecution.

If I were considering using a re-transmission service in Spain, my main concern would be what do I lose if the provider closes the operation. Clearly you can no longer watch those TV streams. You may also lose a month or more of subscription costs and any initial payment such as the cost of the IPTV box from the provider.

I prefer to know of the risks and can then decide whether I wish to take that risk.

I prefer not to have to rely on a single source of TV streams. For example, for BBC live TV in the UK I use a set-top box that provides access to both the live iPlayer streams, FilmOn and streams from one other re-transmitter. Accessing live BBC using iPlayer outside the UK requires a VPN or proxy.

I prefer to use a set-top box that gives a choice of stream providers rather than a customised box which, I presume, could restrict you to the re-broadcaster’s transmissions.

Readers may be interested in the Broadband4Spain page with details of some internet TV providers:


I am pleased to see that James Gold is “not phased by the scaremongering”, particularly given that my comments were not directed at him and the “scaremongering” was imagined – not real.

In any case, I suspect that the mrsky STB is not tied to FilmOn – and James confirms that “this iptv box we purchased can be used with any supplier”. My concern in the earlier post was with suppliers where “the box was only compatible with that ‘one provider'”.

I share James’s hope that FilmOn will continue their good work: “I feel confident that their service will continue” –
although there were reports that, following the ECJ ruling, FilmOn restricted its UK re-transmissions. See:


I do not share his optimism that: “should it (FilmOn) not continue then another supplier can be found same day.”


May 30th, 2013 8:45 am

I really dont see what your all complaining about you get free tv in spain you don’t pay a tv licence, where the money goes to sh*t tv from the bbc and show repeats its about time the bbc got closed down or they started showing adverts.
I use a vpn service that supports streaming and with all the uk isp’s blocking movie2k and download for all you can see why. i pay my internet bill and i wont have some dogooder telling me what i cant look at or watch.


May 30th, 2013 2:30 pm

Al – see earlier posts. Spanish TV is bad for your (mental) health, believe me.

Jamie – that’s a great post and thanks for taking the time to write something so comprehensive. I’ve got Sky+ but haven’t yet connected to the Sky Anytime catch-up service as I’m worried that Sky will see a Spanish IP and cut me off (same as if say, I connected it to my phone line). Do you know if this is the case, or no need to worry, or should I only connect if behind a VPN or hidden IP? Which leads to my other doubt: do I need a UK IP to acces iPlayer and so on or can I simply hide my IP?

Is it possible to programme the IPTV STBs to automatically hide an IP / convert it into a UK one and access online players, rather than having to go through an (illegal) re-streaming service?

Thanks very much!!!!



May 30th, 2013 7:01 pm

So many tight a***s around happy to scaremonger and get all upset, but nobody actually wants to ask the experts.

Might I remind everybody that it’s not only arm-chair-warriors and Man-in-van-sat-installers that you can ask. There are valid (and legal/tax paying) shops that supply this kind of thing (not sure if we’re allowed to shamelessly plug in here or not).

Do you all actually think that a properly run business is not prepared, in the know and ready and able now in fact to provide alternate options? Nope, most of you would rather panic but keep your wallets close to your chest hoping it’ll be ok in the end. Admirable, but naive as do you think when it goes off you’re going to be able to pop out and sort a replacement in a day or two?

Stop looking for information in the wrong places and ask people who offer guaranteed work – it’s going to matter with the internet TV that will be essential soon….

James Gold Marbella

May 30th, 2013 8:38 pm

Just found a new plug in for free football from around the globe although my viewing did not last very long as Mrs Gold now has the remote. We are off to Granada for three days on Monday, so taking our laptop as we can connect to wifi in the Hotel and then connect to our iptv box back at home in Marbella. I have been guaranteed this will work and been given a mobile number to call if I get any hitches. Still happy with what I purchased and if it means we can access it when away from home (mainly for News & CH5) then we are happy bunnies.

I love the post before this one, my neighbour who has been over three times asking “Is it still working? is still hanging on with hope that bbc1 and bbc2 itv etc do not disappear. He called our supplier today and was told that there is now a list “first come first served”. Our neighbour opposite just got his box this morning and his teenage son set it all up (he found the free footy add on thing)

As I said to Jim, if we do not loose the channels then I still have an IPTV box that is also a freesat receiver with loads of extras so not really bothered that we have jumped the gun so to speak. Have now also got a 750GB hard drive attached.


June 1st, 2013 12:44 am

Reply to Mike

Thank – much appreciated.

Your questions are quite technical. I would appreciate clarification/correction to my answers from readers.

You asked:

“I’ve got Sky+ but haven’t yet connected to the Sky Anytime catch-up service as I’m worried that Sky will see a Spanish IP and cut me off (same as if say, I connected it to my phone line). Do you know if this is the case . . . ?”

The simple answer – I don’t know. But I doubt it very much that you would be cut off and I’ve not seen any reports that it has happened – and those who have tried with a non-UK IP that I know of have not mentioned they were cut off.

“or should I only connect if behind a VPN or hidden IP?”

I doubt you will be able to receive Sky’s Anytime without a UK IP, i.e. without using a VPN/proxy. I’ve read a few reports that some have been able to activate Anytime on their Sky account and access it without a VPN or proxy. That does seem unlikely though.

So, I believe you’ll need to hide your IP to access Sky’s Anytime.

“Which leads to my other doubt: do I need a UK IP to acces iPlayer and so on or can I simply hide my IP?”

By hiding your IP using a VPN or proxy you effectively have a UK IP.

There are AFAIK two main ways to hide your IP – a VPN or a proxy. Both techniques work by making the request to the BBC’s iPlayer servers from a computer (a server) based in the UK. The result is that your Spanish IP is hidden because the BBC sees the IP address of the UK based VPN or proxy server. You then have a UK IP so far as the BBC server is concerned.

We are talking about ‘hide my IP’ here in the context of streaming TV and not in the stricter sense associated with preserving your anonymity. Using a proxy can still reveal your IP but your IP is sufficiently hidden to unblock the TV stream.

With iPlayer I use a VPN but you can also, at the present, use a proxy or one of the Smart DNS services.

With TVCatchup (the UK’s equivalent of FilmOn – except that TVCatchup uses IP blocking) a proxy does not work and so you need a VPN. TVCatchup works for me from Spain using a VPN.

“Is it possible to programme the IPTV STBs to automatically hide an IP / convert it into a UK one and access online players, rather than having to go through an (illegal) re-streaming service?”

I use a second router to run the VPN client program. A second router is sometimes used with a Sky+ set top box (for Anytime) and/or an internet STB so as to avoid a long cable run from the main router/modem to the STB. One arrangement is wireless from main to second router positioned near to the TV and then ethernet cable from LAN ports on the second router to a Sky+ and/or IPTV box.

It makes sense to set up the VPN on the second router. The TV internet stream then passes through the VPN tunnel from the VPN server in the UK, through both routers to the TV. Your other internet traffic, via the main router only, bypasses the VPN.

However, to answer your question, yes, I believe it is possible to setup a proxy or VPN client on some STBs. Some of these boxes use the Linux OS and I have seen instructions for setting up a VPN client on these. Setting up a proxy is easier but I have not tried setting up a VPN or proxy on an STB as yet. Running a VPN client program places an extra load on the STB’s processor – I guess that could impact the processing needed for decoding the video stream on some STBs.

“rather than having to go through an (illegal) re-streaming service”

I would say ‘in addition to using a re-streaming service’. My approach is not to rely on just one source. On the same STB you can set up, for example, iplayer for BBC live and catchup, TVCatchup (which, despite its name streams all the main live UK channels) and FilmOn. In my previous posts I was not recommending that you avoid re-transmission. Just be aware that, given the legalities, those streams are more likely to disappear.


June 1st, 2013 9:04 am

Some excellent advice here on checking out the range and cost of possible solutions to the threatened ‘big switch off’. There are also one or two so-called ‘unbiased’ contributions which make me think of that Monty Python song. The one that goes “Spam, spam, spam, spam…”. I’ll certainly be talking to those who have particular technical expertise, but will also bear in mind hat some of them might well be trying to steer me towards their own shop window… If the cap fits..:-)


June 1st, 2013 9:52 am

Hi Jamie,

Thanks again, and all the points are wonderfully answered and appreciated. I’m going to keep investigating and will let you know of any interesting outcomes.

Meanwhile, enjoy your telly!



June 1st, 2013 6:43 pm

As I now understand it, the Astra Satellite is launching July, and will be live, probably, in September.

Main option for channel reception is Internet Based TV, fine if you have broadband a router and wifi. Not so fine if you don’t!

Another option, I have just heard about, is the BROADCAST network. Based on a similar system to Sky, the channels will be beamed to masts placed at strategic high points to give areas a “line of sight”. These masts are already being erected, and it anticipated that, certainly the area from Malaga to Gibraltar, i.e. The Costa Del Sol, will be covered by July. To receive the channels you will require a set top box (ranging from €65 – €170, and an encrypted card. The system will then work in exactly the same way as sky does now, giving us the channels we are about to lose. The installation costs a heft €500!!! which includes the basic box. For communities the installation is €150 cheaper, but I am sure will depend on numbers. For those people without the Internet, this could be the only option, other than packing their bags. Just a rethought, but I would be interest to hear if anyone else has further information.


June 2nd, 2013 12:19 pm

Filmon News

Lawsuits in the US against FilmOn have been ongoing for some time. Putting aside the legalities and the morality, I personally had hoped that FilmOn would continue to remain a robust option on the internet TV menu. In particular, I had hoped that FilmOn would at least provide a stop-gap in the short term given the imminent loss of satellite UK TV in large parts of Europe.

This report from the satandPCguy of Valencia may be just a blip – but it could equally point to the endgame for national TV via FilmOn.


The previous post (from Paul) – seems too good to be true. Can anyone confirm? These re-broadcasting services (typically by taking satellite signals from a large dish and re-transmitting using conventional antennae) have been used before. They are, of course, illegal if the re-transmission is not authorised by the original broadcaster.


June 2nd, 2013 1:15 pm

This is the information I have received, I do not know anything about it being a re-broadcasting service, but have to say that would make sense.

The company I have the information from are smartsat-TV, although other companies have also mentioned it as being in the pipeline.

You also have to ask yourself however, would companies spend (I imagine) fortunes installing receiver masts if the service is illegal?

Picking up on comments re Filmon, are we to understand that this “service” could also disappear, in the future, whether imminent or not?


June 2nd, 2013 1:54 pm

The question of what channels will disappear/remain and what you will be able to get after the satellite shuffle is like one of the questions on QI, answer nobody knows. What I do know is that SKY channels and possibly the free to air will migrate to a pan european satellite, it remains to be seen if we can get this signal and in what areas. Patience is the watchword here, remember there are always plenty of people out there who will prey on your fears to take your money for a service you may or may not need.


June 2nd, 2013 2:14 pm

A lot of the information and comments on here are extremely technical, and sooo many “intitals” are thrown about. I will keep an eye on this fórum, and wait for someone who speaks plain english,and doesnt talk using IVP, VPN, IPTV, but tells me EXACTLY what they mean! Not all of us are tecchie minded, some of us pensioners, are totally baffled with all this, and need it laid outin plain english!


June 2nd, 2013 3:36 pm

Thank you Paul for that response.

I could not find anything on the smartsat-TV web pages that does not require an internet connection. Your post refers to “another option” other than internet TV.

Is it possible that those masts you refer to are simply a new wireless broadband installation? That may explain why the installers are prepared to invest in the project. The new broadband infrastructure would remain functional even if the TV re-broadcasting had to stop.

Concerning Peter’s point about what channels will remain, I think there is an assumption, which I share, that Sky’s own encrypted channels will be transferred to the pan-European beam on the new satellite. Has that actually been confirmed yet?

My view is why would Sky wish to use the UK spot beam given that Sky’s channels are encrypted?

Concerning the “free-to-air channels”, which I presume includes BBC, ITV, 4 and 5 – those four broadcasters have not been encrypted since they stopped paying for Sky’s encryption and moved to the old 2D satellite UK spot beam. At least, that’s my understanding. Using the UK beam allowed BBC etc to restrict their sat broadcasts to the UK – so far as was possible at the time.

Since February last year the 2D was temporarily replaced by the 1N satellite which broadcast on a pan-European beam. As a result the four unencrypted broadcasters were receivable throughout Europe on a medium sized dish – that was unavoidable until now, when the 1N is about to be replaced by the 2E satellite.

Unless those four broadcasters resumed encryption I cannot conceive that they could now start transmitting on the pan-Europe beam.

When the 2D was introduced a larger dish was needed in Southern Spain – typically 1.2m. One could have hoped that, when the 2D is replaced by the 2E, a 1.2m dish would still work. Sadly not. The new 2E satellite, like its twin the 2F, has a UK beam that is even more sharply focused over the UK. That is not the only factor. That alone would not explain why the Valencia region, which needed about a 3m dish with the 2D, now, with the 2F and presumably the 2E, only needs a 1.5 to 2m dish. Why is that?

The most likely explanation is that, given that Southern Spain is strictly outside the official footprint of the 2D and now the 2E and 2F, the Physics of satellite design and interference patterns is at work. I could be wrong, but it is possible that Andalucia lies on an interference node – meaning that the waves from the the satellite’s spot-beam antenna cancel out. If anyone knows the real explanation, please let me know.

The above concerns the spot beam. I don’t believe there is any doubt that the pan-Europe beam will be received in Southern Spain.


June 2nd, 2013 4:34 pm

OK, basically, this will be the score.

There will be no getting away from it.

The current free to air channels, even those which SKY broadcast will disappear and will disappear from the SKY menus. That is a fact, and they will have disappeared, if not by September, then certainly by the end of the year.

Having a SKY box will not preclude anyone from losing these channels, which WILL include all the BBC channels, all the ITV channels, Channel 4 in the format still available and Channel 5, in the format still available, and a few other lesser channels. Channel 4HD and Channel 5 have already gone. SKY will for the foreseeable future continue to broadcast those channels it owns, or leases, but NOT the free to air channels mentioned above.

That is also a fact.

The BBC have already issued a statement to the effect that they are sorry for the effect this will have on Expats but one has to bear in mind their responsibility is to the licence payers IN THE UK, and the new narrow beam, provides a much better service all over the UK including the areas which historically have not received a good signal. They also point that anyone who wants to, can subscribe to the BBC subscription channels, available for this very purpose.

The only ways of continuing to receive these channels, is via the internet, or Filmon type services, or if it is successful, BROADCAST Network. Whichever option you go for IT WILL COST!

You will, with something like an Apple TV box, be able to stream Filmon for instance from your PC or MAC to your TV, but there is a noticeable loss of Quality, on the free service anyway (do not know about the subscription HD side of it)

I hope this explains the situation in layman’s terms.


June 2nd, 2013 4:43 pm

Sorry Jamie, your response came just as I posted my last bit.

I do not know the smartsat-tv company, but I do have their literature, which shows an address in Marbella.

From what I have read, I have always assumed that the pan european beam, flat and wide, just about includes all of the south of Andalucia and the Costa del Sol in its footprint. The new narrow beam, will not , and will probably have a footprint, perhaps as far as northern Spain. This is the reason we will be losing the transmission, when the BBC and other free to air channels move to the Astra 2F satellite.

I stand to be corrected however, but at the end of the day, it certainly will be a fact the we in Southern Spain will lose the channels and have to rest to “buying” them in one way or another.

Oh what fun


June 2nd, 2013 7:42 pm

Eileen: I agree about the “techie” talk. It seems fairly obvious that Andalusia (at least) is stuffed as far as picking up non-Spanish satellite telly is concerned. No Corrie no Emmerdale, none of that good stuff. Unless you have and can pay for, a damn good internet connection. Because that is the only channel that U.K. telly can get to Spain by, when the satellite “switch-off” happens this year. Remember of course, all internet comes down the phone cables. Wonder how much traffic Spanish phone lines can carry? So do I.
The boffins fingers will be itching to tell us about other techie methods, with acronyms and initials, but I think it’s pretty straightforward.


June 2nd, 2013 9:41 pm

Exactly stefanjo, you’ve got it.

Never thought about traffic overload though!!

We get a download speed of 2.4 which is borderline.

James Gold Marbella

June 2nd, 2013 9:45 pm


Got an e-mail from the supplier confirming that they now have a software patch so that I can use my UK SKY CARD in the IPTV box as it has a card slot and I am able to connect the box both to my satellite dish and the internet.

I was told that SKY channels such as SKY SPORTS, SKY 1, SKY ATLANTIC etc should all be OK.


June 2nd, 2013 11:58 pm

Warning – the tec content of this post could seriously damage your health

Hi Paul,

Thank you for all that input. I couldn’t agree more. In fact it was refreshing, when I first read Michael Coard’s article, that someone had explained some of the background carefully and stated the inevitability of the switch off in Andalucia. You have reinforced that and ‘then some’.

When I first heard of the switch off back in December, from a friend in Malaga, I first thought that maybe a 2.5m to 3m satellite dish would be adequate (although even that is not practical for the majority). I then learned that Valencia actually receives a stronger signal with 2F compared with the old 2D and that Malaga receives a much weaker signal with 2F – if any. Reliable reports showed that a 1m dish receives the 2F UK spot beam in Xativa near Valencia and a 1.6m dish works in Mallorca. In Valencia after the so-called “switch-off” you will be able to receive UK sat TV where you could not previously from the 2D satellite.

Some posts have rightly stated a reluctance to be panicked and a preference to ‘wait and see’. This is understandable. However, if you wait until the mid-September switch off and all your favourite UK channels disappear, you will then feel even more pressure to find a quick solution. That could be more expensive if you are not prepared.

If you do not have broadband then, of course, setting up internet TV is a big step. If you have broadband and therefore use a PC – at least you can, with some effort and no additional expense, set up FilmOn on the PC. Not ideal – but it does provide some breathing space.

I think that part of the reluctance to accept the inevitable loss of mainstream UK satellite TV in Andalucia is psychological. Part is based on the confusion between Sky TV and the Freesat channels – which leads some to think that if you have a Sky box you will still receive all the Freesat channels. But part of the problem is a failure to comprehend that reception of satellite TV in Southern Spain has always been a lucky accident of satellite design. Why should Malaga, for so long, have been able to receive a useable signal whereas, in Valencia, a much larger dish was needed? It was, AFAIK, just luck that Andalucia was able to receive Freesat TV for so long. Freesat in Andalucia will disappear.

The fact is that, from the geometry alone, no region of Southern Europe could expect to receive a useable signal from the 2D sat – being well outside the planned footprint.

I guess that with the 2D satellite transmissions, Valencia fell on what I called a node (in an earlier post) and Malaga on an outlying anti-node. With the new 2E and 2F satellites Malaga and Valencia appear to have reversed their positions on the peaks and troughs of signal strength. Malaga is on a trough and it appears will receive no useable signal from the 2E and 2F spot beams.

The BBC’s statement that they have no obligation to those outside the UK is only part of the story. True, the move to a new satellite presents the opportunity to narrow the beam further and provide increased reception in low signal areas of the UK.

Their responsibility is to residents of the UK. But this BBC statement completely ignores two other reasons for restricting the beam to the UK. Some of the BBC and other UK broadcast content is not licensed by the content providers for transmission across Europe. Also, the BBC and other UK broadcasters can sell their own content around the world – and so, why would they freely transmit it across Europe. There is a big incentive either to encrypt the transmissions and so restrict reception to UK residents or to restrict reception to the UK by using a small footprint centred on the UK. The move to the 2E and 2F satellites is the logical outcome of the small footprint policy.

Let’s hope that Sky does not use the 2E UK spot beam for its own transmissions. If they do then no Sky TV either. They could use the same rationale as the BBC – to improve the UK signal strength for Sky customers who, by definition, live in the UK. However, I’ll not be alone in thinking that Sky is quietly happy for Sky account holders to receive Sky TV across Europe. It generates an income for Sky and Sky is protected from complaints by the programme content owners because the broadcasts are encrypted – so, can only be viewed legally by UK residents.


June 3rd, 2013 12:49 am

Love being shot down in flames, so here goes. How mad is it to envision a T.V. service, by and for, English speaking viewers in Spain? Radio stations exist, why not extend it to T.V.?
Eldorado “blazed” the trail. Improve it, Make a Corrie about expats. Show films. Cadge old Steptoes from the Beeb.
Sod the satellite, make your own telly. Come on O.P. You could become O.P.T.V.

John S

June 3rd, 2013 6:20 am

@ James Gold
The System you mentiones will not help you any as it uses a Card slot but still need the Signal from the Satellite. The card slot is only for a Sky Card or optional CS Server.


June 3rd, 2013 11:32 am

To John S

I know James Gold can speak for himself – but I think his point is that his combined IPTV plus satellite TV box has the advantage that he can tap into any remaining satellite reception and internet TV using a single set top box. Also, he, like the rest of us, hopes that Sky encrypted channels will still be available after the switch off.

James Gold Marbella

June 3rd, 2013 12:12 pm

Hi John S

The system I mentioned “is” helping me as follows;

I can take my SKY card out of my SKY Box put it in to my new IPTV box and I am sat here in Granada at the Hotel able to watch SKY SPORTS on my laptop whilst having tapas looking at the Alhambra. This afternoon Mrs Gold will be able to watch Neighbours and tonight we will be settling down to watch Game of Thrones. We are already getting “help” from this box and already benefiting from several features. So very happy with this. I have shown this to several friends and they are all impressed with this facility.

I have been told that when all of the channels move to the new satellite, this will “NOT” affect SKY SPORTS or most of the SKY premium channels as this would result in sky loosing hundreds of millions of subscription fees and unlike the BBC SKY rely on paid subscriptions.

The other reason that this box helps “myself & Mrs gold” is the ability to watch channel 5 (now) and then BBC1, BBC2, ITV CH4 etc when they disappear from satellite.

The other reason it helps us is;

We are now pre-pared and will still be able to watch BBC1 & ITV etc via the internet, and also have the facility to use our card in the same box to watch sky sports sky Atlantic etc either at home in our living room, in my study on my pc on Mrs Gold’s ipad by the pool or on my laptop in my shed so product is helping us already.

We have a Humax foxsat box in the spare room and comparing this IPTV box to the cost of that I decided that even if I could only use the IPTV side of things to received BBC1, ITV etc via the internet that it was still great value, but then when I factored in the ability to insert my sky card that was also good + the ability to stream movies from my PC to the box, and being able to access and control the box “anywhere” was also a plus. Our main requirement was having something that had a proper remote control as watching TV on a PC is just not the same and our LED TV deserves it.

I have also been looking at purchasing a new router that has a UK ip address so that I can use my sky hd box to access on demand bbc 1 itv etc but also hundreds of catch up channels.

As I said early we are getting the benefits as I write as it allows us to watch TV anywhere where we can get a wifi signal on our laptop. We are ready & prepared for the changeover.

I feel that my new box “has helped me” loads and also gives us peace of mind. I think I will probably purchase one of these routers also as the sky on demand is free to us as we pay for a full sky package, still doing my homework on that though.

It might be a good idea “JOHN S” that before telling someone that something they have purchased “will not help you ” that you take 5 minutes to read the previous posts that I have taken time and effort to post, you would then realise that your one sentenced post is rather pants.

I am very happy with what I have and am able to expand upon this, if SKY UK follow the direction of BBC & ITV I would also be OK as I would be able to use the “on demand” service and this covers sky sports, sky documentaries (Mrs Gold is an animal planet fan) sky Atlantic etc so will still have all of our channels available.

As far as putting the sky card in this box is concerned;

YES – The box must be connected to my dish, and I am very confident that the sky sports signals will not disappear, if they do disappear we can then switch to SKY SPORTS on demand.

Question to “JOHN S”

What preparations have you made?
What systems have you tested?
What can you bring to the discussion?

Anyway cheers from the Alhmabra, just having my 2nd small beer whilst watching sky sports…. bliss.

John Sturgeon

June 3rd, 2013 12:55 pm

Hi John S.

I live on the Costa Brava near the French Border.

Recently I moved my dish to avoid the Very strong winds interupting my signal. Since then I cannot get a signal for ITV 1/ 2/ AND 4., but stangely i can get a signal for these channels on + 1.

Why is this and can I fix it?


June 3rd, 2013 1:24 pm

Quite agree with you Jamie.

And Stefanjo, I love your take on life, long may it continue!!

James Gold, you do NOT have to buy a new router to access UK IP addresses, simply subscribe to someone like WOW VPN, and job done.
Still can’t quite figure out what it is you are using that takes both SKY cards and provides (I assume) internet TV. Do you get all the other facilities of SKY + which we get at the moment (record one, watch another, series link, catchup etc)

John S

June 3rd, 2013 2:11 pm a Sky Smart Router and pay the Years fee for the UK IP..

What preparations have you made? None, because I sell Sky
What systems have you tested? Pretty much all of them
What can you bring to the discussion? daaa you got me there

James Gold Marbella

June 3rd, 2013 2:49 pm

Reply to – Paul

We have two boxes,


BOX 2 – IPTV Box that also allows you to connect your dish, if you watch the video link I posted you can see this.

In order to access “on demand” via my SKY+HD box I need a UK VPN router, I have spent many an evening researching this on various forums such as the AV forum and have found a supplier in Spain that can supply including 12 month fee for €245.

In order to access our IPTV box over the internet I need only a wifi signal, no vpn required, I also had to download a piece of software to update our windows media player.

The IPTV box i purchased is a satellite receiver and a IPTV box (ALL IN ONE) so I can connect the box to the internet and my existing dish. That link I posted takes you to a video that was done by the supplier.


My question to JOHN S

“Can you not be specific? Many installers I called said “we are testing IPTV boxes but nobody appeared to have the product, it was always we are still testing blah blah” “I even said to one of them that we have cash waiting for the right box.

My 2nd question to JOHN S –

“As someone that sells SKY TV can you not bring something more to the discussion rather than daaaaa?? there are many people looking for solutions and being a part of the sky tv trade in Spain, can you not elaborate on your experiences with various IPTV boxes?

So far it looks like I am the only to have actually taken the plunge and purchased a box albeit after many late nights reading up and doing some homework.

JOHN S – Are there any we should avoid? What was the best ones you tested? Would greatly appreciate any of your professional advice.

JOHN S – Do you agree that we still be able to receive sky sports and sky atalantic?


June 3rd, 2013 4:26 pm

OK James Gold, je comprends. You have Sky plus and internet TV, which I suspect is the route those of us with Sky will probably take

You should have looked at WOW VPN , a lot lot cheaper for a very reliable VPN, I have been using them for three years now.

As things stand you will NOT lose Sky Sports, or Atlantic or any of the premium Sky channels you already subscribe to.

There are many suppliers out there all offering “super” deals at the moment , averaging about €150.00 per box and €25.00 per month for internet TV., They ALL say buy now, as the price will double when the existing satellite ceases to function, so great salesmanship and not a lot of pressure (I don’t think!)

James Gold Marbella

June 4th, 2013 1:52 am

Just to confirm that to use our SKY+HD box on the internet will mean that I will have “no choice” but to purchase a VPN router, this is so we can access SKY “on demand” and having spoken to our supplier use SKY GO. I think we have got all bases covered so to speak.

John S

June 4th, 2013 8:00 am

You can always buy a second dish and aim it at 27.5° West. 90cm should be enough. You will get the following Channels…
BBC 1 – 4 ,CBBC, BBC 1 HD, ITV1 HD, CH4 HD, S4C HD, STV HD, UTV HD, on 11.495V

John S

June 4th, 2013 8:02 am

Seeing as Im not allowed to post any links, there is no point commenting about certain services or Boxes that run IPTV


June 4th, 2013 8:59 am

To access SKY premium channels you will NOT need a VPN, but to access Catchup, on demand, BBC iPlayer, and the other channels iPlayers, you WILL need a VPN.

John S, Ooh, you are right, I posted a link to WOW VPN, simply because it is a good service, and it has been removed from the Post.

Whats this about aiming a dish at 27.5 degrees west, how does that work? (From deepest southern Spain).

John S

June 4th, 2013 10:06 am

@ Paul

Deepest Southern Spain ~ 90cm Dish= 75% Sig quality. Have a friend down there who confirmed this


June 4th, 2013 11:00 am

John S’ comment is a bit of a game-changer isn’t it? Can anyone confirm??

Does anyone go on Digital Spy? That used to be great for this kind of info. Very technical – but don’t worry non-tech bods, we will make it all clear once we know what we’re on about (which we don’t – yet!).

James Gold – talk about covering bases. Very impressive….! : )


June 4th, 2013 11:47 am

That satellite is the Intelsat 907 at 27.5 degrees West.

The satellite provides a backup for Freeview.


June 4th, 2013 12:41 pm

The link to the satandpcguy in my previous post has been edited. Pity – because it explains clearly the situation with the Intelsat 907.


Here’s the text of his web page from the source code:

UK and BBC Channels on Intelsat 907 at 27.5 West

Currently the BBC are leasing a Transponder on Intelsat 907 at 27.5 degrees West – a service called “BBC-Satback”.
On this Intelsat 907 satellite there are some BBC TV channels including BBC One, BBC 2, BBC News and Parliament, CBBC and CBeebies, BBC One HD, BBC HD, ITV1 HD and Channel 4 HD.

The reception of this Intelsat 907 satellite in Spain, is very strong, and could easily be received in most of Spain on an 80cm or 1m satellite dish.

The channels on this satellite are used for “emergency back up feeds” for the UK Freeview system, should a mast relay lose its feed from their parent transmitter.

A List of the UK TV and Radio Channels Currently on the Intelsat 907 BBC SAT Back Satellite at 27.5 West
BBC One London
BBC One Scotland
BBC One Northern Ireland
BBC One Wales
BBC Two England
BBC Three
BBC News
BBC Four
BBC Parliament
Channel 4 HD
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 4 FM
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra
BBC 6 Music
BBC Radio 4 Extra
BBC 1Xtra
BBC Asian Network
BBC World Service UK

These channels are located on the Intelsat 907 satellite, frequency 11495 Vertical with a symbol rate of 44100.

These Channels on Intelsat 907 at 27.5 West are encrypted using in BISS encryption. Currently, since early 2012, some satellite receivers have been able to open the encryption using “codes” from the internet.

With the anticipated loss of UK TV with the launch of a new UK TV satellite, some satellite TV installation companies in the Costa Blanca, and in the Canary Islands / Tenerife, have been offering this system as a replacement UK TV service on a small satellite dish – a sort of “Astra 2F Reception Buster”.

However, what these satellite TV installation companies may not be telling you is that the encryption can be changed at any time. This may be for a short time until the codes are known again. Or it can be forever, if they change the encryption system totally, to the more professional and “unhackable” Powervu encryption system.

Powervu is a more reliable and is not able to be opened on any satellite box. In fact it is rumoured that Powervu is also used for military systems

In fact on 26th November 2012, there were some changes made to the channels on this satellite, and now some receivers are having problems in receiving and unlocking these encrypted channels.

On the 14th December 2012, the BISS key codes were changed, and the channels on this system are no currently available.

In March 2013, new BISS code keys for BBC on Intelsat 27.5 West were publically available, meaning this systems can currently be accessed. Well, until the BISS Keys change again.

This change of BISS Key for the UK channels on Intelsat 907 at 27.5 West is something which makes this system unreliable. This loss of channels is something which some retailers of this system do not mention to their clients!.


June 4th, 2013 1:48 pm

John S. –
When you talk about a second dish aimed at 27.5 W, I assume this is after the shutdown, as, obviously we are currently receiving all channels through our own satellite dish picking up Sky+ HD. I again assume you are meaning a second dish running with this one , to continue the Sky channels and the new dish picking up the missing channels., Where, as a matter of interest are they being beamed from, and if it is this simply, why is no one touting it ? As has been previously mentioned, this is a game changing statement.

Jamie, –
thanks for the list, thats pretty much what I have down, and for the additional explanations..

James Gold Marbella

June 4th, 2013 2:34 pm

Typical Sat&PC Guy propaganda post.


June 4th, 2013 3:15 pm

I think it’s actually quite an informed post, although not much use if it refers to another service which could be cut at anytime. We’ve already got one of them!

Could house prices on the Costa del Sol go down even further if UK TV disappears!?!

James Gold Marbella

June 4th, 2013 3:34 pm

“The Ex-Pat Exodus” Loss of British TV leaves Costa del Sol deserted…. keep Silver Wolf busy.

To be fair I think Mrs Gold would of packed her bags if I hadn’t dusted off the credit card. Most evenings we enjoy staying in and watching TV, we do try and get out at weekends and are always on little trips away.

You do have a point though,

sorry for my short response before but you know who’s posts are always in a “self promoting way” I read with great interest another post on another forum (sorry moderator) discussing iptv boxes and a long winded post about iptv not being 1080p blah blah and unscrupulous suppliers & retailers (exactly the same tone of post) its just unhelpful mush to self promote in some kind of way.

How about GOT last night! Did not see that coming.

James Gold Marbella

June 4th, 2013 3:43 pm

Just found this about Filmon on Youtube on Bloomberg TV.


John S

June 4th, 2013 4:01 pm

@ Paul

The Transmission on 27.5 W has been going for some time and I doubt they will encrypt. Best suggestion after the switchoff is have 2 dishes. One to make up the loss of the regional proggies and the other for whatever might be left over. Should you have a Generic FTA Receiver, all you would need is a new 80-90cm Dish and a Disecq Switchbox to tell the receiver to switch between Sat A & Sat B but the Receiver needs to be programmed first (Channel scan on 27.5W and Disecq swith set Astra 28.2 – Disecq A ~ Intelsat 907 Disecq B.) Main problem is with Sky Boxes, they don’t have this switching capability so best ask your local Installer about a manual switchbox or alternative.

John S

June 4th, 2013 4:03 pm

DiSEqC is the proper term..sorry for that


June 4th, 2013 4:24 pm

Sounds like there may be more hope then. I suppose a motorised dish would also be ok instead of getting a second dish?


June 4th, 2013 5:25 pm

What is James Gold ON !!!

Thanks John S, I will certainly make more enquiries, and President of a large community I need as much information as I can for our owners.

I agree with Mike – Lack of UK TV among the order generation here in Spain, who probably rely heavily on their daily dose of Neighbours and Games of Thrones will, I am sure create a small exodus , and property prices could be affected


June 4th, 2013 5:27 pm

Time for a brief comedy break methinks :

A doctor was addressing a large audience in Oxford …

“The material we put into our stomachs should have killed most of us sitting here years ago. Red meat is full of steroids & dye. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High transfat diets can be disastrous & none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water. But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all & most of us have or will eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief & suffering for years after eating it?”

After several seconds of quiet a 70-year-old man in the front row raised his hand & softly said “Wedding Cake.”


June 4th, 2013 6:17 pm

To John S

Is that correct – no encryption? Wonderful! Why did I give away my large dish – otherwise I’d test it out now in the UK.

So it looks as though the satandpcguy may have got it wrong – or the encryption has been removed. Strange though – I’ve found his website to be objective, balanced and well informed – certainly not “self promoting”.

Here’s an extract from lyngsat’s website that shows the Intelsat 907 27.5 west Freeview channels at frequency 11495.

The encryption shown is BISS – as stated by satandpcguy.

The site was last updated on 2nd June – but note that the most recent source update (for BBC2) was only 26th March. Maybe the encryption has changed since then.


Intelsat 907 © LyngSat, last updated 2013-06-02 –

Freq. Provider Name System Encryption
11495 V Channel 4 UK DVB-S2MPEG-4/HD BISS

James Gold Marbella

June 5th, 2013 2:22 pm

Lost ITV last night on our SKY Box, switched on the IPTV box and had no issues. ITV is all back on now though.


June 5th, 2013 5:25 pm

“Lost ITV last night on our SKY Box, switched on the IPTV box and had no issues.”

Why would you have issues? IPTV can be installed by a child for goodness sake.


June 5th, 2013 6:21 pm

Are you sure the sky box did not lock and just need a re-boot?


June 5th, 2013 6:44 pm

Fred, how patronising you are. I am a pensioner, and I have no idea of how to install a IPTV box (whatever that is). You may be a Smart arse, but there are some us us that arent familiar with all the “jargón”. I am hoping that when and IF our current system is no longer functioning, there will be some constructive, profesional advice, not nasty comments from you.


June 5th, 2013 8:40 pm

Well if the worst comes to the worst, get a terrestrial aerial and learn to live without Corrie and Eastenders. You’ll be surprised how many British programmes turn up on Spanish TV along with all the USA series, changing the language into English is just the pressing of a button, many built in tuners on modern TV’s allow you to set the default language to English in the set up menu. When I became an ex pat first in France and now in Spain I regarded getting UK TV as a bonus not a god given right. When we moved to Spain I’m sure we all had different reasons I bet watching British TV in the sun wasn’t one of the first ones.


June 5th, 2013 9:23 pm

Absolutely Peter. When we first came here all we had was Gib TV (Gibraltar) and by god it was awful but it was all we had.

People must just wait and see. Either via Internet or broadcast the problem will be solved but no longer free. There will be a price to pay.

And By the Way mr gold, you were right, there was a drop in the ITV signal yesterday ( confirmed in other satellite blogs), perhaps the taste of things to come in the run up


June 5th, 2013 10:04 pm

Well said Peter. The most down-to-earth sensible suggestion, since my last one. Good philosophy.


June 5th, 2013 11:23 pm

‘Eileen’, part of the problem with the whole IPTV arena is that installers and other commentators, many of whom have a vested interest, often try to make out that the whole subject of Internet TV is vastly complex. It is not.

When you say your “current system” I take it that you already have satellite TV and a set top box? Well, IPTV is basically another box, except you plug it into your Internet connection. It is just different boxes and different plugs. “Installation” is plugging it in and using a remote control to browse a menu, like you do now on a satellite box.

Don’t forget that there is jargon in satellite systems too – just look above in the thread for BISS codes, encryption codes, transponders, and all the other terminology. You are confusing being patronising with being honest. In any event, you would have to get a professional installer would you not Eileen, so comments in a blog are irrelevant to you getting advice, and I somehow doubt you are who you say you are. lol.


June 6th, 2013 2:04 am

Oh, I am certainly who I say I am, if youare on Facebook, look up a page called Boot Sale Bargains, which I started, it is a secondhand for sale site, and there Iam running it, good old granny, pensioner, been here for 24 years, I dont know who you think I am “pretending” to be!!! I appreciate your simple explanation etc, and to be honest, I for once, actually understood what you so simply said. I am a simple person, who just wants to keep watching the TV programmes that give me pleasure, the easiest way posible, I repeat, I am not passing myself off as someone else. Come to my Facebook page, and see, I have another one called Snazadoodle Facepaint Magic, as my absolute joy is facepainting Little ones -as you will see if you look it up on Facebook. I hide behind nothing.


June 6th, 2013 11:14 am

Eileen, you seem a very clued up pensioner – you already use the Internet, so you set that up I assume? You understand blogs and websites and FaceBooks etc, so a little IPTV box should be the least of your worries. There are so many IPTV players now that you’ll find a solution I’m sure. You don’t have to understand how it works, do you, just as long as it works.

My advice is not to read any more blog posts about IPTV lol. Good luck with it.

James Gold Marbella

June 6th, 2013 12:23 pm


Look me up on facebook also.

Will be at Nikki Beach all day today with Mrs Gold come and say hello as I would love to give you a walm welcome.

My IPTV box is already installed & ITV went of the other night, no idea why you are being so rude???

Come and say hello Fred we are here all day just mention to security “Simple Fred” and they will let you in, do not wear your socks with sandals though. XXX

James Gold Marbella

June 6th, 2013 12:51 pm

Eileen; don’t worry there is always “one”


June 6th, 2013 6:04 pm

Now now children!!!

This was owed to be a serious blog concerning the shutoff of UK freeview to Europe.

Seems methinks to have reached the end of the road.


June 6th, 2013 6:48 pm

LOVING this thread Fred! ha ha ha. Just goes to show how your stupid ways just annoy people. Hope OP realise how you put people off from commenting helpfully on this site.

James Gold Marbella

June 6th, 2013 8:48 pm

Just got home, switched on our new IPTV box and had a search for “new plug ins” and found a new Sports Portal, its actually called “Sports Portal 2013″ only took 30 seconds to download it and now I can watch F1 Live + have a choice of what cameras I wish to use to watch the F1, no idea why SKY does not have this?


June 6th, 2013 8:58 pm

Oh dear god I’m losing the will to live .

As we seem to have exhausted the main question which was “are we ready for the big switch off”, I am now signing out.. Byeeee


June 6th, 2013 10:21 pm

“Just got home, switched on our new IPTV box…”

and did it say ‘Get a life’?

Best ask Eileen for some technical help James lol.


June 6th, 2013 11:37 pm

Two sneaky ads. slipped in there Eileen. Well done. You ought to sell IPTV boxes on your site. Once you’ve figured out what they are that is.


June 7th, 2013 12:02 am

Fred >>Get a Life<< – er? what a guy

– anyhow it's interesting to read any advice on all this thanks

James Gold Marbella

June 7th, 2013 12:35 am

Att – Fred,

What can I say apart from “We both love watching TV of an evening” some people enjoy reading, sitting in bars, knitting, or troling on forums etc we happen to enjoy TV, and I happen to also enjoy sharing my experiences with other people in Spain good or bad.

I posted the information about the F1 because some people may find that information helpful particularly F1 fans like myself. I am sorry if you think that enjoying TV is sad, but we like many other Brits on the Coast and the UK enjoy an evening of TV with a nice wine or two. I have to admit that I do get excited when I find a new feature or plug in and this has been great as I am so happy with my purchase, If I was unhappy with my purchase I would be moaning and groaning about it so either way I would either annoy everyone with being upset and annoyed or in my case annoy people like yourself for being enthusiastic and happy. If that makes you think that myself and Mrs Gold are sad then that is your opinion and I have to respect that even if I feel it to be untrue, you have upset Mrs Gold who has just read your post.

Fred; Can you share any thoughts on the loss of UK TV on the Costa del Sol, or IPTV etc?

I am sure that some people have found my ramblings helpful I am not going to be put off sharing my thoughts because of one.

Just before I got an e-mail that you had made yet another pointless post I was reading that Astra 2E is being launched on the 19th of this month and that it will start to broadcast in either August or September (ruffly) according to “robssatellitetv” website.

Not sure why I would need any technical help??? Its all pretty straightforward my end.

Anyway; God bless & goodnight


Stuart Crawford

June 7th, 2013 9:45 am

There is so much crap on tv now especially the Murdoch Speak channels but the elites are overjoyed at how passive the proles are – the ‘spectator society’ suits them just fine.

Remember the lines from John’s song:
they keep you doped with religion, sex and tv
and you think your so clever and classless and free
but your still f#~+#^* peasants as far as I can see

And he wrote that in 1970!

All those beautiful Andalucian nights made for a long walk in the cool night air and to look up at star filled sky – of course none of this is possible if you have turned into a couch slob.


June 7th, 2013 12:04 pm

It is all too much!! I have had three system at one place over the years. In the past I have recorded films from Sky in the UK to DVD but just took hold of my new gadget today where I can record to external hard drive / laptop etc (hopefully) and then I will have a few films to watch in the afternoon when it is too hot to go outside in the summer, again hopefully as when I went to Spain at the end of May / start of June it was not that hot until the day I left.


June 7th, 2013 1:10 pm

I think Stuart’s comment does make you think for sure…..but I still love me telly! (Cricket mainly).

Nice Lennon quote too. Murdoch has contributed so many negative things to UK culture. If it wasn’t for the cricket, there’s no way I’d pay for Sky.

We’re going off-topic again….better get back to where we were: is Eileen real and what does Mrs. Gold look like down at Nikki beach if she spends so much time sat on a presumably expensive sofa watching Channel 5???? : )


June 7th, 2013 4:44 pm

Xbox media centre XBMC is free and its available for rooted ipads, andriod devices and pc’s. Add on navi xtreem for free and you can watch almost any film or tv show …..


June 7th, 2013 5:08 pm

Right Wotdog. We’ll do that then. How does it go again?


June 7th, 2013 5:42 pm

I think I will bin the Sky box, and the TV and just read these ever more amusing comments.

James Gold Marbella

June 7th, 2013 5:59 pm

I lost my ITV & BBC1 again between 10am-11am on the SKY Box, spoke with an Engineer who tells me that in June the sun casts a shadow on the satellite in the mornings and would be back on in an hour, apparently this affects people in Costa Blanca and Balearic Islands also in June because of the position of sun or satellite? Not 100% but its all working OK now, just watching “Chasing Classic Cars” excellent TV show.

Roche-Bobois sofa & yes very expensive, thought this thread was about TV not what my wife looks like?

We will be lunching Nikki Beach again Sunday with friends if you would like to say hello.. first Mojito on me! Just tell security you are joining the “Gold” party would love to enjoy your friendly banter in the real world.


June 7th, 2013 8:42 pm

Paul: You could do worse. You could watch “Come Dancing”


June 7th, 2013 8:51 pm

No problem with my Sky service today; BBC1 and ITV perfect between those times. Best call Eileen and get some tech support James.

I’m washing the cat on Sunday, such a shame this clashes with your party. i was so looking forward to meeting the cast of TOWIE too.


June 8th, 2013 9:45 am

Good thinking Stefano, but a tad messy.

I see the “golds” are still using inverted commas – worrying.


June 8th, 2013 4:56 pm

This Gold party invite thing sounds a bit creepy.

If all else fails tv wise and you’re desperate, there will always be a way to watch Coronation Street as long as you’ve got the internet. No need to panic basically.


June 8th, 2013 7:22 pm

The real bummer is not being able to series link forward recording while we are all partying with the “golds” ( is this a pseudonym I ask mysel) in Lucky lucky beach!!!


June 10th, 2013 6:52 pm

Hi, I have just read all the previous posts and am no wiser! We spend half the year in Puerto Banus and like being able to keep up with UK tv. We have Internet access but are only able to achieve a download speed of less than 1MB with Telefonica. We pay for up to 10 but they say the max speed attainable in our area is between 1 and 3, so guess we are one of the unlucky ones. If our Internet is not fast enough for IPTV, where does that leave us?


June 10th, 2013 6:58 pm

Broadcast network if you have a line of sight to the aerial. However u thought Banus had at least 2-4 Mbps in which case you would be ok . Check the local papers and get a demo in you place and that will let you know if it works for you


June 10th, 2013 9:36 pm

Hi Ann

It is a relief to see a new post that is relevant to the original topic.

You are correct, of course. An internet solution to the loss of UK channels requires a minimum broadband speed that is not dependent on broadband use. By that I mean unlimited broadband with no downgrading of the speed as a result of sustained use.

It sounds as though you have done the homework and used a speed test website at intervals to determine the speed. If your speed is 1Mbits per second or less then the best that you can hope for is standard definition for 1Mb/s falling to low def between about 0.5 to 1Mb/s.

One alternative is wireless broadband which could just push you into the 1 to 3mb/s range. But check that out with the
provider. Typical cost is 30€ per month and if the 6 months is continuous you can normally cancel the remaining 6 months with no charge. I am sure there are readers of this thread who have details of providers in your area.

Just found this old post (2009) on the “” called Broadband in Puerto Banus

but not clear if it’s capped or unlimited downloads.

Re: Broadband in Puerto Banus

Post by AndyT on Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:17 pm
I’ve just moved over to Vodafones ADSL offering

No line rental, no Telefonica, free landline, free calls to Spanish landlines, 12MB ADSL connection with 3G backup and all for 39€ a month


June 10th, 2013 9:53 pm

And an apple mac guy I called down from Marbella told me was getting about 8meg now. Which is why I was surprised at Ann only getting1


June 10th, 2013 10:32 pm

I’m Staggered that in such a cosmopolitan area such as yours that you can only get 1Mb download, I live in the sticks inland and Telefonica/Movistar has just upped my download (unlimited) to 8.5 Mb. I know Telefonica has had bad press in the past but they have really upped their game. My package with them has just been changed to Fusion Cero €42 a month for fixed land line (free calls in Spain) up to 10 Mbs download (I get 8.5 totally unlimited) plus SIM card for mobile (calls from mobile 15 cents per call up to 120 minutes). I have been with Telefonica since I moved to Spain 7 years ago and apart from language issues in the past (much improved) I have had a reliable service. There are always companies saying they can give a better cheaper service but they rarely stand up to careful scrutiny. I’m not a sales rep for Telefonica just on the whole a satisfied customer.


June 11th, 2013 12:23 am

Hi, thanks for the comments. We are using wireless broadband through Telefonica but are still struggling to get to 1mb on several tests at different times of day. The information on the area speeds from the Telefonica Engineer is very recent and when I asked about 20 or 30mb when ordering I was told this was just not possible. If we cannot get IPTV service and don’t have a line of sight to a Broadcast aerial, I have no idea where to go from there. Was really hoping that IPTV would be the solution for us but it appears this is not going to be the case.


June 11th, 2013 1:44 am

To Ann

By “wireless broadband through Telefonica” I presume you mean that you have Telefonica/Movistar broadband through your telephone landline (called ADSL) and that you have a wireless modem/router providing WiFi in the house. Or do you mean that you really do have broadband arriving at your house through a wireless internet connection and not a telephone line?

In my previous post “wireless broadband” refers to the latter – and is provided, as Paul describes, through a line of sight transmission from an aerial.

It is surprising, given your location, that you cannot receive greater than 1MB/s through either a telephone line or through a wireless link.

Could you try testing your broadband download or streaming speed at well off peak times – possibly very early morning. If you’re using a wifi connection to your PC, are you able to connect using cable instead, using the cat5 ethernet cable that was supplied with the Movistar router?

If the speed improves then any loss of speed at peak times is a contention issue – too many users competing for bandwidth.

Given that you will be streaming TV from the UK, you could try the BBC speed test from

The location is bbcDOTcoDOTuk/iplayer/diagnostics

The last time I tried the test from Spain it was not blocked by the non-uk location.

This test is tailored to provide streaming speeds given that the test is for streaming TV and not downloading.

The test results show the speed in kbps and not Mbps.

The speed 3000kbps is equivalent to 3Mbps.

The table on the results screen gives an analysis of the video definition you can expect from your internet speed. For watching BBC live TV at high def, the recommendation is a minimum 3500kbps or 3.5Mbps.

1.5Mbps is the recommended minimum for standard definition.

If you stream UK live TV from TVCatchup, you should get standard def with 1Mbps.


June 11th, 2013 8:01 am

You are not going to get the download speed you want with wireless, you need a fixed line broadband connection for stable download speeds. Think of your old wireless radio subject to interference wireless broadband is no different.


June 11th, 2013 8:44 am

I have heard of this service – Fusion – from Telefonica and my brother also has it it in Fuengirola and gives the same sort of praise you are giving it Peter. I suspect I will be calling Telefonica any day now to switch back to them from BT Telecom, who, whilst they WERE cheaper (not so) sure now), have not been any good really.

I am still tied into the Vodafone mobile contract for a year or more, so would not need the SIM side of the deal, (I assume they tailor packages now to suit)

Thanks for the update.


June 11th, 2013 9:17 am

“I’m Staggered that in such a cosmopolitan area such as yours that you can only get 1Mb download”

Actually, this is totally expected. It’s called contention ratio and Puerto Banus does have low speeds as it has a lot more people using the same ‘pipe’. Many people I talk to in Banus say the same thing. In the sticks the contentention ratio is much less, of course. One piece of consolation is that fibre is coming to some parts of Banus this year, so everyone can watch TOWIE without problem soon lol.


June 11th, 2013 10:29 am

The latest launch date for the Astra 2E satellite is 19th July. Based on previous experience, it will take at least a month to fine tune/position for optimum performance. On that basis, we’re not going to know how satellite signal reception has been affected in Southern Spain and Portugal until late August or even early September. There may even be commercially driven intervention from Sky in particular, who could lose significant public accessibility (and potential revenue) if no compromise solution is found. Bottom line – wait and see.


June 11th, 2013 4:04 pm

Hi micmc47

You say:

“we’re not going to know how satellite signal reception has been affected in Southern Spain and Portugal until late August or even early September”

Correct – in fact probably later. It takes about 2 months from initial launch, testing, moving into final position before the TV transmissions start. So it’ll be about mid-September before we have the hard facts on UK TV Free to Air channel reception from Astra 2E.

A related point. Even when the Astra 2F started transmitting in late November – the final signal strength was not clear. Astra has continued to make further adjustments to Astra 2F through to about March this year, with the aim of reducing the footprint further. The same process is likely with Astra 2E. Maybe you will be able to receive transmissions on a 3m dish for a few months – only to find that even that dish size is useless. Of course, we cannot be sure – but what we can be virtually certain about is that a 1.5m to 2m dish, and almost certainly even bigger, will not receive FTA transmissions in Malaga.

Of course, most of us will still cling to that tiny possibility that FTA will not disappear. There will be small differences between the 2E and the 2F satellites. The most obvious is that they are not exactly the same position over the equator at 28East. Will a separation of, say, 100km make a difference. Perhaps if the 2E is 100km west of the 2F that could increase the signal. The footprint will fall that bit further west – a slight nudge towards Spain. Without attempting a precise calculation, I guess given Spain’s position, the footprint could shift about 10km to 20km. That would be, on the geographic scale, of no significance in Malaga.

micmc47 said

“There may even be commercially driven intervention from Sky in particular, who could lose significant public accessibility (and potential revenue).”

I wonder what micmc47 means and bases that statement on. In any case, I imagine that, given a choice, more people will be concerned by the loss of the UK FTA channels than by the loss of Sky subscription channels.

Several contributors have already explained that:

a) it is likely that Sky subscription channels, because they are encrypted, will transfer to the 2E pan-Europe beam and NOT the UK spot beam. In other words, Sky will still be received.

b) all the available evidence points to no receivable signal from the 2E UK spot beam in Malaga and hence no FTA TV channels.

Is micmc47 advising that we wait and see if there is a “commercially driven intervention” and if so, what does he have in mind? Surely he is not suggesting that Sky is planning to encrypt and transmit the BBC and ITV FTA channels. I wonder if the BBC and ITV have been told.

This quote may be of interest – from the Astra forum at

“I’m an Italian professional satellite engineer and I deal with people from SES-ASTRA , both commercial and technical guys.

They were asked to cut out as many as possible English speaking countries owing to broadcasting rights which is a very delicate topic.

When Astra 2F was moving footprint up/down – east/west after having been launched (and operational), they were testing true reception as theoretical footprint is not always the needed one.

The result : In Lucca (Central-Northern Italy) you need a 3M professional dish for a 1 db margin reception.

In Denmark not less than 1.8 M or a little larger dish, for a similar small margin.

I’m afraid that people from SES ASTRA got what they were looking for.

From Northern Italy to Central Italy in 230 Km (moving South), signal is dropping down 1 db every 30 km.
It’s a very sharp edge.

I hope Astra 2E won’t be worse.”

The reference to “cut out as many as possible English speaking countries” refers to the policy of reducing the spot beam to the UK – so that English speakers outside the UK were less likely to receive FTA.

“When Astra 2F was moving footprint up / down – east / west after having been launched (and operational)”

refers to adjustments to the operational satellite that have succeeded in reducing the beam further – I guess by pointing it a little further to the west to reduce the signal further East across large populations of northern Europe. That type of adjustment could just possibly improve reception a little in the east of Spain.

One other, very slight, glimmer of hope is what will happen when the strong transmissions from the 1N satellite are switched off. Maybe they could be masking the weaker 2F.

Here’s the quote – the same Astra forum:

“What do you say about the theories that for some of us the relatively strong Transponders of 1N negatively affect the much weaker 2F transponders?”

Hey, now even I am clutching at straws!


June 11th, 2013 5:15 pm

Hi Jamie, Lots of interesting background in your submission, thanks, but my bottom line still remains ‘wait and see’. As I’m only in Portugal from May to October, it will most likely be a case of seeing what is on offer here in May 2014. Even if we lose signal from this September, I’m certainly not shelling out on IPTV or anything else for a matter of just a few weeks. I’ve already tested two VPN providers on a one month trial,and can receive good quality pictures here from BBC iplayer, ITV player, Virgin Media, Channel 4 and Channel 5. I’m lucky to have access to an average 13.8 Mbps download speed here on the Algarve, but realise that broadband may not be a solution for everyone. One thing is for sure, if there’s a commercial opportunity someone (or more likely many companies)will step in with a solution – at a cost of course. I certainly won’t be jumping on the first bandwagon that comes along. Time will tell.


June 11th, 2013 6:05 pm

Well, I have to say I basically agree with these two gents. It really is a question of wait and see, and this is exactly what our (reliable) satellite engineers are telling us. The more money minded ones are trying to sell the world and his wife a set-top box with the lure of half price now but full price when the satellite shuts down.

WAIT AND SEE. I think that’s all we can do. I have the responsibility of 232 owners to consider, as up to now we have supplied 14 UK channels Free to my Community, and I am really not about to rush in where angels fear to tread.

I am keeping them abreast with such developments that appear (e.g Broadcast Network), but am advising caution at the moment.

I suggest you do the same.


June 12th, 2013 12:56 pm

Hi micmc47 and Paul

First to Paul

I can see that your position vis-à-vis UK TV reception is very different from the individual, who can customise a solution and use a step-by-step approach. Maybe start with TV on a laptop or desktop or some other PC, then incorporate a dedicated set top box as the need arises or the confidence grows.

From what you describe, your customers, some of whom will take their own decisions, en-bloc may expect a ready-made solution. Not an easy situation.

Hi Paul, thanks for your reply.

Far from waiting and seeing, it is clear to me that you are already “Internet TV Ready”. You already have the essential components in place and functioning. You have embraced IPTV without having to “shell out”.

Putting it simply, there is essentially only one IPTV solution, although it may appear in different guises. The main components have been described already in this discussion:

• high speed broadband.
• a VPN £5 per month.
• a Windows/Apple/Android/Linux or similar box or a Sky+ digibox for Anytime TV.
• a display, preferably a TV.
• a choice of TV streams – free or optional subscription

Of course, you already know that – but some readers may want to see them listed.

The VPN could be regarded as optional – but I think it is essential because it provides access to a number of TV streams rather than being restricted to maybe just FilmOn.

Unless you use a laptop or desktop then, of course, you need a separate monitor or a TV. Even if you do use a laptop as the set top box you would probably hook up to large monitor or a TV.

It is not necessary to buy into a package – I certainly have not seen any commercial package that I would prefer to use. It may be worth pointing out that those advertising packages, that include a streaming service and a set top box, and who are operating legally are providing exactly the same solution.

There is a parallel here with satellite TV. You can either go to the installer who provides the whole package, the digibox and installs the dish – or you can buy and install the system yourself. The only slightly tricky bit is the dish installation. One advantage for the DIYer of internet TV is that there is no dish installation.

The package may cost you 20€ per month and that may include the set top box. If not then the additional charge for the box could be about 150€ to 200€ – and the box could be no better than the 100€ box if you DIY.

The downside for the DIYer is you will need to set up the STB – this could involve installing a program and then using plug-ins for the streams you wish to access – example: iPlayer. You can buy some STBs that are pre-programmed and then you just have to add the plug-ins.

Note that you will be able to set up the same TV streams that are provided with the commercial packages. One of the contributors on this forum explained that his commercial box from the solution provider is pre-configured with Film-on but that plug-ins or add-ons can be installed for other streams.

What you pay for with the commercial package, assuming it is legal, is the initial set-up and the support. You do not pay for the streams because they are publicly available. Most individuals will need assistance to select and set up the set-top box themselves. PCs are easier to set up. I am currently using a generic box based on a customised Android operating system dual-core processor. Cost about £80. It comes with a remote control. It works well with TVCatchup for all the live FTA channels. It includes a programme guide (an EPG). It is versatile – you can add plug-in programs, example iPlayer for live BBC and FilmOn.

Worth noting that new, Android based, STBs are starting to appear – with faster, quad-core processors, more like a full PC but small, low energy and no noisy fan.

Other costs:

VPN Server rental £5/month
Router for the VPN £40 to £150

The router is necessary only if you use a VPN – even then it is not essential. You can pay well over £100 for a router that operates a VPN client. If you buy a basic router (£40) suitable for a VPN you still have to install the firmware and the VPN client. That can be a nightmare – I do not recommend a DIY job. You may find someone who can set it up for maybe £30 to £40 or you can buy a router with the firmware pre-installed (maybe about £80 on ebay – and then you have to set up the VPN on the router).

The VPN client program can be installed easily on a PC such as laptop, desktop, some Android tablets, if you use a PC for the set-top box. Then, no need for the router. Some are happy to use a wireless mouse to control the PC, instead of a remote. However, I would prefer a PC wireless remote control, similar to TV remotes, from about £12 to £25.

I imagine that community self-help groups will soon get to grips with the technology.

The micmc47 approach is the model I subscribe to and would recommend. It builds on what you may have already, broadband and a PC. It does not require much additional expenditure. An alternative to a VPN is to pay the FilmOn subscription for high definition – but do that only if your broadband can deliver the necessary speed.

It seems to me that discussion on this topic has experienced a paradigm shift. The initial ‘wait and see’ philosophy epitomised a reluctance to accept the loss of satellite FTA channels. The prevalent view seemed to be to wait and see if the channels did indeed vanish. What I now realise is that ‘wait and see’, illustrated by Paul and micmc47, does not deny that distinct possibility verging on certainty. On the contrary, wait and see accepts that possibility but prefers to wait and see what alternative solutions may emerge in the coming months before committing to buy. Very sensible but maybe not entirely realistic. Internet TV is not new and neither is the problem of accessing satellite and terrestrial TV. Valencia has been there and done it all – since they effectively lost sat TV with the 2D satellite. I cannot imagine what legal alternatives may now emerge. Just variations on a theme. However, it does take time to assimilate the new technology and so why not take advantage of the delayed satellite launch and go for a basic solution as stop gap. Also, as mentioned, set-top box technology is changing and, by the autumn I, for one, hope to have a proven quad-core set top box that delivers true HD.

In his article, Michael Coard states that “another, better alternative is to subscribe to a professional streaming service and connect an IPTV set top box to your main television.”

I assume he is referring to streaming the UK national TV channels. I am at a loss to know which streaming services he is referring to. Any ideas? Does he mean FilmOn – that’s the only one I know that provides the UK channels via internet and charges a subscription – and only for their HD streams?

The approach I advocate is suitable for an individual but not for a whole community as in Paul’s case, where I guess the whole community will want a ready-made solution.


June 12th, 2013 1:22 pm

Hi micmc47

Correction to my previous post. It should, of course, have said:

Hi micmc47, thanks for your reply . . .


June 12th, 2013 3:28 pm

Hi Everyone

Some great advice and points here.

I thought I might share my experiences with using VPN.

After my sky hd box didn’t function anymore after a thunder storm here in Spain, I started to use a VPN service so I could carry on watching UK TV which was costing me around £10 a month, with a 10mb download speed I was having buffering issues and many times a frozen picture, I had this for about a year until I came across Unotelly where you just change the DNS which allows you not to lose download speed.

I am now watching UK TV on my pc, smart tv , iPad and iPhone with no buffering issues and no frozen picture.

For those of you not wanting a IPTV try out unotelly they Even give you a weeks trial.

I hope this helps.



June 12th, 2013 6:38 pm

Thankyou micmc37, lot of new info there to assimilate. You are right inasmuch as personally I am set up with VPN Apple TV from Mac to TV and all the bells and whistles. My concern as you rightly say is my community of which I am president. We have a lot of elderly people who have never touched a computer and would not know one end of an Ethernet cable from the other!! They spend a lot of the day in their 4th floor flats watching BBC and ITV and they are the people I am worried about. They will probably want to go back to the UK but can’t because of property equity and are therefore stuffed. And I am equally sure they are not Ar alll ok and therefore I have taken it upon myself To find the solution if indeed there is one to be found. Can you perhaps explain this “other satellite ” up there in the western skys which apparently is still and will be still broadcasting these necessary channels – the position 97.5w rings a bell .


June 13th, 2013 12:11 am

Hi Paul,

I think you mistook me for micmc37. No matter – I started it by typing Paul when I meant micmc37.

My first reaction, when I first heard of the switch off, was what impact will this have on all those quite elderly Brits? In that context, comments on this and other sites about learning Spanish and watching Spanish TV are devoid of human feeling, callous and thoughtless.

I imagine, if it were possible, that the alternative 27.5 W satellite solution, being closest to what you have now, would be the ideal. Even then, a new satellite box is needed to unlock the encryption. I already checked that earlier and discovered that the removal of the encryption is temporary – it just happens occasionally. Normally those transmissions are encrypted. If the encryption were suddenly strengthened then you’d have over 200 very disgruntled owners with 200 redundant sat boxes.

How about just four new satellite boxes for starters, each recording a channel. Those recordings could, I suppose, then be routed to individual Smart TVs (i.e. TV plus IPTV box) over a local area network (LAN) – almost live TV.

Probably too high tech. The design of the LAN would require a professional – and the first reaction may be it will not work.

If and when the satellite fails the same network could be used – except this time you would record the channels direct from the internet streams.

I am guessing that there is nothing illegal in this arrangement. Depends on whether it could be interpreted as rebroadcasting.

James Gold Marbella

June 13th, 2013 1:45 am

That sounds like a recipe for disaster and a Blowfelt sized budget.


June 13th, 2013 11:39 am

Actually James, this is something similar to that we have already. I have 14 set top satellite receivers in at TV room, each tuned to a separate channel, plus one sky box and card picking up sky sports. These are then fed via analogue cable to every apartment in the community, so effectively all our owners receive 14 UK channels. of these 14, 11 I suspect will be lost. But, and this is the big BUT, our owners do NOT each have a set top box, they simply plug the aerial cable into the TV sets to receive the channels.

When you talk about satellite boxes can I have 14, each feeding our existing analogue system, sounds weird I know.

But if, as you suggest, the encryptions could be changed at any time, that rather buggers things up as well.

The “Golds” have risen. Must have been a good weekend on lucky lucky beach!

Keep watching this space, as the eternal optimist in me tells me something good will happen (maybe via SKY)

Arthur Thomas

June 13th, 2013 12:20 pm

My Community president, I have a place down in Estepona, had been searching for possible solutions to this.
We got a visit from a quite professional and enhlish speaking company oriented to Internet and they gave us a report that I thought could share with you.
Basically it proposes alternatives through the Internet, but obviously requires a quite significant speed to work. They have installed a 30 MB Internet into our Community and we are sharing it. I have a SlingBox myself. Hope it’s brings some hope.

James Gold Marbella

June 13th, 2013 3:45 pm

Yes – “Lucky Lucky” Beach was great! Mrs Gold loves it down there…

I received my “special” router today and am currently downloading free box sets using SKY ON DEMAND. Half way through Sopranos all 6 Series are available for free, this router disguises my true location (Mr Bond) so I can access all the SKY ON DEMAND stuff, still playing around so will come back with more details if anyone is interested?

I can also connect my ipad to the router by wifi.

Paul; I understand now.


June 13th, 2013 6:07 pm

To Paul

Hi, that’s a lot clearer.

First off, I am not a network specialist – far from it. Having said that, neither are the millions around the world who have set up quite sophisticated LANs in their own homes for routing media, including TV, to different rooms. The big difference is that in the home environment you do not have to operate on a commercial timescale and on the physical scale of a whole community. You can be very flexible with the teething problems – not the case with 200 customers.

You say “But, and this is the big BUT, our owners do NOT each have a set top box”

OK – but in one respect, that’s a plus. They haven’t had to invest in a box and so will not have the irritation of a box becoming surplus to requirements.

Whichever way one views it – they are fortunate not to have to deal with this as individuals in their own houses.

I can see that you would prefer not to part with the existing cable infrastructure – on the other hand, it seems that you have the ducting in place for running ethernet – what a bonus!

“When you talk about satellite boxes can I have 14, each feeding our existing analogue system, sounds weird I know.”

Your existing “set top satellite receivers” are satellite set top boxes. There is no difference in principle between your existing satellite receivers and the replacement satellite receivers (boxes) needed to unlock the BISS encryption, except, of course, that I suspect your existing boxes cannot unlock the encryption. That said – yes, you should be able replace the 11 FTA receivers with the new box – and, of course, retain the others.

“But if, as you suggest, the encryptions could be changed at any time, that rather buggers things up as well.”

Well, you already knew that from two of my earlier posts that highlighted the problem. But, to clarify, occasional changes to the encryption key is not the problem. The new key is soon published on the web. The real problem occurs if the encryption is strengthened. That is why you need the alternative fall back option – a ‘straightforward’ swap to internet TV, using the same or similar basic infrastructure that you have now, as far as possible.

With streamed internet TV you would need 11 IP boxes (for the 11 channels) and maybe 4 to 6 landlines – depending on bandwidth. That’s a lot more efficient in terms of bandwidth compared with 200 landlines streaming simultaneously.

I imagine that you would prefer to retain the “cable to every apartment in the community”. That way the users would not need their own iptv set top box.

I am guessing that you currently use the RF output of the sat boxes and combine those to provide the co-axial feed (the analogue). With IPTV boxes you would therefore have to convert the AV output from each box to RF using an Audio/Video To RF Coax converter. From then on you use your existing set-up.

If you, instead, record the 11 channels you would need at least one large drive – maybe partitioned with one partition for each channel. I am sure I have vastly oversimplified the technology. Managing the recordings could be a problem. They’d have to be routinely deleted by an administrator. You would replace the co-axial cabling with an ethernet LAN. To view the recordings each user will need a set top box running a media centre (£40 to £80), something like XBMC (the Xbox Media Centre). No problem there – many commercial IPTV STBs use XBMC for streaming internet TV. Your customers would, of course, have to learn how to locate the recorded program files using the STB remote – but that’s no more of a problem than using the STB to select streamed internet TV channels.

My view and I am sure yours too would be to stick with the anologue/co-axial set-up.

The alternative to recording and co-axial cable would be to route the live streams across the LAN. Given the ease of installing cable I presume you would use ethernet and not wireless. At ethernet speeds, 1000Mbps, and standard definition – you could in theory simultaneously handle 400 users. You can use the same IPTV set top box running XBMC. Of course, streaming those 200+ live streams direct from the internet, you then run into the bandwidth problem.

“Keep watching this space, as the eternal optimist in me tells me something good will happen”

Do you know something that we do not? Would you care to eleborate? I have reflected on hints from others that maybe Sky will do this . . . and maybe the BBC will do that …

My conclusion is that if the Freeview cartel were planning some alternative satellite subscription channels for their own copyright broadcasts, broadcast at the same time as their scheduled FTA transmissions – we’d know by now. If there is money to be made the last thing they would want is, by maintaining a silence, for potential customers to seek out a competing internet solution.

The alternative conclusion is that, whatever else is in the pipeline – it’s illegal or will not provide the Freeview channels and/or not at the FTA scheduled times.


June 13th, 2013 6:24 pm

Wow, thanks Jamie, there is light at the end of the tunnel methinks.

You are of course right, while the eternal optimist in me tells me something will happen , the pessimist says, don’t be stupid, if it was going to be done, it would have been done by now!

I will have to start talking to people about your ideas.

Thank you


June 21st, 2013 9:33 am

Mike,dont use proxys,they can steal all your information.


June 21st, 2013 7:16 pm

This weeks edition of Computer Active has a 6 page article on how to watch web TV and films wherever you are, it is explained in plain English and how to get it free…..with a minimum 2Mpbs speed connection. Otherwise you are limited to downloading first rather than live streaming.
You can test your internet connection speed at “”


June 24th, 2013 9:53 am

Wow! I’ve read all the posts and am now completely befuddled! I have limited understanding of all this technical stuff so please bear with me.

We bought our house in Marbella in 1987 and all we had was Gibraltar TV which was dire, so we used to watch lots of videos. Then came Sky, it was marvellous! For many years we subscribed until I realised that we only really watched the Freeview channels and so I cancelled the subscription, especially as we only used the house for 3 months of the year. There are those who scoff at ex-pats wanting to watch TV whilst abroad but I don’t understand why they have a problem with it. Is it not natural to want to keep a connection with ‘home’ and TV certainly provides that. I love being able to watch the local news on ITV and I like to keep up with the soaps etc.

I understand that we have just been fortunate to be able to receive UK Freeview Channels and Sky Channels (should you subscribe) all this time as Sky aren’t legally able to broadcast outside of the UK. What I don’t understand is why they aren’t allowed to broadcast. We live in a small world these days. Everyone travels and moves around a lot and the internet has made the world even smaller, enabling us to keep in contact with people all over the world on a personal or business level. I don’t understand why every country all over the world isn’t able to broadcast their live TV worldwide. I listen to radio stations from all over the world via the internet, surely a natural progression would be to extend that to TV?

I’m sure Sky is going to lose a lot of revenue if all the expats around Europe end up cancelling their subscriptions. If they were legally able to broadcast all the UK Channels, not just the subscribed channels, I’m sure everyone would happily pay a subscription. I’m surprised there hasn’t been any progress in that direction. I also wonder about Gibraltar TV. I’ve just had a look online at their schedule and it doesn’t look like they’ve improved much, I can’t help feeling they’re missing a trick. Are they not allowed to broadcast UK Freeview Channels? I would happily pay a subscription if they were. With regard to the BBC, I understand that there are a lot of people who don’t pay a licence fee yet receive BBC channels. However, I am a licence payer, why isn’t there some system where if you enter your licence number you can watch BBC iPlayer no matter where you are located?

Anyway… whatever the legalities it seems we are now in a position where we are going to have to pay to receive UK TV. For me it’s all about cost. At the moment I have a standard TV and receive Free View Channels. I don’t have a landline, I only use a Pay As You Go Mobile, I don’t have the internet, I use free internet provided by the many cafes and restaurants. From the research I have done so far it seems I am going to have to buy a Smart TV, the installation of some kind of system to be able to receive streaming TV over the internet, pay a monthly subscription and also install a land line and pay monthly line rental and monthly broadband costs. It all adds up! It’s also going to be important to have an internet connection that is high speed to be able to cope with all the data from streaming TV, and also a broadband service that doesn’t have any limits. I imagine, as in the UK, a supposedly ‘no limit’ broadband will be subject to a fair use policy meaning that the speed will slow down if you have gone over what is considered to be fair use. Streaming TV will then just buffer constantly. I now rent my house to holiday-makers and so it will be impossible to regulate how much they use the internet and I don’t want to be faced with big bills for data usage.

I’ve had some quotes from local businesses who specialise in this and it has totted up to about 70 euros a month, on top of all the installation and equipment costs. So I think, like many, I’m going to wait and see what happens to the Sky signal over the summer but in the meantime I’m going to look at getting broadband so at least I have some options and it’s probably about time I had the internet installed anyway. I understand that to watch any live streaming services like TV Catch Up or use BBC iPlayer, ITV player etc I will have to have some way of hiding the fact that the IP address of the broadband service is based in Spain. So I would appreciate any advice!

1) Who is the best broadband provider on the Costa del Sol?
2) Are there any providers that include the cost of the line rental in their package?
3) Are there any broadband packages that are truly unlimited?
4) Are there any providers that allow you to have just 6 month packages?
5) What is the best way of hiding the Spanish IP address?

I have an internet connection in England, and an Apple Time Capsule that my router is connected to. Is there any way of bouncing the internet connection in Spain off my internet connection in England. It occurs to me that if that was possible that would be safer as I understand that using proxy servers can be a security issue.

Now onto other options…
1) Are there any services that are catch up, rather than Live that you can access in Spain without problem? From what I understand the issue is with broadcasting LIVE TV.
2) Has anyone subscribed to the BBC Worldwide Service… how do you get it and what does it cost?
3) Can you use Netflix in Spain?
4) If you subscribe to SKY, will you be able to use the Catch up service to access BBC iPlayer, ITV player etc through a broadband connection if your IP address is hidden. Obviously the Sky subscription would be registered to my UK address, will they know if I don’t use my home internet connection?
Thanks to this forum I’ve discovered FilmOn which I had never heard of before. I’ve just tried it and there’s all the UK TV channels there. I didn’t allow it to know my location and the UK channels were still available. I’m trying it from the UK though. Are you able to access it from Spain without hiding your internet connection? I know TVCatchUp doesn’t work when you’re in Spain.

Spanish TV
I’ve also read on here that there’s the option to have a lot of programmes on Spanish TV in English and I wouldn’t mind getting Spanish TV, it might help me to improve my grasp of the language! I am unable to receive Spanish TV at the moment and so have absolutely no knowledge… again I have some questions.
1) Is there an equivalent of Freeview in Spain?
2) If there is, is it those channels that you have the option of putting some programmes into English?
3) What do I need to be able to receive Spanish TV. Is it an aerial, a set top box, a satellite dish?

In summary it seems that just getting Spanish Freeview TV and the internet would be a good start. That way there would be something available to watch and the possibility of Catch Up or streaming TV over the internet via my laptop, unless I buy a Smart TV. Or another option would be to have a Sky subscription that along with a hidden internet connection would give me access to BBC, ITV player.. if I have understood everything correctly!

Would appreciate any advice on all the questions I have raised.. in plain English please!


June 24th, 2013 10:46 am

Still researching!

I’ve found a service that hides your IP address for just 5 euros a month, anyone got any experience of them.

Also found that I don’t need to buy a new smart TV, that I can connect my iPad to my existing TV through Apple TV which is £99. Anyone done that?

Also it seems that you can watch all the UK channels without hiding your IP address through for free! Is that right? If it is then seems that’s a good option and when combined with Apple TV you can watch on your TV.

Only thing left to do is find the best broadband provider.. recommendations anyone?


June 24th, 2013 10:55 am

Oh and another option it seems is Slingbox.. now I really don’t understand that!


June 24th, 2013 11:03 am

My suggestion Fusion Zero from telefonica, 42.50 inc IVA for up to 10 MBPS download (I get 8.5 out in the sticks) unlimited download, it’s only the UK that is anally retentive with this fair use policy garbage, includes land line rental and a mobile sim card (in Spain 15 cents connection charge no further charge until you have been speaking for 120 minutes if you are on the mobile for that long you need to get out more). As for in Spain best used without a proxy and download the ap for your PC, Mac etc. My suggestion stick with this set up until the satellite has been launched and we know where the channels are going and what sort of signal we are going t get in various parts of Spain Hope this helps.


June 24th, 2013 6:40 pm

Thanks Peter. That sounds quite good and it includes mobile sim too. I think I am going to wait and see what happens and no doubt all sorts of other solutions will crop up too. With a friend uses it through the iPad app and Apple TV, no proxy, says it works fine. Alan Sugar has tweeted about this box too which records automatically, isn’t expensive and you can suspend or cancel the service at any time. Said it worked well on a poor connection in Spain. That would work well for me as the house is closed up for 6 months.. could just do with a broadband service that I could suspend too!


June 25th, 2013 1:37 pm

Anyone got any suggestions for a good Satellite Broadband Provider with an unlimited package and the option to suspend the service for 6 months?

James Gold Marbella

June 25th, 2013 10:36 pm

I do not need to pay any monthly fees to watch UK catch up TV using the sat/iptv box that we got from mrskytv, just downloaded a new plug in called TSmedia so many free IPTV channels and thousands of movies etc all for free. I have noticed that there are new plug ins available every week or so, they are all free. Being able to also watch & control this box through the internet on our laptop is also fantstic as we spent the weekend in Seville so took the laptop and was able to watch some TV before turning in for the evening, I purchased a lead that goes from our laptop to the TV.


July 2nd, 2013 2:48 pm

Russian Proton Rocket

Following the failed launch of the three Russian navigation satellites today – what knock-on effect, if any, will this have on the Proton launch of the Astra 2 satellite?

Both today’s launch and the Astra launch use Proton rockets.

Quote: “There will be no launches from Baikonur for about two-three months, a source in Russia’s space industry told RIA Novosti news agency.”


That suggests that the Astra 2 program will be equally delayed by two or more months. If that is the case then the switch-off is now likely to be November-December.

R O'Neill

July 2nd, 2013 3:21 pm

I have looked at TSmedia site and the available channels appear to be in Arabic, Kurdish etc. not much help.


July 2nd, 2013 9:42 pm

Re. inevitable changes to the Astra 2E launch date (was 20 July 13)because of the recent Proton rocket catastrophic failure at Baikonur – I can see significant delays here to introduction of the new satellite. Quite apart from the protracted technical investigation which will now take place, Baikonur is also the launch site for Soyuz rockets which both re-supply and re-man the International space station. There are at least 3 Soyuz launches already programmed between now and December. Soyuz will certainly take precedence over Proton, so Proton could be on the back burner for some time. On that basis, I wouldn’t be surprised if Astra 2E was now not launched this year.


July 3rd, 2013 1:46 am

just ask your friendly local tv guy you must know?…


July 3rd, 2013 8:54 am

Unfortunately most “friendly local tv guys” will already have sold half the population boxes they may or may not need this year, and in the delays which will inevitably occur (thank the lord as far a my community is concerned), someone could still come up with an alternative situation.

So Edward, wrap yourself up, keep warm, and sign off the thread.

In the meantime any of you guys out there who have a handle on this latest news, PLEASE keep up posted!

James Gold Marbella

July 3rd, 2013 10:09 am

Looks like the “loss of UK TV on the Costa del Sol” may be delayed as a Russian spacecraft exploded shortly after take off yesterday at the same launch site that the new Astra 2E satellite is supposed to be launched from. Reading the reports this may affect the launch dates for some time. The rocket was a Proton 2 as used by Astra.


July 3rd, 2013 11:35 am

Hi Paul

In that link about the Proton rocket in my post yesterday, it clearly states that:

“The next Proton-M launch” . . from the same Baikonur cosmodrome that the accident occured yesterday . . “was scheduled for July 21. It was supposed to deliver a commercial ASTRA 2E broadcast satellite for Europe into orbit.”

The Astra 2E launch was the next in line after yesterday’s failed launch. All launches from that cosmodrome are likely to be delayed for two to three months. Given that it is still almost three weeks to the 21st July scheduled launch, the message is that the Astra 2E will not be launched for at least two to three months less the three weeks. It follows that the minimum delay to the Astra 2E launch will be about 2 months.

The report also stated:

“The rocket exploded on impact close to another launch pad used for Proton commercial launches.”

That launch pad, that was nearly destroyed, is the pad scheduled for the Astra 2E commercial launch. Had that been destroyed – fortunately for Astra and the cosmodrome it was not – the delay in the launch would be even greater. It’ll be interesting to see how Astra responds given that they are using the 2E to replace the 1N, that has been ‘on loan’ since early 2012 – and is needed to join the rest of the Astra 1 fleet.

Maybe Astra will re-activate the old 2D satellite to replace the 1N. So, hang on to that 1.3m dish in Andalucia – you may need it for longer than you thought ;)


July 3rd, 2013 11:35 am

Don’t panic will you though Paul! You’ll always be able to watch Coronation Street somehow! ha ha ha


July 3rd, 2013 1:16 pm

never seen it Eddie but I am sure you can get me up to speed in a couple of minutes


July 3rd, 2013 2:37 pm

I can see Mr Gold and his wife in my minds eye. Oily, potbellied and full of sovereigns and gold chains.

James Gold Marbella

July 3rd, 2013 3:01 pm

Hi Pandora,

Nice to know you are thinking of us… x

Mr & Mrs Gold

PS – Our IPTV box is still working! LOL


July 20th, 2013 12:52 pm

Hi Larry

That’s good to know.

What’s the make and model of your IPTV box – and which streams do you set up for BBC/ITV? Are you using the FilmOn streams?

John S

July 20th, 2013 9:36 pm

Just wait guys, I have an IP box with everything I wanted, even the BT Sports was added as soon as the test channel came out, I cancelled my Sky Sub anyway and am saving money…Just depends if you get a fast enough Downspeed from your provider. You have time till late November due to Inquiries from the Rocket Crash last month in Kasachstan before even a new Satellite will be launched again from the Astra Pad……could be late December even before the tests are completed. Read it on Rob’s site…


August 7th, 2013 12:23 am

The “Big Switch Off”
is now scheduled for late October or early November, according to the latest report (4 August) from Russia’s Roscosmos space agency.
See the report at:

Proton rocket satellite launches will resume from Baikonur early September, following the Proton crash in early July – and the first launch is expected to be the Astra 2E satellite that will be transmitting the new UK TV small footprint within two months of the launch.

A realistic date for the switch off of Astra 1N and the switch on of Astra 2E is early November rather than late October.

James Gold

August 7th, 2013 3:23 am

Just found out that “Rob” of robsat website passed away last week.

Lets show some respect.

lyn cooper

August 14th, 2013 12:27 pm

It is reported in the sun newspaper today that the switch off is October. It also says you can purchase a 3.5 metre satellite dish for £3,500.


August 14th, 2013 1:14 pm

@ lyn cooper

For £3500 I would be wanting a 3.5 metre dish motorized and controlled by computer, I think they have their sums wrong.

John S

August 17th, 2013 6:43 am

“The ILS Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB) concluded its review on August 13, concurring with the conclusions of the Russian State Inter-agency Commission on the root cause and the associated corrective action plan of the July 2, 2013 Proton M/Block DM mission failure with three GLONASS navigational satellites for the Russian Federal Government.

The members of the FROB agreed with the findings of the Russian investigation that the root cause of the failure was due to the improper installation of the three yaw angular rate sensors located on the Proton launch vehicle, which caused the vehicle to deviate from its flight path shortly after lift-off.

“We very much appreciate the time, effort and participation of our customers, the insurance underwriters and technical experts in the FROB process. They worked tirelessly with us to ensure that the review was conducted thoroughly. As we work towards the return to flight of the Proton vehicle, we thank all of our customers for their continued support,” said ILS Vice President of Programs and Operations, John Palmé.

The ILS Proton return to flight mission will be the Astra 2E satellite for SES on September 15, 2013. The scheduling of the remainder of the ILS Proton near term manifest for 2013 is currently being determined”


August 17th, 2013 9:24 am

So it is looking increasingly like November then


August 29th, 2013 12:10 pm

Can any expert bring us up to date ????????


August 29th, 2013 1:55 pm

I use LaptopTelly in Gibraltar for UK TV Channels now. is easy enough if you get a UK VPN sorted out, you just stream them all live.

John S

August 29th, 2013 4:20 pm

Wait till Sept 15th. The new Satellite (Astra 2E) launches. It will take approx. 15 to 30 days to reconfigure the Transponders.


September 15th, 2013 8:52 pm

Go to To keep your Channels!


September 15th, 2013 9:30 pm

So, still pointing towards October then.


September 15th, 2013 11:59 pm


Reston, VA, September 12, 2013 – The launch of an ILS Proton launch vehicle with the ASTRA 2E satellite was postponed today for technical reasons associated with the launch vehicle. The satellite is being launched for SES of Luxembourg and was built by Astrium. The launch date will be determined at a later time.

On September 11, Khrunichev engineers at the launch site received an out of tolerance reading in the first stage of the vehicle. It was determined that further investigation is necessary, requiring the launch vehicle be returned to the processing hall for additional testing. The vehicle and satellite remain in a safe configuration at the launch site.


(A couple of Russian news agencies have speculated about a new launch date of 30 September.)

John S

September 16th, 2013 6:59 am

The Return to Flight Mission of the Proton-M rocket has been delayed from its September 17 launch slot due to technical problems with the launch vehicle. Also, the Interfax news service reported that a launch delay was also requested by Kazakhstan due to unfinished decontamination work at the crash site of the July 2 Proton failure. A new launch date will be determined when repair work its complete; the current target is September 30, 2013.

James Gold

September 16th, 2013 8:26 am

Channels will probably be lost on or around Christmas Eve to cause even more heartache to British Families on the Costa del Sol as the BBC clearly couldn’t give a XXXX.

Paul Biddulph

September 16th, 2013 10:20 am

James, you just do not have a grasp of the situation. The BBC have a duty of care towards the United Kingdom, as they are the people who pay the fees, not the funny beach aklies. Who who just want free TV. And having that duty of care towards the UK, they are increasing signal strength to ALL parts of the UK including those areas which historically have not been able to received good coverage. In order to do this they have and to narrow the beam to concentrate it, and unfortunately, this means that any area from about Burgos down in Spain will no longer received free to air TV from the UK. The BBC have even issued a statement explaining this, and are sorry that the expats in Europe will lose their tv but have pointed. Out that the BBC is in the Business of supplying the best pictures to their fee paying public.

If you want to ensure that you have TV over Christmas, and obviously have no family with which to spend the time better served than being glued to the box, I suggest you rush out and buy an Internet box post haste and ensure you are adequately prepared.

Paul Biddulph

September 16th, 2013 10:21 am

And thanks for your news as well John, most informative, as always, which of course Is what this Blog was set up for,


September 16th, 2013 11:00 am


I know it is going off topic slightly, but the point is that I am a UK citizen, and would happily pay the licence fee in order to receive UK TV here in Spain, be it via the internet or satellite.

In these days of a (supposedly, but at times laughably) free EU market, I think I should have the right to do that – but this right is denied me.

But then again, I haven’t even got the right to vote, neither here in Spain nor the UK, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by being denied the right to pay the BBC to watch my national TV.

James Gold

September 16th, 2013 2:32 pm

Aimed at – Paul Biddulph (I think I know who you are)

Hi Paul

I am sick of the UK having a “duty of care” not just TV related but also a social security system that gives “anyone” that has just arrived; housing, clothing, cash in pocket from day 1, and access to medical care.

As far as the BBC is concerned;

1. Why is BBC1 available in Australia?
2. Why is ITV available in Thailand?

Your comments make “no sense” and obviously you have not read my earlier comments, and or read the press release by Alix Pryde, so perhaps you should do some homework before posting complete and utter drivvle.

This is what ALIX PRYDE from the BBC said –


Your comment “If you want to ensure that you have TV over Christmas, and obviously have no family with which to spend the time better served than being glued to the box”

How rude is that?? Is it me or is that not rude?

I already have a IPTV box thank you!

My “opinion” is that it will be Xmas or Januray 2014 before anything happens.

Amanda Johnson

September 16th, 2013 3:05 pm

Do you think that we will still get Sky with the BBC and ITV? Someone mentioned the Pan European satellite

John S

September 16th, 2013 3:21 pm

Very hard to say Amanda with also the Astra 1F launching also next year..who knows what’s going to happen.. :-/

John S

September 16th, 2013 3:24 pm

Sorry 2G I meant..

Paul Biddulph

September 16th, 2013 4:22 pm

MR (I think I know who you are – my how we laughed) Gold, I would suggest that ozland TV get the BBC via fox, which as you are aware is owned by Murdoch.. I have read some of your of your previous and consider the rudeness in your comments back there is extreme, don’t give what you can’t take back.

The BBC have made it clear time and again that they are in business to serve the uk ( the clue is in the title), and as I said if every ex pat expected to receive their nations TV channels anywhere in the world, it would be chaotic. When we first came to Spain 30 years ago, we did not have uk tv and did not expect it. It was only really when sky appeared that the whole of Europe could pick up the TV services. Again the BBC have made it clear that their channel , entertainment worldwide is out there for the very purpose of keeping the ex pats happy by providing UK entertainment. Subscription – yes


September 17th, 2013 12:53 am

First to Amanda Johnson

You asked:

“Do you think that we will still get Sky with the BBC and ITV? Someone mentioned the Pan European satellite”

The assumption is that the current Sky encrypted channels will still be available to those with the necessary Sky subscriptions, via the pan-European beam on Astra 2E. I believe that currently includes some of the HD channels such as ITV2 HD.

I have seen nothing to suggest that BBC channels and ITV1 (SD or HD) will be included in a Sky subscription pack. Why would they be given that they are already available in the UK free-to-air? The ITV2, 3 and 4 HD channels are included in the Sky HD pack because they are not currently available FTA.

The point once again is that all these channels are intended for reception within the UK only. The move to the 2E UK beam, that is more focused on the UK, is intended to reduce reception outside of the UK of the FTA channels. The use of Sky encryption for ITV2, 3 and 4 HD similarly restricts reception of those channels to the UK. Of course, it is possible to use a Sky account, intended for reception in the UK only, to view those encrypted ITV HD channels outside the UK. However, you cannot conclude that viewing those channels outside the UK is condoned and similarly cannot conclude that a similar provision could be made available to watch BBC and ITV1 via Sky subscription.

Regarding Paul Biddulph’s point about the supposed rationale for the BBC’s more focused UK beam, summarised as “duty of care towards the United Kingdom”. Does anyone really believe that statement from the BBC? The reason for the more highly focused UK beams on 2E and 2F is to restrict UK TV reception to the UK. UK TV programming arrangements with the copyright owners requires that transmission to mainland Europe should be minimised. A side effect of a tighter beam is an increase in signal strength in the UK. The BBC, in that statement from Alix Pride, overemphasised the ‘duty of care’ at the expense of the main aim of restricting broadcasts outside of the UK. Ironically, the 2E/2F UK beams are so strong around the UK that you can use a 45cm mini dish in the Faroes and you’ll get perfect reception in Iceland with a 60cm dish.


September 17th, 2013 10:01 am

Let’s all go live in Iceland then! Only joking Jamie – thanks for such an informative post.

Again, apologies for digressing but in the days of the supposedly single market and fair competition the entire European TV policy is totally ridiculous and hypocritical. Living in Spain denying me the opportunity to PAY for UKTV (I mean BBC, not just Sky) goes against everything Brussels says it stands for.

So…clearly this is a copyright issue. Money, money and it’s in the TV companies’ interests, be they publically, semi-publically, privately, or dare I say it, Murdoch-ly owned to keep things as they are. This way they get more cash, totally avoid having to enter into real competition, and thus keep subsciption fees artifically sky high for us all.

Again, apologies for those who would rather not digress from what has become a post for technical information, but EU contradiction likes this, as and when they feel like it, really p@#~es me off.


September 17th, 2013 11:49 am

This very day after nearly 25 years of making exorbitant payments to Sky for complete rubbish (the wife’s fault-I would have dumped them years ago) I have cancelled my Sky subscription completely and gone over to a BB based system. I have roughly worked it out that despite some one off initial extra capital costs I will be saving about 500 POUNDS+ a year.


September 17th, 2013 12:12 pm

I’m currently trying out the Hola extension for google chrome, this is only for tech savvy people as you need to add individual scripts for different UK channels. I player works fine with it as does ITV player, channel 4 has issues but I did get channel 5. If this is stable and continues to work it should be a dream with a smart TV. I’m still hoping that once all the satellites are in place and the channel switching complete we will still get UK free to air with either a dish alignment or larger dish. I’ll keep you posted on how Hola works.


September 17th, 2013 12:15 pm

You’re dead right Victor. It’s totally scandalous that they are allowed to get away with it. Basically, we are in large part financing the ridiculous wages paid to (many non-descript) football players.

I will also be kicking mine into touch, but am waiting to see what happens after the satellite change before I do so.

What’s BB?

James Gold

September 17th, 2013 1:15 pm

“If you want to ensure that you have TV over Christmas, and obviously have no family with which to spend the time better served than being glued to the box”

That is just rude. Paul you should be ashamed.(again)

“Duty of care” Piff Paff…

Amanda Johnson

September 17th, 2013 9:34 pm

I am not interested in the pettiness going on but just wanted to know which way to go in the future. It seems that wait and see is the best advice.

Thank you to Jamie for your info.


September 17th, 2013 10:14 pm

You can’t get Sky legally in Spain. If you’re paying for a card it’s a forgery and you’re being ripped off by someone who’s just copying cards.

Sky don’t see a penny of it.

Don’t believe me? Ring Sky and ask for a card to be sent to you and set up an account.

You just can’t complain if you’re getting something for nothing that others pay for and it’s going to be taken away. You’d moan like hell if I came and borrowed stuff without asking!

James Gold

September 17th, 2013 11:31 pm

What are you going on about Richard? Fake cards? Copying cards? 10 years ago perhaps… you are totally “WRONG” They are an old wives tale and do not exist.

Richard said “If you’re paying for a card it’s a forgery and you’re being ripped off by someone who’s just copying cards”

This is complete nonsense.

No idea what your post is about??


September 18th, 2013 12:03 am

I have to agree with James here. The cards are not forged – they do however gave to be registered to a UK address and that is where they all go. Sky if course are aware that there is a huge market in Spain and they mean a fortune from it – especially the bars. But they are NOT forged. Your criteria about asking sky to send a card to Spain is not valid – sky will not post to Spain because officially sky cannot recognize a system in Spain but sky execs holiday over here and cannot fail to see the hoarding a outside bars declaring sky sports!


September 18th, 2013 11:00 am

Get a grip Richard. For murdoch’s sake…..


September 18th, 2013 12:08 pm

Richard: NOT true. The only law Sky are breaking is their contract with the film producers. With the sort of cheapo. rubbish they put out as ‘films’ they have some liberty with that cr*p- Nothing to do with sport or anything else.

Amanda Johnson

September 18th, 2013 4:00 pm

I have been looking at Sky Cards eu (you can find them on the net)and they say that they can get UK TV in Spain? But they don’t know what will happen when the switch over happens.

James Gold

September 18th, 2013 8:12 pm

Amanda, It depends on where you are based in Spain?

Louise Smith

September 18th, 2013 8:36 pm

Can we all please remember that Sky and its associated channels make a fortune from all the ex-pats living abroad and I am sure that, although they have no control over satellite positioning, the multi million pound company will find some solution in the near future to enable us to watch our favourite programs and put money back into their pocket! My advice……….don’t panic and wait.


September 19th, 2013 9:25 am

Your naivety is breathtaking.

If a criminal can fake a credit card or £50 note he can fake a poxy Sky card.

The point I make is simply that there are TV installers in Spain happily taking monthly subscriptions for ripped off services that they are getting for relatively nothing. Just be careful who you give your hard earned cash to.

Yes you can take a multi room box to Spain and it’ll work. Don’t tell Sky tho or your contract will be ended quick-sharp!

If you’re getting away with getting something from Murdoch ‘for free’ good luck to you, I would.


September 19th, 2013 11:27 am

Hi Louise Smith,

You did not make clear what you had in mind by “watch our favourite programs”. Maybe you are referring to programmes broadcast by Sky and not the BBC, ITV etc Freesat programmes.

No one is suggesting that those “favourite programs”, such as the Sky encrypted channels, will be unavailable after the “switch off”. The assumption is that those channels will continue to be broadcast and be available on the pan-European beam. I am also assuming that Sky News will still be available.

If, on the other hand, you are referring to the free-to-air BBC, ITV etc, then Sky make no money from those – not since BBC and ITV etc stopped paying Sky for the Sky encryption service and went FTA. It follows that they will not, as you appear to think, lose a fortune.

Provided all those Sky encrypted channels are still receivable and provided that Sky customers outside the UK continue to subscribe to those Sky packages, then Sky’s profits will not be affected. But Sky may have a problem. As a result of all the uncertainty about satellite reception, a significant number of Sky customers have realised that they can live without Sky and use internet TV instead – regardless of whether Sky is still receivable outside the UK. Indeed, some Sky customers, including those in the UK, are only just realising that they do not need a Sky account in order to receive the non-Sky broadcasts. For those reasons Sky will take a hit on their profits. They certainly cannot make good any loss by illegally broadcasting the “Freesat” channels as a subscription service – those channels are intended for the UK only.

Amanda Johnson

September 19th, 2013 10:04 pm

You Guys are so knowledgeable, Thank you for all your thoughts. Louise, I will wait to see how it all pans out but I think that you are right to wait and see what happens. We are in Conil (Cadiz) so it will be worse for us. I think that Sky Card etc. will find a way through but again it is wait and see. Pan European is still an unknown quantity. Sky will want to continue to make money from us expats.


September 20th, 2013 9:04 am

Amanda, Do yourself a favour and dump mega expensive Sky you are only paying footballers’ obscene wages. I have (they have very little worthwhile to offer and are expensive)
You need a decent B/B connection and you are off and running today if you want.


September 20th, 2013 2:16 pm

Amanda Johnson wrote:

“Sky will want to continue to make money from us expats”

Of course they will – and it is precisely for that reason that it is assumed that Sky will broadcast its channels on the 2E pan-European beam. There is nothing new in what you say. By encrypting their transmissions Sky can comply with the requirement that their broadcasts are for UK consumption and thus avoid disputes about copyright. By using Sky accounts set up with a UK address, ex-pats can continue to watch those broadcasts across mainland Spain. Everyone is happy – assuming anyone can be happy with Sky’s subscription rates.

It is difficult to follow the remainder of your post. What does “I think that Sky Card etc. will find a way through” actually mean and on what do you base that belief – or is it simply an act of faith? Possession of a functioning Sky card will clearly not allow you to receive the Freesat channels broadcast on the 2E UK beam. It will not allow you to receive any Sky-encrypted equivalent of those Freesat channels on the pan-European beam because there aren’t any – and that will remain the case with the new 2E satellite. Putting it simply, the standard UK TV transmissions including BBC, ITV1 and Channel4 will not be transmitted on the pan-European beam – encrypted or otherwise.

Maybe you think that Sky will start broadcasting encrypted versions of the Freesat channels to satisfy a market in Southern Spain. Well, first of all the finances do not add up. The cost of leasing the transponders on the Astra 2E and 2F satellites and maintaining that service are too high. Second – it would be illegal. There would have to be a financial agreement with the BBC etc and how could Sky justify that those transmissions were only for UK consumption when those UK national TV channels are already freely available across the UK via the UK spot beam and a 45cm dish? Even the lawyers would find it difficult to argue that Sky was providing a paid-for service just for the UK as an alternative to the free service already provided by Freesat! Even if Sky could circumvent the illegalities the cost would still be too high.

John S

September 20th, 2013 3:59 pm

Forgetting the 2G Satellite next Year??


September 20th, 2013 5:17 pm

It is apparently possible to get Global Iplayer from the bbc, perfectly legally, for roughly £50 a year. You can download what you want. They have been trying it out ever so quietly; no idea how good it is but a friend here in Cordoba province has it and says it works well. Assuming it does only cover the BBC channels though. I am going to have a look at it next week.


September 20th, 2013 7:10 pm

Pedrro you idiot – there are as many Spanish people in the U.K. looking for TVEi and other Spanish channels too !! Stupid comment. I write this in English to a fellow Spaniard as I do not support his ridiculous view or comment.


September 20th, 2013 7:59 pm

Global iplayer only gives you access to archive material not live TV and the archives are quite old.


September 20th, 2013 10:57 pm

Hi all,

I have read most of this post.
Wow loads of information here.

I have recently moved to a new home in Malaga.
I have to reconnect SKY box, and I did not know about this loss of channels due to the move of the satellites.
It did not affect me in July!! Or we just did not notice!

So, does SKY not resend the free channels? or just there channels? My wife watches mostly the free channels and I the pay ones from the SKY packages.

So its an awful waist of money to reconnect sky if I will only get the package channels and not all the free ones.

Is the above assumption correct? Or have I got it totally wrong?

All, I need is a box that will record my wifes programs from the UK so she can watch it at her leasure.
This is the only main feature I need in Spain.

Does anyone know thats a failsafe option for me?



DAvid F


September 21st, 2013 2:10 am

Hi, David F

The changeover from the 1N satellite to the 2E satellite has not happened yet and so you would not notice in July. The changeover to the 2F satellite that has already happened only affects a few Freesat channels.

“So, does SKY not resend the free channels? or just there channels?”

If you mean the Freesat channels or just their own channels then Sky has nothing to do with Freesat – it just happens that they are receivable on a Sky box. It is the Freesat channels that will transfer to the focused UK beam on the 2E and 2F that will not be received in Southern Spain – st least not in Andalucia.

“So its an awful waist of money to reconnect sky if I will only get the package channels and not all the free ones.”

Yes, if you have paid for a dish installation with the expectation of receiving all the Freesat channels then it may be a waste of your money and you have possibly been misled.

The Freesat channels transmitted from the Eutelsat 28A satellite at 28.5° east should still be receivable using your current set up – I am sure children will be very pleased to continue to receive Pop from the Eutelsat sat. However there is an ongoing dispute between SES Astra and Eutelsat about who is licensed to use that satellite position.

“All, I need is a box that will record my wifes programs from the UK so she can watch it at her leasure.”

I imagine you have a Sky+ box. With broadband and a broadband speed of 2Mbps to 3Mbps you can use that box to download (Sky calls it ‘record’) all the main catchup services in the UK, such as iPlayer. Sky calls their version of this On Demand. I have tested this in Andalucia with a slow broadband speed – about 1.5Mbps and it works well. I was expecting to receive a low resolution picture, standard definition at best. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Sky+ box, instead of playing the programme “real time” at the low resolution as it downloaded, downloaded the iplayer stream without playing and saved it. One nice feature was that the Sky box calls this a recording and so the user, already familiar with recording a programme as it is broadcast live, should feel comfortable with the process. The main benefit, though, is that the download was a high def stream and so you end up with a HD ‘recording’.

I used a VPN tunnel to get round the IP blocking. There is more detail on this throughout this thread. The best arrangement is to set the VPN up on a router.

The resulting recording is available for about 30days – but, of course, you have to download before the catchup period expires – typically 7 days.

I imagine that with a higher BB speed, maybe 3 to 4 Mbps, the Sky box determines that the speed is OK for HD and so plays the On Demand stream while it records – just as it would if you are recording live TV via satellite. Maybe there is an option on the box to view the download as it downloads with slower bband, but at a lower definition. There is, surprisingly, very little info about this online.

Hope that’s answered your main questions.

One point, if you don’t have broadband, is the possibility of using wireless instead of landline broadband. There is one provider based in the East of Malaga province, Axarquia, who almost guarantees a high speed with an absolute minimum 4Mbps and with no monthly limit. I am told that the UK IP address that they provide, at no extra charge, for geolocation unblocking, works with the Sky+ box. There must be similar services in other localities. If you are happy to watch and record catchup and already have a Sky+ box, then the above is maybe the solution for you.

James Gold

September 22nd, 2013 3:48 pm

With SKY+HD and SKY ON DEMAND coupled with VPN router you can watch SKY TV premium channels, and BBC1, ITV on demand with popular TV shows such as Eastenders and Emmerdale always having the last 6 episodes available to watch immediately.

Very unlikely that SKY will want to see over 5 million European subscribers cancelling the monthly payments to SKY that must total billions of pounds each year.

Looks like new launch date is now 30th September


September 23rd, 2013 7:03 pm

I think that we have now, finally, established that Sky does not wish to lose its subscription customers. There are 10 million BskyB TV customers and 4.8 million have Sky+HD (figures from June 2013). Given that all Sky’s BskyB customers, by definition, are based in the UK then the 10 million must include those non-UK customers who actually live outside the UK.

How many of the 10 million actually live in the UK. Only half at the most if you subtract the over 5 million figure for European customers from the previous post. In short, one of those figures is wrong.

One estimate is that 4% of BskyB customers live in mainland Europe. 4% of the total 10 million is just 400,000 in Europe – about half a million. I suspect the real figure is higher, but not much higher.

The above refers to subscription customers and not the larger number who have a Sky box but without a Sky account.

How many of the half million European Sky customers live in Spain? The proportion of the Spanish population to the rest of mainland EU countries is about one in ten and so the number of Sky account holders living in Spain is about one-tenth of one half million – about 50,000. I suspect
that is an underestimate because there is likely a concentration of BSkyB accounts in Spain compared with the rest of mainland EU countries.

The number in Spain is likely more like twice 50,000 and so more like 100,000.

Of course, that is the number for the whole of Spain and I have overlooked Portugal.

The major part of mainland Europe and the largest population is concentrated in the North and East – where the UK spot beams from the new Astra 2 sats can still be received. It is really only the south-western area of Europe (the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula and Italy south of Rome) that falls outside the UK footprint. So, finally we have to estimate the fraction of the Iberian based Sky account holders who live in the south, particularly in Andalucia and Southerm Portugal. I guess no more than half.

It follows that the 100,00 estimate above is likely an overestimate of the number of BskyB account holders who will be most affected by the “switch off”. The actual figure could be as low as 50,000. Let’s assume it’s 100,000. That figure is not so high as some have imagined. That is the likely maximum estimate of BskyB customers in Spain (possibly in the EU) who will no longer receive the Freesat transmissions, even with a 1.5m dish – and if BskyB were to use the UK spot beams, those BskyB subscription channels would be lost to them as well.


September 23rd, 2013 9:03 pm

Succinct as always Jamie. A relatively small market being chased by a lot of suppliers.

Has anyone got any additional information on the network mast system being pursued a while ago as an alternative to the Internet TV route?


September 25th, 2013 4:23 am

Looks like the planned 30th September Astra 2E launch will actually take place on 29th September at 21:38 GMT or 23:38 Spanish time.

See “spaceflightnowDOTcom/tracking/”

Hi Paul

“A relatively small market being chased by a lot of suppliers.”

Local providers of wireless internet TV, similar to the one I described earlier, are very happy to attract just a small % of the approx 50,000 existing Sky customers in Andalucia. For those local IPTV operators, just 1% of that market would provide them with more new customers than they could handle.

The reason I focused on Andalucia is that north and east of Andalucia reception should be possible with a 1.5m dish or smaller and I guess the majority would not consider a dish larger than 1.5m

Large satellite TV companies are less flexible than the local internet providers. Sky will wish to retain their customers – and the only way is to use pan-European beams. But that may not be enough because those customers will still loose Freesat, will mostly wish to access the ‘Freesat’ programme content and, for most, that will require internet TV. The Pandoras box of internet TV has been opened and there is no going back. There will be an inevitable drift away from satellite in favour of the more flexible internet as more people embrace internet TV.

Neither Sky nor any other satellite TV business is in a position to provide a paid-for ‘Freesat’ alternative – just on the basis of net income those 50 to 100k customers are too few. It is difficult to estimate the likely market including the non-Sky UK ex-pats. The estimate of the total population throughout Spain back in 2007 is about 700,000 and the number in Andalucia maybe 250,00.

That may appear to be a sufficient number but, given a choice between internet and the prospect of a long delay (maybe a year) for a possible satellite alternative – I cannot imagine many choosing a satellite service.

The long-term is impossible to predict. Logically, you would expect the Freesat group, perhaps with Sky, to provide a similar package of channels but with the contentious copyright material removed. The BBC already do something similar. On iPlayer live TV you often see the
message, in late evening, that the content can only be watched on your TV – meaning via Freeview or Freesat. Presumably the BBC agreement with the content provider prohibits access through the internet. Without the restriction of copyright content perhaps a Freesat type content could then be broadcast beyond the UK and beyond Europe and available through subscription. Of course, it could be that this imagined, future scenario, would only be available via internet TV.


September 25th, 2013 12:05 pm

Thanks you Jamie. What about this “Network Broadcast system, being bandied around. This is the mast system which apparently does not require internet but works in the same was as sky inasmuch as it is all around us in the ether and to pick it you need an encrypted card and a box. Rental are the same as Internet TV but I understand one off costs are higher.

As the president of a relatively large community I really need to try to keep abreast of what is happening t is happening in order to advise my owners of their options, so it is good that within the molasses of comments that this blog has attracted, some good and some not so good it is good to know that your comments have a common sense approach to the problems we are probably about to encounter.


September 25th, 2013 3:25 pm

“Network Broadcasting” is also known as “RE-BROADCASTING” and is illegal and the picture is poor. Telmicro is a prime example, they had 50’000+ subscribers on Costa Blanca and where raided by Guardia Civil and shut down, all of the massive satellite dishes had the cables cut. It is a shame that BBC and ITV will not grant a licence for Spain.

I still believe that 1.9 satellite dishes will solve the problem on the Costa del Sol, we will be taking a 1.9 dish with us when we make our first round of deliveries of IPTV boxes, whilst most people will be happy with IPTV many people want to keep SKY+HD box.

Astra 2E News Update on Proton rocket launch

Provisional launch date – 30/09/2013

News from Paris — After the unfortunate accident on July 2nd that resulted in a proton rocket and $220 Million pay load going up in smoke, both Russian and Kazakh Governments have decided that after carrying out discussions and a review of safety and launch procedures with Proton’s executives have given the go ahead to launch on the 30th September.

Officials from Khrunichev Space Centre in Moscow have confirmed this new launch date, this news has been welcomed by Directors of SES Astra who are under pressure to bring Astra 2E in to service.

Residents on the Spanish Costa del Sol such as Albert & Diane from Mijas said “This is not good News for us! When the last rocket exploded we took a sigh of relief as we are told that the new signal is not going to be strong enough, we are hoping that BBC1HD and ITVHD will be strong enough but this is all guess work we have got a IPTV box reserved with MRSKYTV who have guaranteed delivery within 3 days of the change over so whilst not worried we would rather avoid the expense.

BBC spokesperson and unsympathetic Alix Pryde is probably rubbing her hands at the thought of cutting off half a million British Ex Pats from their daily fix of Eastenders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and the children’s CBeebies.

A resident in Torrevieja said “I think it is disgusting that you can legaly watch BBC1 and ITV in Australia but not in Spain when Spain is in the EU, the UK is in the EU so why can we not watch BBC1 or ITV?” he went on to say “I have been told that Alix Pryde had a big fallout with someone that has a Holiday Villa in Marbella who she does not like so has used her powers to orchestrate this, thankfully it looks like the Costa Blanca will not be affected” Whilst there are various conspiracies, whispers and guess work nobody really knows what will happen until it happens.

One thing is for sure, the past 12 months have been tough for many satellite installers after warnings of “DO NOT BUY A SATELLITE DISH” appeared several websites back in December 2012 advising people to “wait and see”

Jason Harding of mrskytv said “Only the Costa del Sol will be affected in Spain, parts of Portugal, France and Germany will be affected, Cyprus lost everything” He went on to say “The World is changing all of the time, we have been providing internet based TV solutions since 2008 to overseas workers as far away as Singapore and Thailand” with 500’000 Families expected to be affected by the new satellite changeover in November / December 2013 many new start up businesses have sprung up offering IPTV solutions including FREE and pay per month services that range in price from €9.99 to €29.99 a month.

The latest IPTV box that is available includes a massive TV channel line up that includes Sports, Movies and many Documentary and Entertainment channels, the box is €395 delivery from Nerja to Cadiz.

This is the official statement;

“The Astra 2E mission team is preparing for the launch on September 30. While ILS and Khrunichev did address a technical issue during this delay, the primary purpose of the delay was to accommodate a joint review by the Russian and Kazakhstan government to address environmental and safety concerns. We agree that undertaking this review is a prudent precautionary measure. While this review will have a short delay impact to the Astra 2E and Sirius FM6 missions, it will not impact the number of Proton missions we anticipated launching before year end 2013.”


September 26th, 2013 4:01 pm

“I still believe that 1.9 satellite dishes will solve the problem on the Costa del Sol”

MrSkyTV says he thinks that, on the Costa del Sol, a 1.9m dish will receive channels on the Astra 2E UK spot beam. Do any readers know of any reliable reception reports to confirm that a 2.5m dish or less can consistently receive the Astra 2F spot beam along the Costa?


September 26th, 2013 6:01 pm

At present we have a 1.9 metre dish consistently feeding a good signal to 14 receivers transferring the fourteen UK Channels including all BBC and ITV channels and a couple of Sky channels and film4 to 223 apartments


September 26th, 2013 6:02 pm

That Telmicro story was an interesting one yes. 50,000 subscribers a month paying 15 euros = 750,000 euros income each MONTH!! In came the Guardia Civil and smashed up everything, dismantling the whole thing saying it was illegal.

A month later a new company cropped up offering the same service. The owner? The newly-retired head of the Guardia Civil in the area. Only in Spain.

Being forced to pay pirates when you’d rather pay the official broadcaster sums it up. It’s totally absurd.


September 26th, 2013 8:11 pm

Paul, Thanks for that. I presume that your 1.9m dish is receiving transmissions from the Astra 1N UK spot. My question is about UK channels that have been transferred from 1N to the new Astra 2F UK beam.

Mike, a sobering thought, if the copyright owners can’t get you through conventional legal channels, then the GS will.

I understand that those convictions between 2008 and 2013 resulted, in the main, from either fraud (in the case of Telmicro), tax fraud or no planning permission. Now that the European court has ruled in favour of the content/copyright owners against the re-broadcasters, we may see more actions for breach of copyright.


September 26th, 2013 10:01 pm

Lots of speculation on this thread. We won’t actually know anything definitive until the new satellite is in place and is broadcasting its new footprint – probably during early October. Still very much a ‘wait and see’ for me, with IPTV looking favourite. I’ve also tested a couple of VPN providers and got excellent results on both BBC iplayer and ITV player.


September 27th, 2013 12:27 pm

Movistar dawdling on putting fibre optic connections where we are. Plus, they’re asking for 40 euros for the fibre optic internet connection, plus 15 for the phone line. Add IVA and that’s 67 euros. It ain’t cheap!

Another concern with IPTV is picture quality (presuming you can get a fast enough connection). I detest that CGI (computer-style) type picture you get via IPTV and hope this can be sorted out and a decent HD picture achieved.

Until the switchover does happen, I’m not doing anything.


September 28th, 2013 2:25 am

The launch of the Astra 2E satellite is scheduled for 23:38 Spanish summer time this Sunday 29th September. That is 01:38 on Monday morning (30th September) Moscow time.

The 3 hour live video of the Baikonur launch will be broadcast on the internet, starting at 21:40 in Spain and ending at 00:40

The website is:


You should replace the DOT with a dot

I have never watched one of these live TsENKI broadcasts – apologies if it does not work.

Hi micmc47

So far as the footprint of the new 2E satellite goes, it is worth remembering that a lot is known already.

The three satellites, the 2E, 2F and next years 2G have been built to the same specification.

The UK spot beam on 2E/F/G was designed to meet the requirements of a narrow beam over the UK. If anything, tweaks to the Astra 2E dish following experience gained from Astra 2F will mean an even weaker signal than 2F in fringe areas.

There have been many 2F reception reports from around Europe including Spain, particularly the Costa Blanca. The Malaga region, however has remained ominously silent. Of course, on the Costa Blanca, larger 2m dishes are the norm – and so no problem providing the reception data there. Also, on the Costa Blanca, they are very happy to report that reception from 2F is now possible on a modest sized dish.

Could it be that around Malaga there is a conspiracy of silence amongst the UK TV satellite installers? Maybe there is nothing good to report because only a huge dish will work. They, the installers, are best placed to test reception. The only report I’ve seen is that 2F reception near Malaga city is possible on a 3m dish – but that report has never been confirmed.

If there is no signal from the 2F UK beam around Malaga on a less than 3m dish – it is a virtual certainty that there will be no reception, either, from the new Astra 2E UK beam on a smaller than 3m dish. In response to Mike, I would suggest that it doesn’t come much more definitive than that.

Mike, although you say that “Until the switchover does happen, I’m not doing anything”, in fact you have done quite a lot already, including testing internet TV reception on your 55″ plasma screen. Come the switch over you can, if needed, use that as a temporary solution and perhaps that is what you intend. Also, I recall that you have explored the use of the On Demand feature of your Sky+ box to access catchup TV of the Freesat channels after the switch over. By using a VPN and only a 1.5Mbps broadband you can download and save on the Skybox what, to me at least, appeared to be high def catchup content.

The point about downloading is that it is not real-time. For example, suppose a real-time stream of high def live or catchup TV requires, say, 4Mbps download speed. Assume that the programme length is 1hour. If your broadband speed is only 2Mbps (one half that required) then the same programme will take 2hours to download. Clearly, you cannot watch that real-time as it downloads but the downloaded programme is saved as a file (essentially it is a recording). It can then be watched later in high definition – without the typical video glitches that result when streaming as opposed to downloading.

Concerning broadband speed and picture quality for live TV, with a 4Mbps speed you should get high def. You do not need fibre. What set top box are you using and are you using a HDMI cable from the STB to your TV?


September 28th, 2013 9:05 am

I also use WOW VPN and have to say I get excellent results also. Of course your Download speeds are a little critical and you need at least 3 really to be sure of no breakup in picture. We are getting 8mbps here which is fine.


September 29th, 2013 7:44 am

Latest News on Astra 2E launch date.

SES has announced that the Astra 2E satellite is set to launch on board an ILS Proton vehicle from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, this coming Monday (September 30).

Lift off has been set for 03.38 local time (23.38 CET and 17.38 EDT on September 29).
Astra 2E was built by France’s Astrium and will employ the reliable Eurostar E3000 platform.

It carries 60 Ku-band and 4 Ka-band transponders and will allow for the delivery of next generation broadcast and broadband services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from the orbital arc of 28.2/28.5 degrees East.

It will have a launch mass of 6 tonnes, wingspan of 40m once deployed and a spacecraft power of 13kW at the end of its 15-year design life cycle.

Astra 2E will be the seventh Eurostar satellite in the SES fleet, following the successful launch of SES-6 in June this year and Astra 2F in September 2012.

A live broadcast of the launch in HD will be available via Astra at 19.2 degrees East channel 1.037, downlink frequency 11023.25 MHz, horizontal polarization, Symbol rate 22.00 MSym/s, FEC 5/6, service ID 5221, service name Astra 2E Launch.

A webcast will also be available via ilslaunch(dot)com this is a reliable feed that we have used many times to watch launches.

Many British families on the Spanish Costa del Sol are worried sick about possibly loosing the UK Freesat TV channels such as BB1, ITV etc. We receive many e-mails from concerned residents that have been reading misleading crap in the Ex-Pat Newspapers, Euroweekly run a story that was absolute lies that was designed to scare people in to purchasing IPTV boxes.

Whilst we may supply IPTV boxes and IPTV services in Spain, we are reluctant to sell a client something that they may not require, and until Astra 2E is up and running nobody knows for sure what the best options will be.

It is our “opinion” and our “hunch” that a 1.9 or 2.4 dish such as the Portuguese Famaval dish with a top quality LNB “may” be enough to receive signals from Astra 2E. When channels start to move over we will be testing a 1.9 dish on the Costa del Sol, other options include the 2.4 dish that can be extended to 3.1, until the satellite is up and running it is difficult to know exactly what size dish will be required, also taking in too account that HD channels are stronger than standard definition and this may see BBC1 HD and ITV HD etc able to be received using a 1.9 dish. Until channels actually start to be broadcast this is all guess work and until we have tested a 1.9 dish it is difficult to be 100%.

This is our opinion after looking at the footprint and discussions with other engineers and members of the European Satellite Engineers Association. This association was created by MRSKYTV to help to promote satellite TV services in Spain, France, Slovakia and Portugal and obviously & importantly to us, to help promote MRSKYTV and other satellite related websites that are owned by us.

It is our opinion that nothing will happen until November – December 2013.

We have written to Alix Pryde 8 times now and have not received any response, we have complained to the BBC and got no response. How can they say that BBC is for UK residents only when they supply BBC1 TV shows to Australia? And likewise ITV supply a Thai satellite company with ITV TV shows and is even called ITV Choice?? This lucrative deal was made by ITV Granada.

ITV is available in many Countries, and below are dates etc and info. TV Choice broadcasts on the following platforms: in Hong Kong on now TV channel 517, in Indonesia on Skynindo channel 27 and TelkomVision channel 503, in Malaysia on Astro channel 735, in Malta on GO (Malta) Channel 305 and Melita Cable channel 309, in the Middle East on Star TV’s Star Select service, as well as on Orbit Showtime Network OSN channel 47 and Arab Digital Distribution in the Middle East, in Singapore on StarHub channel 523 and Mio TV channel 23, in Taiwan on Chunghwa Telecom channel 82 and in Thailand through Cable Thai Holding to thousands of homes. It is also available on satellite ABS 1 across Asia and Middle East.[2] The channel broadcasts on Star TV’s Star Select service and Arab Digital Distribution in the Middle East, on Melita Cable and GO in Malta, and now on a range of cable platforms across Asia.
On 15 July 2009, the channel became available in Singapore on the mio TV IPTV service,[3] and became available on StarHub’s cable TV service on 1 December 2009.[4]
In addition, on 21 December 2009, a deal was reached with Astro All Asia Networks in Malaysia, allowing Astro to add its channel to its basic subscription pack[5] on channel 735.
ITV Granada launched in Hong Kong on 7 September 2010 on PCCW’s Now TV platform, Channel 517.

On 1 November 2010, Granada TV was re-branded as ITV Granada. On 6 December 2010, ITV Granada launched its service in Taiwan on Chunghwa Telecom’s MOD (or TV over IP) platform, Channel 82. It recently launched in India on 5 January 2012 by the leading

DTH Broadcaster Airtel digital TV.
The channel was rebranded as ITV Choice on 25 March 2013,[6] and ceased to be carried on SingTel’s mio TV IPTV service in Singapore.

So when Alix Pryde said “BBC channels are for UK viewers only” how comes BBC TV shows such as Eastenders is being watched in Australia?

Alix Pryde was inundated with letters as she never accepts phone calls and her e-mail address cannot be found anywhere. Andrew Turner an MP on the Isle of White had a meeting with Alix Pryde in April 2012 as many residents on the Island are struggling to receive BBC channels. What is wrong with the BBC, why are they so protective?

Why is it that whenever you check in a Hotel anywhere in the world you can always watch German TV channels and the only English channel is usually CNN.

One thing that is for sure is that when Alix Pryde posted some comments on the BBC blog about the new changeover and tighter beam on UK that the blog was closed with a few days as every single post was posted by very angry people. She did not answer any questions and did not offer any reason other than “BBC TV shows are for UK residents only” If that is the case then why have the BBC signed deals with Australian Broadcasters?

The Foxtel-BBC deal: implications for Australian television and content

The ABC will be left with significant holes in their schedule after the BBC signed a deal to share their content with Foxtel last week – will they fill it with more local content? EPA/Andy Rain

The ABC’s 50-year TV partnership with the BBC is at breaking point after a landmark deal between the British broadcaster and pay TV provider Foxtel was announced last week.

Under the new deal Foxtel will host a new BBC channel that will screen first-run, “fast-tracked” British programming, meaning ABC viewers will no longer have free-to-air access to popular shows such as Silent Witness and The Thick of It.

The deal between Foxtel and the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, has major implications not only for the two partners, but also for the ABC and potentially for Australian screen content.

What does the deal mean for the ABC?

The ABC appears to be the biggest loser from the deal, although it may not be all bad news. The ABC’s current three year deal with BBC Worldwide has just over a year to run, meaning the BBC-Foxtel arrangement will not come into place until July 2014.

Negotiations to extend the long-term partnership between the public service broadcasters were on the horizon. But in the words of ABC1 Controller Brendan Dahill, Auntie was “completely blindsided” by the Foxtel announcement. “We had not been told that it was happening, and we were not invited to counter,” Dahill told ABC Sydney radio last week.

British programming has long been a core part of the schedule of a broadcaster once dubbed “Anything British Considered”. A brief glance at current listings reveals the holes that the Foxtel deal could blow in the ABC’s offerings, particularly on Saturday nights.

But at the same time it should be noted that much of the ABC’s most popular British programming is not affected by the Foxtel deal. Dr Who is covered by a separate “run of series” deal, and will continue to be available on the ABC, as ABC managing director Mark Scott was quick to tweet last week.

Shows like Midsomer Murders and Grand Designs (which is consistently one of the highest rating shows on Foxtel) are not produced by or for the BBC. And the Foxtel deal does not cover children’s, arts, natural history or news and current affairs content.

What does the deal mean for Australian content?

As some commentators have observed, the ABC could fill the holes in its schedule with new Australian content. This ignores to some extent the massive discrepancy in the cost of local production versus acquired programs. Even if the ABC spends all the money it will save when its BBC Worldwide deal ends on Australian production (thought to be around $15 million), it is highly unlikely that it will be able to substitute the lost programs with like-for-like local content.

Hopefully, ABC managers and schedulers will look on the new settlement as a challenge and an opportunity. We all know that television is changing as new viewing habits take hold. The ABC has long been a leading innovator in both programming and technology. Now it has a chance to concentrate its energies on locally-derived content, and to cement its place as a major force in the new multi-platform landscape.

The Foxtel deal may also provide another boost to local production. As a channel that screens mainly drama, the new BBC channel will be subject to the subscription television expenditure quota. This regulation requires subscription drama channels to devote at least 10% of their revenue to local production. Should the new BBC channel prove to be a runaway success, then more money will need to be made available for local programs, such as Top of the Lake.

Earlier this year, Australian actor David Wenham expressed his disappointment that the ABC had withdrawn from an agreement to fund this Jane Campion-directed international co-production. Top of the Lake was produced by the BBC, the US-based Sundance Channel, and UKTV, which stepped in when the ABC pulled out because it objected to the production employing a US lead (Elisabeth Moss, who plays an Australian detective).

Implications for Foxtel and BBC Worldwide

Foxtel subscribers can expect to pay an additional fee for the premium, first-run BBC drama, comedy and lifestyle productions that will screen on a new, BBC-branded Foxtel channel. In return, they are promised “fast-tracked” programs, available within hours of their first screening in the UK. Free-to-air viewers will have to wait for at least a year to see the same programs.

The deal marks a major expansion of a long-term and mutually beneficial partnership. In June 2008, Foxtel and BBC Worldwide announced that a new channel, BBC HD, would screen in Australia. It was the first high definition BBC channel broadcast outside the UK.

The following month, BBC Worldwide assumed full ownership of UKTV, a channel that screens a mixture of BBC, ITV and independently produced British programs. The following year, the documentary channel BBC Knowledge and the children’s channel CBeebies were launched in Australia.


September 29th, 2013 8:01 am

Here is what Alix Pryde said exactly…

“That said, the new transponders do have a slightly different footprint,” she added.
The impact for viewers in the British Isles will be nil, but to expats watching from abroad the footprint of the BBC’s services from the new satellite will be reduced so viewers outside the UK will find it even harder to receive them.

“I know that this causes unhappiness to some of you living outside the UK. However, it is entirely appropriate because the BBC domestic services are for people living in the UK only,” said Alix Pryde.


September 29th, 2013 12:29 pm

Thank you “MrSkyTV” for the alternative video sources for the launch of the Astra 2E. I’ve no idea why you included all the technical detail on the rocket – a direct copy from the SES Astra New website at sesDOTcom/4233325/news/2013/16078905

Thank you for sharing your thoughts that possibly a 2.4m or a 3.1m dish on the Costa del Sol may work with the Freesat channels on the 2E satellite UK beam.

Do you at MrSkyTV, or any of your colleagues in the European Satellite Engineers Association, have any reports of Astra 2F UK spot beam reception of channels on the Costa del Sol? In particular, what about HD from the 2F, such as Channel4 HD, given that HD signals are stronger. If so, could you please post the detail including the dish size? If there have been no reliable reception reports that you are aware of, then please say so.

I am sure that such detail would be of greater interest to readers of the Olive Press than all the info you provided on the many contracts that BBC and ITV have arranged with Asian and and Australian networks.

I, for one, am hoping that today’s 2E launch is successful despite misgivings about the loss of UK TV – so, good luck Baikonur!


September 29th, 2013 1:59 pm

Following my previous post, I was interested to read one snippet from the MrSkyTV post:

‘In return, they are promised “fast-tracked” programs, available within hours of their first screening in the UK’

That is, of course, of interest to those affected by the loss of Freesat – the possibility that, at some point, there may be timely, subscription broadcasts of some UK live Freesat TV, within hours of the original UK screening.


September 29th, 2013 3:38 pm

Hi Jamie

So pleased you enjoyed our post, we will post any information as and when it happens, rather than re-write official statements in to our own words we always use the official statements particularly when it is made by SES.

We included all the technical data of the rocket because it was included in the official press release. I actually have no idea why you need to question us on that as some people particularly those of us that have been monitoring satellite launches for many years like to know all the facts.

Not for me to alter any press release from SES who I am sure know far more about the forthcoming launch than anyone as it is their satellite.

We could easily take new information and re-write it to make it look like our own work but we would only be kidding ourselves so any info we post is always FACTS.

I only have opinions on dish sizes on Costa del Sol, we as a Company that has been trading 12 years in Spain have to be careful what we say. My opinion is that a 1.9 dish with a HD SKY box may do the trick, this is only an opinion as we are yet to test a 1.9 dish on the Costa del Sol ourselves only then will we be able to confirm this, as we are unable to rely on what other people say.

I hope that today’s launch is postponed until January 2014 and something goes wrong so that we can all get away at Christmas and spend time with family as at present we reckon we will be flat out until February, March.

My previous post provided all my research relating to why I feel that Alix Pryde told a “pack of lies” in the press release she made via the BBC Blog that was live for a very short period and now says “no new posts allowed” if I make a comment like this I need to back up what I am saying.

The BBC are saying one thing and doing another!

We are prepared for whatever the outcome is.


September 29th, 2013 6:20 pm

I can’t believe all this verbal garbage. It’s worse than reading the english Daily Wail. What is so magnetic about the likes of “Corrie”, Eastenders and Emmerdale.? And there is sport in abundance on Spanish TV.


September 29th, 2013 7:16 pm

Astra 2E will be launching just after midnight tonight countdown is saying four hours and twenty minutes to go.

If you want to watch the launch – ilslaunch(dot)com


September 29th, 2013 11:43 pm

It’s now just after 11:40pm CET

The SES Astra 2E has launched and so far according to plan. The second stage rockets have ignited.

Thank you to MrSkyTV for the reply. I wasn’t querying why you had included the technical data verbatim but why you would wish to include it in any format. Given that it was a direct extract from a website it is more appropriate to provide the url – then the readers can decide whether to open the page.

I now understand why you felt compelled to present the examples of UK TV licensing in Asia and appreciate your detailed research. However, I believe that the main point is missing. I do not agree with the emphasis in the BBC blogg – it was, at best a half truth. I do accept however that the BBC would wish to restrict access to UK Freesat to the UK so far as is possible and to, conversely, retain the option of selling that content, where possible, outside the UK. It is a pity that they haven’t managed to synchronise the loss of Freesat channels in southern Europe with the option to watch a subscription version of those channels within Europe.

My main question in my most recent posts concerned Astra 2F reception on the Costa del Sol. Do you really have no reception reports to share on this thread? With all your contacts I am surprised. One must conclude that there is zero 2F reception on the Costa.

John S

September 30th, 2013 5:49 am

ASTRA 2E Launch took place on September 29 at 17:38:10 EDT; 21:38:10 GMT/UTC; Broadcast began at 17:15 EDT; 21:15 GMT/UTC.


September 30th, 2013 2:30 pm

Hi Jamie

If you read your post above you said and I quote;

Jamie said;

“I’ve no idea why you included all the technical detail on the rocket”

We gave you our reasons why we included all of the technical details and this was your response;

Jamie then Said;

“I wasn’t querying why you had included the technical data verbatim but why you would wish to include it in any format”

I think you need to focus on what YOU have to say rather than worrying about what we are saying.

Many thanks



September 30th, 2013 4:27 pm

And, I suspect, the same can be said of you “MrSkyTV”

So far I have little argument with what Jamie says, and actually agree with him. We only need the link and not the substance.

However, we also need to focus on what is happening now. The satellite is launched and presumably all going well in that direction, as far as the BBC and free to view are concerned. The BBC is keeping its commitment to its UK viewers and licence payers, not I hasten to add, the ex pats who pick it up down in Southern Spain, probably without paying the UK licence fee.

We need to know definitively what out next steps are, and we need to know when we should be now seriously considering our options.


September 30th, 2013 4:28 pm


If you don’t like it, then take your ignorant opinions somewhere else.


September 30th, 2013 4:30 pm

That said: MrSkyTV (who I must say seems to be getting a lot of free publicity out of this) and Jamie – both of your postings on here have been very helpful and informative. So no need to have a go at each other.

I suppose we’ve all got a bout of PLD: post-launch disorder and PMS: pre-meltdown stress……!


September 30th, 2013 4:54 pm

@ Mike. I am as entitled to express my opinions as anyone else. Whilst you may regard them as “ignorant”, there are those that consider the Brit’s obsession with the likes of the aforementioned programmes (not to mention Cowell’s garbage) as equally ignorant.


September 30th, 2013 5:51 pm

Hi Amparo

“I can’t believe all this verbal garbage”

I wouldn’t blame you if you included my offerings in that category :-)

Far too much technical detail for most readers.

I am sure that several readers of this thread have appreciated your advice to watch Spanish TV – and I thought your last comment amusing and probably true.

To MrSkyTV, you are correct in one respect – it is, of course, up to you what you include in a post. However, when reading that post the first time, it was difficult to follow. It was not easy to distinguish your own comments from the quotes. Also, there was so much detail that, on my first reading, I missed the ‘snippet’ about “fast-tracked” programs.

I am sure that we can all learn, including me, from the advice and feedback of other readers.

ps: it looks as though you’ll have a busy Christmas ;-)


October 1st, 2013 10:52 am

Yes! Looks like December & January is going to be very busy! Be great if the 1.9 dish is the answer. We will test one and we will report back.


October 1st, 2013 11:24 am

Amparo – get a life. Although I do totally agree with you about Cowell etc, and abhor (look it up) the Daily Wail (like that one).

Question – sky anytime is via the internet, so won’t we still be able to get iPlayer and all the catchup services via the same Sky boxes we have now as long as we use a VPN on our router? Live will depend on our internet speed, but will catchup be ok?

If that’s the case, and it’s HD, then there isn’t as much need to panic. Or is it similar to Sky+, in that if you can’t get the signal via satellite, it doesn’t let you use the service?


October 1st, 2013 3:18 pm

Hi Mike

I don’t know if that question was directed at me. I’ll have a go at an answer.

First, in my most recent post about Sky+ and On Demand, I used a friend’s Sky+HD box in Spain. The test I described on downloading from iPlayer catchup was based on that.

From this link:


I understand that the Sky+ box also provides On Demand.


“Now with built in Wi-Fi capability – making it even easier to connect your Sky+ box to any broadband router to enjoy TV on demand, now including the UK’s biggest Catch Up TV service with BBC iPlayer, ITV on demand and 4oD”

“Live will depend on our internet speed”

Correct, but I am not sure what set top box you plan to use. I presume you are not referring to the Sky box.

“but will catchup be ok?”

I thought I had covered that in my earlier post. When I did the test I had assumed that the Sky+ HD box Iplayer catchup would behave in the same familiar way that I’m used to. I thought it would stream the catchup real-time at standard definition or lower – and possibly with some buffering. To my very pleasant surprise the Sky box downloaded a file and saved it on the internal drive. The quality of this “recording” was better than I anticipated given his slowish broadband. Full marks to Sky.

“via the same Sky boxes we have now”

I’ve no idea which Sky box that would be.

“If that’s the case, and it’s HD, then there isn’t as much need to panic”

Even if it isn’t HD, why panic? SD is perfectly adequate unless you sit close up to the screen.

One advantage of downloading is that you can download overnight or at a time of day when your BB speed is faster.

“Or is it similar to Sky+, in that if you can’t get the signal via satellite, it doesn’t let you use the service?”

Which service are you talking about? Do you mean catchup? Surely the IPTV function of the Sky box is not reliant on a satellite signal. That would mean you could not use On Demand (or whatever it’s called) catchup in heavy rain. Clearly I have misunderstood your question.


October 1st, 2013 4:28 pm

@ Mike. I have a life thank you, and it isn’t dominated by such irrelevancies as to whether I can or cannot receive mind numbing ‘telebasura’ (look it up). And I might add, as I understand it, emissions to which you (plural) are not entitled to receive.


October 1st, 2013 4:44 pm

Please, please ,please can we have a simple answer without all the technical info, – what will be the solution to the problem , all we mortals need is a system where we can watch all the programmes we are currently watching.
Thank you to the person I trust will provide us with a simply worded reply


October 1st, 2013 5:41 pm

If only the loss of our voting rights and lack of representation in either the UK or Spanish parliaments could arouse such passion and discussion.


October 1st, 2013 5:58 pm

Hi Steve,

You want a simple answer to a quite complicated and technical problem? For starters, there is more than one solution.

It would help if you explained:

your location.
what system you currently use.
if you have broadband.
your budget.

Depending on your location you may be able to watch UK satellite TV with the same or, more likely, a larger dish.

If you are in the south of Andalucia and west of Almeria (for example the Costa del Sol) then it is highly likely that you will need a 3m dish or larger. I suspect that would not be a practical alternative for you.

It seems that at least one company is setting up re-broadcasting masts in the Marbella area – and, no doubt in other areas. Re-broadcasting is illegal and so you may not wish to use a solution that could be closed down.

My view is that most in places like the Costa del Sol will focus on the internet TV solution for UK TV and may continue to watch those BskyB and other satellite broadcasts that are still available on the pan-European beams from the 28 east satellites.

It is not clear whether broadband providers will cope with the extra massive demand. Particularly at peak viewing times broadband speeds could suffer. For example, with a maximum speed of 10Mbps you could find that the speed drops to below 1Mbps – too low for SD television.

OK – it’s already getting technical, so time to end.


October 1st, 2013 6:30 pm

Hi Amparo

“and it isn’t dominated by such irrelevancies as to whether I can or cannot receive mind numbing ‘telebasura’”

Keep posting. I am sure your message is getting through. I watch “Corrie” and most of the time I sit there wondering why I watch such drivel.

“emissions to which you (plural) are not entitled to receive”

That is not strictly correct. Those satellite transmissions are intended for the UK. Once they enter Spanish ‘airspace’, however, we are entitled to receive and watch them. So far as I know, that is a right embodied in European law. If the transmissions were encrypted then decrypting them would be illegal – but the Freesat transmissions from BBC and ITV are not encrypted.

It is true that most of the viewers outside the UK do not have a BBC licence – but that is irrelevant outside the UK.


October 1st, 2013 6:38 pm

Jamie = presuming Sky go on the pan european, then I will still be able to get Sky via my Sky+HD box and all the free channels on demand service via the same box, and my internet connection, if I configure my router to go through a broadband connnection?

Actually, even if we did also lose Sky, we could still get it all via the Sky catchup service (limitations on live streaming possibly and download times depending on internet speed and reliability).

So, if you’re paying for sky now – whatever happens you will not lose the service, it will just go through your Sky box by IP, correct?

Amaparo – what’s sadder: writing about something we are actually bothered about or coming on here to make a point about something you say you have no interest in? I know what kind of ‘emissions’ (Spanglish, my dear) your pitiful trolling reminds me of. Ask your teacher/pobre marido…

Peter – oh it does, it does. I even posted about it earlier. Not sure if it was moderated out though. Now that is scandalous.


October 1st, 2013 8:10 pm

Hi Mike,

“presuming Sky go on the pan european, then I will still be able to get Sky via my Sky+HD box and all the free channels on demand service via the same box, and my internet connection, if I configure my router to go through a broadband connnection?”

Correct – if you configure the router to connect via a UK VPN.

“Actually, even if we did also lose Sky, we could still get it all via the Sky catchup service (limitations on live streaming possibly and download times depending on internet speed and reliability)”

Correct – and the limitation is on real-time streaming. I use “live streaming” to mean streaming live TV. You will understand I have little experience of a Sky box and so do not know what happens if the bband speed is fast enough to view the catchup as it downloads. I guess and would hope that the stream is still “recorded”.

“whatever happens you will not lose the service, it will just go through your Sky box by IP, correct?”

Correct – AFAIK you will still be able to use the box for catchup of the ‘Freesat’ and the Sky channels. Of course, not all programmes are available through catchup.


October 1st, 2013 11:51 pm

@ Mike. Expressing an opinion is not the same as expressing any (dis)interest. The only reason I picked up this thread (as opposed to “trolling” is the utter disbelief that so much verbosity embraces the almost pathetic clinging on to such nostalgic old-blightishness. (evolved Anglicism, “my dear”). Now that really IS sad.

@Jamie. I am indebted to your clarification. But I would say that ‘legal entitlement’ is not the same as ‘moral entitlement’. Morally, if you watch the BBC then you should contribute to the licence fee which the UK residents are forced to pay.


October 2nd, 2013 8:14 am

I think I’ll subscribe to a VPN – reconfigure my router and try the on-demand service through the Sky box with a pretty poor 2MB connection. I’ll report back and let people know how it goes. Might be a week or so as I have to travel round Spain the next few days.


October 2nd, 2013 10:54 am

I have to say Amparo, that, whilst I do not agree with all your comments I do agree with the last one to Jamie. it is effectively what I have been saying and why the BBC have NO obligation, much as it will be missed, to supply the rest of Europe with free TV.

But this blog is ,or was, about finding solutions to “The Big Switchoff”, not arguing.


October 2nd, 2013 10:56 am

And I am inclined to agree with you Mike, it may be the best option, if it works. we are getting 8-10 mbps now, so should be OK. You may also need to do this via a VPN, which may or may not cost. I use WOW VPN, at €50 pa.


October 3rd, 2013 12:19 am

Paul wrote:

“And I am inclined to agree with you Mike, it may be the best option, if it works”

I think, Paul, you are referring to the use of the Sky+ box On Demand catchup of the UK Freesat channels. Yes, it does work and it works for slower broadband. See my post on 21st September. The use of a VPN for hiding the IP is the norm. Setting up the VPN client on a router is not so straightforward as you may think. If Mike was referring to his primary broadband modem/router then the chances are that an existing router will not support VPN. An arrangement using a secondary router for the VPN program is described in my post on 1st June.

Here’s a quote from my post on 12th June.

“The router is necessary only if you use a VPN – even then it may not be essential. You can pay well over £100 for a router that operates a VPN client. If you buy a basic router (£40) suitable for a VPN you still have to install the firmware and the VPN client. That can be a nightmare – I do not recommend a DIY job. You may find someone who can set it up for maybe £30 to £40 or you can buy a router with the firmware pre-installed (maybe about £80 on ebay – and then you have to set up the VPN on the router).”

The router referred to above is the secondary router. The primary router is the modem/router at the point of entry of the broadband cable. You may be able to use just a single (the primary)router with the VPN and either wi-fi (on the set-top box or the Sky box) or cat5 Ethernet cable to connect the box to the router. With the VPN set up on the primary router, all your internet traffic will pass through the VPN.

In the arrangement I tested in Spain, the primary modem/router (that was connected to the telephone landline) connected wirelessly to the second router in the room above. That router ran the VPN program and connected through a short length of cat5 cable to the Sky box. In this arrangement only the TV streams and catchup “downloads” pass through the VPN.

The above sounds – and can be – complicated to set up initially. There is at least one alternative to downloading and saving catchup videos without using a Sky box. I use a program on a Windows PC to download high definition iPlayer catchup to the PC. As with the Sky box, you do not need fast broadband. These video files can, if you wish, be transferred to a USB flash pen drive or a USB hard drive and played directly on your TV. One advantage is there is no “shelf-life” restriction whereas, using On Demand catchup, the “recording’ is available for 30 days.


October 3rd, 2013 10:00 am

Ooh, thanks for that Jamie. I must have missed that. I use my VPN in conjunction with the main router (WOW supply aW supply a convenient “virtual” switch on the desktop). However, I do have a spare Netgear Dual Band Wireless N Modem Router which I assume could be used as a secondary, and also a “man who can” in Marbella. I think I will give him a call and show him your blog. Thanks! Also from what you are saying, only the catchup goes through the secondary so presumably all the other normal sky channels are as was.


October 4th, 2013 1:23 am

Hi Paul,

I’ve checked on the WOW website and see that they provide client VPN software to run on PCs such as Windows, Apple, iPod and Android devices. I assume, therefore, that you are using WOW on your desktop PC or similar. From that I deduce that you are using that desktop to watch UK TV.

I have just checked previous posts and note that on 3rd June you wrote:

“James Gold, you do NOT have to buy a new router to access UK IP addresses, simply subscribe to someone like WOW VPN, and job done”

and so now your setup is becoming clearer.

You replied to James on the 3rd:

“You should have looked at WOW VPN , a lot lot cheaper for a very reliable VPN, I have been using them for three years now.”

I probably thought at the time and now I see that you did not pick up on the relevance of James’s use of a VPN router.

The reason for VPN on the router instead of a PC is that:

1) You do not need a PC for your UK IP blocked TV
2) With the VPN on a router you can connect your Sky+ box to the router to hide your IP
3) Similarly you can connect an internet set top box to the router
4) You can connect two or more devices, such as the Sky+ box and the internet STB

Any devices connected through the VPN router will connect through the VPN and so the IP address is hidden for each of those devices. You cannot do that with the VPN client on the PC.

I recall that you Use an AppleTV box – so I guess that you could connect that to a VPN router.

Your comment:

“from what you are saying, only the catchup goes through the secondary so presumably all the other normal sky channels are as was.”

Any internet connections that pass through the VPN router go through the VPN tunnel to the VPN server in the UK. By your reference to the “normal SKy channels” I presume you mean the satellite TV channels. Any satellite channels arrive through your satellite dish and via the tuner in the Sky box – nothing to do with the internet.

“I do have a spare Netgear Dual Band Wireless N router”

What’s the model number?


October 4th, 2013 9:20 am

Thanks for that Jamie, all becoming a tad clearer. Of course ytou are right, I just got very confused. All SKY channels will continue to be received via my dish. It will be the catchup services through the router. The model number of the Netgear is DGND3300 V2.

I have to say I do not use the VPN all the time, only when I need to hide the address via the Mac, normally I am connected through the normal Movistar router, with the Apple time machine acting as my wifi.

Any information obviously helps, thanks.

My main worry still is my owners in the community who are going, it would seem, to have to invest in broadband in order to continue watching the “terrestrial” channels, unless of course by some miracle our own community 1.9 metre dish, picks up any signals!


October 4th, 2013 2:15 pm

Hi Paul

That Netgear router is not suitable as a secondary router for the VPN. After a few online checks it seems that it cannot run the firmware needed to support the VPN.

On a related point it appears that a combined modem/router in general will not support the firmware. Given that the chances are that one’s primary router is combined with a modem, it is unlikely that the VPN client can be installed on the primary router. The exception is if you have a modem separate from the primary router and provided that primary router supports the firmware. This a bit academic because the recommendation is to use a secondary router and, unless one has the skills, it is advisable to buy a router that is already set up with suitable firmware – about £80. If you have the skill then you can buy a suitable used router starting at about £10 – but those with the skill will know that already.

“to have to invest in broadband”

Are you saying that they will each have to have their own broadband account with their own landline or equivalent? Why is that?

“unless of course by some miracle our . . . 1.9 metre dish, picks up any signals”

You are right – it would be a miracle. I belief you are on the Costa del Sol. I am sure you, like everyone else, have lost the reception of Channel 4 HD and Channel 5, that are now on the Astra 2F satellite.

There will always be a few who are still hoping that the Astra 2E UK spot will be receivable on the Costa. Maybe, with the room and a budget of 2000€ plus for the dish – but even that seems unlikely.


October 4th, 2013 2:38 pm

So funny yet so very sad that people post and then “praise themselves” using a 2nd identity.

Priceless but so obvious and very very sad.

John S

October 4th, 2013 3:25 pm

We have a temporary solution for BT Sport.

The following also applies to ESPN, Racing UK, Motors TV UK and

You are going to have to add the channels manually on your Sky Box.

The information you have to add is

Frequency 12515
Polarisation H
Symbol Rate 22.0
FEC 5/6

Once you have added the channels you have to locate ‘Other


October 4th, 2013 3:49 pm


Thanks for this. My setup (and I do use the WOW VPN through the Modem or the Apple Time Machine) is a router modem (recently installed by Movistar – hence the spare net gear) for ADSL, and an Apple Time Machine as the Wifi router. This was the best suggested setup by my colleague in Marbella some time ago, and works very well. I have SKY HD+ and the Community TV (See below).

My concerns are for the people in my community who do not have broadband and thus, when we lose the channels at present being supplied to every apartment free, via a 1.9 metre dish, and 14 separate receivers (thus 14 channels), a setup I was instrumental in installing 28 years ago, they will have nothing apart from the few SKY channels we receive through individual cards. They do not have a computer let alone broadband, and they are extremely concerned by the thought of losing their UK TV. I know there are people out there who say get a life, but these are elderly people who retired here years ago, and live for the UK TV. These are the people I fear for.


October 4th, 2013 4:23 pm

John S

October 4th, 2013 4:24 pm

Paul, I hear yer M8, I will post the Updates when they come in as soon as pos.


October 4th, 2013 5:41 pm

The dish is, perhaps 2 years old so relatively new as the old one finally collapsed. I will get a photo and send it on for comment


October 4th, 2013 6:24 pm

Hi Paul

Understood. You have WOW set up on a Time Machine – and so your arrangement is a Movistar router connected to the Time Machine which is, in effect, a secondary router.

Concerning your community, did you follow up my suggestion for internet TV in the 13th June post? The owners would not need a computer or broadband. Could you determine from the owners their priority channels and narrow it to 4 or 5. Then you would need just 4 or 5 IPTV set top boxes. I just happen to have three such boxes running at the moment in different rooms of a small house – on a BT landline (not fibre). The boxes are just 40€ each.

If you buy a single “Audio/Video To RF Coax converter” you could test the system for yourself on your personal Apple setup. Does your Apple TV box have AV ports? Plug that into the RF converter and connect that to a TV.


October 4th, 2013 7:05 pm

Yes I am sure I could persuade them to accept 4 or 5 channels!. Having just re-read your 13JUN13 post and to none honest is a tad beyond me. However I will discuss with a couple of technicians I know and if it can be done – wonderful !!


October 5th, 2013 10:08 am

Any further updates on reception reports in Andalucia?


October 5th, 2013 10:13 am

I note the blog article by Alix Pryde has had the comments cleansed, they all appear to be congratulating here on “sorting out” the distribution in the UK.

Amazing !


October 5th, 2013 5:24 pm

Concerning “reception reports in Andalucia”

I don’t think there will be anything new now until the Astra 2E is in its final geostationary orbit and starts transmitting. Following the switch to the 2E, in November/December, no doubt SES Astra will continue small adjustments to the direction of the 2E UK beam for a few months. They did the same with the 2F. The final footprint in the outlying regions may not be known for many months.

If, Adrian, you were referring to the 2F then I’ve seen nothing new reported since those small adjustments were completed in about March/April this year.

At this stage one can only predict the likely 2E reception based on the 2F reception. As you know, there is no reliable indication that, on the Costa del Sol, 2F UK reception is possible on a 3m dish or less. Further east towards Almeria the reception improves, with relatively good reception even further East and North where reception peaks in Valencia (a side lobe) and falls again towards Barcelona.

So, Valencia falls on a maximum (called an ‘anti-node’) in the reception pattern with ‘nulls’ or ‘nodes’ either side in Malaga and Barcelona.

One interesting feature of the ‘footprint’ is the reception in the Canaries. Reports show reception of the spot beam on a 3m and even a 2.7m dish. You would expect that side-lobe on the pan-European beam. That pan-European beam is designed to include those islands. What surprises me, although others can maybe provide an explanation, is that there is this side-lobe over the Canaries on the UK spot beam. Some will say that it is an accident of dish design or even that it results from an imperfect manufacturing process or damage to the dish. However, the reception over the Canaries seems too consistent for that.

One theory is that, although the 2E and 2F dishes are designed to be identical, small differences, as mentioned above, could result in the poor 2F UK reception in South Andalucia and a slightly improved reception from the 2E UK beam. My view is that is overly-optimistic. My reason is that the position of the 2F reception pattern from Barcelona, down the coast towards Malaga and beyond is as predicted by the physics of satellite design. You do not need to resort to additional theories about imperfections or damage to explain that pattern.

The 2F spot dish patten does not result from damage. From the physics, you would expect that for the larger 2E and 2F UK dishes (compared with the smaller 2D UK dish) the pattern of nodes and antinodes would fall in precisely those positions that are measured on the ground, with a maximum over Valencia and minima over Barcelona and Malaga. For the smaller 2D dish, the same type of pattern exists, but the pattern is positioned further out from the centre of the beam over the UK.

What does this mean in practice. The 2F dish does not suffer from any significant imperfection and provided that the 2E UK dish is deployed without damage to the surface curvature, then its reception will follow the same pattern.

THe precise position of this pattern depends on the frequency of the microwaves and so there will be small variations in the pattern position, depending on the channel you watch. It could be that in some areas, maybe Granada, you will be able to receive some channels and not others – but you will still need a large dish.

It has been suggested that the strong 1N pan-European beam, that currently provides UK TV, could interfere with reception of the much weaker and thus unreceivable 2F UK beam. When the 1N is switched off, there is speculation that the 2F (and thus the 2E) will just be receivable with a very large dish.

We’ll see.


October 5th, 2013 6:11 pm

Did you see this map with reception reports?


Take a look, southern italy someone with a 3.4mtr dish has it and by the look of things, large dishes in Hungary and Finland work.

So perhaps a larger dish might work in andalucia?


October 5th, 2013 6:16 pm

I don’t know why you lot don’t hack into Jodrell Bank and have done with it. Who the hell want’s a three metre dish on the roof anyway???.


October 5th, 2013 7:01 pm

someone here on this thread stating…

====== quote ======
Jen says:
December 5th, 2012 at 3:43 pm
don’t rush out to get a bigger dish, my Sky guy in Malaga has tried a 3m dish and it didn’t work!! the only way forward is either wait and hope, or go through ADSL and an IPTV box

====== unquote ======

Nothing like a bit of hearsay, but perhaps not 3m? Any higher bidders? :D


October 5th, 2013 7:13 pm

Hey Amparo, Im in Gib, we have UK TV via “Gibsat”, which I guess is UK satelite TV rebroadcast locally as terrestrial digital or cable.

Im just wondering if Gibsat are going to lose their channels, and if they can hoof up a large antenna I guess they should be able to stay in business, unless were talking Jodrell Bank size — however, they could stick it on the rock, its not doing much else…


October 5th, 2013 9:00 pm

Hi Adrian

Agree with Amparo but I take your point. Very large dishes may work and may be appropriate for a community – so good luck with that in Gib.

Concerning that 2F reception map – yes, very familiar with that. Worth noting that in those three reports from S. Italy the signal was intermittent – only OK in fine weather with the 3.4m Prodelin. Also, the date of the reports was December. The 2F UK dish has been tweaked since then – the result is that the signal strength now drops very rapidly when moving south through Italy. See the quote from my earlier post, June 11th, 2013:

“From Northern Italy to Central Italy in 230 Km (moving South), signal is dropping down 1 db every 30 km. It’s a very sharp edge.”


October 5th, 2013 9:44 pm

Hi Jamie, thanks for the info, your posts are easy to read and clearly you are knowledgeable on the subject, thanks for sharing your expertise.

Its interesting they have managed to design the beam in a very bamish nature with such steep roll-off. But whats the point really, when so many other countries will get a great signal from the UK beam, just that those on the periphery will suffer in an exponential manner.

Seems a bit pointless.


October 5th, 2013 10:27 pm

The reception patterns I described earlier are difficult to visualise. See the graph (fig 6.1)in this reference:


It shows the signal strength in different directions within the beam of microwaves transmitted by a circular dish. In this example, imagine that the satellite is vertically above the UK and the dish points its beam directly at the UK. In practice the dish is situated way to the south-east, over the equator – but it still points towards the UK.

On the graph, the top of the central peak is the signal strength received in the UK – the centre of the footprint. As you move further away from the UK, west or east or north or south, the signal decreases until it is zero, the first null point. The signal strength is labelled Power on the vertical axis.

For the Astra 2F UK beam, Barcelona is just one place that falls on the first null. Barcelona and the whole of Spain is to the west of the direct line from satellite to the UK. It may help if you look to the left (the West) of the central peak, so that the first null on the left is Barcelona. Move further to the left and you have a small side peak (a side lobe). Valencia lies at the highest point of that first lobe. Further west still and you reach the Costa del Sol at the next (second) null or zero signal. Further west and you reach the next, the second lobe. I guess that the Canaries lie somewhere on one of the outer lobes, way to the south west of the UK.


October 5th, 2013 11:11 pm

Thanks Adrian

“Seems a bit pointless”

I agree that is does.

If you take the Pryer blog at face value, then the main reason for the new footprint is to increase the signal strength around the UK. One way to do that is to increase the total power of the transmitted beam – a brighter microwave torch. That requires more energy and so that may be undesirable. Also, that would mean that the UK TV would be more easily available over a larger area of Europe.

One can see that the copyright owners would be unhappy with that outcome – given that some of the content is not licensed for reception outside the UK. In addition, you can see that the BBC itself would, at some point, wish to capitalise on their own copyright material. Why give it away if you can sell it.

An alternative is to increase the size of the dish – the result is that the central peak over the UK is higher and the whole width of the graph is less spread out. If you double the diameter of the satellite’s UK dish, the width of the pattern, all the peaks and the troughs, is halved and more energy is concentrated into the central peak over the UK. That is essentially what has happened. The 2E and 2F dishes are larger than the 2D dish and so the footprint width is smaller. One effect is that the first null has moved closer to the big, central peak. The first null for 2D corresponded to Valencia, but it has moved in to Barcelona with the 2E. The first side peak has moved from Malaga to Valencia – and so now Malaga is on the second null.

Maybe the Freesat providers are now in a better position to tap into the European market.


October 10th, 2013 1:42 pm

The 2E satellite is slowly approaching its fixed position for testing, above the coast of Somalia, at 43.5degrees East. The testing should start today or tomorrow and last for at least three weeks.

The satellite will then move west along the equator to its operational position at 28.2 degrees East.


October 12th, 2013 1:29 am

The 2E satellite has woken. Test transmissions have started on the UK spot beam. First reported from Tel Aviv at 7:30pm UK time and confirmed from Germany at 7:41 (the first link below).





October 16th, 2013 1:50 pm

I gave up on my Satellite for UK TV channels in the end, is getting too problematic. To be honest if you have fast enough WIFI at home you are best off just watching it all via the Internet now. I registered with Laptop Telly and got the BBC & ITV working fine again now.

John S

October 16th, 2013 2:44 pm

Rubbish is the latest tracking info.. “″


October 16th, 2013 4:29 pm

Hi Fergus,

Given that you haven’t even said where you live, that isn’t the most helpful advice. There are large areas of Spain that will continue to receive the UK Freesat channels – although most will need a larger dish.

If you live in Andalucia however, particularly the south and west, then most will need to go the internet route and say goodbye to Freesat TV.

The most likely time for the switchover is the first half of December. That does not leave much time to install internet TV before Christmas.

John S,the website is not exactly live tracking, despite its name. It is quite often a few days behind in updating the true satellite position. However, at the moment that site is correctly reporting the position as 43.5 East, the position of the 2E for the last six days. But, what is the relevance of that to Fergus’s post?


October 17th, 2013 6:16 pm

We seem to be coming to crunch time. I have read all your comments with interest as one who holidays regularly in Tenerife in our apartment. I didn’t understand a word of anything anyone said though it seemed funny. Being without tv isn’t funny. It’s a part of life now and being without it would be like going back a century. Let’s hope it gets sorted out as I for one would not be a happy bunny. Keep your solutions coming. We are out in the Canaries in November so hope you will all have got it sorted by then. (Otherwise I’m staying at home!).


October 17th, 2013 6:31 pm

@ Diane…..If (British) TV is an essential part of your life, then you are one sad, sad bunny.


October 17th, 2013 6:33 pm

Are mrskytv and old bill one and the same? I wonder.


October 17th, 2013 10:39 pm

Hi Old Bill

Couldn’t agree more.

That said, with all those channels you’ll be watching – don’t think you’ll get out much.

Hi Diane

At least there’s more chance of UK satellite TV in the Canaries than in the Costa del Sol. If you have your own satellite dish and had it installed before February 2012, then it is probably a large dish for the old Astra 2D satellite UK TV broadcasts. If so, you may still be able to receive UK TV after the switchover.


October 18th, 2013 12:23 am

Nooooo. Estate agents and double glazing salesmen are anathema – but we digress!!


October 18th, 2013 10:20 am


What an ignorant idiot you are. You embarrass yourself every time you write something.

Now you will do it again I suppose. Go on.


October 18th, 2013 11:32 am

Amparo, If anyone is ‘sad’, its people like you. Troll on regardless. Pathetic. (Well said, Mike.) :-)


October 18th, 2013 5:55 pm

@ Mike……Bet you were Basil’s star pupil at the Fawlty charm school. Ignorant of what??, who’s screwing who on those endless British soap’s??. Oh, how I bow to such stimulating intellect.


October 18th, 2013 7:03 pm

Oh for gods sake Amparo- give it a rest. Your inane comments do nothing to help anyone interested in the loss of UK TV. I accept that the in the uk itself SPANISH channelsare not readily available but you can get them via satellite and that it all the UK ex pats want, the ability to watch TV in their language. I dare say we will now get the normal verbal diarrhea about learning the language but for the older ex pats it is beyond them. So everyone either use this forum for its proper purpose or leave it.


October 19th, 2013 1:27 am

Didn’t you all know? this IS the TROLLIVE PRESS!


October 19th, 2013 5:53 pm

Some excellent information, thank you.

As to making a choice of providers, MediaStreamz uses Filmon, it would be interesting to know how other providers stream their programmes.


October 19th, 2013 9:10 pm

2E Transmission Reports

The guys on “”, who are busy listening to the new Astra 2E test transmissions, have already started to compare those with the 2F test transmissions from last year. The 2F satellite was launched at the same time last year and was tested at the same 43.5 degrees East position as the new 2E.

One contributor has already predicted that the switchover from the 1N to 2E could be during the night on 10th/11th November:

“Maybe switch-over during Sunday night 2013-11-10″


Quote from “joddle” in Valencia

“Its all very interesting and so far it seems like 2E is going to be pretty like 2F. However, the main issue I am waiting to see answered is if 2E will still deliver the same blank spot over North East Spain as 2F . . .”

Quote from “mickwig” in Germany

“Astra 2E will be exactly like Astra 2F . . .”

So, even though it’s early days, the signs are that the 2E will have the same footprint as the 2F.

If you are wondering how can anyone predict the footprint when the 2E is not in its final position, that’s a fair question. The 2E is currently at 43.5 East, that is 15 degrees east of its final position at 28.2 East.

Firstly, you can compare the signal of these 2E tests with the 2F test results from the same 43.5 East position last year. Similar results around Europe suggest similar UK spot footprints.

Secondly, the current 2E footprint is presumably shifted about 15 degrees to the east of the final footprint. So, instead of the centre of the beam pointing at the north of England at about 54 North and 1.5 West – it points 15 degrees further east at eastern Germany – about 13.5 East. That’s roughly due north of Berlin. The conclusion is that the UK spot beam is currently forming a footprint centred in NE Germany. Of course, that assumes that the UK satellite dish is aligned at the same orientation, north and west, as it will be when it arrives at 28.5 West.

One guy in Germany has confirmed this, saying that he has received very strong UK spot signals, which places him somewhere in the current main 2E “UK spot” beam – so concludes that the UK spot is currently pointing at the eastern side of Germany. It is therefore possible to determine where the Spanish nulls on the 2F UK spot (south west Andalucia and Barcelona) fall on this 15 degree shifted footprint of the UK spot – and to get reception reports from the watchers for those places.

For example, Barcelona at 41 North and 2 West lies on a 2F null. Translate that 15 degrees further East to 17 degrees East – the heel of Italy. There should only be reports of weak UK spot beam signal reception in SE Italy from the 2E satellite. If that is the case then the new satellite will have poor reception in Barcelona when in its final position – similar to the 2F satellite.

But hey! Forget the theory – within a month we’ll know the real situation.


October 19th, 2013 11:05 pm

@ James Gold…..You are quite right, I AM entitled to express an opinion, as I have done frequently on many other topics.

And you will note that, excepting where I have responded to personal insults and condescending sexist remarks, I HAVE contributed by, not only expressing utter amazement at the lengths and expense your co-posters seem to be willing to go in order to cling on to British TV, but also, albeit perhaps rather too succinctly for some, by suggesting giving our TV (gratis, I might add) a try.

And I don’t “troll”, it’s called ‘reading the foreign press’. An exploratory process of discovery which may well benefit a good many.


October 19th, 2013 11:30 pm

Amparo DOES have a point about obsession with Brit telly.
Three hundred and sixteen hits and counting on this thread so far.
But hey, I love some of the soaps too. And who makes better telly than the B.B.C.? Times are grim, we need distraction and amusement. Come on Amparo. Spanish telly? Even if you are fluent in the language, bet you don’t even watch it.
Own up, Spain is about as good at T.V. as they are about popular music. When was the last international Spanish hit, in T.V. or Pop?


October 20th, 2013 5:58 pm

@ Stefanjo….Hit Nº317. I have never claimed the our TV is superior or even equal to the BBC (for example). I only express astonishment at, as you agree, “the obsession” with receiving Britsh TV for those having decided to live in Spain.

And yes, I DO watch it our TV, though my well-being doesn’t hang on every episode of the soap’s. And, for those who can’t (or won’t) follow the language, the original soundtrack of films/series/documentaries/discovery et al, is (freely) available. Now, try asking for THAT in the UK!.

And hey!, what we lack in pop music we more than make up in football and tennis eh?.


October 20th, 2013 8:37 pm



To the others on here wishing to talk about something which is important to us (and we may or may not even watch soap operas), I am going to try to re-programme my Jazztel router via a VPN this week. Will report back on how possible or not, or easy or difficult this is.

Failing that, I will use a second VPN router bought off the internet once the signal goes (presuming it does). With regards to my Sky subscription, the switch-off can’t come quick enough, as I’m through with paying 57.50 quid a month, and regardless of what happens, will get Sky from switch-off onwards via other methods – some of which I woudn’t even like to mention on here but that are out there. Whether this is IPTV ov via my dish depends on what goes and what stays.


October 20th, 2013 9:39 pm

Mike, to re-iterate, you will NOT lose any of the SKY channels when and if the switch off happens. What you will lose via the sky box are the free to air channels (BBC, ITV, ch4 and 5 and a few others). All SKY channels ( living, Atlantic, news , sports, movies etc will still be received on the sky box.

But you are right, Internet TV will be cheaper but if you only have a slow speed, then with the massive expected additional traffic, pixelation and freezing could occur. Just a thought.

Now sky have introduced the wifi built in sky +HD box (I gave just brought mine over). I am wondering whether using a VPN will allow mr to Pick up the sky catchup service . Will let you know.


October 21st, 2013 9:02 am

Could somebody please recommend a tried and tested a dongle or streaming box that would convert my Standard Sony Bravia HD TV into a “smart tv”.

This could be for me a short term fix to access Filmon direct to my tv via the internet, thus allowing breathing space to see what happens.

I can easily get one brought from the UK if nescessary.


October 21st, 2013 11:43 am

To Jamie:

Jamie in view of your October 19 post, am I reading this right. ? Are you saying that there is now a possibility of the spot beam covering the same area as the old satellite, and we in Andalucia may (being the operative word) not have anything to worry about?


October 21st, 2013 1:05 pm


The way I read it means the signal will be the same as the satellite that C5 etc moved onto and that we all lost. This means we will lose any that go onto the UK beam on the new one.

Also Paul, we won’t lose Sky you’re right, but providing the go onto the pan-European beam on the new one – the most likely outcome for motives well-discussed on here, but not 100% sure until it actually happens.


October 21st, 2013 1:57 pm

OK Thanks Mike, so it looks like a box is the answer. As Jamie said all will be clear in a month, except by which time of course, all boxes will either be sold or doubled in price!! hey Ho.


October 21st, 2013 3:04 pm

This thread is beginning to give me ‘hole-in-my-bucket’ syndrome (look that up as well amparo). Switch it over powers-that-be and end all this speculation!! : )


October 21st, 2013 3:39 pm

Hi Mike and Paul

Mike, that’s the correct interpretation.

Paul, sorry to give you false hope.

“by which time of course, all boxes will either be sold or doubled in price!!”

Whereas some of the contributors on here have already prepared and are ready with an IPTV solution – and I understand you are – I am amazed that so many have not done what Pedro2 is now considering, an inexpensive ‘short term fix’.

That is the approach I have advocated all along. Of course, it presupposes that you have broadband with at least a consistent 1megabit per second speed. I am only prepared to recommend what I’ve used. An IPTV set-top box based on the Raspberry Pi is the cheapest I’ve tested. You can buy it with the software already installed. It works remarkably well with FilmOn and TVCatchup. The Pi has no wifi – but so what. As a temporary solution get 20m of cat5 cable and plug it direct to the router – or buy a wifi dongle.

Pedro2, roughly where are you based?
The Raspberry PI supports CEC, as does the Sony Bravia. That means that you can control FilmOn on the Pi with your Sony remote control. It works via the HDMI lead.


October 21st, 2013 6:21 pm

Dear Jamie,

Firstly, thank you very much for your time, knowledge and advice given on this thread. It has been very useful and interesting.

With regards to my request:

I live near to San Pedro, ( part of Marbella )

My television is a Sony Bravia KDL-32P30xx. I have also recently installed a live Cat5 cable from my router upstairs, to adjacent my TV and at the moment it is running an additional wireless router which gives me full wireless cover in the house.

I have heard of the Rasberry Pi, but thought is was something you bought and constructed to your needs. Is what you are recommending already built ready to plug and play?

One other question, at the moment we use a Humax Freesat with built in Recorder. Will this become more or less redundant in the future?

Thank you your assistance.


October 21st, 2013 10:43 pm

Hi Pedro2

Humax first. If that’s the Foxsat then you can use it for BBC iPlayer and ITV Player for catchup – but you’d need a VPN or similar. That’s been discussed on this thread in connection with the Sky+ box. Also, you will still be able to receive those FTA channels on the Humax that are not transmitted currently by the 1N satellite and so will not be lost.

“Rasberry Pi, but thought is was something you bought and constructed to your needs”

True – it isn’t exactly plug and play but pretty close. Take a look at this:



Once you’ve got XBMC on that SD card then you just plug in, it boots up and XBMC is up and running.

Then you install the relevant addon – in your case FilmOn.

I have a Sony Bravia – if your remote has Bravia Sync then you have CEC.

I don’t know how contributors on this website are supposed to communicate – there appears to be no messaging service. If you need further advice you could post an email add – but only if you are happy to do that.


October 22nd, 2013 11:44 am

A follow up to my last post.

“If that’s the Foxsat then you can use it for BBC iPlayer and ITV Player for catchup”

It may be that you can still access ITV Player on the Humax without a VPN – that used to be possible.


October 22nd, 2013 11:50 am

Sky Digital abandoning their teletext service (which I actually use) on 31st October…could this coincide with a bigger switch-off or am I being over-alarmist / a clever clogs?

So far not good on re-programming the router for a VPN. Have another option today but if they can’t come up with the goods then that option is ruled out.


October 22nd, 2013 1:01 pm

Could be Mike, although I I suspect that may just be a modernist thing. I also have had no joy using a VPN through the SKY HD+ Wifi box. and am now told the box must be made by SKY (in Romania I am told!), and not Thomson, Pace or Amstrad. I also understand you need a separate UK Router for it all to work.


October 22nd, 2013 2:18 pm

Personally I would look out for one of those android streaming devices that are popping up. You can create a VPN connection from that individual device to the UK and then use android apps (much like on an android phone) to watch UK TV.

In this way, you dont need to have all your connection routed down the VPN to the UK, just required bandwicth for the streaming TV connection.


October 22nd, 2013 2:25 pm

Sky Box for On Demand

Quote from Sky:

“Note: Customers with Thomson boxes, older Sky+ boxes (white boxes) and Digiboxes (black or white) will not get On Demand or Catch Up services. If you are unsure which Sky+HD box you have, press services on your Sky remote and scroll right to Settings. Press select and then scroll right to Details and check the version number. Thomson boxes have a version number of 4E30.”




October 22nd, 2013 2:54 pm

Seriously, which android apps are you using Adrian?


October 22nd, 2013 3:27 pm

Adrian Commented:

“Personally I would look out for one of those android streaming devices that are popping up. You can create a VPN connection from that individual device to the UK and then use android apps (much like on an android phone) to watch UK TV.”

Hi Adrian, I presume you are referring to an Android based TV box. Have you set up the VPN software on an Android box? I have stated on this thread that it’s possible but have never actually done it. Which Android box did you use?

My advice to anyone who is reluctant to spend a substantial amount until after the switchover, but would like a simple solution now, is:

1) forget about VPNs or other ways of hiding your IP.
2) use FilmOn cos no problem with IP blocking so no need for VPN.
3) go for the cheapest box that works – provided you have either had a demonstration or personal assurance from someone who has used that box – and make sure that it’ll run FilmOn.

I personally would not buy an Android phone or tablet just to watch TV but, if you already have a tablet PC (maybe an Android) and HDMI TV, then use the tablet with the FilmOn app. Connect the tablet to the TV with an HDMI cable. Make sure you get a cable that fits your tablet.

To watch FilmOn on a tablet using the app, you need to register (free) with FilmOn.


October 22nd, 2013 3:47 pm

Have just been advised that, if your sky box has “manufactured by sky” imprinted on the top, and only sky, not pace, Thomson or amstrad then, with a uk router and either a wifi box or Ethernet connection to the router all channels currently possibly disappeari will be available through the sky catchup service in Spain. Wonderful. I already have the new sky +HD WIFI box, so, with a uk route which I am getting (has to have a uk IP address apparently), all should be ok. Will keep you iformed


October 22nd, 2013 4:17 pm

Is there no BBC3 or BBC4 on Filmon? They’re the only BBC channels I watch…..


October 22nd, 2013 4:25 pm

Dear Jamie,

Further to your advice:

Cannot get ITV player through the Foxsat…on screen display says NO internet connection, although there is one of course, only it is a Spanish IP address. So will need a VPN here.

I have followed your link to Farnells, ( know them well from my past life ) and seen the Rasberry Pi screen and video.

I assume then that I would order the Rasberry Pi XBMC Starter Kit (50GBP) plus say an enclosure, and nothing else?

The Manual for our five year old Sony Bravia mentions HDMI CEC under the heading: Using HDMI CONTROL
From this I also assume that I will be able to use the Sony remote with would be helpful.

The terms and conditions of this Blog do not allow the posting of email addresses, phone numbers etc.


October 22nd, 2013 4:36 pm

There does not appear to be mike.

Also if you have an iPad/Mac/iPhone and and Apple TV box, you can stream film on direct to your tv, through the Apple TV box. Works perfectly,


October 22nd, 2013 4:50 pm


Just seen your reply to Adrian.

I have a Google Nexus 7 Tablet with Filmon installed, and working OK.

Are you saying that if I purchased a HDMI to HDMI mini cable, I could hook the Tablet to the TV the same as I can do with my laptop.


October 22nd, 2013 6:47 pm

Someone asked what android apps, well there are a few, the bbc iplayer, there is a sky app, i think UTV have one also.

BUT, there is also a TVCatchup app “”

You may or may not be able to see that app in Play.

If you cant, you have to be aware that the apps in Google Play are very much tailored to your location – “geolocation tagetted”.

There are two parts to how google the geolocation works, i know this from experience, firstly, you need a gmail account for android and play usage, the location of where you signed up for that account has bearing on what you see in Google Play. It might sound idiotic, but its true. For instance if you sign up for gmail in Gib and then use it for google play, you wont even see Facebook or Twitter in the apps.

So the trick here is to use the VPN to actually create your gmail account or get someone in the UK to set up the gmail account.

Secondly, if you access the Play store from spain and then access the play store via VPN, you will want to clear the play store cache, otherwise it will STILL show you apps for Spain (or wherever you are) and you wont then see BBC apps, because they are geo-targetted to UK only.

To clear the Market/Google Play cache please open Settings ? Applications ? Manage Applications ? Market/Google Play and tap “Clear cache”.

Then use your VPN.

I also find that if I vpn from PC to UK, then access google play web via chrome, that I can then remotely install anything to my device, no matter where it is.

Sounds like a pain, but dead easy once you understand whats behind it.

But the key is, get a UK based gmail account and clear google play cache and then use VPN to grab all the UK based TV apps.

Excuse typos above, i cant be bothered to check :)


October 22nd, 2013 6:55 pm

To Jamie, I have use android VPN to UK and watched TV many times, ive done it from 2 different phones and 2 different android tablets. From India, Egypt, Thailand, Spain, Cambodia and the USA. In airports, hotels, bars and starbucks.

It 100% works.

But, I would advise on getting any android OS above 4.1 – later the better as the VPN was broken up till version 4.1


Take a look at those above… They run just like a table or phone. You can also plug in a mouse and keyboard to control and they have HDMI


October 22nd, 2013 7:00 pm

Pedro2 — there is something called samsung allshare play, it comes on samsung devices. if you have this and your TV will do DLNA and has network capabilities, then you dont need HDMI, you can stream to your TV directly from your mbl device.

If you havent seen this, check it out, its quite brilliant



October 22nd, 2013 7:15 pm

Hi Pedro2

First I’d like to say that it is such a relief that you are clearly competent and familiar with the technology.

“I have a Google Nexus 7 Tablet with Filmon installed, and working OK.”

Yes – you just need the HDMI mini. You’ll appreciate that I view that as a temp solution. Something like the Ras Pi is far more satisfactory. I have a friend with a holiday home in the Costa – he is perfectly happy to use his Android tablet. For a permanent resident though, watching using a remote to control a IPTV box is far more satis.

You could probably use a VPN running on the Nexus if you wanted to use eg the Iplayer or the TVCatchup apps.

“From this I also assume that I will be able to use the Sony remote with would be helpful.”

That’s correct. You could alternatively use the XBMC remote app on the Nexus and use the Nexus as the remote for the IPTV box. Works well. No wires – the wifi on the nexus connects to your router and then through the cat5 to the IPTV box. But you don’t necessarily want to permanently use the Nexus as a TV remote!

“Cannot get ITV player through the Foxsat”

I didn’t really believe that would still be possible – the post I saw was from 2011.

I’ll get back to you later about what you’d need for the Pi. Must go out to eat now. Maybe worth mentioning I have a Gbox Midnight Android based IPTV box – about £90 and I removed the original firmware and installed a cut down Linux system just for XBMC. That was a lot of work and I still prefer the cheaper Ras Pi.

Worth mentioning that the Pi does iPlayer catchup very well – more impressive than the Android box. Also, the Androids do not do CEC.

To Paul and Mike:

On FilmOn you should find BBC3/4 under CBBC and CBeebies.


October 22nd, 2013 11:44 pm

Hi Adrian

Thanks for the reply. I misled you – I wasn’t thinking about an Android VPN app on a TV IP box. I have installed pure Linux XBMC on an Android, removing the Playstore – and was considering installing a VPN client on what is effectively a Linux device.

I have tried the Android VPN apps on my cheapo tablet and none would work – a hardware problem I think. Useful to know that you have used them successfully. That’s a useful tip about OS 4.1


October 23rd, 2013 9:14 am

I think removing android and installing XBMC was the first mistake :) Nah, just kidding, im sure you must of had fun… But Android alone is a perfect XMBC replacement.

The Galaxy Note 8 tablet Im currently using has infra-red remote capabilities (so I can change terrestrial/satellite channels on the TV without using the remote), it can wirelessly stream content to the TV, it makes no noise and of course it has a screen keyboard, picks up mail, plays games, run a web server, etc…

I run linux on my laptop, but only because I light to give myself a headache :)


October 23rd, 2013 10:28 am

Hi Pedro2

I recommend buying the parts separately – not in a kit.

Do not get a Model A

I notice the Model B is now being supplied including an 8GB SD card (including a NOOBS installation) £32.99 inc VAT

The easiest setup from the CPC options is use the RaspbMC installation:
pre-installed on a 4GB SD card ELEMENT14 – MMBTF04GWBCA-XBMC £5.99 inc VAT
But, I don’t know the quality of these ELEMENT14 SD cards.

From CPC

Raspberry Pi Model B – 512MB £28.07 inc VAT
Coloured MULTICOMP Case £5.71 inc VAT
Raspberry Pi Model B – 512MB and MULTICOMP Transparent Case £32.80 inc VAT
The 5V PSU with the European plug RASPBERRY PI PSU – RPI-PSU-EU-MK1 £3.56 inc VAT

You can buy the XBMC (RaspbXBMC) installation pre-installed from CPC on a 4GB SD card ELEMENT14 – MMBTF04GWBCA-XBMC £5.99 inc VAT
or source a card yourself.

Also, you need HDMI cable

For one of my installs I used:

SD Card Samsung MB-SP8GEU 8GB SDHC PLUS Class 6 Extreme Speed Memory Card

I buy the SD cards separately and install the software myself. I could do that and post the SD to you. That way I can set up the FilmOn addon. Then it can be used “out of the box”.
However, problem of exchanging contact details.
I had wondered about the terms and conditions – but have never noticed them down at the bottom of this page. Interesting, cos at least one email address appears on this thread.

Alternatively, buy the XBMC (RaspbXBMC) installation pre-installed.

If you decide to stick with the Pi you can enhance it later with a faster USB memory stick drive (8GB).

At times it’s useful to drive the Pi with a mouse – wireless or wired.

An advantage of XBMC is the massive number of addons available – example, if you’re interested, just one addon provides hundreds of music radio stations from around the world – in easy to manage categories.

An advantage of the Pi is it does full 1080p video.

You can use a USB memory stick to store a few videos – and add a 1TB USB drive.


October 23rd, 2013 4:07 pm

nothing better than a good book… !


October 23rd, 2013 5:45 pm

Jamie, thank you very much for the information and for the time taken to put this all together.

I will now sit in a darkened room, only joking, and check out your advice against the web site.

At least this now gives me a number of short term fixes, until we see what happens. But more importantly, time to see how the pricing structures / streaming delivery goes once the switch off arrives.

Amanda Johnson

October 23rd, 2013 6:39 pm

I wish we all knew which way to go as it is all sooo confusing!? Plus there is all the nastiness through out as well as not understanding all the techno stuff. Air Wifi sounds good?


October 24th, 2013 10:15 am

If you wish the satellite had never launched, this documentary may give you a different focus. It follows a year in the life of a satellite and the guys in the UK who build them. You may spot the clear label 2E on one of the satellite parts.


Hi Amanda Johnson

Nobody “understands” all the technical stuff – and that’s part of the problem. The people at SES Astrium, who designed the satellite, probably do not know themselves, with much precision, the points on the outlying fringes of the footprint where there will be no signal. Even if they did know they almost certainly would not tell.

It seems likely, though, that south west Andalucia will not receive useable signal levels, even with a very large dish. That point has been made many times.

One idea is that, because the frequencies of the waves from the newest 2E satellite, on the UK spot beam, are slightly lower compared with the 2F satellite, then the 2E may be just receivable on the CdS. Maybe you’ll only need a 2.5m dish! :)


October 26th, 2013 4:59 pm

Hi all, Mr Amparos comments do not bother me at all. If he is so uninterested in British t.v. I wonder why he gets all hot and bothered by our discussions. There seem to be plenty of people that are bothered by the possible lack of television. Incidentally my husband is not interested in the fact we may lose it which annoys me more! I am hoping our complex who supply our current programmes sort something out especially as there are many elderly visitors over the winter months. (Not me I hasten to add!)


October 26th, 2013 9:16 pm

I suggest people GET A FRIGGING LIFE and stop watching the boob tube like mindless morons.


October 27th, 2013 1:13 am

No chance Anne,355 comments and counting. The panic is real.
The promise of English Telly, has proved to be a chimera…
Beware Britexpat wives… And their hubbies…

Martyn Wood

October 27th, 2013 1:24 pm

I have started holding informative seminars along the Costa del Sol aimed mainly at those people who have little or no technical ability, but also for those wishing to DIY with an Android or Raspberry Pi box (see local press from 16th Oct).
Speakers have covered iptv boxes, dedicated server provision, type and quality of internet connection and continuing satellite channel service.
Over 100 people attended the last seminar at the Tamisa hotel and I have five more planned over the next 14 days.
I see by reading the many posts that there are some well informed people on this thread and I would be greatful if any of them would contact me to discuss if they would be able to join my presenter team…

Amanda Johnson

October 27th, 2013 3:30 pm

I don’t think I am going to do anything until it happens and we know which way to go!

I don’t want to spend out on a system and then it not work or tied into a contact that is useless. :0


October 27th, 2013 4:37 pm

I have to say I really that that is a Good decision Amanda, and there is always filmon for free if or when the cutoff happens and there is a mad rush for boxes etc. (No doubt twice the price they are now!!)

I also wonder whether the Spanish wifi infrastructure can cope with thousand and thousands of people suddenly using wifi in many cases all day to pick up TV . Not sure it can.


October 27th, 2013 4:43 pm

@…Diane….I assume you are referring to my postings. Well first get the gender right. It’s not Mr and it’s not my apellido either.

Secondly I don’t get “hot under the collar”. I simply express surprise, no, astonishment, that so many Brits are panicking over the possibility of not being able to watch British TV. In fact I think it’s quite sad. But, each to their own.

Clearly, since I expressed my views, there are many posters that have a deep interest in the tech stuff about which I have never passed comment even though I don’t think this forum should be a platform for promoting such hi-detail. It is about passing an opinion not supporting free advertising.


October 27th, 2013 6:07 pm

Ms. Amparo, apart from perhaps 2 people who seem to push certain companies, the majority of discussion on this forum has been about the cutoff, the high tech stuff is there for advice and ideas, not to promote companies.

I say again, if this were the UK and the spanish companies decided to remove their satellite transmissions to the UK, I suspect there would be a similar fairly vociferous form going on, in reverse.

I am also intrigued as to why, if as you purport, you are not really interested in the situation which has arisen. you continue to monitor and then throw in your (half baked) pennyworth. I fail to understand why you just don’t walk away.

You really have not grasped that there are a lot of Brits in Spain, contributing in no small way to the very erratic and collapsed economy, who DO enjoy watching their national TV. It is not as if they are holiday here for a week or three, they are LIVING here, and as such, perhaps, need that contact with home. it may be the only contact they have, and for it to be removed, when they are in their senior years, can be quite catastrophic. Of course, to younger people it may seem strange that people get hooked on TV, but in many cases it is ALL they have.

So, if you really have northing constructive to say, please say nothing at all.


October 27th, 2013 6:58 pm

Don’t feed Trolls, folks. Attention-seeking behaviour is reinforced by attention. So just ignore them and they will eventually run out of toys to throw out of their cots – but only if you stop picking them up and handing them back. They may be desperate enough to try to keep things going by piling back in with an alter ego – even with a gender change – but treat it all with the disinterested contempt it deserves. More to be pitied, really…


October 27th, 2013 7:41 pm



October 28th, 2013 8:00 am

Very true. I tried to engage with him/her about a different topic here, and got an identical, narrow-minded and prejudiced response. It’s a waste of time.

Back to this satellite. Any news on where it is?

John S

October 28th, 2013 8:17 am

Still at 43° East above Somaila

lyn cooper

October 28th, 2013 9:29 am

Well said Paul. As pensioners we need the television to get through the evening what are we supposed to do, drink ourselves to death in the local bar?


October 28th, 2013 10:51 am

Ms Amparo, what a rude person you are! I was surprised to find that you are a ‘female’, a sad reflection of our sex. Maybe you should start watching television to give you something to do instead of posting inane comments on a subject that clearly doesn’t interest you. Has anyone lost a signal yet?

Martyn Wood

October 28th, 2013 4:20 pm

Three more IPTV seminars confirmed; Monday 4th Nov at the Guadalmina Hotel, San Pedro 8pm, Thursday 7th Nov at Mozaic Restaurant, Las Chapas, Marbella 8pm and Saturday 9th Nov at Tikitano Restaurant, Estepona 4pm. Entry is 5 euros and includes three presentations; IPTV and Internet, Configuration of Android boxes, Dedicated server supply of TV channels. Everyone gets an information pack and can talk to the experts afterwards. Details in the local press and on Facebook with my name.
I am still looking for more experts to join my team for future seminars…..


October 28th, 2013 5:58 pm

Lyn Cooper. Comments like that play right in to Amparos hands. Bet he/she will have a dozen suggestions of things you could do in the evenings…

Martyn Wood

October 28th, 2013 7:07 pm

I know have confirmation of the next IPTV seminars.
Monday 4th Nov at the Guadalmina Hotel, San Pedro, 8pm
Thursday 7th Nov at Restaurante Mosaic, Las Chapas, Marbella, 8pm
Saturday 9th Nov at Restaurante Tikitano, Urb. Guadalmansa, Estepona, 4pm
Wednesday 13th Nov at El Elefante, Benalmadena costa, 8pm
Coín and AEG still to be confirmed, see local press for more details or find me on Facebook.


October 29th, 2013 1:58 pm

End of Testing the 2E Sat?

The testing of the new satellite has entered a new phase. This suggests that the Astra 2E will soon begin the transition to its operational position at 28.2 East.





October 29th, 2013 4:16 pm

Reminds me of the Death Star approaching Alderaan….hoho! : )


November 1st, 2013 10:10 am

The Death Star – I sure hope that’s not prophetic.

Mark in Cornwall

November 1st, 2013 3:34 pm

Hello from far South-West. I often read the posts on here but have never commented before.

The family travel to various parts of Spain and her Islands, 2 or 3 times a year, Father in particular loves being able to have access to UK TV channels when on holiday.

No please forgive my ignorance, but do those of you in Spain (or elsewhere outside the UK) pay the UK TV Licence fee to watch the BBC Channels ? It is a question, not one on the rights or wrongs of if you should pay, but rather if you have to pay.


November 2nd, 2013 10:37 am

Some do and some don’t pay the UK TV licence fee. As you say, forgetting the rights or wrongs, there is no reason to pay. You do not have to pay. There is no requirement to pay.

The UK law is simple enough. If you watch live UK TV within the UK then the householder has to have a licence. If you do not live in the UK and do not own a house in the UK that contains a device capable of receiving UK TV – then you do not pay a licence fee. In fact, how could you pay the fee in that situation? There is no mechanism for paying that fee.

I live in the UK and I have a licence. But my view is that it would be absurd to suggest that those who watch UK TV from outside the UK have some moral obligation to pay or to make some contribution. It is absurd because there is no mechanism.

Some contributors to this blog, residents in Spain, have said they would willingly pay the fee, if it were possible, in order to watch UK TV.


November 2nd, 2013 1:02 pm

Equally, of course, Jamie, in the same way that there is no MORAL obligation to pay to watch UK (particularly BBC of course regarding the licence), there is no obligation for the BBC to supply their TV channels to anyone outside their fee paying area i.e. the UK. I know there has been a lot of pontificating about the fact that a few people pay their fees, and therefore expect by right to receive the BBC abroad, this is not the case at all. However, I also agree that, if people are prepared to pay for the privilege for receiving the BBC in Spain, then if the situation allowed, the BBC should perhaps consider it.


November 2nd, 2013 2:16 pm

“there is no obligation for the BBC to supply their TV channels to anyone outside”

Agreed, and I also agree that it is absurd to “expect by right to receive the BBC abroad” on the basis that you pay the UK licence fee.

“if the situation allowed, the BBC should perhaps consider it”

I am sure that the UK TV Freesat broadcasters are all considering how to gain financially from people, not just in Europe but around the world, who would be happy to pay for as close an approximation as possible to the Freesat broadcasts. I know there are already paid for world services from the BBC but those are a second rate subset of what is available and what we are about to lose through Freesat.

As I mentioned previously, such an offering could be via internet and not satellite – and, if so, would not directly address the loss of satellite TV.

Louie Castle

November 3rd, 2013 12:41 pm

A friend has just said that we will loose the radio too ……. O please tell me that i will still be able to access Radio 4 via my computer.


November 3rd, 2013 3:08 pm

You will not lose internet radio via your PC Louie


November 4th, 2013 4:30 pm

Looks Like the 2E Sat May Be About to Move to it’s Operational Position: 28.2E

The 2F satellite launched last year on 28 Sept 2012, almost the same date as the 2E this year. The 2F started the move on about 10th/11th November 2012. This 2E is long overdue, because of the delays – and so there is some urgency to get it operational ASAP.

Today the 2E test transmissions appear to have stopped. It’s gone very quiet. It may have started to move, in which case the first TV broadcasts could start next week.


November 8th, 2013 8:06 am

The silence is now deafening. It’s like we’re all waiting for an asteroid to hit!

Please don’t take Sky away! The Ashes start in 12 days!


November 8th, 2013 10:57 am

The Bird has still not Flown

The fledgling 2E is still testing and so has still not left the nest – but it’s got to be soon. The 2F sat took about 10 days to do the transfer from 43.5° to 28.2° East and arrived on about 20th November last year. It began commercial operations at 28.2° on 21st November 2012.


November 8th, 2013 1:14 pm

The exact day the Ashes start… Shoot it down someone! Shoot it down!!!! : )


November 8th, 2013 1:48 pm



November 8th, 2013 2:17 pm

Worry not Mike, SKY Sports will still be broadcasting!!!


November 8th, 2013 7:55 pm

Mike – if you have a subscription with Sky you can watch on the web via an app.
If you have an I phone or I pad you can transfer it to the TV via apple TV


November 9th, 2013 9:05 am

You don’t even need the web, as the SKY channels are not, as yet, affected. Therefore, with a normal SKY, SkyHD, (+ or +wifi) box, you watch as normal


November 9th, 2013 10:47 am

Paul it’s my understanding that once the move is complete neither freesat or Sky will be available otherwise it would not affect many as everyone would just need a sky subscription
I have a sky freeview card in bought years ago for £20 and my understanding is once it’s moved depending on its final position the tv goes


November 9th, 2013 6:34 pm

Peter, the SKY channels (sky atlantic, living, sports, movies, 1etc – all those with the SKY prefix), will continue to be broadcast and received in Southern Spain, through a proper sky box. Sky, at present, have no plans to move to the new satellite. However, never say never, although they would lose a massive income from Spain, if they did cut off.

However, if you only use the Sky box as a Freeview box, and do not pay Sky a subscription, then yes, you will lose, all the terrestrial channels you currently receive (all BBC, all ITV, channel 4 and 5 and a few others.)


November 10th, 2013 4:31 pm

Hi Everyone,

I have to confess two things.

First, I am a technical ignoramus so if anyone starts quoting a string of letters, like MDF, A and E, etc., at me, I’ll rollover.

Second, I started at the first blog here and then read about 200,000 words that took me about a quarter of the way down the page.

Therefore, what I am about to ask may have already been answered, but at 73 years young, I don’t think I have the life expectancy left to read the rest.

I transported a Samsung Smart TV from the UK and hung it on the wall. Currently, it receives UKTV via a Ferguson bit of rubbish with a dongle sticking out of its front.

Globatel provides about 3 Mb per sec., so what do I need to get UKTV stations from the internet into the TV using a false UK IP address from somewhere outside the EU.

Many thanks in advance.



November 10th, 2013 7:41 pm


Via the web you can use no Ip switcher required

This is free

There is a BBC I player available in Spain on I pads not sure how else you can get it anyway it costs €49 a year and has some great BBC shows on to watch without an IP switcher.

Also you can get myexpatUK to get a UK IP address it costs £5.00 a month you can then use the UK BBC I player ITV I player and also channel 5

Hope that helps


November 10th, 2013 10:13 pm

Hello Peter,

Thanks, that is informative and useful.

The Globatel router is their standard thing with an antenna sticking out and a few lights on the top. Will I need a more sophisticated router to use an IP address from an outside source.




November 10th, 2013 10:43 pm


Sorry I only know how to use an IP blocker on either an I pad or a PC


November 10th, 2013 11:27 pm

Hi Alan,

Only 73 and the emphasis on young – then not a problem.

There are two points I would make.

First, and assuming that you are happy with the internet UK TV available on that smart TV when located in UK, then you are correct that you need to “hide” the IP. That should then allow you to continue to use all the internet features on the TV that you could use in the UK.

The best way to hide the IP is through a VPN tunnel – such as mentioned by Peter. The normal way to run the VPN program, on the set up you have, is to use a second router. If you buy into a VPN service, maybe myexpatUK, make sure first that they can support you in setting up the VPN on a suitable second router. For example, see:


My second point is that you may find it more satisfactory and a quicker solution given the approaching deadline, to ignore the smart features of your smart TV and instead use an IPTV set top box to connect your TV to the internet. Choose a set top box that will run Filmon – and so no need to hide the IP in the short term and no monthly fee for renting the UK VPN. An advantage of Filmon is that it provides internet access to the live “freesat” UK channels – probably something you do not get via the internet on your smart TV when in the UK and hence, will not get with the smart features of that TV, even through a VPN in Spain. Also, no need to fork out on a second router. For less than the cost of the router you can buy an IPTV box.

For more info from this blog, without trawling the remaining 75%, try using your browsers Edit Find menu for keywords such as VPN and FilmOn


November 11th, 2013 8:28 am

Thank you both for your help,



November 11th, 2013 10:12 am

As meltdown approaches, with regards to the IPTV business, could I ask a few questions which might serve as a summary and help others on here? (Thanks Paul & Jamie in advance!! : ))

I’ve got a Panasonic Viera Smart TV. My first question would be: are apps on smart tvs via digital terrestrial broadcast or via the internet? If it’s the latter then could I configure my TV to get the same services as if I had a Panasonic TV in the UK if I hide my IP?

Jamie – is it really cheaper to get a set-top box than a router to connect to my Jazztel router and thus hide my IP? There are routers around for about 20-30 euros these days. I’ve probably got an old one in a cupboard somewhere, as most will have with people changing internet providers so often.

Regarding set-top boxes and filmon. I’ve got a Mag250, which from what I’ve seen is a pretty standard IPTV set-top box. I was actually given it at a trade show in Russia, so it doesn’t have filmon pre-installed on it. If I go to filmon via the set-top box’s browser, it doesn’t work. The supplier told me that the Mag250 doesn’t support flash and that filmon, the BBC iPlayer and so on are all flash-based services. Is this true? A different supplier has another IPTV set-top box, which they tell me does support flash.

Or are you talking about a different set top box?

Finally, although I’ve asked this before and I think Paul told me yes: if I get a second router to hide my IP, I will be able to get all the TV via the Sky Anytime service (I subscribe to Sky), providing that my internet connection is quick enough, correct?

Thanks again in advance for replies – I know it helps not only me.

(Amparo – don’t even bother).


November 11th, 2013 1:10 pm

Hi Alan,

Roughly where are you based in Spain? I am in the UK and am purchasing and configuring an internet set-top box (with the FilmOn software) either to post or personally deliver to a friend to the East of Malaga. Will do this when the satellite switch occurs, so will by then know how the Costa del Sol has been affected. The first TV transmissions from the new satellite should begin in about 15 days – and so by then should have a good idea what size dish would be needed on the Costa.

I have already tested, several times, this solution in Spain. Broadband speed 1.5Mbits/sec. At that speed it provides standard def TV. Because it uses FilmOn there is no need for a VPN. With a VPN you can use the same system to view UK internet TV via other free UK TV providers, including catchup.

Could you clarify one point. You said:

“Currently, it receives UKTV via a Ferguson bit of rubbish with a dongle sticking out of its front.”

Are you saying that you can currently watch UK TV in Spain with that arrangement? Is the Ferguson device an internet TV box? Is the dongle you refer to a wifi dongle used to connect to your Globatel router?


November 11th, 2013 4:33 pm


Which model is the IPTV box? Is it Android? Do you know how to get fimlon installed on it?

Didn’t know filmon also had catch up? Is this free?




November 11th, 2013 4:55 pm

Mike, that is correct, if you have a SKY + (or HD+) box, then you can, with the aid of a VPN Router with a UK IP address, watch all the terrestrial channels VIA Catchup. They still will not be available through the normal Sky Channels (As I understand it). This does however mean, that they will be after the event, so, for instance, if you wanted to watch the BBC news at 6 at that time (or 7pm of course in Spain), you could not. But you could watch it later on catch up. I hope this males sense,. and if I am wrong, I am sure someone will tell me – or you.

I have to say that because I did not realise you cannot watch programmes such as the news in real time, I have opted for the system, which is almost exactly the a same as you view in its menu selection, very easy and straightforward, and extremely easy to operate. It is a chargeable system for the box and a monthly subscription of around €15. But it is good. I will also keep the Sky plus system for all other TV.


November 11th, 2013 5:47 pm

A lot of you will not be allowed to vote in the UK referendum on leaving the EU, many more of you will be losing your winter fuel allowance even though many of you live in areas where it can be considerably colder than the South East of England. Barely any interest or comment on these matters except for a dedicated few, but faced with losing East Enders, Coronation Street and X factor and all hell breaks loose. Pathetic!!!


November 11th, 2013 6:29 pm

Hi Mike

I’m going out soon and so will answer just your easier question. Will try the remainder when I get back – but it could be late.

“is it really cheaper to get a set-top box than a router to connect to my Jazztel router and thus hide my IP? There are routers around for about 20-30 euros these days.”

I’ve mentioned a few times in this blog that you cannot use just any router. You need one that can run the specialised firmware needed for the VPN. In addition, if your 20-30€ router does support the firmware, you then have to install that firmware. I’ve done that a few times, once on a used router that I got from Ebay for about £10. However, installing the firmware can be a nightmare – only for a ‘professional’ or if you’ve got the temperament and 100s of free hours.

That is why I recommend buying a router with the firmware (eg DDWRT) pre-installed. About £80 on Ebay. And make sure that the version of DDWRT supports OpenVPN. Even then you are not finished. You then install the VPN client software. Fortunately, some of the VPN service providers provide instructions on how to install their client – and sometimes they automate that process. So, best to go with a provider who provides this support and better still, provides a list of the routers that they support. Then, and only then buy the router.

I noticed that MyExpatUK/sabaitechnology can supply – for a price – routers that are almost ready to go – and provide the instructions for installing. See:


Note: I am not recommending MyExpatUK in particular – they were simply mentioned in an earlier post by Peter.

So, the router could cost about 100€. The alternative is in fact cheaper – a low budget internet set-top box that runs FilmOn. Of course, you’ll be restricted to FilmOn because other services require a UK IP.

For the IPTV box you could use a cheap (maybe £60 minimum) 7″ Android tablet plus FilmOn app – connected to your TV via HDMI. Or – and I prefer – a Raspberry Pi running OpenElec and the FilmOn plugin (about £40 minimum) connected to the TV via HDMI or composite video. An Android tablet requires virtually no setting up and, if you wish to at a later date, it is easier to set up OpenVPN on the tablet (and no need for the router) – but not all tablets support OpenVPN. My experience has been that the video quality is better on the Raspberry Pi – on the Android, using a TV display, the video appears slightly blocky.


November 11th, 2013 10:50 pm

Peter, there has been no comment because, I suspect these are ponderables which will not happen. UK citizens will be allowed to vote in any UK election on membership, wherever they live, and the eu has already ruled that uk cannot stop payments of winter fuel allowances to ex pats, and as you rightly point out they need them anyway as it can be colder than in the uk.

The TV issue is a problem for a lot of older ex pats who cannot afford to move back,home even of they wanted to, and therefore rely on UK TV to keep abreast of affairs in their country. In most cases they have not learnt the language of their adopted country (wrong, I agree) and are now too old to do so. Not everyone is glued to the soaps !!

Strange as it may appear to a lot of people there are many who rely on TV, for news, and strangely, companionship. So. Don’t knock it please.


November 12th, 2013 12:49 am

Hi Mike,

Our last posts crossed but I think I’ve answered your question:

“Which model is the IPTV box? Is it Android? Do you know how to get fimlon installed on it?”

You can use an Android tablet as a IPTV box. FilmOn can then be installed on that as a free Android app.

However, I prefer to use a low budget IPTV box running the very versatile XBMC media centre program. The Raspberry Pi is the best, low cost device I have used for XBMC – and the OpenElec version seems to be the fastest without overclocking the CPU chip. For FilmOn you use the free XBMC plug-in – also called an add-on. I’ll see if I can locate some YouTube videos of these devices in use.

“Didn’t know filmon also had catch up? Is this free?”

It doesn’t and I didn’t say it does – although some people use the PVR feature of FilmOn to record a live transmission.

What I said was:

“With a VPN you can use the same system to view UK internet TV via ‘other free UK TV providers’, including catchup.”

but I was not referring to FilmOn. For example, using the Android as the ‘system’ hardware you can use the BBC’s free streams via the iPlayer app for BBC live and catchup. With XBMC you can use the iPlayer plug-in for BBC catchup. But, of course, as you know, you need a proxy or VPN for BBC.

I was not referring to different system hardware (such as a Sky + box) as Paul seems to think – although, of course, Paul is correct that the correct Sky+ box does deliver catchup through On Demand.

I am interested to see that Paul has:

“opted for the system”

I have not recommended that system previously because it is not clear to me, from their website, the origin of their TV streams. I have therefore concluded that it is a classic case of re-broadcasting. So, why would one pay 17.99€ per month when you can get a similar live UKTV programme content for free via FilmOn. And for 5€ per month you can rent access to a UK VPN server and so stream live UK TV from TVCatchup using either the TVcatchup Android app or the XBMC plug-in. The choice between two independent sources of UK live streams (FilmOn and TVcatchup) compared with the inflexibility of a single source of uncertain origin is, to me, a ‘no brainer’. Added to that, with a VPN you can stream live and catchup from iPlayer and, as Paul has pointed out, all the Sky On Demand channels.


November 12th, 2013 10:09 am

First of all, thanks to Jamie and Paul for all of your advice. It has been hugely informative to me and I am sure to many other people. You’ve both given many options that I wouldn’t have previously have known about.

For some reason, I have a mental block on the raspberry Pi. Just as I will not now programme a router after you saying Jamie that it would take hours to master, I’m also afraid that I just don’t have time for learning how to work the Pi. Another thing I thought was that if I were to get a VPN router, then I would be able to access my Sky Go, and through that I would then be able to get all the channels (connection speed permitting), and connect either a tablet or laptop to the PC.

So I think I might rather go VPN router. Although I am also thinking about getting Sky taken out altogether as it is hideously expensive and I don’t like giving such a high monthly sum to Murdoch. That would change things. I may then just use someone’s Sky Go account in the UK and have done with it. Again, the router would be the best option.

An interesting development has been that fibre optic internet is now available in my building. At over 65 euros a month though, that is scandalous, but I may have no option but to get that and take it from there. However, 65 for the internet and phone line, 5-10 euros for the VPN, then 80 for Sky….

It’s all a bit of sod really isn’t it?

Peter – as they say in Spanish, you are more right than a saint. I am 41 and have never voted, which in itself is scandalous – although it doesn’t make any difference now as I am not allowed to vote in General Elections in any country in the world. Considering myself to be a semi-intelligent person most of the time, how right is that? Sums up the sham that democracy is if you ask me.

However, what I would say is that it’s very easy to jump to conclusions that we are all bleating about missing soaps and talent shows, as one or two idiots have done on here already (I am not saying that you yourself are an idiot in any way Peter). I abhor dross television programmes as much as you do – which is exactly why I need UK TV. So, the few times that I do fancy sitting down to watch thought-provoking, intelligent television (for example BBCs 3 and 4) then I can do so, and if some of it is also relevant to my home country, then why not? It can be difficult to keep abreast of things there and around the world even, when you only have Spanish television (have you seen how they actually report the news here, for example?). I know that some good TV can be found here, but wading through the lowest denominator stuff they show to find it is not for me.

But again, you are dead right. I would express my opinion on not being able to vote on other threads on here, but unfortunately I don’t have time. I think it will be much easier short-term for me to be able to continue to watch intelligent TV now and again, rather than (lo and behold) actually being given the right to vote somewhere.

Is there a sad side to that? There most certainly is.


November 12th, 2013 10:45 am

Hi Jamie, I am assured by that their service is live TV, and not rebroadcast. The catch up side may or may not disappear, and they charge a little extra for this, which would immediately be cancelled, should that side go. But the main thrust is there to stay. Interestingly there is NO contract, the system can be cancelled with immediate effect after the last pay period. They do offer a 14 day free trial over the internet for anyone who wants to see it. I have to say I was impressed.

Mike, I agree that the VPN router road is sensible, if you are not worried about the terrestrial channels being in “catch up” mode, i.e. you cannot view them until the live transmission is fully completed.

it is still an option for me, but I am struggling to finds anyone reliable who will instal and test the system in my house. I also agree with you over raspberry Pi, I have a mental block about it too.

Oh well, I suspect this very long and very interesting blog will soon be closing, does Jamie know the current status as of now please?, as I am being told Best case scenario three to four weeks, worst case scenario a few days.

Then of course there will be a made rush for boxes, with people going without until supplies are available.


November 12th, 2013 11:16 am

Hi Jamie,

Nearly 4 years ago, we decided to spend about 5 months of the year in Spain, near Sabinillas, Andalucia, so I had a dish fitted, 1.3 metres, by an outfit trading here. He supplied, for nearly 600 euros total a Ferguson freesat box with a recording facility in the shape of an 8 Mbyt stick that plugs into the USB slot on the front. It is still working OK and we can get BBC, ITV, Film4 and a couple of others. The Ferguson is connected to the TV via an HMDI cable. Prior to the smart TV, we had a Panasonic non HD TV set.




November 12th, 2013 12:42 pm

Finding all this hard to understand. I am planning to come out to the costa del sol to live in the new year, will my sky plus box be all I need also can any one tell me why you need a UK IP address as I need to get internet access in my home.


November 12th, 2013 1:07 pm

I dont think you want a VPN router unless it has the ability to have seperate vlan’s for VPN traffic and normal WAN traffic. Otherwise *everything* goes over the VPN, such as downloads, all your web browsing, etc… If you have a router that can give 2 VLAN’s then you can put your VPN devices on that VLAN for the VPN and then leave other machines/devices to have normal inet access.

Otherwise, get a device that can perform VPN itself, which is why I suggested the Android IPTV machines, as they will be able to create the tunnel for *only* their traffic and they will also attempt to keep the tunnel up 99.99% of the time.


November 12th, 2013 1:50 pm

Bl@@dy hell your post makes so much sense Adrian but seems so complicated at the same time….


November 12th, 2013 1:57 pm

For all of you who are just planning on spending part of the year in Spain, that is not resident, if you can’t do without EastEnders or Coronation Street for that time don’t come. You
are not welcome, you just make life difficult for those of us who actually LIVE here.


November 12th, 2013 2:19 pm

Alan and Colin, as has been said, with the Sky Box and a subscription Sky viewing card, you, will, if and when the cutoff occurs (probably more when than if) still be able to pick up ALL THE PROPRIETARY SKY CHANNELS (Sky 1, Atlantic, food, living, arts Geographic, Animal etc) You will NOT be able to receive the terrestrial free to air channels (BBC1,2,3,4, ITV 1,2,3,4, Channel 4 or Channel 5, or other free to air channels). For these channels in the future you have in the internet (IPTV) option or the wireless Network (No Internet but illegal and liable to be turned off at a moments notice) option.


November 12th, 2013 2:31 pm

Maybe I’m not communicating too well with some of my recommendations ;-)

A few weeks ago and given the imminent switchover, my view was and still is that a “cheap and cheerful” solution to internet TV is the best advice in the short term. This can be followed up later by a more permanent solution, that could involve a VPN, as and when it becomes necessary.

Note that ‘cheap’ does not mean inferior.

First, let me dispel one myth – the Raspberry Pi running XBMC TV plug-ins is no longer the domain of the whiz kid hobbyist. It is now mainstream. If you want a quick and inexpensive solution and do have broadband then either the Android tablet or the Raspberry Pi and FilmOn are the way to go.

I have already itemised the components needed (and the cost) for the Ras Pi, in an earlier post.

However, perhaps I should not be too surprised by the geeky image of the Pi. YouTube videos of the Pi for watching live TV do nothing to dispel the image – only reinforce it.

You can buy a Pi already set up with XBMC – all you have to do then is to install the FilmOn plug-in – but I can see that will be a step too far for the uninitiated. Surely though, by now, there are IT support groups emerging along the Costa.

I’ve added a link to a very professional looking video – but despite the quality, the method used to install an iPlayer add-on (the plug-in) is even difficult for me to follow – and I have used that method (what he calls SSH) many times. It’s a pity he didn’t use the ‘simpler’ method for most – i.e. copy the downloaded zip file to a USB stick on his PC and then place the stick into the Pi.

Unfortunately the interesting bit, actually using the Pi, is difficult to follow because the TV screen is inset in a small area at the top left of the screen. I’ll see if I can find some clearer videos.

The end of the video will be of interest to those wishing to “hide” their IP. This guy uses a Smart DNS service (a bit like a VPN or a Proxy) and he sets it up on the Ras Pi – no need for a VPN router. He says it is quite tricky to do on the Pi – but it is not.



November 12th, 2013 3:22 pm

Hi Adrian,

I use a Buffalo High Power Air Station router (£10 on Ebay) for the OpenVPN client. It is set up in client mode and situated near the TV. It connects to a Freesat tuner and a separate IPTV box via two Cat5 cables. This arrangement, a primary modem router and a secondary router for OpenVPN, is a fairly standard arrangement and, of course, only the TV streams pass through the VPN tunnel. All other internet traffic is via the primary router only.

One advantage of this arrangement is the wireless link between primary and secondary, avoiding long Cat5 runs to the TV – and, of course, being able to connect both a Sky+ box for OnDemand and an IPTV box for live TV.

“which is why I suggested the Android IPTV machines”

Have you tested any Android based “Smart TV” boxes that you can recommend and that support OpenVPN? I don’t mean an Android phone or tablet. Something for about 60€ to 70€ maybe, complete with a remote?


November 12th, 2013 3:58 pm

wowwwwwwwww so much bla bla and worry about TV..???? why live here if so sad about this possible loss….” When in Rome etc…….”


November 12th, 2013 5:00 pm

ooooh Ad, you pick up italian TV, so clever


November 12th, 2013 5:10 pm

When in Rome watch possibly the worst television in the world…


November 12th, 2013 5:16 pm


I’ve lived here for 20 years and it doesn’t bother me at all. Can’t understand why people feel threatened just by the fact that some of us like to watch our own country’s TV (good or bad). Some even say we should leave for wanting to do so – without even knowing whether we actually adapt to living in Spain or not.

It’s very strange behaviour.


November 12th, 2013 5:19 pm

Thanks Paul, I know I can get sky but wanted to know if I will still get on demand. Also can I get an IPTV box in spain, or am I better taking one over from the uk.


November 12th, 2013 5:48 pm

@ AD…….If your name was Amparo, you would have received a torrent of verbal abuse from several frequent posters by now. Clearly I’m not the only one to express such comments as yours. (Mike, don’t even bother, you would be wasting your time).


November 12th, 2013 8:49 pm

Hi Paul,

“I am assured by that their service is live TV, and not rebroadcast”

That statement from Astra2.TV does not reassure me at all. Are you quoting them literally? I ask because “rebroadcast” TV, as in the case of, for example, FilmOn and TVCatchup is ‘live’ TV. So, the statement is meaningless. Live TV is TV that can be received with only a small delay after the original transmission. This is as opposed to catchup, where there is a considerable delay.

So, I wonder what they at Astra2.TV are saying in their statement. Are they really saying that those streams are direct from the original TV broadcasters?

The point remains that Astra2.TV is charging for a service which can be received freely.

“does Jamie know the current status as of now please”

The Astra 2E is still being tested and the community of satellite watchers seems increasingly surprised that the testing is still ongoing. However, there has been a distinct lull today with only a few transponders tested. If the satellite does not start to move soon then there is a ‘window’ in the weeks before Christmas that it could miss – and some seem to think that, once missed, the switchover will be delayed until after Christmas – and so there is no need to move the satellite quickly. I am not so sure. Moving the satellite slowly does save vital fuel.


November 12th, 2013 10:42 pm

Thanks Jamie comments noted – I suppose in that respect every IPTV system being offered is some form of rebroadcast – unfortunately I am not a lover of filmon (or not filmon as it known on one if the boxes offered) I find it clunky compared to other IPTV systems out there. I suspect I will go for the astra2 if for no other reason that I have something to fall back in should the cutoff occur earlier. And there is no contract – simply pay monthly and if no payment – no service . Could be a benefit to those people who are only here for certain periods of the year I suppose, if that is the case.

Also note your comments concerning the satellite, I am interested so I can keep my community of owners up to date. Thanks again for your advices.

Colin I suspect you would be better advised to get the IPTV box in Spain.


November 13th, 2013 6:54 am

Ive used several android tablets and phones, they all work very well, so i know the OS will do the trick. Of course, I havent tested every IPTV Android solution, it would be absurd to think I have, but im in no doubt that it does the job.

OpenVPN, yes there is an app for that

The native PPTP and L2TP work well.

If you have a samsung device, you can use the AllShare app to wirelessly stream to your TV

Eventually I guess our fridges and cars will run on android ;-)


November 13th, 2013 9:06 am


You’ve got a very valid point though. I’m sure there are many British people who could do a lot more to adapt to Spanish life than they do. For sure, watching more Spanish television would be very beneficial for their control of the language and understanding of the culture.

Has anyone got a Panasonic smart TV? It took me a while to work out that I could stream youtube via my iPhone to the TV. Haven’t managed to stream anything else with my iPhone or Android tablet.


November 13th, 2013 10:53 am

Everyone seems to be concentrating on receiving TV through the internet but that is not an option for us here (between Puerto Banus and Nueva Andalucia) as we can only get less than 1mb through Telefonica ADSL.

Does anyone have any viable solutions for us?


November 13th, 2013 12:16 pm

Hi Paul,

“I suppose in that respect every IPTV system being offered is some form of rebroadcast”

I don’t think so. Obvious examples that are not rebroadcasts are those systems that use the original broadcaster’s own streams – such as iPlayer live and catchup streams.

Rebroadcasting of satellite broadcasts and internet streams is generally illegal – a breach of copyright – unless done with the agreement of the original broadcaster – something which is almost impossible to obtain from the main national TV companies.

The Sky On Demand system used for (ITV, BBC etc) catchup must be based on an arrangement between Sky and the original broadcasters.

The TVcatchup rebroadcaster, based in the UK, rebroadcasts live UK TV. Recently (October) it was forced to remove some of its channels – mainly the +1 channels. It can continue to rebroadcast the core UK TV channels based on a current loophole in UK law.

For users of these rebroadcast streams of course, this question is largely academic. I just happen to think that people generally like to know what they are paying for.

Perhaps could clarify the status of the streams that they use. provides a neat looking programme guide (an EPG) and circumvents the need to hide your IP. Is that worth the extra 17.90€ per month?

The IPTV set top box from costs an additional 270€.

The budget alternative using FilmOn, for comparison:

Monthly charge for streams: 0€ per month
A set-top box: about 40 to 60€

And if you want to use TVcatchup for its excellent programme guide (EPG) and its good quality streams, you’ll need a VPN – about 5€ per month.

Thank you for your feedback about FilmOn. Comments on this non-specialist blog rarely contain hands-on detail on specifics such as quality.

“I find it clunky compared to other IPTV systems out there”

Are you referring to the navigation of menus – and selecting a channel – or is the video quality itself ‘clunky’?

I can live with the FilmOn interface on the FilmOn website and the Google App – but I prefer the simpler navigation of the XBMC FilmOn plug-in. On XBMC there are no irritating adverts – and you are not prompted about 30seconds into a programme – and asked if you wish to continue at standard definition.

I had a general idea that you are already sorted for internet TV, with your VPN and your AppleTV box, and am wondering why you need Are you planning to use the Astra2.TV set-top box and is it really an extra 270€ – clearly I missed something.


November 13th, 2013 12:42 pm

Hi Ann

When you first posted this question I replied:

“One alternative is wireless broadband which could just push you into the 1 to 3mb/s range. But check that out with the provider. Typical cost is 30€ per month and if the 6 months is continuous you can normally cancel the remaining 6 months with no charge.”

I guess you have done your homework and that wireless is not an option in your area. However, just in case you are not clear what I am talking about, take a look at this website that provides the type of broadband service I mean. Unfortunately, this particular provider does not operate in your area – but it’ll give you an idea. Their service is designed for watching internet TV.

Quote from their website:

“Our fair usage policy allows you to download a massive 1.5 Gbytes in any 24h period at full speed, then an unlimited amount of data at a reduced priority”



November 13th, 2013 3:43 pm

Hi Colin,

I guess you’ve understood enough of this blog to know which of those BskyB satellite broadcasts you can expect to receive in Spain. And you will realise that you will not receive the bulk of what are referred to as the “Freesat” channels (at least not in SW Andalucia)

Concerning internet TV including catchup (such as On Demand catchup). You may know that many internet services, websites and so on are restricted to the geographic region for which they are intended. This is called geolocation blocking. For example, you cannot purchase some products from from the UK. You cannot access iPlayer TV streams (courtesy of the BBC) outside the UK. But there are ‘workarounds’ that allow you to have an internet presence in one country from another country. This is sometimes called cloaking or hiding your internet (ip) address.

So, you do not need an internet service provider in the UK – you are right there. But when in Spain, in order to circumvent this geolocation blocking so as to access those UK restricted TV services, your internet request must appear to have come from a UK IP address and not from your local Spanish IP provided by your Spanish internet service provider. If the computer server in the UK, that services your request from Spain to stream a TV programme, detects that your IP is a Spanish and not a UK address, then the request is blocked.

FilmOn, that provides most of the UK TV channels that you could ever wish to watch, currently does not restrict access – their streams are not blocked and so, for FilmOn, there is no need to hide your Spanish IP.

Currently, BBC blocking can be circumvented using what is called a web proxy.

A tried and tested method for unblocking Sky’s On Demand is called a Virtual Private Network Tunnel or VPN. OpenVPN is the best known example. A VPN tunnel will unblock all restrictions on streaming UK TV (AFAIK).

Concerning the source of the “IPTV” box – given that you are not moving until the New Year – I would take the opportunity, in your position, to familiarise myself with the operation of internet TV in the UK – and so get the box in the UK. I have set up a few boxes in the UK and on arrival in Spain they have worked immediately. I didn’t even bother to change the time setting of the boxes to CET time – so that the TVCatchup programme guide for live TV showed the UK time. You could even set up the VPN in the UK and get that sorted too.

It is also possible, depending on where you are in the UK, that technical support will be more readily available in the UK.


November 13th, 2013 4:00 pm


You’ll be pleased to know I just registered to vote in the Europeans. The only ones I think I’m allowed to vote in. May destroy my ballot paper though, if I decide that is the most correct way for me to vote.

I’ll miss John Snow though for the elections, won’t you? The BBC do such a good job. Still we can make do with Spanish TV for keeping abreast of all future elections as you say.

Can’t wait.


November 13th, 2013 4:36 pm

No, I find the picture quality of Filmon OK (but isn’t this re-broadcast too).

I do find the menu driven system clunky, and even more so in the system (nonFilmon) that my colleague has just bought. Basically it is the same as using a computer and drilling through files with the mouse, and then back again. A matter of choice I suppose.

I am ordering the astra2 box today, but I will clarify the points you raised with them, although they have assured me that their system will not be cut off (although it is possible the catchup suede might in the long run- and they emphasises might).

I was already sorted with the wifi SKY+ and am still waiting for a UK VPN Router. However it was pointed out to me that whilst this will all be OK for the catchup and the Sky Programs, it will not of course give me realtime TV for the terrestrial channels. So I am looking at the IPTV box as a belt and braces backup. and when the VPN router arrives we will see what happens.


November 13th, 2013 8:40 pm

Firstly don’t confuse me with any other peters on here I left two comments on the 8th 9th that’s all !!

Reading all the comments I think if you have sky you keep their stuff but not BBC or Itv

I have house in Almeria and not there till Christmas and my plan is to have internet connected and then via my i pad and Apple TV stream film on to the tv

I live in Ireland so have an irish bank account linked to my I tunes account you can then pay the BBC 50 euro a year for the international I player this works in Spain so anyone could get this if they have a Spanish bank account and link their I tunes to this

It is well. Worth the money and has loads of old stuff you can then watch in Spain with no iP blocker required.

So with this and film on you get BBC plus loads of other good stuff

I also have a Uk account so with a blocker get the Uk I players and pay 5 pound a month for this

I will give an update of how all this works in December

I have one query I am not sure of if you have an irish Sky account RTE is on channel 101 and BBC is on some other number if you have no account no irish Tv but if you pull card out the box goes back to Ulk settings
So if this box is in Spain as the BBC is on another channel will BBC be available ??


November 13th, 2013 10:41 pm

Hi Peter

I think I followed your query about your Sky box. Reception of any BBC broadcasts is likely to disappear in the South of Spain simply because those channels will be transmitted from the UK spot beam dish of the satellite. In the case of BBC1, for example, it does not matter to which channel number, 101 or some other number, BBC1 is allocated – BBC1 will still go.

You may know that reception is likely to be slightly better in Almeria compared with, say, the Costa del Sol – but even then there is no guarantee and, if reception is possible, you would still need a very large dish.

However, you have FilmOn streamed from your iPad and so, as you say, will still be able to watch BBC. You seem to have the bases covered.


November 14th, 2013 1:47 am

Hi Paul, Thanks for your reply.

Yes, FilmOn is a rebroadcaster and there are currently court cases in the US. As you can imagine, the US national TV networks are not happy with FilmOn. However, the situation with the likes of FilmOn and TVcatchup is transparent and FilmOn can use the same loophole in UK law as does TVcatchup – and there is no charge for their services. With, however, we do not know the provenance of their streams – and you pay quite a lot for the service. So, it would be good if you could get some clarification from – but I’m not optimistic. If cannot explain how they source their streams then one has to assume that they are not authorised by the original broadcasters.

TVcatchup is a free service that compares favourably with, with its nice, user friendly EPG and simple navigation with a remote or mouse. You need a VPN for TVCcatchup.

So, what’s the advantage of – no need for a VPN because no IP blocking – but you pay 15€ per month for that.

“I do find the menu driven system clunky, and even more so in the system (nonFilmon) that my colleague has just bought. Basically it is the same as using a computer and drilling through files with the mouse, and then back again. A matter of choice I suppose. ”

Yes, I understand you now. I have used all the variations of FilmOn, using the website, the app on Windows, a few Androids and XBMC. I prefer the pure text lists for channel selection that you get with XBMC. With the Android app on a set-top box you really do need to use a mouse – or a remote with a built in mouse pad. However, my view is that the only way to watch TV on a TV is with a remote. I use a remote with XBMC. When using XBMC on the Pi with my LG and Sony Bravia TVs, I can use the TV’s remote, because those TVs and the Pi support CEC (Simplink on the LG and Bravia Sync on the Bravia).

I haven’t used On Demand catchup (Sky box) often enough for a fair comparison with catchup on an Android and on XBMC. But I use a Humax Foxsat satellite box all the time for sat TV and occasionally for internet catchup. I think that the simple (text based) XBMC menu system for selecting a catchup stream (example iPlayer) is far easier to learn and quicker than the equivalent catchup system on the Foxsat. In fact I quite often switch from Foxsat to Ras Pi just to watch catchup because of its ease of use.

“I was already sorted with the wifi SKY+ and am still waiting for a UK VPN Router. However it was pointed out to me that whilst this will all be OK for the catchup and the Sky Programs, it will not of course give me realtime TV for the terrestrial channels.”

I think I know what you mean – but you do not really mean terrestrial channels given that terrestrial UK TV is, of course, not possible in Spain. Your VPN router will allow you to receive the live UK channels that you’ll receive via (maybe give or take a few). As explained above, with your VPN you will be able to receive live TV using TVcatchup for free – and TVcatchup is similar in operation to


November 14th, 2013 9:26 am


Do you know if the Pi will work with a Panasonic Smart TV?



November 14th, 2013 9:38 am

Thanks Jamie, What you have said has been the most help, I now understand how it all works. I have seen a number of boxes on Amazon, so will buy one to bring out with me when I move to spain.


November 14th, 2013 10:12 am

Jamie: Oh – OK Thanks. In that case I had better jolly my UK VPN supplier along, unless you know anyone in the Estepona region that can supply and fit one for me. I have not yet installed my Sky Wifi, as I am ruining a normal Sky HD box until I can get the Router problem sorted. I will hold fire for a little while on the Astra2


November 14th, 2013 11:53 am


“I use a Buffalo High Power Air Station router (£10 on Ebay) for the OpenVPN client. It is set up in client mode and situated near the TV. It connects to a Freesat tuner and a separate IPTV box via two Cat5 cables. This arrangement, a primary modem router and a secondary router for OpenVPN, is a fairly standard arrangement and, of course, only the TV streams pass through the VPN tunnel. All other internet traffic is via the primary router only”

For the sake of a tenner, I think I’m going to go for this option. Movistar are supposed to be installing fibre-optic internet in my flat this week (fingers crossed there and will report back), which is quite handy at this point in time!

Is it difficult to set up the Buffalo router? Is there a manual or anything out there on the internet that will help me? Finally, I could connect say, my tablet via the Buffalo router’s wi-fi and therefore get Sky Go through that correct? My missus (Spanish) could connect her devices via the Movistar router and bypass the VPN, right?

Thanks Jamie. You have been a bit of a star through all this.


November 14th, 2013 1:26 pm

Thank you Colin

Suggest you choose which box very carefully. Read as many reviews as possible – fortunately reviews on Amazon are generally very helpful.

Hi Mike,

Do you know if the Pi will work with a Panasonic Smart TV?”

If you mean can it provide those features, such as streaming live TV, that you might expect to get on a smart TV but maybe do not, then ‘yes’. I haven’t yet encountered a TV or Monitor on which the Pi does not work – but do your research. On the Pi the audio and video are via HDMI.

If you mean will you be able to use your Panasonic’s remote to control the Pi then it certainly looks that way. I never commit myself to a definite ‘yes’ until I have tested myself with the identical hardware. This extract from a forum may encourage you.

” 11-19-2012, 09:50 PM
Post: #12
neilpercy Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 42
Joined: Jun 2012
RE: What do I need to be checking to get CEC working with VieraLink (Panasonic TV)?

(11-19-2012 08:40 PM)IEBA1 Wrote: I stumbled across this thread and I have a Panasonic Viera “smart” TV that can’t play the movies on my DLNA server. So I added the Pi to do what the smart TV can’t (even though it should.)

I didn’t know I could control the Pi through the TV. That would be SOOO cool s right now I’m using a USB keyboard and that, basically, sucks.

Do I need a special app on the Pi?
Is there step by step instructions somewhere?

I have a this years model Panasonic Viera (ST50) and can control the Pi (and AV amp) with the Panasonic remote control, it works pretty flawlessly.

You have to enable CEC control in RaspBMC first, which is found at – System>settings>system>Input Devices>Peripherals>Raspberry Pi CEC adapter

Then all you need to do is press the Viera tools button on the remote (may be called Viera link(?) on older models), choose ‘Viera Link’ (again, may be different on older models). Then I see the Viera Link Menu, I choose ‘Viera Link control’ and choose player and hit OK (the Pi running RaspBMC identifies itself as ‘player’ to the TV) and that’s it.

Full control of Pi via TV remote.




Note: the forum was discussing the RaspbMC version of XBMC on the Pi. Currently I am favouring the OpenElec version and have just discovered that OpenElec supports setting up an OpenVPN client on the Pi – something which I refered to in a post to you back on 1st June:


“However, to answer your question, yes, I believe it is possible to setup a proxy or VPN client on some STBs. Some of these boxes use the Linux OS and I have seen instructions for setting up a VPN client on these. Setting up a proxy is easier but I have not tried setting up a VPN or proxy on an STB as yet. Running a VPN client program places an extra load on the STB’s processor – I guess that could impact the processing needed for decoding the video stream on some STBs.”

So, I may just try, but not soon, setting up OpenVPN on a Pi running OpenElec and see if it does impact performance significantly.

Of course, you’d still need the VPN router for your Sky box – if you decide to continue with Sky – and so would presumably connect the IPTV box and the Sky box to that router.


November 14th, 2013 2:47 pm

Good News for ITV Soap Addicts?

Is this good news or were you hoping that the break from UK TV would help you break your habit?

ITV has launched ITV Essentials, a brand new international service giving ex-pats and holidaymakers the opportunity to watch their favourite ITV soaps, while abroad.

The service, created in partnership with specialists in the management and delivery of OTT solutions, Saffron Digital, launches Tuesday 12 November 2013 in 12 European territories and will be available for a monthly subscription of €5.49 at “”

ITV Essentials will stream all episodes of Britain’s favourite soaps – Coronation Street and Emmerdale – without ads and will include a 30 day catch up window.




November 14th, 2013 2:48 pm

Thanks Jamie. I am becoming less daunted and more fascinated by this whole Pi business and will definitely give it a go at some point.

I posted a later query about the Buffalo router, which I imagine you haven’t seen yet (but will have by the time you read this).


November 14th, 2013 3:11 pm

Hi Mike,

A quick reply to your last post and I’ll follow up later if poss.

You mention:

“I could connect say, my tablet via the Buffalo router’s wi-fi and therefore get Sky Go”

Yes, you could but that should not be necessary. It should be possible to set up the OpenVPN client on the tablet you refer to and forget the second router if that is all you require the VPN for – and much easier.

Anthony Turtle

November 14th, 2013 4:10 pm

Strange this article was published in February 2013 and here it is December 2013 and strangely enough when I phoned my Dad who lives on the Costa del Sol last night, he had to turn down the TV on which he was watching – the BBC news!!!!

I am starting to think this story is just a way for the Internet Broadcasters to boost subscriptions!


November 14th, 2013 9:14 pm

You have a point Mr. Turtle, and without doubt it is a damning indictment the amount of interest that this post has generated (some would say pathetic, others would say different) – and the signal hasn’t even gone yet!!! Imagine how ballistic things are going to go when that happens.

Anyway, I for one, feel better now that amparo can tune into ITV essentials to practise his English. That’s nice. Thanks again Jamie.

If I get the Buffalo router, I’ll put everything through the UK VPN first and see if it affects my missus’ internet usage (although she doesn’t like the Spanish catchup service at all – she says it’s plagued with so many adverts that it’s unwatchable). If it affects her internet speed then I’d look to send the Sky box plus my iPhone, laptop etc through the VPN and the rest through the Movistar one.

Jamie: main question is: is it difficult to set up the Buffalo router to go through the VPN? Only using a VPN client on a tablet isn’t really feasible as we’re connecting many devices at the same time.

There is a third way to all this by the way. Watch this space……


November 14th, 2013 11:04 pm

Hi Mike

“There is a third way to all this”

A third way? I still don’t know the second way.

“I’d look to send the Sky box plus my iPhone, laptop etc through the VPN”

Yes – for the Sky box On Demand you’ll need the VPN router

” is it difficult to set up the Buffalo router to go through the VPN?”

I thought I’d answered that one – yes it is.

A VPN will slow your internet connection.

See my post from 11th Nov


“on a used router that I got from Ebay for about £10. However, installing the firmware can be a nightmare – only for a ‘professional’ or if you’ve got the temperament and 100s of free hours. That is why I recommend buying a router with the firmware (eg DDWRT) pre-installed. About £80 on Ebay”

The £10 router was a used Buffalo and a bargain. If you are not experienced with routers and Linux then forget DIY on the router. Go for a router that’s already setup.

sabaitechnology routers start at 99$ and are supposed to work with MyExpatUK


Suggest anyone considering this route checks out the people who rent out VPN servers and see which routers they recommend:

HideMyAss recommended routers:



November 14th, 2013 11:24 pm

Everyone should look at ways to change your DNS (Domain Name Server)
I have successfully done this on my PC and devices and have no buffering issues unlike VPN. I get view live tv either through my PC or on my Ipad in HD. Works great Evan with Smart TV.


November 15th, 2013 2:12 am

Agree with Marty

Some VPN services, used to hide IP, can cause buffering. This could be due to too many users using the service simultaneously. However there is also a loss of speed because of the extra processing required with the VPN technology and dependent on the speed of the router’s processor. The speed loss can be as little at 5% and up to maybe 30%.

SmartDNS (which is what Marty is referring to) is an alternative technology to hide your IP, that impacts less, if at all, on broadband speed.

Some Smart DNS providers offer a free trial. A Smart DNS will not work with all TV streams. It will work with iPlayer, for example, and so can use it to stream BBC through iPlayer. It will not work with TVcatchup. It may or may not work with Sky On Demand.

Smart DNS providers sometimes provide a white list of streams that they support.

Smart DNS services include:

UnoTelly “”


SmartDNSproxy “”


November 15th, 2013 9:04 am


“Some VPN services, used to hide IP, can cause buffering. This could be due to too many users using the service simultaneously.”

Imagine what will happen to normal internet when thousands of expats suddenly, all power up their IPTV boxes at about 6pm each evening, for the next 6 hours!!


November 15th, 2013 9:31 am

Sounds like a good suggestion Marty and will do.

Sorry for being thick Jamie – you have mentioned about the Buffalo dozens of times (I’ve even asked you before).

Is the 80 quid one easy to configure then?


November 15th, 2013 12:16 pm

Hi Paul

“Imagine what will happen to normal internet when thousands of expats suddenly, all power up their IPTV boxes”

That point has been raised on here a few times and some of the posts have made comments about “fair use” policy kicking in. I suspect that immediately following the switchover, particularly in areas with only a small ex-pat population, the impact will be small. I get the impression that the majority of Brits are still engaging in “wait snd see” and so will not be rushing to invest in internet TV until after Christmas. So, guess that the real impact will not be seen until then.

Of course, it isn’t just the local Spanish broadband providers that may struggle to cope – there is also the increased demand on the servers of the TV streams, back in the UK or wherever they are.

If you currently get buffer-free streaming at standard def with only 1Mbitspersec BB speed then you may be OK. TVCatchup specifies about 0.8Mbitspersec minimum (just less than 1Mbps) for their standard def. You may have to compromise and switch from a higher def to a lower def stream. That is an option on the FilmOn XBMC plug-in and other services. The video quality is poor but what’s the alternative – anything is better than continuous buffering.

In the broadband stakes it is clear that those with a higher spec broadband should see the least impact – but if you have, for example, Moviestar standard broadband you could easily hit contention limits and experience buffering. It could be that in high population density areas the solution will have to be something like Moviestar’s VDSL (max 30Mbps and 29.90€ per month) or Fibre Optic if available. Those on these higher spec services will clearly get priority in the allocation of limited bandwidth.

I’ve suggested a few times that one solution is to download catchup streams overnight. The resulting video file is saved (e.g. on your PC or Sky box recorder), is good video quality and can be watched at a time to suit you. The fact is that many will have to change lifestyle/viewing habits and watching more recordings and less live TV may have to be part of the strategy.

One of the best features of the Sky On Demand box is its ability to automatically record a catchup stream so that you end up with a high def recording instead of continuous buffering when BB speed is limited.


November 15th, 2013 1:52 pm

Hi Mike

ASUS RT-N10U_BLACK 150Mbps Wireless-N Router Enhanced DD-WRT Installed

Selling on Ebay – see below

This is a possible entry level minimum spec (for a modern router) – although better spec than my old Buffalo (that worked fine with a Sky On Demand box in Spain and Movistar ADSL 10Mbps max broadband)



As said – the ASUS RT-N10U is the min spec you would want to use. The price is very good given that DDWRT is pre-installed (that’s what it says).

In your situation, I would not buy any router until I’d checked with your prospective OpenVPN provider, that their system will work on this router. And ensure that they will help you with the installation of their VPN client.

If you can not find any provider that can support this router – find out what they do support. I already sent you a link for HideMyAss supported routers.

You should be able to download the VPN providers instructions before signing up with them and BEFORE buying the router.

Let me know how you get on.


November 15th, 2013 2:06 pm

The filmon app for iPhone works great! Is it possible to zap that over to a Panasonic Smart TV?


November 15th, 2013 3:25 pm

Astra 2E Testing – Surely now Over

The testing has now gone on for five weeks – far longer than for the 2F sat last year. There have been no new tests reports today. That is significant if you are wondering how long to the switchover.

It may now be too late for a pre-Christmas switchover. The duration of the 2E tests and the large number of transponders indicates that this 2E will be the main Astra 2 sat. Certainly, the switchover from the 1N, when it happens, could be quite complicated – something that SES and Astra would not wish to chance in the weeks immediately before Christmas. So maybe the switchover will be delayed until after Christmas – if so, that would be good news for many.


November 15th, 2013 4:17 pm

Hi Mike

“Is it possible to zap that over to a Panasonic Smart TV?”

Does this method work:



November 15th, 2013 4:51 pm

@ Mike…..You never give up do you. First, if I felt I needed to practice my understanding of english, my very last point of reference would be the British ITV and it’s inane “innit” culture. And secondly, since for some reason you now seem to be referring to me in the masculine vernacular, whereas you have previously and condescendingly referred to me as “my dear”, one might reasonably ask if you actually know which side of the road you prefer to walk on.


November 16th, 2013 11:36 am

In March I relocated from Estepona back to Wales, so this changeover thing will no longer affect me BUT I do feel sympathy for those who might find their UK TV disappearing.

When I was living in an urbanisation that showed only Spanish TV plus CNN I did used to watch it regularly and especially tried to watch the current affairs programmes to improve my Spanish. However, when the management added some German channels I switched to watching those for entertainment.

Most Spanish channels do a good job with their news presentations, but when it comes to entertainment it just isn’t terribly good, on the whole. Yes, I do know that a lot of UK TV isn’t brilliant either, but at least there’s BBC Four.

At the moment there are many families who simply cannot afford to entertain themselves by going out or taking up another activity instead. “Why do you just sit indoors watching the box anyway?” Decent enough question but I have been there and when I was living in Spain watching Freesat TV was all I could afford to do.

My sympathies to you all – hopefully the switch off won’t be as dramatic as feared.


November 16th, 2013 3:08 pm


Don’t know what Spanish TV you were watching or allowed to watch as these Urbanisations sound more like prisons than houses. We watch Spanish TV all the time, they show all the American prime series, a lot of UK drama and series, if you have Canal + they have even more on there including SKY news and BBC world, oh yeah sorry they don’t show Coronation Street and EastEnders or X factor (but they do show their own versions of these). Be interesting to know what drove you back to the UK, I sincerely hope it wasn’t bad health, because my wife was very ill recently and if we had gone back to the UK for treatment she would be dead by now as they didn’t have the knowledge or equipment to treat her unlike Spain. I digress and hope you have a good time back home.


November 17th, 2013 1:02 pm

Hi Mike

Did you try that Panasonic Viera App?

I noticed that the author, Steve Sherron, of that YouTube video, replied to this comment from Lawrence Chiarotti. Lawrence was trying what you are trying – to view TV streams – and not videos stored on the iPhone:

Lawrence Chiarotti
6 months ago

Great video! Still I don’t know how to stream running NETFLIX movies from my IPhone/IPad to my VIERA Smart TV. That is, I would like to tune in NETFLIX, select a movie to play and watch it on my TV. Can it be done? Thank

It looks as though it cannot be done – can you confirm that, Mike?

Steve Sherron replied to Lawrence Chiarotti:

Steve Sherron
6 months ago
in reply to Lawrence Chiarotti

To my knowledge that can’t be done. If you are familiar with Roku, that’s what would be better for you. Check my channel for some of my Roku videos for more info.

Mike – I suspect you already know that a solution is to stream from iPhone to an AppleTV box and so to your TV. My own view is forget the iPhone. It is not a solution for the main TV in a household – it is a temporary fix. A dedicated internet TV set top box, permanently connected to the TV, is the way to go.

Of course, for you the iPhone gives you the chance to try out some of the possible solutions, such as the FilmOn app.

Did you check out that ASUS RT-N10U router on the Ebay link? That price (£32.44 )is what you’d normally pay without the DD-WRT firmware installed. So, as I said, a good price.

I noticed that HideMyAss do support other ASUS routers – but the RT-N10U is not listed.

HideMyAss do support the Asus RT-N16 and so you can check out a source for that yourself. Try Amazon.

According to HideMyAss:


Some routers like the ASUS RT-N16 can connect to the VPN without needing to flash custom firmware (like DD-WRT, OpenWRT or Tomato firmware). Please refer to the Connection Instructions page for links to setup instructions.



So it seems that you do not need DD-WRT on the RT-N16.

Here’s an extract from the HideMyAss support forum:


Posted 04 September 2012 – 05:52 PM
ASUS RT-N16 running DD-WRT firmware ‘….6_big.bin/3764′

Worked great with PPTP, connected first time, but had no sucess with OpenVPN.

Finally got OpenVPN to work using the scripts and instructions from ‘http://forum.hidemya…video-tutorial/’. I could not get the auto installer to work at all but this ended up being a no brainer using the refrenced site.




On the satellite front, the status of the 2E sat – has it started its move – should become clearer tomorrow night, when there should be an update on its position.

Bill Bullock

November 19th, 2013 11:05 am

I live in Portugal and we face the same loss of UK TV via Satellite. I have been experimenting with IPTV using Windows 7 and various ways of disguising my location. Using the “” change of DNS values, I am getting live and catchup UK TV successfully and at no cost. With a download speed of 5.6 to 6 Mbps, the picture quality is quite good, though not as good a satellite reception through my Freesat and Sky receivers. I have also tried SmartyDNS on their 14 day free trial and that also works with my Smart TV box running on Android 4.1.2.

What I am now looking for is a better quality picture, particularly for viewing BBC HD channels. Filmon supposidly will give me that with a subscription but I have not tried that yet. Has anybody tried it?

I can also purchase an IPTV box here in the Algarve for €169 plus €15 per month but am not sure that I will get HD channels. Has anyone got one that they can recommend?



November 19th, 2013 6:26 pm

Hi Bill Bullock

“the picture quality is quite good, though not as good a satellite reception”

I doubt you’ll ever get the video quality that you get with hd satellite. I’m reluctant to give advice because you appear to know what you are doing and have already tried some alternatives.

A few thoughts.

When using Windows 7, were you viewing on an hd screen and, if linking from PC to TV – where you using HDMI? I imagine you were.
When using “” and if you were using iPlayer, then the “” website mentions that there could be some degrading of the stream quality. It states:

As you may know, Tunlr doesn’t offer access to BBC’s live stream channels (i.e. BBC One) because the way BBC choose to geo fence the live streams would consume too much bandwidth on our proxy server. Commercial unblocking services just proxy the entire content streams as well since they have enough bandwidth to do that. The downside to proxying the content stream is that this acts just like a VPN service – you most likely won’t end up getting the best route to the actual content servers. You also share the unblocking proxy server with a number of other users which may result in degraded video quality, particularly when dealing with HD streams.

“that also works with my Smart TV box running on Android 4.1.2″

Some (I think most) Android based boxes do not do full 1080 HD resolution. That could be why you do not get video quality approaching HD.

“for viewing BBC HD channels”

I think you will know that if the TV stream is available in HD quality (and provided the BB speed is 3.5Mbps or higher) and provided you have selected HD quality where appropriate, then you should receive an HD stream. However, the video quality will still depend on the IPTV box and, of course, the display (the screen).

I suggest you try the FilmOn app on the Android box. You’ll probably need to use a mouse. If the interface works as it normally does, you’ll first get about 30seconds of HD when the stream starts – that may give you enough time to decide the quality of FilmOn’s paid for HD.

“I can also purchase an IPTV box here in the Algarve for €169 plus €15 per month but am not sure that I will get HD channels.”

I think you are just as likely to receive HD using a IPTV box purchased yourself and not from this service provider. There is no reason why that provider’s streams should be any better quality than streams direct from, say, the BBC via the iPlayer app. (particularly via a smart DNS). I normally use XBMC on a set-top box and the quality of the catchup streams in particular is, I believe, the nearest you’ll get to HD via the internet.

I think that the package you describe is really for those who are not able to put together their own solutions.

If you have not tried XBMC you could install it on your Win7 PC and, using SmartDNS, try out the iPlayer add-on. It does live TV and catchup.

Bill Bullock

November 20th, 2013 12:44 am

Hi Jamie.

Thank you for your response. I am using an HD monitor and HDMI cable with my PC. I agree with what you say about I don’t expect to get much for free but it gives me a reasonable picture quality with occasional buffering. The best result comes from downloading BBC programmes to watch later. I will experiment further with SmartDNS.

I tried Filmon in HD today but do not think it was as good as live streaming BBC1 on my PC or laptop.

I looked at XBMC over the weekend thinking that I could set up TV channel guide easily but I found it difficult to understand. I need to devote some more time to it.

Tomorrow I am going to see another IPTV box demonstration. Do you recommend any particular supplier for an IPTV box in the UK?

Regards, Bill


November 20th, 2013 1:22 pm

Hi Bill

I’ve waited since the summer, hoping one of the new Android quad core boxes would emerge with a clear recommendation. So, far nothing has convinced me to buy one of those and so, in the meantime I bought an NUC PC box – an Intel BOXDCCP847DYE – essentially a Windows PC. Still haven’t finished assembling it. Will probably try it first with an XBMC operating system and then try Windows 7. It is a budget alternative to tying up a PC/laptop/HTPC permanently to a TV. It is also the size of a typical Android TV box – about 4.25″x4.25″x1″ and so preferable to having a laptop sat next to the TV.

I have an Android TV box (the dual core G-Box Midnight) but prefer to use a Raspberry Pi with XBMC – mainly because I can use the TV’s remote with that. At this precise moment I am watching BBC1 live on the Pi via iPlayer, set to the H.264 2.8Mb HD stream. Similar to your experience in that, although it is supposed to be HD – it looks more like SD to me.

You are right about downloading. If you download an HD stream then you end up with an HD video – and it looks like HD.

“I am using an HD monitor and HDMI cable with my PC”

Then, if you are viewing an HD live stream via SmartDNS, you will not obtain better video quality with an Android TV box.

I presume you used iPlayer through the website on your PC to view live BBC. I hardly ever use that. It seems to have no option to select the video quality of the stream – maybe it detects your broadband speed and selects the appropriate stream.

I presume you tried the FilmOn app on your Android box. Have you tried the FilmOn HDi player for Windows. You may notice a slight improvement in FilmOn video quality on your PC. Once the HD sample runs out, switch to another channel to continue checking HD.

This YouTube video of the Pivos Xios android illustrates the problem in recommending a box.


The presenter clearly knows his stuff – but he maybe presents a slightly over critical picture. However, you really need to see a professional review like this or have a personal recommendation, before buying an Android iptv box. One positive thing that comes out of the video is that the Pivos is good with either the XBMC Android app or the dedicated Linux XBMC build and that, at least for Linux XBMC, a remote style control works fine. Am I recommending the Pivos? No! I think anyone buying an Android box would normally expect the same ease of use/funtionality of the Android specific features that you get with a tablet.

One feature that I would certainly prefer in an Android box is an OpenVPN app that works. May not be important for you because you’ll probably use a smart DNS. I was surprised to find that my G-box Android does not support OpenVPN – but nothing in the reviews warned me.


November 20th, 2013 6:33 pm

Jamie, I think you are missing the bigger picture here. Forget messing around with a Pi and XBMC — that’s strictly for Geeks. Android boxes are the entertainment centre and media players of the future.

Take a look at the new Samsung offering..



November 21st, 2013 1:47 am

Hi Adrian

“you are missing the bigger picture”

I think I’ll leave the “bigger picture” to you – particularly if that is a recommendation to spend 351.35€ on the Samsung HomeSync-Box B9150. That’s a lot of bucks for an Android IPTV box. See:


At that sort of price you could take James Gold’s advice and buy the hybrid Sky satellite box and IPTV box combined. That dual function box is now beginning to sound like a bargain at 395€ :-)

My picture is not about grand designs and the destiny of Android – but how to provide internet TV at the lowest possible price to provide a breathing space over the next three months.

The alternatives I have recommended are a cheap Android or Pi. When the dust has settled you can then take stock.

Bill Bullock

November 21st, 2013 8:24 am

Thanks James.

I’ve looked at Mr Sky TV’s UTube video. The box seems to be using Filmon for the UK channels. Is that correct?



November 21st, 2013 8:27 am

Of course its not cheap, its branded, comes from the lading manufacturer and has 1 TB of storage !

But you pay for the ease of setup, the software remote, etc..

Or you can fiddle around with a raspberry pi – which is not even a remote possibility for 99.9% of the people reading this thread ;-)

Bill Bullock

November 21st, 2013 8:40 am

Hi Jamie.

My Android Smart TV box cost €99 in Portugal and works a lot better than the one demonstrated in the You Tube video. I use a remote control with touchpad that I bought on Amazon. I now need to experiment with XBMC and have watched a few You Tube videos on how to set it up. It’s a bit complicated but I usually get there in the end.

Meantime, I have a Blade Stream Mag 250 on trial and it’s been set up with a good EPG for streaming UK TV. The picture quality is very good but not quite HD.

I thought I was losing Freesat yesterday as my TV picture was pixelating badly and had wall-to-wall blue sky! Turned out to be a big spider in my LMB! All is well now.



November 21st, 2013 12:27 pm

“I’ve looked at Mr Sky TV’s UTube video. The box seems to be using Filmon for the UK channels”

That’s how the box received by James Gold was set up. But, as James explained, you are not restricted to a particular source of streams. I don’t know the source of the plug-ins, for example the FilmOn plug-in, that the box uses.

One of my earlier posts here expressed concern at the price of that box – but its redeeming feature is that it is both a Sky sat box and IPTV box. I suppose it has the advantage that you do not need two boxes. And, if you run cat5 internet cable from the router to the TV, then the same cable is used for both Sat and IPTV. I guess, though, that anyone with an existing Sky or other sat box would not want to replace it with this box.

“My Android Smart TV box cost €99 in Portugal and works a lot better than the one demonstrated in the You Tube video.”

Pleased to hear that. Readers here may be interested in the details of that box. €99 is more like the price I would expect.

“I use a remote control with touchpad that I bought on Amazon”

Possibly the same one I use with the Android box and with XBMC.

“I now need to experiment with XBMC and have watched a few You Tube videos on how to set it up”

I think, if you have the time and the skill (I know you have the skill) then it is worth comparing XBMC with Android apps. I presume you plan to use your PC to test out XBMC.

I’ll have a go at finding a friendly XBMC tutorial. I recall, when I first started on it, I could not work out how to install the add-ons. Once worked out it is, like so many IT tasks, easy enough. Think of installing your first Android app when you’ve never used a tablet PC. On your PC or laptop you’ll be able to download the add-on’s zip file and, with XBMC running, locate the file.

My main concern on this blog has been to explain ways to obtain standard definition UK TV. You, of course, have already done that. I guess my imagined target has been a family with, maybe, two TVs, possibly with a telephone landline and internet access, who prefer to use something resembling a standard remote control and who have not got a collection of spare Android tablets, smartphones and smart TVs for mirroring, streaming media and, in the case of a smartphone, doubling as a very expensive remote control.

Anyone who is already comfortable with tablet PCs and apps is recommended to build on that know-how and their existing hardware. For them, the obvious route is an Android tablet or iPad, if you already have one – and, for a more permanent solution, a dedicated Android based set-top box.

John W

November 21st, 2013 12:45 pm

Any news on satellite movements and likely dates for the switch off?


November 21st, 2013 2:09 pm


How did you get your Mag-250 set up with the UK EPG?


November 21st, 2013 2:12 pm

No News is Good News

The good news is that the bird has not budged. It seems that the Astra 2E is happily sitting on its nest, preening and exercising its wings – no doubt re-charging its batteries. not doing a lot more and refusing to fly.

It went quiet last weekend – no more testing since – and the community of dedicated satellite trackers from central and eastern Europe, as far as Israel and north to Romania, Ukraine and Russia, is puzzled. These enthusiasts – I’ll avoid geeks – were all expecting that an update on Monday and another update last night would reveal that the satellite had fired up its engines, lifted to a higher orbit and so started to drift west to its home for the next 15 years. It should broadcast a position signal (called a beacon) during the transfer – but so far none of these unofficial trackers have detected it.

Good news because it is looking more and more likely that most of the “switchover” to 2E will be delayed to the New Year. Of course, the switchover of UK TV is only a fraction of the total number of channels to be switched. Let’s hope that the UK spot beam is the last to be switched!

Bill Bullock

November 21st, 2013 3:10 pm

Hi James.

I’m doing a trial on a Mag 250 box right now. It costs €169 in Portugal and has 60 channels loaded on it plus a good EPG. There is good support for the system and more channels will be loaded later when there is more demand. Picture quality is generally SD and the HD channels are not quite HD. My download speed is 5.6 – 6 Mbps.

Regards, Bill.

Bill Bullock

November 21st, 2013 3:14 pm


My earlier post answers your question I think.



November 21st, 2013 3:18 pm

Great info Jamie.

That’s one thing I’ve thought all along – everyone says only the free channels will move over to 2E, but others will have to move as well (including Sky itself) as the current satellite is coming to the end of its life. Also, is it correct that more than just the free channels will go onto the new UK beam simply because they will have to as they can’t all go onto the pan-European?


November 21st, 2013 3:48 pm

That’s with no monthly fee after Bill? If there is a fee, then I imagine that gets you catchup…..?


November 21st, 2013 5:18 pm

This free VPN changer has worked for me all over the world, “”


November 21st, 2013 5:21 pm

Hi Bill

Sounds good!

I assume that the Mag 250 is the one you mentioned earlier.

“€169 plus €15 per month but am not sure that I will get HD channels”

I guess that answers Mike’s question – you pay a subscription for the channels. I did a bit of reading on that box a few weeks ago – I must review.

Oh! One thing I meant to ask you Bill. You may have mentioned already. Do you have a Sky box with On Demand? If so, could you try setting it up with your free trial Smart DNS. I am sure that there will be a lot of interest in whether your Smart DNS can unblock the On Demand streams – particularly the main two – BBC and ITV catchup.

I am in the UK so a test here would be inconclusive. In any case I use the Humax Foxsat box. If you haven’t got a suitable Sky box maybe Mike or Paul could try this?

To Mike:

everyone says only the free channels will move over to 2E, but others will have to move as well (including Sky itself) as the current satellite is coming to the end of its life.

All the 1N will move to 2F – also other channels from some other Astra satellites will move. But some (probably most) of the channels that move will be on the pan-Euro beam.

Also, is it correct that more than just the free channels will go onto the new UK beam simply because they will have to as they can’t all go onto the pan-European?

I’ll pass on that. I think I’ve read about the odd channel, other than freesat, going on UK beam. I don’t think all “freesat” will move to the Astra 2E/2F – a few channels, such as the children’s POP channels, are not on Astra.

Here’s a quote from an earlier post:

The Freesat channels transmitted from the Eutelsat 28A satellite at 28.5° east should still be receivable using your current set up – I am sure children will be very pleased to continue to receive Pop from the Eutelsat sat. However there is an ongoing dispute between Astra and Eutelsat about who is licensed to use that satellite position.


November 21st, 2013 7:09 pm

Hi Mike

Correction to my last post.

“All the 1N will move to 2F – also other channels from some other Astra satellites will move”

That was a typo. I though I had typed:

“All the 1N will move to 2E/2F”

but that will confuse just as much, because, of course, the move to 2F already occurred. So let’s just say “All the 1N will move to 2E”

Bill Bullock

November 21st, 2013 7:53 pm

To Mike:

There will be a €15 monthly charge after the big change over. I cannot see a catch-up service yet, only a recording service to a USB connected device.

To Jamie:

I don’t have a modern Sky box with On Demand, just an old SD Pace receiver and a Panasonic DVD / Blue Ray recorder / player with Freesat.

Supper is ready and the kitchen fairy is calling.



November 21st, 2013 9:56 pm

I’ve never tried to connect to catchup on Sky at all. I’m worried that as when you call them, if they can detect you’re abroad they cancel the box and your subscription. If the DNS thing doesn’t work, then maybe that may happen. I know I’m probably being paranoid.


November 21st, 2013 10:19 pm

Dial 067 before dialling the full sky number including country code and it is the same as a “telephone ” VPN mike. They think you are in the UK or at least cannot detect otherwise.

Bill Bullock

November 21st, 2013 11:09 pm

For Jamie:

My Android Smart TV box can be seen at




November 22nd, 2013 1:57 am

Thanks Bill

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the reply. I recall back on 1st June replying to your similar concern.

“If the DNS thing doesn’t work, then maybe that may happen. I know I’m probably being paranoid.”

Don’t worry. Anyway, you’re allowed to be paranoid.

With a VPN it’s less of an issue because you can use an online service to check that your IP address is in the UK and so the VPN is connected. Perhaps Bill could check the “What is My IP address” website when using the Smart DNS – do you get a UK IP? I suspect you will only get a UK IP if the website to which you connect corresponds to a list on the Smart DNS server – a so-called whitelist.

The above is really just an interesting exercise. I personally have no doubt that there is no problem connecting your Sky box to the internet from outside the UK – except that without a UK IP the On Demand will not work. In fact, I’m not even sure that Sky itself does the IP check – I suspect the check is by, for example, the BBC stream providers if you are using BBC catchup through On Demand.

Suppose you were in the UK and using a VPN to access a US website. You then switch on your Sky box and use On Demand, forgetting that all your traffic is via the US. Sky decides you are in the US. What are they going to do – cancel your Sky account? I don’t think so.

But Mike – you are correct not to attempt this. If you have any doubts – Don’t Do It.

The rationale behind my suggestion, by the way, was to provide an easier alternative to a VPN for Mike, Paul et al, wishing to use On Demand

Pete Molloy

November 22nd, 2013 9:21 am

Hi my first post well it does look like you lot like to argue going back through posts. I install satelite dishes Sky Free to air etc around Costa Callida and Costa Blanca. Yes channel 5 did have its signal reduced last year but since then it has stayed constant and we can almost still get it on a 1metre dish and it is no problem whatsover on a 1.1. So this area should have no problem going forward. IPTV this is an evolving product the ones I use get ITV1234 BBC12 Channel 4-5 Yesteday Pick Dave Quest and various other plus food streams horror streams, any film you want on demand FREE box sets FREE 1tv player and bbc player again FREE no subscription it even has SKY channels although these cannot be guaranteed because its from a third party, there is NO NEED to pay a subscription for these services as the clever IPTV has software to get past it being anywhere in the world it could be the future for areas like Granada Costa Del Sol etc. Hope this helps some of you.


November 22nd, 2013 9:40 am

I’m always asking the same question twice! Memory like a sieve… : )


November 22nd, 2013 11:42 am

Well you’re obviously selling something Pete, and if it can do all you say it can I think you’ll have a good few punters.

How much is it?

We only argue when idiots come on trying to spoil things. I’ve found folks on here to be very friendly, helpful and also very patient!


November 23rd, 2013 12:19 pm

MAG-250 IPTV Box

This box has now been referred to a few times in this blog. Most recently, the price mentioned is 169€ and an extra 15€ per month subscription for the UK TV streams. The video quality is described as approaching HD – although the distinction between SD and HD means different things to different people. I doubt that the quality of the subscription stream is much, if any, different from free live streams from the BBC (I don’t mean iPlayer on an Android app which I do find “laggy”). However, I’m happy to be convinced otherwise.

Some say “it’s only SD” when they are actually watching an HD stream and what they could mean is that the video is slightly laggy in high speed scenes (which could be a TV presenter just shaking her head). You should not experience laggy video when watching an SD or an HD stream. If you do, it may be because of the stream itself, your internet connection or the speed of the graphics processing hardware/software of the IPTV box or PC. Of course, you are more likely to encounter video defects (for those reasons) when watching HD.

Readers may be interested in the price of the MAG-250 if bought independently of a subscription. Prices start at about £85 on Ebay in the UK – but this box retails for about $70. Here’s one Ebay offering:


As is typical on this blog, the link is contained in quotes. To follow the link you copy the link without the quotes and paste it into your browsers address bar.

Is it Better to Buy Independently of the Stream Provider

Here’s a forum post that suggests it is:

Re: mag 250 iptv straming all 380 epl games this season

Yes you can buy a box direct from Infomir but some of the channel suppliers are trying to recover their set up costs by selling the boxes at a premium – say €200 where they cost €50 and they won’t connect mac addresses to their system unless they have supplied them. Shop around to find those that will allow you to connect a box that’s not been supplied by them.
There are more and more channel suppliers coming online every week . . .

Above from:


Informir is, I believe, the manufacturer of the MAG. See:


The MAG 250 box retails for $68.50 in the US. See: “”

You may be able to obtain for a similar price from the EU distributor base in Germany:

Infomir GMBH
56 Kaiserstrasse, Frankfurt
Germany, 60329
e-mail: “[email protected]””

YouTube video for MAG 250



November 23rd, 2013 2:04 pm

Hi Pete, As Mike says sounds fantastic, how much and where can I get one?


November 24th, 2013 2:01 pm

Could I ask people for their opinion on a product I can get hold of? It’s the same size and shape as a credit card, so you can carry it in your wallet wherever you go. It has a small USB pendrive which you detach from the card and insert it into a Mac or Windows PC/laptop – it doesn’t work on tablets or TVs.

It is hugely simple to use. You are asked for your name, email and to make up a password. Then a firefox private browser is opened. Your IP address is then as in the UK as you are connected to a UK VPN. Then you can get everything just as you would in the UK – iPlayer etc. I use it often with my Sky subscription as it allows me to watch my Sky Go. Handy for bedtime viewing or if there’s a clash with something the missus wants to watch.

It’s a really dinky thing. Very easy to use. You can take it anywhere and use it on any PC or Mac. It’s simplicity is its main plus point. No DNS changes, no need to configure anything. You just plug it in, type in your password and your private browser is opened, with all your history in there from your previous sessions.

Negative points is that it’s only for Windows and Mac – but you could get round that by connecting your PC or laptop to the TV (but that means you do have to change the display configuration in the computer’s control panel). Other down point is that it’s a bit pricey – 60 euros retail price, but after that there are no monthly fees. It’s guaranteed for 12 months but in theory should work forever, as you are not subscribing to a service with a monthly or annual fee.

Would people let me know what they reckon? I’ve been thinking of buying a few of things to sell (and advertise them on the Olive Press funnily enough!). Apologies if anyone thinks I am cheekily trying to sell them on this thread – that’s not my intention. I could just do with people’s opinions to find out if I should take the plunge or not. Any feedback would be very much appreciated and thank you very much in advance for anyone who takes the time to let me know.


November 24th, 2013 2:59 pm

Hi Mike,

The main advantage of that device may be its portability, although it is limited if:

it’s restricted to a Windows or Apple Mac PC.
it only works when using a web browser.

It is about the same price (60€) as 12months VPN subscription.

Some advantages of a conventional VPN, such as OpenVPN is:

You can install the client on a laptop/desktop/Android etc (no need for a VPN router).
All your internet traffic passes through the VPN when it is switched on – and not just your web access. So, for example, you can watch UK TV without having to use the browser to open a particular webpage. For example, via the browser, how do you change channel from ITV to BBC – do you switch from the ITV web page to BBC? Tedious. Better to use XBMC with TVcatchup on the PC – for which you need a VPN.

I guess that the device you describe is really targeted at those who need secure browsing – not just watching TV – for example, when the broadband could be insecure, as when using a hotspot or wireless broadband.


November 25th, 2013 2:31 pm


All valid points and thanks for taking the time. It’s originally intended for private browsing, yes.


November 26th, 2013 1:04 am

The Astra 2E Still Not Moved

It’s looking even more possible that there’ll be no switchover to 2E until the New Year. But nothing is certain.

There have been rumours that there may be some more switches to the 2F later this week. That could involve some Sky channels. Whether to UK spot or pan-European is not clear.


November 26th, 2013 1:04 pm

Just to let you know – those of you with Sky+ boxes – I have just had installed a Linksys E1200 Wireless N-Router alongside my existing router, and linked to the Sky Box, and I am now receiving (perfectly) the Sky Catchup on demand system.

This is not really the best answer to replacing the channels that will ultimately be lost, unless you are prepared to watch them later of course, via catch up, but it is bloody good system, and I am very pleased with it.

Just a thought


November 26th, 2013 2:51 pm

Linksys E1200 Router as a VPN Router

Following on from Paul’s earlier post:

In case any readers are interested, the Linksys E1200 router is one of the routers able to connect to a VPN tunnel and hence a VPN service such as “Hide My Ass”. That provides the UK IP addresss needed to connect to Sky On Demand from outside the UK. This technique has been discussed several times by different contributors throughout this blog.

Here’s a review of the Linksys E1200:


Price from Amazon: £44.50 or 53.10€ from

Price (Ebay) with dd-wrt pre-installed (needed to run OpenVPN): £33 from USA plus £12 postage.

Hi Paul. Good to hear you got that sorted. Could you do a check (I know you have reasonably fast broadband)? When you use iPlayer catchup on the Sky box – does the box simultaneously play and record the stream so that you end up with a recording of the stream? If you do not understand the question, look at the earlier posts.


November 26th, 2013 6:00 pm

Hello, I am in England at moment but someone is at the house (near Alcala la Real). They tell me that all that is running from the Sky box is something advertising Sky itself (might be an internal thing) OR, has the ‘shut down’ happened. I would appreciate some help on this as otherwise, I can’t help those in the house…. with no TV!




November 26th, 2013 6:17 pm

Jamie: yes it does simultaneously play and record after the initial kickstart.

Andy: it sounds to me as if the box has “frozen”. Tell whoever is there to unplug the sky box from the mains, wait 12-15 seconds and plug back in and switch it back on. It should reboot in 2-3 minutes and be workin fine again. The shut down will not affect sky channels anyway only the FTA channels which sky broadcast


November 27th, 2013 12:51 am

Angry Birds

A high altitude Angry Birds style shoot out?

The 1H is currently moving west – in the same direction that the 2E should be moving. At this precise time the 1H should be carefully overtaking the stationary 2E at precisely 43.5 East and, one assumes, giving it a wide berth in the fast lane.

One false move and they could collide. With the 1H moving at 3000m/s they’d both be trashed.

This could be one of the reasons why moving the 2E has been delayed. Another reason could be a switch from 2A to 2F at 28.5 East on Thursday. The rumour is that the 2A may have to be retired. Not clear what the impact may be on Sky broadcasts – but Astrium may prefer to hold up the 2E at 43.5 until the switch – assuming there is a switch – is over.

All this, of course, is good news if you want UK Freesat over Christmas.


November 27th, 2013 9:57 am

Apologies for being thick again, but is the Linksys E1200 therefore easy to set up once you´ve bought it? I will go down that road I think.

I’m constantly getting ads about the X-Stream Tec Linux XBMC set top box from Amazon when I come on here. Is that easy to configure and marry with the Linksys so you can get the free TV through that?


November 27th, 2013 10:40 am

Mike, I did not set it up, but from what I saw it was very easy. The only bit I was not sure about was when he checked the IP address now on the sky box. but the rest seemed to be plug and play. He charged me next to nothing to set it up, and I have to say it is excellent. if you don’t mind being a bit behind on everything , you could do away with the IPTV completely.


November 27th, 2013 3:11 pm

Not sure if this has already been mentioned (It is a loooong thread isn’t it?) but a possible solution, assuming that you have a helpful friend or family member in the UK with a decent broadband connection might be to get a Slingbox and connect it up to a dedicated Freeview box (so that the UK terrestrial channels are not affected by the residents mainstream viewing).
I’ve just bought the Solo (£75) and will set it up before travelling over for Christmas/New Year.
Obviously you do need someone at the UK end in case of rebooting needs etc.

Picture quality isn’t brilliant as it is via composite cables and designed for SD quality but they do have a more expensive model, the 350, that will handle HD (via Component, not HDMI).

You will need internet access in Spain but not a VPN.

(NB avoid the HD with built in free view tuner as most users say that it will not properly tune into UK channels)


November 28th, 2013 10:13 am

Hi, I have a Slingbox Pro HD in th UK and the built in Freeview tuner works just fine in Nerja although there is no EPG so you need to know your required channel numbers. However, I also have the Slingbox connected to the HDMI output from a Virgin Media Tivo via an HDMI splitter and an HDMI to component adaptor which gives much better quality. I Have timers on the Slingbox and UK router so that they are turned off for a short time each night in case of freeze ups. In Spain I have a Slingcatcher with an HDMI connection to a Samsung LCD TV. The Slingcatcher has a remote control which gives access to all the Tivo features and although they are not manufactured anymore Slingcatchers can be found on eBay. With a 2.5 MB ADSL connection in Nerja I get extremely good quality although not true HD. You need a reliable UK upload speed to get the best out of the combination but if the speed at either end drops, the Slingcatcher automatically adjusts the resolution rather than buffer the stream so there is no break in service.

Paul P

November 28th, 2013 10:34 am

Hi again, Just to avoid confusion with the other Paul, the Slingbox/Slingcatcher information is from myself. I will use Paul P in future posts. with reference to Sandra’s comments, it is necessary to make sure you get the UK version of the Slingbox Pro HD which has a Freeview tuner and not the US version which has a tuner for US terrestrial services and won’t work in the UK. New Slingbox models 350 and 500 have recently been introduced in the UK but they do not work with the Slingcatcher.


November 28th, 2013 1:12 pm

Android TV Boxes

Bill Bullock posted the details of his Android based “1Life” smart TV box. He wasn’t specifically recommending the box – but he has used it in Portugal for UK TV and it does work. I think he said that it was OK for SD video but he was looking for something more like HD.

Details of that box:


Just a reminder – because it is an Android box, similar to an Android tablet, you can install Android apps such as iPlayer, TVcatchup and FilmOn.

It is a set-top box that connects your internet to your TV. It has both HDMI and AV ports to connect to the TV. It can be controlled by a remote or a mouse. It has a dual core processor and is based on the Cortex-A9 Amlogic MX chipset, as are so many of these boxes.

It has an external antenna for wifi – which may improve the range.

The DroidBox from Amazon has a similar specification – the same amount of RAM but twice the storage. I include it as a possibility because it has mainly positive reviews from people who bought it. So, if you are thinking of buying an Android box it is worth reading the reviews. Price £80 compared with €99 in Portugal for the 1Life box.

See reviews at:


Background reading on Android Boxes:



November 28th, 2013 8:16 pm

Paul P and Jamie:

How exactly does sling box work inasmuch as does the uk system from which It presumably “slings” have to be always on and connected to a switched on router? And what about the receiver?

Jamie: these droid boxes, do they immediately receive the free sat channels and is it all through filmon or nonfilmon, or similar, where serious drilling throughout the menus is required to chance channels.

Sorry to appear ignorant about the two devices

Paul P

November 28th, 2013 10:03 pm

Paul, the Slingbox and UK router do have to be switched on although timers can be used to have them on during normal viewing hours only if preferred. In my own case I use the timers to turn the Slingbox off for 8 hours overnight and the Virgin Media Superhub router for just 2 minutes at 7.00am in case of overnight software updates and to ensure that if there is freeze up, it can only affect one day. In practice, I have only ever had one such occasion.

The Slingbox Pro HD has 4 IR Blasters, each one of which can operate a connected device. The Slingcatcher can be turned on or off as required at the Spanish end and can turn on or off the connected UK devices through the IR Blasters.

The Sling software is programmed with the details of your connected devices (Tivo, Sky box, DVR etc) on a computer and a computer can also be used to receive the stream when it displays an exact virtual replica of the appropriate devices remote control.

The Slingcatchers remote control is mapped by the software to operate the selected device in the UK. Remote operation is slightly delayed as the signal has to be uploaded, converted to the appropriate IR code and output through the blaster, but the delay is minimal and you quickly get used to it.

I understand there are other devices than the Slingcatcher that can capture the stream and deliver it to the TV, Boxee Box being one of them, but for me, the Slingcatcher is by far the best solution because of the remote control.


November 29th, 2013 12:06 am

Hi Paul,

“do they immediately receive the free sat channels and is it all through filmon or nonfilmon, or similar, where serious drilling throughout the menus is required to chance channels”

The Android IPTV boxes use Android apps – just like an Android tablet/phone. With the latter you use the touch screen to navigate. With the IPTV box version you can use a mouse, as you have described with FilmOn. I guess it is the need to use a mouse with the FilmOn app that can be an irritation. The amount of “drilling down” is negligible. Of course, if you switch the box off at night then you have to navigate through to the app and, in the case of FilmOn, select the UK TV channels. One reason I like the Raspberry Pi is that it consumes very little power and so it is reasonable to leave it on 24/7. I prefer to use a remote – but with the FilmOn app on an Android box, as I recall, the occasional use of a mouse, or a mouse pad on a remote, is necessary.

Now that you have a VPN, the TVcatchup app is preferable to FilmOn for live TV – particularly when used with XBMC.


November 29th, 2013 7:22 am

I got one of the first slingboxes years ago – they’re very dinky little things, but it would only work on my pc, laptop, mobile etc and then I had to connect this to my TV. Not ideal as we’ve said from earlier posts. The slingcatcher got round this and allowed it to connect straight to your TV (you mean you can’t do this anymore?). You can, or could at least switch your box on and off via the sling software on your Pc or device. You have a remote on your screen and this controls your real box, wherever that is, via two small cables which dangle in front of the Infra red remote control receiver on your box.

Definitely an option!


November 29th, 2013 9:25 am

To Mike, Paul P and Jamie:

OK Thanks for that, now I understand the concepts, and you are right Jamie, I already have the facilities offered by android boxes.

Certainly like the sound of the slingbox, and using timers makes sense. I will certainly explore these options.

Any more news on movements in the celestial heavens Jamie?

Paul P

November 29th, 2013 10:35 am

Mike, yes, the Slingcatcher connects directly to a TV. That is Its only function. It has 3 sets of outputs, HDMI, component and composite and has a scart adaptor for use with composite so that it can connect to any TV regardless of age or manufacturer. A computer is only required to set up the free Sling account where you select the details of whatever devices you have connected to the Slingbox from a huge list of supported devices. The two small dangling cables you mention are the infrared blasters (4 on the Slingbox Pro HD) and these are how you can control every function of the connected device as if you were sitting in front of it with its own remote control, including things like pause and rewind live TV if the device supports it.

I also have a combined IPTV and HD satellite tuner having adopted a belt and braces approach to the imminent loss of UK TV. This works very well with my 2.5MB ADSL broadband. The box is a GI Genius bought from an online satellite retailer based in Portugal for 129 Euros. This is the same box being advertised for a whopping 395 Euros on the Costa del Sol and can also handle a Sky card with the appropriate cam software patch installed.


November 29th, 2013 11:04 am

Concerning the Slingbox, it may be worth emphasizing something Paul P already mentioned.

A Slingbox is essentially a server that uploads your selected TV channel to the internet. The broadband speed in the UK is a factor – but it is the upload broadband speed that is critical. It is pointless having fibre download speeds in Spain if the UK upload speed, provided by your ISP in the UK, is too low. According to Slingbox, the PRO-HD system requirements for HD and SD streaming are:

HD Streaming: 1.5 Mbps or higher
SD Streaming: 384 Kbps or higher

Another obvious consideration is your monthly broadband limit, if any. You will really need unlimited broadband in the UK.

Bill Bullock

November 29th, 2013 1:28 pm

For Paul P:

Can you let me have details of your online satellite retailer in Portugal? I am in the Algarve and have many friends who will miss UK TV when the switch off happens. Marc Electronica has some different IPTV systems and is based in Portimão.



November 29th, 2013 2:50 pm

OK thanks for that Jamie

Paul P

November 29th, 2013 3:07 pm

Hi Bill, I’m not sure if I am allowed to post details of commercial companies on this forum. Can the moderator please confirm this. Thanks.

On the subject of upload speeds as mentioned by Jamie, there can be problems with Virgin Media broadband due to their traffic management policy. I have 30MB download and 2MB upload speeds. This provides me with a stream of 1957kbps in Spain. My UK upload speed is restricted to 50% after I have uploaded 750MB within 1hour then to 65% when I hit 1000MB within the following hour. This leaves me with a stream of 700kbps until I exit the 2hour traffic management limit. Even 700kbps is very watchable, but once we lose the satellite transmissions, I will upgrade to a 120/12MB speed whilst in Spain so that even after 65% reduction, my upload speed will still be 4.3MB which is faster than my Spanish 2.5MB download and will maximise my stream.

For users with access to unrestricted broadband (BT Infinity for example), this will not be an issue. If you can match your UK upload speed to your Spanish download, you will get the best results.

Bear in mind that if the UK broadband is also in use In the UK by users living at the address, this will impact on the available speed for media streaming. Also of course, any devices connected to the UK based Slingbox need to be used in only one country at a time.


November 29th, 2013 3:40 pm

On topic: just got 100MB fibre optic installed today by Movistar. Could have come just in the nick of time.

Off topic: My dad is 70 next week and wants a motorised dish system for his house in Leeds. He’s currently got the usual Sky setup.

Can someone recommend a reasonably-priced system that works well?

Thanks again….in advance.


November 29th, 2013 8:59 pm

“just got 100MB fibre optic installed today by Movistar.”

And you’ll never see that 100 MB haha. Dream on.


November 30th, 2013 1:52 am

Mike wrote:

“Can someone recommend a reasonably-priced system that works well?”

Are you asking for a generalised solution or a system for you as an individual?

The distinction is important – in your case because you are already familiar with some of the technology and you already have a partial solution through your Sky subscription channels.

Also, you have the possibility of using Sky On Demand for catchup of both Sky and the main UK TV catchup services.

So, the “solution” for you is likely to be a mix of Sky live TV and On Demand combined with some sort of IPTV box for live UK TV. But hey! You must know that already.

If you are asking for a recommendation for the IPTV box then my preference is a box that runs XBMC well. You can install a Windows (and presumably an Apple Mac) version of XBMC on a laptop for testing – but the easiest and cheapest way to install XBMC is on a Raspberry Pi – about 15minutes provided you purchase a pre-installed SD card for beginners. If, when you buy the Pi, you buy a separate plastic case, then allow an extra 10 minutes to fit the case.

The average user is likely to be happy to buy into a single solution, which means a dedicated IPTV box that is already tied into a “reliable” source of UK TV streams. The streams will most likely be unknown origin, rebroadcast streams. Typically, with this solution, the IPTV box itself will most likely be a fairly basic specification that costs about 50€ to 90€ when purchased independently – but, you will pay a premium (maybe 170€) plus a monthly subscription (about 16€). All this has been explained already. The streams may provide something approaching HD quality – but remember we are talking internet TV HD and not satellite TV.

Bill Bullock

November 30th, 2013 1:25 pm

Mike wrote: “Off topic: My dad is 70 next week and wants a motorised dish system for his house in Leeds. He’s currently got the usual Sky setup.”

What is a motorised dish system? Is it the system you see on motor caravans that allows you to park up, locate the satellite and then watch TV? In which case, why does Mike’s Dad want one in Leeds when he has a perfectly good Sky system? Does he want to pick up another satellite’s reception, eg European broadcasts?

I’m 70 next year by the way!


November 30th, 2013 6:44 pm

And what do YOU want Bill?:)

Bill Bullock

December 1st, 2013 9:04 am

For Paul:

What I want is to continue to receive UK TV in Portugal after the big switch-off. There is nothing in the world to compare with UK TV. The system needs to be simple to operate so that my wife and many other friends here, who are not technically-minded, can cope. It needs to work like a Freesat or Sky+ box, having a simple EPG for programme selection. Personally I don’t need a Sky box because I don’t watch enough TV and, anyway, we will not be able to receive BBC and ITV on a Sky box after the big switch-off.

My €169 IPTV box from Marc Electronica works well in SD and has a reasonably simple EPG. My wife can cope with it. Even when the management company start charging €15 a month after the switch-off, it will be worth it to have managed reception of UK TV channels. What is the alternative that is simple to operate for my wife and friends? A few people here in the Algarve are hoping that Sky will continue to provide them with BBC and ITV. Some have probably asked Santa Clause for exactly that. They can only live and hope.

Anyway, I’m off to Lisbon later today for my first-ever operation. A very high-tech robot called Da Vinci is going to remove my prostate. Hopefully I will have WiFi internet access and can continue to monitor this excellent forum. I have not found a better forum on the big switch-off. Thank you to all who contribute.



December 1st, 2013 10:38 am

I suspect you are not alone in that wish Bill. Unfortunately, I believe that ultimately they will all be disappointed unless, like you they have other means of reception in place. Certainly Sky will not continue to broad act freest channels *(well, the terrestrial we are used to receiving), and unless you set up their own demand system, explained earlier in these blogs, that will be a no no.

Best of luck with the op! Leonardo probably invented the robot!!


December 1st, 2013 11:35 am

To Bill

Best wishes for your operation.

I am sure that many on this blog appreciate your contributions.

You are right about what, for many, is the deal breaker for a system to replace satellite TV. There are several examples of what you called “managed reception” including EPG – some of which have been mentioned on this blog.

The only alternative to managed reception that I know of, and that provides a similar service, is TVCatchup – it provides standard definition live UK TV and an EPG – and works well on XBMC. From outside the UK you need a VPN – about 5€ per month.

An advantage of the VPN is that its use is not confined to TVCatchup reception. Although not relevant in your case, for those with a Sky Account and an On Demand Sky box, the VPN provides access to On Demand – and the ability to record on the Sky Box the On Demand catchup programmes. The same VPN can be simultaneously used by more than one device (TV) in a house – so, for example, one can watch BBC live or catchup via iPlayer on a laptop and access TVCatchup for UK live TV on a TV.


December 1st, 2013 11:37 am

It seems that we have all been talking about the big switch off of BBC ITV C4 etc. for a year now at least.
Does anybody have any FACTS as to when that is likely to happen or is it all a big con?


December 1st, 2013 11:57 am

SKY will continue to broadcast on the pan European satellite, as the SKY package includes the free to air channels I see no reason why you couldn’t get the majority of them with a white card. I’m still waiting for the new satellite to move to it’s new location which it seems very reluctant to do…perhaps it’s waiting for the result of the Scottish independence vote or the result of the in / out referendum on the EU, everything else seems to be on hold.


December 1st, 2013 12:08 pm

Peter, you are right in one respect, SKY WILL continue to broadcast ALL Sky channels (for how long though no one knows?).

However the free to air channels currently using the Sky platform do so on a “leased” basis, and when the BBC etc. switch to the new satellite, all this channels WILL be lost to the Sky Satellite. This is confirmed. God knows I hope to be proved wrong, but I fear not.


December 1st, 2013 12:12 pm

Basically the whole lot was delayed a few months by a serious explosion at the satellite launch sited in Russia in the summer.

Over to you Jamie to better explain


December 1st, 2013 2:59 pm

Hi peter,

I have read all your posts since the start of this thread and have appreciated your advice.

Your most recent statement

“SKY will continue to broadcast on the pan European satellite, as the SKY package includes the free to air channels. I see no reason why you couldn’t get the majority of them with a white card”

does need some clarification.

First, although the general view is that Sky will continue to broadcast most of its channels on a pan-European beam, that has never been officially confirmed AFAIK.

More important though: the “Sky package” does not include the Freesat channels. A few ITV HD channels are encrypted and broadcast by Sky – but the “Freesat” channels have no link with Sky – except, perhaps, that they mostly use the Astra satellites at 28.2 east. The Freesat channels will be broadcast, as I understand it, via the UK spot beam.

Concerning the move of the Astra 2E sat from 43.5 east, the good news is that, as of Friday, it had not moved. Perhaps the best one can reasonably hope for at this point is that the move will start in the next day or two. This could allow the satellite to reach 28.2 just before the Christmas holiday shutdown – about 20 December. Control will then pass from Astrium to SES, who control the Astra fleet. Hopefully, SES will then light up a few transponders on the UK beam and so we’ll get the first indications of the 2E footprint in fringe regions. At least then we might finally know – will we get Freesat in the South. The actual switchover will then be delayed to the end of the holiday period. That will give you the holiday period to set up
that new Android or XBMC IPTV box that Santa brought – and get it working for the switchover.


December 1st, 2013 3:52 pm

I don’t know what others are experiencing but I have been using Filmon when there is a clash of programmes and have found that whe there is a really popular programme or football match on there is either a lot of break up or total loss of picture, I get 8mb download from Telefonica so I don’t think the problem is at my end, doesn’t bode well for when the world his wife and his dog named Bob start using it.

Bill Bullock

December 1st, 2013 5:20 pm

I find the same with Filmon. When I really want to watch it for the 8 o’clock news, it will not start up, not even with adverts. It’s a bit unreliable.

I also find I am geo-blocked from TVCatchup when using SmartyDNS. Is SmartyDNS not a VPN fix?


December 1st, 2013 5:45 pm

To peter

“doesn’t bode well for when the world his wife and his dog named Bob start using it”

You may be right. I wonder:

What system do you use to watch FilmOn – is it an Android app, or the FilmOn HDi player or perhaps XBMC?
Do you use the FilmOn higher definition subscription service or the low definition free service?

I have not noticed the problem you describe – maybe not watched it often enough. What I have noticed with FilmOn via an XBMC add-on is that sometimes I can watch it in FilmOn’s HD and it does not cut out. I do not pay the subscription. Other times the HD stream just stops after about about 1 minute – I then have to change the plug-in setting back to low def. Not unreasonable given that I do not pay.

It could be that, to try to avoid the problem you describe, anyone wishing to use FilmOn as their main source of internet TV would be advised to pay the monthly subscription.


December 1st, 2013 8:22 pm

Bill wrote:

“I find the same with Filmon. When I really want to watch it for the 8 o’clock news, it will not start up, not even with adverts.”

So, if you are seeing (or in this case not seeing) the adverts then you are using an app or the website. Try it with XBMC. No adverts, and haven’t seen the problem you and Peter describe – although I am not sure that you are describing the same problem. As a bonus, I can sometimes watch in HD, as I am now, without a subscription. I have been watching now for about an hour and a half – still at their HD quality – and it is perfectly watchable.

If you experience the same problem again on BBC 1, try switching to the Northern Ireland alternative.

“I also find I am geo-blocked from TVCatchup when using SmartyDNS. Is SmartyDNS not a VPN fix?”

Answer: “no. A smart DNS is definitely not a VPN”

See my post about this on 15th November:

“A Smart DNS will not work with all TV streams. It will work with iPlayer, for example, and so can use it to stream BBC through iPlayer. It will not work with TVcatchup. It may or may not work with Sky On Demand.”

To watch TVCatchup you need a VPN.

Christine Bennett

December 4th, 2013 10:04 am

I have read most of the comments regarding the ‘big switch off’.
I own an apartment on the Costa del Sol which I visit twice a year & rent out for approx. 15 weeks in the summer.
I have a basic Sky box & don’t pay any subscription.
I don’t have a ‘phone line or broadband etc.
The options of buying a box & running it through a broadband connection would be uneconomic for me.
Any suggestions??


December 4th, 2013 2:06 pm

Update on the 2E Satellite

It is tempting to think that Astrium has forgotten that it has a brand new satellite up there – waiting to go into service. From the latest update last night, guess what. Correct. It has not moved.

The talk now is will it actually start to move before Christmas – let alone become operational. Of course, this is all celestial music to one’s ears: no move, no switchover, no loss of TV. Looks as though once again we have a reprieve.

Time to take stock. There is still a possibility of a switchover before Christmas – but it does seem very unlikely.

There has been ample time, given all the delays, to plan a contingency. I would hope that you have that in place already if you can’t live without your UK TV.

Your preferred solution will clearly depend on your budget.

You will pay a premium for an “off the shelf” internet TV solution – meaning an IPTV set-top box tied into a single source of TV streams. Such a solution will not necessarily buy better quality or higher definition but the system should be easier to use. The box itself could be used as a door stop if the IPTV streams are declared illegal – but lawsuits do take time.

A big problem for anyone without an IT background is trying to visualise how these systems operate – particularly in a blog like this, where contributors cannot add images and videos. Further, there are few online resources with clear explanations at the appropriate level.

There are two requirements:
a description of the system with images of using the set-top box to select a TV channel.
instructions on how to install the system.

Throughout this blog there have been references to routers, VPNs, Android tablets and apps, FilmOn, XBMC and so on. How do you begin to make sense of it if you’ve never even seen these in use?

This link:


provides a useful insight into the system called XBMC – and how it is used to watch UK TV.

It does not explain how to set up XBMC – but it does say that an explanation will follow.


December 4th, 2013 4:11 pm

Christine: Yeah, Buy a holiday home in England. Are you sure you have, “read most of the comments on here”? Without a satellite signal, only the phone lines remain. End of.


December 4th, 2013 4:28 pm

Hi Christine,

“I have read most of the comments regarding the ‘big switch off’”

I admire your stamina.

Yours must be a common enough situation – one which has not really been addressed.

The broadband needed for the internet solution is, of course, the main expense – compared with that the other costs can be negligible.

If your priority is your own viewing then you could do what a friend does. He has a wireless broadband connection using a PAYG tariff. He is happy to use that at low definition – via his Android tablet connected (HDMI lead) to his TV. It is not mobile broadband so it is affordable. He uses the FilmOn app. He uses it sparingly – otherwise he could run into the ISP’s ‘fair use’ policy. In his case he needs a broadband connection when in Spain – and probably would not have had the system installed just for TV.

Providing a TV service for paying guests is more of a problem. They, could, of course, view the satellite channels that remain after the switchover. An alternative is a six month wireless broadband contract at about 4Mbits/sec – but possibly not available in your area. Typically about 30€ per month. However, your guests may struggle with the technology.

That leaves potentially illegal options – one of which was briefly aired on here but which is only really an option for your own visits. It involves accessing encrypted satellite broadcasts – and so that “service” is routinely interrupted without warning and so not satisfactory for paying guests.

Is there no possibility of a communal solution in the apartments?


December 5th, 2013 12:24 pm

I have to say I agree with MrSky here. I am not an advocate of filmon or notfilmon. It is a great way of watching TV on the iPad, as another means, but NOT the sole means, as I have said before in this blog. A colleague of mine bought the system a while ago,k and I said then it is very complicated and would not suit the elderly, with the drilling down and back through menus (he by the way has also lost the programs, and is one of the hundreds!)

My solution with the sky box and catchup is great for that – catchup and sky channels. The only real way forward I suspect is IPTV, as and when the cut off happens.

And of course, one can’t call Jamie – what about Ghostbusters.


December 5th, 2013 12:30 pm

Update on the 2E Satellite

This is turning into a daily update and so far, the message is the same: “no change”

The satellite remains stubbornly fixed in its testing position. You can imagine that there are rumours and increased speculation about the 2E. Every day that it remains at 43.5 east means that it is increasingly likely we’ll have TV through to the New Year.

You may be interested to know how a satellite’s position is determined. During the testing phase Astrium and SES provide no information. The operators do not release any statements until the end of testing and the transfer is proceeding.

There are two sources:

The US Air Force Space Command provides the data about the orbits of artificial satellites. The data can be obtained from:


This data is regularly updated – although, when a satellite changes its orbit it could take 2 days for the change to register with satellite tracking software, such as n2yo. There was an update for Astra 2E early this morning – and it is that update that shows no significant change in the orbit.

The second source is photographic.

Because of the uncertainty about the 2E, some experienced amateur satellite watchers have even started to doubt the reliability of the US data for the 2E. A few contributors to one of the main forums have started taking night photos of the 2E – no mean task given that it is 22,000miles above Somalia. One contributor, in a remote part of Sweden, and a long way from the light pollution of towns, has taken some good time-lapse shots. Because the satellites are geostationary they appear as bright dots – illuminated by the sun. The background of stars appears as lines – because of the earth’s rotation. Last night’s photo showed the 2E still at 43.5 east – but the atmospheric conditions were not good.

This link shows a clear image of the 2E satellite:

Scroll two/thirds down the page to Waveguide’s post. Click the black rectangle to open the photo. Waveguide has superimposed two photo’s – coded yellow and green. The 2E is the two dots on the left – from 28th Nov and 1 Dec, at 43.5 east.


December 5th, 2013 1:21 pm

Anything happen for lanzarote yet does anyone know?


December 5th, 2013 6:18 pm

Hi marian,

I presume you are asking about the switchover to the new 2E satellite and the potential loss of UK TV.

When the switchover takes place then all channels currently on the 1N satellite will switch. The switchover should be to the 2E satellite – that is, if that satellite stirs itself and moves to its operational position. When that switch happens it will affect all regions, including the Canaries. By that, I mean that your TV satellite reception will then be from 2E and not 1N.

The trouble is that the signal strength from the 2E will be too weak for some fringe areas of the footprint.

The simple answer to your question is “no” – nothing has happened anywhere yet. When the switchover does happen, we’ll all know about it.


December 6th, 2013 12:07 am

Is there any rumoured dates for the switch-over, or is just suddenly going to switch with no notice whatsoever ?


December 6th, 2013 9:04 am

After much deliberating on the raspberry Pi and set top boxes on Amazon with XBMC, I’ve decided to go the following (also bearing in mind in this equation that I don’t want to pay 60 quid a month to Murdoch).

My dad cancelled his Sky subscription months ago. They constantly call him with offers to come back. Latest offer is 75% off for 12 months. That’s a good deal, if there are no hidden ties. I’d imagine that this deal makes you have the box connected to your phone line (?). I’m going to cancel my current Sky subscription and take his, bringing his box out to Spain. I’ll buy a VPN router so I think that will get by the fact that you need it connecting to your phone line, as it will be via the router, and use theSky catchup service for the free channels – even though this won’t be ideal for next year’s World Cup for example, which I presume we won’t be able to get live via Sky On Demand….

Does the VPN router have to have the software pre-installed then?

Will Sky want the box connecting to my phone line or will it being connected to the VPN router be enough?


December 6th, 2013 11:09 am

My VPN (Linksys E1200) VPN came with the software and UK IP address pre-installed. It works fine if, as you say, you are not worried about watching live stuff. News is obviously via Sky news which comes down the normal stream as one of the many free sky channels. Obviously if you took the sky sports package the football would not be a problem either.

As far as a telephone connection is concerned I have been with Sky since 1992, and don’t have that problem. As I recall for new accounts they used to insist that a telephone line is connected for 12 months. However bearing in mind the fact that less and less people in the UK have land lines and more and more use mobiles all the time, I asm not sure they would still be insisting on that rule as they could lose out on many new contracts. Best talk direct to them. As a tip, if you dial Sky from Spain, dial 067, and then the FULL sky number including the country code. This works in the same way as a VPN and SKY think you are calling from the UK.

The new VPN router has to be connected either by CAT5 cable (best) to your existing router, or by wifi, which would mean you would need a SKY wifi box, or the little plug in wifi unit sky are sending out now.

If there is anything else, come back.


December 6th, 2013 1:19 pm

Hi Ray

I guess you are the same Ray who posted back in February – based in Canaries?

I thought that your post on reception in the Canaries and the likely impact was well informed.

Is there any rumoured dates for the switch-over?

That’s just the problem – they are rumours.

During the approx 15 day transition of the 2E sat to 28.2 east operational orbit, you will be able to monitor progress yourself, if you wish, using sat tracker software.

The transition has still not started.

After the transition is completed, control will pass to the operator, SES.

SES is not obliged to make announcements. After all, UK based viewers will not be affected – most will not even know that there is a switchover and will not be aware when it happens – because their reception should continue as normal with no break in service. SES have no responsibility to viewers in fringe areas.

That said, although we will probably not know the precise times of the switchover in advance – there will be indications. The 2E is probably already the most watched TV satellite ever. Satellite watchers will be looking carefully for the initial switch on of transponders and will be reporting on the likely fringe footprint before live TV transmissions commence. We should, I guess, then know the date for the UK beam switch to within a week.


December 6th, 2013 9:34 pm

Hi Paul,

It used to be that if you bought your box, you were not obliged to connect to your phone line twelve months, and if it was subsidised by Sky, you were. I’d say that might still be the case but I’m not sure. If I take the 50-75% off offer, my hunch is that it would mean getting it connected. You’re right about people not having landlines these days, so who knows.

I’ve been finding out about DD-WRT and programming a normal router, which would be much cheaper, but it really does look like a quagmire. You can pick them up with DD-WRT firmware on them, but I’m not a 100% sure what you do after that! How much did you pay for your router and how much is the VPN each month? I don’t fancy paying over the odds if I can programme something myself and there are VPN services out there for less than five euros a month….


December 7th, 2013 9:34 am

Hi Mike, I paid €132.00 fitted and working, including 10 months VPN. My supplier told me that when that expires next year it will be €8 after that for the VPN.

I have to say I am very pleased with it, and we watched a new film from the Apple Store last night that cost me 99p. But we will still go for the VPN, I suspect.

I would double check with SKY about the phone connection because that could stiff things for you over here. However, if you already have a card and get a new box, that would not be a problem because you ring them (using the 0t67 prefix), and they will then reprogram the box to the new card, as you can of course buy sky boxes on ebay etc. You would of course still need the VPN for the spanish connection.

Also consider the possibility of getting multi room, as then one box could be in UK and one box in Spain, and that would only cost you an extra £10 per month.

Jamie, once again thanks for the latest update. As the President of my community i find this invaluable to circulate to our owners.


December 8th, 2013 1:14 am

What is IPTV?

The discussion on this blog is becoming more technical with an inevitable increase in confusion and potential for misunderstanding.

A few months ago, most readers would have had zero understanding of the mechanics of internet TV. Since then subtle distinctions, for example internet TV vis-à-vis IPTV, may have added to the confusion. In the general flow of discussion, the acronym IPTV (internet protocol TV) has been used flexibly to refer to internet TV. Example: an IPTV set-top box, meaning any device in a box used to connect the internet to the TV, with a cat5 cable socket and (preferably) an HDMI socket to connect to the TV.

As discussion has evolved, that oversimplified use of IPTV may have caused confusion. Some may think of IPTV as a sort of badge of approval – a Kitemark – rather like the “HD Ready” symbol for a digital TV. A true IPTV system is required to provide QOS (quality of service), in particular, the quality of the broadband connection. Think of IPTV as internet TV with the added provision that the quality of the stream and the broadband connection must meet minimum standards. Do not confuse IPTV with “watching TV on your computer”. There is more to IPTV than just watching TV via the internet.

IPTV is a ‘package’ that normaly consists of a broadband provider (ISP), the source of the streams (the stream provider) and the IPTV set-top box. In the UK there are four IPTV providers:

Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, Sky

The above providers do not provide an internet live TV equivalent to the Freesat channels, through the IPTV service.

IPTV is sometimes called “managed” internet TV as opposed to TV delivered through an unmanaged open-internet. In a managed network there is control over the quality of the broadband.

In Spain there are no providers of UK national TV through IPTV.

Movistar provides an IPTV package, previously called Imagenio and now relaunched as Movistar TV (8th May 2013).

Subscription Internet UK TV in Spain

The subscription services, example “IPTV FOR YOU”, often describe themselves as an IPTV service. That description, as you can see from the strict definition of an IPTV, is not true. They do not meet the quality of service standard in that they do not form part of a package with the broadband provider. They may claim they are but, in fact, are not licensed by the copyright holders of the original UK TV broadcasts. Labeling a service IPTV may mislead a customer to think that there is a guarantee of quality.

These services, despite some concerns, do provide access to UK TV via the internet and, after the purchase of the IPTV box, the subscription fee is reasonable – about 15€ per month.

You normally purchase the package, the box and the subscription fee for the streams, from a re-seller who will probably have no control over the quality and the origin of the TV streams. The box is pre-configured to the streams – you will not be able to buy your own internet box, such as the MAG-250, and then have that configured to the subscription streams.

IPTV FOR YOU provides more detail than most on its website. It provides not just one but a choice of three boxes. See:


They charge an extra 40€ to activate the box – I presume that means to configure it to their streams. It is not clear if you can buy the box independently (and more cheaply – about 50€ and not 160€ for the MAG-250) and then just pay the 40€ for activation. May be worth asking but that does seem unlikely.

Given that these UK TV subscription services use the acronym IPTV it is convenient to use that description here for such subscription providers of UK TV streams.

Are the IPTV Subscription Streams Legal?

IPTV FOR YOU appears to be part of “”. Their website states:

IPTV FOR YOU is a global TV provider via Internet.
We operate from a UK data centre (London), which allows you to watch live TV via Internet in superb quality. We host our own satellite equipment and servers in a professional “state-of-the-art” data centre with a guaranteed 24/7, 365 days a year uptime.

I am surprised by the use of a data centre in the UK given that they must be in breach of the new EU directive on copyright. Maybe they are still sheltering under the same loophole as TVCatchup – but that loophole applies only to broadcasting for UK consumption and TVCatchup goes to almost extreme lengths to restrict their streams to the UK only – whereas the IPTV FOR YOU business model is global.

On the question of the legality, I broadly take the view expressed on the BB4S website:

BB4S statement – referring to post-switchover

For Legal Copyright reasons bb4s does not currently offer a subscription based IPTV service.
Live BBC or ITV channels are not available outside the UK and are subject to strict copyright conditions.
There is no “Legal” satellite or IPTV service that will deliver live BBC or ITV channels to Southern Spain.
We know individual private traders are advertising UK IPTV (BBC ,ITV, ETC) services to expats, you invest in their set top boxes and service packages at your own risk. Always ask for a full IVA receipt, this should include the traders name, trading address and fiscal number. In Spain no factura=no guarantee or legal rights.

From “”

FilmOn, which is not a subscription IPTV service and is not restricted to a particular set-top box, may well be operating illegally – but their recent case in the US successfully argued that their use of an antenna farm (a similar model to Aereo) is excempt from the relevant copyright law. Consequently FilmOn is allowed to stream US network stations in New York and Massachusetts.


A 2nd Circuit Appellate Court in New York has ruled that Aereo’s airing of stations is legal, so Judge Collyer allowed FilmOn to air signals in the 2nd circuit areas of New York and Connecticut even as she barred its airing of signals in the rest of the country.

Needless to say, the case is far more complex than this brief summary.
See: “”

I presume that MrSkyTV is a re-seller of the MAG-250 and the associated pre-configured UK TV streams. I believe that it is only the company that re-transmits the IPTV streams, not the re-seller of the package, that can be prosecuted for breach of copyright. That, however, will not impress the customers of the re-seller if the streaming company is forced to close – the customer will have the inconvenience of the loss of UK TV. Yes, you can phone the re-seller to complain – but the re-seller, at best, can only recommend the purchase of another IPTV service from yet another IPTV provider. Maybe this scenario of close down is pure speculation – but the same can be said of the recent speculation in this blog about FilmOn. In any case, there are alternatives to FilmOn. Those alternatives are already installed in the internet set-top boxes that I use. They all work, including the FilmOn addon/app. That is the advantage of a versatile box that is not tied to a single provider’s streams. If one of the services is down for a few days, you can switch in seconds to the alternative.

The readers of this blog, of course, can make up their own minds. Throughout the blog I have advised on all the alternatives. If I have devoted more time to the self-help approach, such as the Android set-top box and apps, it is because, inevitably, the commercial IPTV providers are perfectly capable of promoting their own wares and, of course, do not necessarily provide the full picture.

I think it fair, given the publicity already received by some of the IPTV providers on this blog, that a few more are listed:


astra2 TV

Watch TV Now


December 8th, 2013 9:46 am

Very well and succinctly put Jamie. I suspect that those of us who gave read this blog are aware that, basically, every system offered to place UKTV in Spain, is ultimately illegal. The lengths one is going to have to go to via IPTV, VPN etc makes it plain that it is not exactly legal.

I have been telling my Community since the initial news that really, nothing is legal, from IPTV to network broadcasting, but it would seem that that the IUPTV systems are likely to last longer, how long is anyones guess. Even with Sky, and, connecting a UK IP addressed VPN, we are “convincing” Sky that we are in the UK, and thus being , at best, devious.

As I understand it is also “illegal” to resell and even instal your own sky boxes over in Spain, to pick up Sky Sports etc, but Sky themselves turn a blind eye to this as it is a massive income stream for them. But they will not talk to you direct about problems with Sky in Spain.

As you say, this blog has been aimed at the problems caused to UK expats who want to watch UK TV. The fact the all of the solutions are ultimately illegal, but being sold openly is a matter of consideration for each individual

Paul P

December 8th, 2013 1:47 pm

Excellent and welcome clarification on the whole IPTV position Jamie. Thank you.

Could you perhaps let readers have details of the Filmon alternatives you mention as being available on a generic box please and how to connect to them. I’m sure there are quite a few of us who would like to have alternatives.


December 8th, 2013 6:22 pm

To “MrSkyTV”

We know of loads of clients that having purchased a ceratin android box that used Filmon have been left with no UK TV

Are you saying that the Google Play FilmOn app on that box used to work and has stopped working? If so, here’s the app that I use:


version 2.0.77

A friend has just tested it – installed the app on her Android phone – works perfectly.

You made a few interesting points in your post. I’ll respond when I get the chance.

I’ve just noticed the posts requesting details of alternative streams. There’s nothing new that I haven’t already posted on this blog – but rather than your having to trawl through, I’ll reply with the detail as soon as possible.


December 8th, 2013 7:04 pm

To James Gold

I have read reports on here that FilmOn has stopped working – but am finding it difficult to get the details. If I did not know better, the posts give the impression that FilmOn is dead and buried already. Other posts do not make clear:

Is it the FilmOn Android app
Or is it an XBMC add-on
Or is it some other add-on or plug-in

Which system?

Which IPTV box?

In your case, I believe you use the TSMedia FilmOn plugin on the Genius HD Freesat IPTV & SKY set top box. Is that correct?

Is FilmOn now working again on that box?

Without the details it is impossible to make useful comments.


December 8th, 2013 7:51 pm

I have just opened filmon on my iPad and streamed it to the TV via the Apple TV box and it is working perfectly, certainly no shut down or loss of signal at all.

And my colleague who has one of the boxes from a certain caplet dealer also reports the system is back up and rilnning after an update the dealer sent out.. It is a lot of had work though to change channels he says.. Not really the ideal solution.


December 8th, 2013 8:01 pm

I googled ‘alternatives to filmon’ and quite a few options came up. Not sure which are any good.

I’ll check with Sky about the phone line when I’m back in the UK but thanks for the advice MrSkyTV. I suspected multiroom would mean connecting your phone line. Logical really. Interesting about the 50 quid one-off fee.

I’ve got a Mag250, but the EPG is mainly Russian and nothing of interest to me. Is there a way I can get UK TV through the Mag-250 without paying a subscription? Infomir said I can’t use BBC iPlayer etc as they are flash-based and the Mag250 doesn’t support flash. Filmon doesn’t work when I go through the box’s browser and just freezes on “Loading….” Maybe that’s because that is flash also.

There’s tons of Russian stuff on it though (I was given it by a company in Moscow) and it works really well. The picture is very good – more than adequate on a 60″ screen – not blotchy at all, no buffering – although the new internet connection at 60MB helps I suppose. If it did have English content then it would be great! There is access to tons of stuff, various TV services, films and so on, some free stuff and some paying. All in Ruskie though!

On that note, I’ve spoken to Infomir, who make these things, and they say that in January they will release the Mag-260, which will support flash. This is a game-changer if it happens. That means you can get yourself a Mag-260 and UK IP router and you’re away. BBC iPlayer etc, so you can even watch live TV. No monthly payment, nothing. I think we’ll find when the dust settles that if the Mag-260 does what it says on the tin then they will become an item in most ex-pat homes on the Costa del Sol.

Bill Bullock

December 8th, 2013 10:59 pm

Lots of interesting posts in the last few days. I’m home from hospital and back in the seat in the Algarve. The Mag-250 box I am using is working well and the Amsterdam managed EPG software contains 64 channels, all in English. Marc Electronica in Portimão would have sold me a Dutch version of the box had I been a Dutch customer. There is no monthly management subscription until the big switch-off and I am testing the support I can get by posing questions about recording issues I am experiencing right now. If I do not get satisfaction, I can return the box for a full €169 refund. Hopefully, all will be well as I like the live streaming quality which is just about SD and BBC World News is just about HD. I will miss the excellent satellite reception I get on my Panasonic Freesat box but what other chice do I have?

The main reason I am concentrating on this IPTV box is that my wife would not cope technically with anything other than an EPG similar to a good Freesat or Sky box. Most of my friends here are like us, capable of getting UK TV on a laptop or PC but this is even too fiddly for some of them. I generally only have time for BBC 1, BBC 2 and ITV 1 which I can also get free on a Windows 7 laptop sat next to the TV by changing my DNS, etc.



December 10th, 2013 2:56 am

James Gold posted on this blog in May:

With our IPTV box we don’t pay any money as its free and as the Company (FilmOn) that operates the streaming is based in Beverly Hills and owned by a eccentric Billionaire. (Alki David / filmon) Snoop Dog & Charlie Sheen are Directors and the guy is 45th richest in UK worth over 1,200 Million. I feel confident that their service will continue, and should it not then another supplier can be found same day.

In reply (in May) to his post I wrote:

I prefer to use a set-top box that gives a choice of stream providers rather than a customised box which, I presume, could restrict you to the re-broadcaster’s transmissions.”

I was not suggesting that the set-top box used by James Gold, supplied by MrSkyTV, was not capable of using alternative streams – I believe it is.

But I did point out:

I do not share his (James Gold’s) optimism that: ‘should it (FilmOn) not continue then another supplier can be found same day’.

The point that I was making was that, if you have not already found an alternative stream source and set it up in advance, in the event of a loss of FilmOn, it will take more than a few days to find and set up an alternative. It seems, given the recent panic over FilmOn (which, in my view was unjustified and alarmist), that my concern was justified. It is ironic that James Gold is now asking me to advise him about an alternative stream. My answer to James is I am not aware of an alternative that will function on his particular IPTV box (The Genius hybrid box using the Enigma2 plugin).

The MrSkyTV spokeperson has added their voice to concern for those clients who lost FilmOn. I was almost ‘fooled’ into thinking, from the intensity of that concern, that FilmOn was not just dead – but that the lid was on the coffin. Now, I discover (thank you to Paul, James Gold and others) that FilmOn, in its various manifestations on the iPad, Android tablet, iOS, Windows and XBMC, is still alive and kicking and continues to provide its unique mix of live TV channels from around the world. I hasten to point out here that there is no single, free, stream provider out there (AFAIK) that could completely replace FilmOn. Replacing just the UK channels is a different matter. More on that later. Thank you also to Mike and Bill Bullock – the type of precise system detail that they provide is in short supply on this blog.

For the moment, I am more concerned to reflect on the recent “debate” in this blog and to present a conclusion. I am still processing the feedback. I am aware that there are those who are happy to explore the possibilities, including off-the-shelf subscription package solutions, and to receive suggestions on the alternatives. There is no doubt that the majority may well decide on a subscription package – companies such as MrSkyTV should not feel threatened. In fact, MrSkyTV markets VPN hardware, necessary for the alternative DIY solutions, such as Sky OnDemand. The Sky + On Demand sat box is an IPTV box for UK TV catchup. Companies like MrSkyTV are in a win-win situation.

I would recommend to MrSkyTV that, from a public relations perspective, they would do well to invest in netiquette training for their personnel. Shouting at contributors in capitalised text on a public blog will harm their image.


It may surprise MrSkyTV that I do agree with most of the points in their two recent, lengthy emails. The main emphasis in those posts was the “legalities” and advice on purchase.


currently in Spain there are no Laws relating to watching SKY TV or IPTV or ON DEMAND UK TV in Spain, nobody has ever been arrested for watching UK TV

Completely agree and have made the same point already, several times, in this blog. I would go further, no one has been arrested because it is not illegal to watch.

We find it incredibly disconcerting that people use the word “illegal” when referring to UK TV in Spain . . . and . . . so no idea why blogs and Forums always end up with someone using the “illegal” angle

MrSkyTV – think about what I said. I said what I have said before in this blog. Re-broadcasting and re-transmitting copyright material is illegal. Of course, whether that breach is actionable is another matter.

I said:

I believe that it is only the company that re-transmits the IPTV streams that can be prosecuted for breach of copyright

What is “disconcerting” about that? You yourselves do not disagree. If it is illegal then contributors on blogs and forums should be able to say so. I do agree with you, though – I find it disconcerting and irresponsible when those contributors say, carte blanche, all UK TV in Spain is illegal. When I explained, in this blog, that actually there is no reason in law why, for example, you should not watch Freesat TV, one response was – well, it may not be illegal but it is immoral. Now, that was disconcerting.

I explained, in response to your negative and potentially alarmist vibes about FilmOn, the parallel between your doubts about FilmOn and concerns about the viability of those illegal so-called IPTV subscription streams. You must have realised that other readers of this blog would also question the reliability of the subscription streams. It is natural to ask that, if the survival of FilmOn UK TV, with all the resources they have, is threatened, surely the same applies to other streams. You have since addressed that point and, true, some of those streams originate from within the old Soviet bloc and so possibly beyond the reach of EU law.

Maybe someone can explain how these broadcasters receive those UK transmissions in order to re-transmit them over the internet. The normal method is to receive the “Freesat” transmissions by Freesat. That, at the moment, would require a modest sized – maybe a 1.5 metre dish in, for example, the Ukraine. Of course, come the switchover, the Ukraine, as with Southern Spain, could require a 3m dish or greater. I know of a 1.8m dish that does not receive 2F in Kiev. It may not be impossible to re-transmit the streams over the internet – but it will be more difficult to receive the satellite broadcasts from 2E and 2F needed for transmission. Wouldn’t it be ironic if, when the switchover to Astra 2E finally does occur, some of those illegal streams, transmitted from far eastern Europe, fail along with satellite reception in Spain?

Quote from MrSkyTV on the use of FilmOn on XBMC:

You may find that these boxes are far too much hard work to use, even changing channels requires pressing several buttons.

Changing channels on FilmOn (on XBMC) requires one extra button press on the remote. Press the Stop button on the remote – that stops the stream and returns you to the UK Live TV channel list. Then use the remote in the normal way to select the new channel.


December 10th, 2013 9:40 am

Not sure if this is the correct place to ask this question – I have just bought a place in Mijas – it is a holiday home plus we will be renting it out too. Being new to this, I’m fairly ignorant with regards to watching UK TV in Spain however we will certainly want to have a reliable TV available. I don’t have internet at the property yet but I’m sure I will want to have that too. Can anyone give me any advice / recommend what I should do ? Also is there an option where I only pay for the time someone is there as it is only likely to be occupied for 6 to 8 weeks of the year max ??

Christine Bennett

December 10th, 2013 10:09 am

I also have a rental property which I visit twice a year & rent out for approx. 10-15 weeks in the summer. I posted a similar question to you & the replies I have seen haven’t been very positive.
Basically, I think ‘we have got a big problem’.
It seems as though a Broadband connection (+ a phone installation/rental) is essential as a starter. Then we seem to have to buy some sort of ‘receiver box’. Then I think there is some sort of monthly fee on top. If I add all these costs up then it will cost me more than £50 per rental. That is just not economic. People might think that you can just ‘add it onto the rental prices’ but, trust me, I wish it were feasible. Rental prices are about the same as they were 10 years ago & if I tried raising my prices then I’d get even fewer bookings!
Also, from what I have read, the system of streaming TV programmes to your TV will mean a ‘not very good picture’ & it will be very fiddly to operate & change channels. I read this as another big problem as it will mean that probably every one of my holiday tenants will need to call out my managing agents (at £10 a call out) to re-set things.
As I said, it is looking a nightmare.
I’m just going to ‘wait & see’ what channels are left when the big switchover happens (Jan 2014 is the latest guess I believe).
Christine Bennett


December 10th, 2013 10:10 am

The short answer is probably no CPH….

I think you could probably find companies who would give you a holiday or buy the (Filmon versions), or even use Filmon from the iPad/android streamed to your TV, assuming it is still up and running, but whether you would find an internet provider who would offer this service, (i.e. only connected 8-12 weeks a year) I would doubt.

However, that is my gut feeling – perhaps others know something different.


December 10th, 2013 12:49 pm

I suspect you are right Christine, pretty much an essential part of all of this is the Internet, and with, one or two possible exceptions (Filmon) a monthly charge is involved, and the purchase of a box. My question would be, whilst KTV is pretty much required by the majority of ex pats here, is an necessary requirement for UK holiday makers, after all, they would not expect it anywhere in the world would they?

Paul P

December 10th, 2013 1:35 pm

For Colin (CPH1962):


My first advice would be to read the entire blog. I realise that it is very long now and may seem like hard work, but by the time you get down to here, you will have a much better idea of the problems and possible solutions available to you. In the meantime however, here is my summary of how things stand at present:

Unless you have a local cable based re-broadcaster who can supply a UK TV service, you are left with either satellite or a streamed internet service which requires a reliable broadband download speed of at least 2MB. Satellite is not going to be worth considering as most of the programmes you or your renters would be likely to want to watch are about to disappear (probably). Even if you do have access to a cable based system, it is quite likely that the supplier will also lose UK programmes since they may well receive those channels by satellite themselves as they do on my urbanisation.

As you expect to install internet in your property, it would make sense to ensure when you do so that it can support an IPTV stream. There are suppliers who offer a WiFi base internet connection which can be turned on or off on a pay as you go basis, but these systems are not usually suitable for streaming TV as they normally share an ADSL connection and have a download limit imposed by the supplier.

I am aware of one supplier ( provide a high speed WiFi system which may be worth investigating, but I am not sure if a PAYGO option is available.

My advice would be to wait for a few weeks when all will become clear (well, clearer anyway). I wouldn’t advise purchasing any solution until Astra 2E takes over the bulk of the UK channels and you know exactly where you stand.

As Jamie has pointed out, some/many/all of the streams supplied with dedicated IPTV boxes could depend on Freesat broadcasts received on satellite dishes which may be unable to receive the Astra 2E signal, so adopting a wait and see position especially so close to Astra 2E taking over the broadcasts would seem the prudent thing to do.

For Christine:

If you purchase an open source combined IPTV/satellite box for around €125 you do not have to pay any monthly fees and it will be able to provide access to all the satellite channels remaining after the change over as well as free UK IPTV from Filmon and possibly other sources.

You are however, quite correct in that these boxes are more complicated to operate than a typical Freeview/Freesat/Sky box but I have supplied a simple set of instructions to several of my technically challenged neighbours on how to
use the box for what they actually want and they have no problems. Picture quality depends on both the source and your broadband speed. The boxes we have opted for have an option in the plugin which allows better quality for those who have faster download speeds and conversely allows slower speeds for those whose broadband is more limited.

For Bill:

Pleased to see you back. Hope your recovery is quick and painfree.

You asked recently whether I could provide details of the satellite retailer in Portugal where I purchase my GI Genius box and I replied that I was unsure whether that was allowed on here, but since no one has said I can’t, here is the information you asked for. The supplier is and they have just got in stock the latest Linux based Enigma2 combined IPTV and satellite box from Opticum at €139. Stocks seem to be going down quickly! I should point out that I have no connection with the Company other than having purchased several boxes from them for myself and my neighbours. They are most helpful and happy to do cash on delivery for those who prefer it at no extra cost.


December 10th, 2013 2:18 pm

I agree with paul. I have a villa I rent out and most guests do not watch t.v. on holiday. It might be worth getting broadband as many people asked for it last year, so you could charge more for the service. I intend to take out my sky plus box and then be able to access on demand.


December 10th, 2013 4:31 pm

Hi CPH1962

I have addressed a few of the issues for your situation in the post to Christine Bennett: 4th December.

Now that you’ve read a few replies to your question in recent posts you may be better able to interpret the suggestions.

I am inclined to agree with Paul’s comment:

My question would be, whilst UKTV is pretty much required by the majority of ex pats here, is it a necessary requirement for UK holiday makers, after all, they would not expect it anywhere in the world would they?

If they need basic services such a Sky News and maybe a few children’s channels – that should be available after the switchover on an old Sky satellite or equivalent set top box with a fairly small 1m diameter dish.

You could, of course, pay for Sky subscription channels. But do not have any satellite equipment installed until after the switchover. The clear advantage of using a Sky box is that there is a chance that your guests would be familiar with the operation.

With a modern Sky + On Demand box it is possible to watch UK catchup TV – but for that, of course, you need broadband.

However, if you really want to provide paying guests with full UK TV there is really no alternative to paying for broadband – and that would normally mean a fixed telephone line and the monthly rental. You may find that telefonica/movistar will allow you to cancel the payments for periods of non-use, but don’t build your hopes up too much. Others on this blog will be able to advise better than me. I think they may agree to occasional cancellations of about three months only during which you retain the line while it is temporarily disconnected. That may apply just to the telephone line rental and not the broadband service.

That leaves the problem of a contract for internet TV. Your guests would require a pre-configured set-top box, password protected, with no possibility that they would be tempted to play and change the settings. Something similar to the MAG-250 as described by MrSkyTV. The box is set up ready to stream UK TV from a subscription “IPTV” provider. Rental is 15€ per month.


December 10th, 2013 5:15 pm

To CPH1962

As a follow up to my last post, it may be possible that some “IPTV” subscription providers will allow you to pay for the source of UK TV streams (called the portal) on a monthly basis. I read something about that recently. That, I guess, would mean that, while you would have to pay regularly for the telephone line and broadband, it may be possible to pick and choose the months that you pay the 15€ for the portal.

Have just read the previous two posts (Linda and Paul P) and agree with all their points.

To Paul P:

concerning BB4S, sadly they do not provide PAYG but you can cancel for up to six months and then resume. As I recall, you do not pay for the broadband antenna/router/installation.

I have a friend who uses their system with a dedicated, small desktop PC as his HTPC (home theatre PC) connected to a very large TV screen. A big plus with BB4S is that the 30€ per month pays for the broadband and two UK IP addresses. So, you can have XBMC running on the PC for all your TV viewing, sourcing e.g. iPlayer and itvPlayer for live and catchup and FilmOn for live TV, or you can watch through the websites – and access BBC/ITV/FilmOn direct.

What we don’t know, but this applies to all broadband, is to what extent the speed could drop through contention issues given the sudden increase in demand for high speed streaming after the switch over. I believe the owner of BB4S capped his client base during the summer to reduce the impact on broadband speed.


December 10th, 2013 5:50 pm

Also Astra2tv ( allow you to pay monthly inasmuch as there is no contract per se so you simply stop paying and start again when you come back. Their rate are €18 per month plus about €185 for the box. I have seen this System demonstrated and I have to say it is very good and very easy (like changing channels on a normal tv). Probably my system of choice.


December 10th, 2013 7:31 pm

they have also confirmed that they will allow someone that already has a MAG-250 to move over to the service that they supply and provide the new software (flashing image) they charge a “one off” connection fee of €45

I like it. Mike – an early Christmas present for you!


December 10th, 2013 9:40 pm

You also seem to love “inverted commas” mysky

Maybe those on the other forum should be referred to this one


December 11th, 2013 9:54 am

Nice point about switching my Mag-250 over Jamie, but I’m not paying 15 euros a month to anyone for re-broadcasting. If the Mag-260 supports flash, and the manufacturers themselves say it will (they know that everyone here wants to get UK TV) – if it does, then I can’t see how there will be a need for re-broadcasters. You would just need a Mag-260 and a programmed VPN router and you’re away. All the free players for free! Fingers crossed. Hope the scaremongering re-broadcasters lose their money.

Question: is an “open” IPTV set-top box one which also hides your IP? I wonder if the Mag-260 might also be able to do this.

As for me, I’m cancelling my Sky subscription and taking out another one at a family member’s address in the UK (50-75% off for a year). My internet speed is now 60MB on wifi and more on cable so no problem there for catchup. I’m going to get a router off Ebay with DD-WRT already on it (needed to allow it to hire your VPN, apparently). For live TV from channels I can’t get after the switchover (the World Cup when it starts) I’ll wait for the Mag-260.

I’ve been checking VPN providers and Cactus VPN are only 4 euros a month. They’ve sent me a tutorial on how to programme the DD-WRT enabled router. If that seems easy enough, then I think that’s me done. I’ll report back.

No-one’s mentioned about some of the new BBC HD channels not being available. I can get BBC3 HD and CBBC HD on the same channel numbers as before. Can’t get BBC4HD or BBC News HD or CBeebies HD at all, but I can get the old SD channels in their new place.

This seems odd to me. 3 of the 5 ‘new’ HD channels must have gone on 2F, but the older versions (plus two of the new HD channels) have stayed on 2N (or whatever the old one was) or have gone to the pan-European beam on the 2F satellite (unlikely). Surely if a big switch over was going to come in the new few weeks, they would wait and switch them all over? Could this be a sign that we might lose some BBC channels but not necessarily all of them? If we’re going to lose all of them, it would mean BBC4 SD for example, changing now then changing again within a month. Possible I suppose. Maybe it’s part of testing it out.

Oh conjecture conjecture. Switch it off straight after Christmas and put us all out of our misery….!


December 11th, 2013 10:50 am

Mag-250 Set-top Box

This box has generated some interest on this blog. This post is really aimed at Mike et al who can source a box at a low price or already have one and are wondering what to do with it. Maybe sell it on ebay ;)

See this forum:


It is a typical forum – lots of repetition. The focus, it seems, is streaming football onto the box in the UK. The links takes you to page 4 of about 11 pages. It is a bit on the technical side. I have read only a few pages. The implication is that you can independently source a paid for portal. Think of it as background reading – I don’t think you’ll get instant solutions.

As of today the 2E has still not moved.


December 11th, 2013 2:26 pm

To Mike

Have just seen your post. The Olive Press seems to be behind today.

You said:

I’ve been checking VPN providers and Cactus VPN are only 4 euros a month. They’ve sent me a tutorial on how to programme the DD-WRT enabled router. If that seems easy enough, then I think that’s me done. I’ll report back.

Good! I knew you’d get there eventually.

Where are you getting the router? Those details I sent about the Linksys E1200 included a source in the US pre-configured with dd-wrt. The price including postage from the US via Ebay: £45.

I’m not suggesting you buy from US (although you could) but the price gives you a benchmark.

A suggestion: ask your prospective VPN provider will their VPN currently work with TVCatchup – I imagine you know about TVCatchup. They are very keen to blacklist UK IPs once they can link the IP to a VPN provider. Once you have a system that works it is best not to advertise which VPN you used – because of the problem of blacklisting.

Another suggestion: you may wish to check, with the Ebay seller, which version of dd-wrt firmware they have installed – and check that that firmware does support OpenVPN or whichever VPN you plan to use. The VPN provider should be able to advise on that.

Good luck!

Paul P

December 11th, 2013 5:37 pm

The following has just appeared on the Astra 2E forum. I can’t vouch for its authenticity but it sounds pukka.

Astra 2E is delayed until February 2014.

“As part of SES’ ongoing fleet renewal programme, we will be transferring all the UK Spot Beam transponders currently operating on ASTRA 1N across to ASTRA 2E. This move at the 28.2/28.5ºEast orbital location will take place over several weeks beginning early February 2014. The transfer will have no adverse implications for viewers in the UK and Ireland as the affected channels will continue to operate on the same frequencies and will be broadcast at the same, or slightly improved power levels, across the UK and Ireland. TV viewers outside the UK and Ireland may see an impact and may not be able to receive channels from ASTRA 2E UK Spot Beam, which has a smaller footprint than ASTRA 1N. The new footprint on SES’ replacement fleet has been designed to meet the requirements of UK and Irish broadcasters who target their channels for distribution in the UK and/or Ireland. UK and Irish broadcasters hold broadcasting rights only for the UK and/or Ireland but not for other countries.”


December 11th, 2013 6:37 pm

Paul P: if that is pukka that us good news for owners who will at least carry on regardless for the next 2 or 3 months. Perhaps we can get some clarification – Jamie??

Paul P

December 11th, 2013 6:55 pm

The source is an SES statement on Facebook


December 11th, 2013 7:12 pm

Well spotted, Paul P.

A longer reprieve than expected and an early Christmas present for the Brits on the Costas.


December 12th, 2013 11:10 am

And the Bird has still not Flown

It seems that this is the first time that there’s been an official date announcement about the start of broadcast operations of a satellite, even before any official statement from Astrium that the successful testing of the satellite has been completed and that the transit of the satellite to its operational position has begun. The 2E is still in its testing orbit.

Interesting, also, that the SES statement focused solely on the UK beam, supporting the view that the announcement is, in part, a response to all the interest and requests for clarification from the UK TV watching public. It could be that the UK TV broadcasters themselves have voiced concern and prompted the announcement. The statement may have been prompted by increasing rumours that there was a problem with the 2E. We shall, of course, probably never know the reasons – but this announcement does appear to have created a precedent.

It certainly appears that SES did feel under some “obligation”.

Interesting to note that the SES announcement emphasises the reduced footprint and that “UK and Irish broadcasters hold broadcasting rights only for the UK and/or Ireland but not for other countries” whereas the BBC blog (Alix Pryde) focused on the benefit of the increased signal strength in the UK.


December 12th, 2013 11:24 am

Bloody hell. The phoney war continues…..

Bill Bullock

December 12th, 2013 11:40 am

Yes but the 6 Nations Rugby starts in February! Can’t miss that.


December 12th, 2013 12:09 pm

Shouldnt that be the ‘telly war’ > i wasnt aware of a problem with the phones ;)


December 12th, 2013 12:58 pm

Ray, pity there isn’t a ‘like’ button on these blogs.

Phoney War – I like it!

Bill Bullock

December 12th, 2013 5:40 pm

Has anyone tried using Zattoo?

They seem to be a big player in TV streaming and get a reasonable review on . BBC and ITV are in the list of TV cahannels. The trouble is their service is not available in Portugal yet so I can’t trial it. I cannot contact the company in Switzerland to ask them when they will be streaming to the Iberian peninsular and tempting thousands of British expats: emails are not getting through. I suppose I could bight the bullet and telephone them but they might keep me on hold for ages, only to say eventually that they do not service my area yet.

Bill Bullock

December 12th, 2013 10:55 pm

Thanks MrSkyTV.

It’s definitely not available in Portugal yet. I suppose everyone thinks we are a bit primitive here. Jo Chambers has an article on Zattoo in “” if you are interested.



December 13th, 2013 4:14 pm

Alright, so FilmOn may vanish – but then again so could any re-broadcast service. It happened before with Telmicro on the Costa Blanca – and if Smartsat is the same Adam Smart from Smartsat in Barcelona, then he also did a runner from there leaving many high and dry (my apologies to SmartSat if this is not the case, but maybe people should check first).

Any reception of UK TV here is exploiting loopholes. Be they technical, geographical or political – you run the risk of being cut off. How you go about it makes this risk more or less substantial. I think re-broadcasting has to be the greyest area there is…and it was recently officially proclaimed illegal in EU courts.

Mag260, VPN & programmed router and you’re away by Feb all being well. Unless you pay Sky I think your best bet is definitely to wait.


December 13th, 2013 5:23 pm

I’m with you there mike.

All the get rich quick merchants will undoubtedly start spouting eloquent now about the big shut down in February, so buy your box now at €169 because it will be €250 after February. I feel sorry for all the people who bought their boxes last May when the mantra was exactly the same – Only the months had changed.

So do nothing until something happens. When it happens. H If it happens.


December 13th, 2013 9:15 pm

Mike said:

Alright, so FilmOn may vanish – but then again so could any re-broadcast service

To Mike:

Your comment helps put the switchover back in perspective. This blog is about alternatives to satellite TV in those areas that will be affected. FilmOn is one alternative and whilst FilmOn is still able to stream UK TV, it is a very good alternative. Long may it continue.

During the last week you would think that the “Big Switch off” in Spain is about the “switch off” of FilmOn and not the “switch off” of UK Sat TV.

The question remains “What are the alternatives to Freesat for live reception?” That should be the focus. Let’s forget catchup for the moment.

Let’s be realistic. Many of those affected will be happy to receive a subset of the Freesat channels. I’d be interested to hear what others think. My Choice would be:

BBC 1, 2, 3, 4 and BBC News.
ITV 1.
I can live without the +1 channels.
Channel 4 – just for the news.

We could spend the next four weeks arguing the fine detail.

So, what are the internet alternatives that are “freely” available?

iPlayer for the BBC live broadcasts.

itvPlayer for itv 1, 2, 3 and 4

Channel 4 Watch Live for 4, 4seven, E4, more4, film4

If you prefer to have the above channels collected together for free by one provider, there is TVCatchup. TVCatchup does not include ITV2, 3 or 4.

Oh! and don’t forget FilmOn. Don’t write it off just yet. Of course, for the higher definition version of FilmOn, there is a monthly fee.

All these alternatives have been mentioned many times on this blog. It may help to have them listed in one post.

Bill Bullock

December 14th, 2013 11:13 am

I’m with you Jamie. We obviously have similar tastes. I think the best programmmes are on BBC 1 & 2. Downton Abbey is about the only programme we watch on ITV1. Channel 4 news is good but I like to watch Euronews now that I have moved away from the UK; you get more of what is going in in Europe obviously.

I haven’t managed to fool TVCatchup yet that I am not outside the UK. SmartyDNS (my extended free trial is now over) and tunlr DNS values do not do the trick. I suppose I will have to try a VPN soon. Overplay has been recommended somewhere else. Has anyone tried it?


December 14th, 2013 5:14 pm

I watch filmon and I would hate to lose it. There is no ip blocking. When in England I sometimes watch iplayer. In Spain iplayer is blocked. Are there any alternatives that are not blocked?


December 14th, 2013 8:32 pm

1. Why is BBC1 available in Australia?

It isn’t. People there get BBC World News (as they do elsewhere in the world) as well as UKTV, which shows entertainment programming from the BBC and ITV – it’s similar to BBC Entertainment, the successor to BBC Prime.

2. Why is ITV available in Thailand?

It’s ITV Choice, a different channel from ITV in the UK, showing different programmes for rights reasons, just as BBC Entertainment shows different programmes from BBC One.

The Irish, Belgians and Dutch do get the UK domestic TV channels, but that’s because the terrestrial signal has spilled over from the UK. The Swiss get them as well, the BBC did take legal action in the Swiss courts, but they lost. However, they also pay BBC Worldwide to carry BBC World News and BBC Entertainment.

Spanish satellite, cable and IPTV services carry BBC World News, but none carry BBC Entertainment – perhaps they assume that British expatriates will make their own arrangements. That said, a version of BBC Entertainment is available in Latin America, with Spanish subtitles.

The only people in the rest of the world who can watch BBC One, BBC Two and ITV are members of the British forces, who can watch them courtesy of BFBS – and civilians in the Falkland Islands, who watch them timeshifted. BFBS TV’s available in Ministry of Defence properties in Gibraltar, but doubt that the MoD will allow anyone else on the Rock to watch it, even though GBC is hardly in a position to compete.


December 14th, 2013 11:59 pm

With all due respect – parties are losing the plot again. The business of receiving bbc etc in Thailand or Australia or timbuctoo is completely irrelevant and in any case if I read it right it is not a direct broadcast as I t presently is in Spain, which I believe is the point calpense was making.
What us happening is that the bbc and other channels are changing their way of broadcasting the signal – something they have every right to do as they are not obligated to provide tv to spain or anywhere except the uk. This blog is about ways of still receiving this signal and that is all.


December 15th, 2013 11:05 am

To “ex old bill”
For your information I gave a sky +HD wifi box and a Linksys uk VPN router connected. This gives me all the sky channels plus all the sky catchup and on demand programs. I also have an iPad and Mac connected to the tv via Apple TV which gives me filmon. But my point was that there is no obligation for bbc to transmit to Spain. As Jamie gas said there are ways and means if still reviving the signal – there are also a plethora of companies out there selling IPTV and other boxes.

Bill Bullock

December 15th, 2013 11:45 am


To answer some of your questions, you first of all need a good internet connection. Then, if you want to receive some of the UK TV channels for FREE, you need to use a free DNS service like the one I use to hide the fact that you are not in the UK. There are a few tweeks to make but they are not beyond most intelligent people.

I have dedicate a tweeked laptop to watching UK TV live and to downloading programmes to watch later. The laptop sits next to my TV and is connected to it with an HDMI cable. I don’t need to use it yet as we still have Freesat until February hopefully. However, when I miss a programme I should have at least recorded on my Panasonic box but didn’t because I forgot, I find it on BBC iPlayer and dowmload it. It plays back in very good quality and with no buffering of course.

The better your internet connection, the better the reception of course, so get that part sorted first of all. Then if you later invest in something like an IPTV box (my Blade Mag-250 is very good) for more convenience (an EPG and more available channels), your good broadband speed will have been a good investment too.

Bill (in Portugal)


December 15th, 2013 12:22 pm

Chris said:

I watch filmon and I would hate to lose it. There is no ip blocking. When in England I sometimes watch iplayer. In Spain iplayer is blocked. Are there any alternatives that are not blocked?

Hi Chris.

A good point.

I presume you are asking about free streams. As far as I know FilmOn is the only source of free UK TV streams that is not blocked. Although FilmOn has blocked UK TV at least once previously, back in March this year. See:


It could be that FilmOn will resort to UK TV blocking again, as part of a strategy to avoid the shut down of their UK TV streams.

You probably know that there is no ideal solution and so, if one wants free TV, then one has to compromise.

Yes, iPlayer is blocked – but, on the plus side, iPlayer streams in SD and HD for free whereas, with FilmOn, you pay about £14 per month for their version of HD (more like SD).

For iPlayer outside the UK you need a proxy or smart DNS or a VPN to unblock the stream. An unblocking service typically costs about 5€ per month.

I think the best free alternative to live UK “Freesat” TV, and the alternative that is most similar to FilmOn, is TVCatchup. As is the case with FilmOn, TVCatchup re-broadcasts the main Freesat channels itself and so provides a uniform user interface for selecting chanels. TVC calls this a “one stop shop” for UK TV. What I particularly like about TVC is the electronic programme guide (EPG). It makes selecting and changing channels very easy.


December 15th, 2013 6:51 pm

I was surprised to see general criticism of posters to this blog on the grounds that they contribute very little. Most of those who post ask for help and are not in a position to contribute.

I was particularly surprised to see criticism of Paul. He has explained his internet hardware several times. One of the important components of an internet TV solution is a proxy or a VPN. Paul is the first one, in fact the only one, on this blog who has independently sourced a reasonably priced router suitable for a VPN, provided the details, had the router installed and reported back here how it provides Sky + On Demand channels.

Paul stated: “This blog is about ways of still receiving this signal and that is all” I guess he meant ‘ways of still receiving UK TV’. So, agreed, that was a bit confusing.

What was really confusing was the sudden, out of context, post from ‘calpense’ – for a first post and in the form of answers to questions that nobody had asked, it seemed as though calpense was posting to the wrong blog. What was even more surprising was that anyone bothered to reply.


December 15th, 2013 8:16 pm

Thank you Jamie


December 15th, 2013 9:09 pm

Odg. Filmon cheapest solution. Free and with a 75£ apple v box via TV – good.
Old billy – remember that if you “share” an Internet connection, that connection speed must be at least 4-6 Mbps and even then may (may) be problematic.


December 15th, 2013 10:50 pm

Hi Paula

Why are you looking for an alternative? Can you no longer access FilmOn or are you happy with FilmOn and wanting two low cost boxes to run it?

Do you have an iPhone or iPad or Android table or phone?

Some options have been discussed on here in the last week.

Also, take a look at this blog:



December 16th, 2013 12:25 am

Long conversation.

Bill Bullock

December 17th, 2013 11:37 am


One of my Sky boxes broke down last week and so I have been using my Smart TV box in the bedroom to watch the BBC news on Filmon. I get a download speed of around 5 Mbps at the Android box. The picture quality is very acceptable on my 22 inch Samsung TV so I should really be quite happy. Except that every now and then, the service stops and I have to restart Filmon from scratch. Also, Filmon occasionally stops with the message that my HD trial has ended. As I have not been watching in HD, this is very annoying.

All in all, I am not over excited about Filmon. I want a service that does not stop mysteriously for no good reason. I can just about put up with the same boring advert every time I select a channel but I also want an uninterrupted viewing of a programme.

Paul P

December 17th, 2013 12:26 pm


There are no adverts on Filmon through my GI Genius box. The Filmon plugin installed on the box strips the adverts and the stream is pretty reliable (so far).

Bill Bullock

December 17th, 2013 6:06 pm

Paul P:

The only Filmon apps for Android I can find are on Google Play. I have downloaded them all and they all have adverts when you select a TV channel. I don’t know where you got a plugin for Filmon.

Can anyone else throw any light on this?

Paul P

December 17th, 2013 7:23 pm


The GI Genius box is a Linux based system with an Enigma 2 image and an ad-free Filmon plugin, not an Android system. You asked a while ago about these boxes from a dealer in Portugal which you thought your friends and neighbours might be intersted in. I provided the contact details on 10th December.

Hope this helps.


December 17th, 2013 7:49 pm

I have filmon on my iPad, Mac, and iPhones (obviously the IOS version). And, whilst I hardly use it at the moment, I have been playing with it a bit, and notice, that an initial advert comes up when I change channels, but you can skip this by clicking the skip box. It immediately disappears and the selected channel kicks in. I stream it to my TV via the Apple TV box, and it works perfectly – picture quality superb, and there is even a record facility, which can cope with up to 4 days in advance, on any channel.

I have to say, that if we can live with the lag between channels it may be the way forward, with sky catch up and on demand as a backup. We shall see, but I have no problem with it.


December 17th, 2013 9:23 pm

Hi Bill

This whole business of FilmOn and the apps/addons can be confusing, as was illustrated by some of the discussion here about the future of FilmOn itself over the last few weeks.

If a FilmOn app or addon stops working you cannot assume that FilmOn no longer works. To check if FilmOn is still working, go to their website and try the web version of their UK TV.

The Google apps are normally 3rd party applications. The same is true of the addons (plugins). FilmOn is not responsible for those plugins.

A few weeks ago it was reported that FilmOn was not working. The post from the MrSkyTV business stated:

at present Filmon is not available on the Android platform and has not been available via TSMEDIA for 5 days! Hundreds of very upset clients calling a certain wholesaler that was selling these!

One set-top box (perhaps the only box) that runs the TSMedia plugin is the GI Genius box, as sold by MrSkyTV. I imagine that clients, including their clients, were very upset at the time. But it is the 3rd party supplier of the plugin whose plugin has failed, although they cannot necessarily be held responsible. The owner of the box needs to be aware that a plugin may fail to stream and that you may need to wait for an alternative plugin to be available.

I note from Paul P’s post and a much earlier post from James Gold that an updated plugin has fixed FilmOn on the GI Genius.

Bill said:

The only Filmon apps for Android I can find are on Google Play. I have downloaded them all and they all have adverts when you select a TV channel. I don’t know where you got a plugin for Filmon.

A Google app must not be confused with a plugin or addon. They are different systems. A Google app is designed for an Android. A plugin is designed, for example, for the GI Genius box and for XBMC.

Yes – Google FilmOn apps generally show adverts.

Bill said:

Also, Filmon occasionally stops with the message that my HD trial has ended. As I have not been watching in HD, this is very annoying

I think you know that the normal behaviour for FilmOn on an Android is to stream HD for about 30secs, then the stream stops with a message about switching to SD. I mentioned that to you in November:

If the interface works as it normally does, you’ll first get about 30seconds of HD when the stream starts

So, unless what you describe above is the standard 30sec HD followed by the prompt to subscribe – then it does seem there is a problem with your app or the Android box.

It is likely, given that you have tried all the Google FilmOn apps, that the only way you will get advert free FilmOn with your current hardware is to install XBMC on your Windows7 machine.


December 18th, 2013 11:33 am


Thank you for your reply. A blocked filmon is better than no filmon. I understand that we are all going to have to compromise. I am happy to have filmon to get me through the weeks after the switch off and to take it from there. If filmon goes then I will try a free trial of a vpn or smarty dns for a week and consider my options. Have you any advice about that?

TVcatchup looks good. I am in England for xmas and so will try it out. I have an ipad but I am thinking of a dedicated iptv box for a more permanent solution. Perhaps an android box.


Thank you. From your description hola is used with a web browser. That will be ok on my laptop. Will hola work on an iptv box?

Bill Bullock

December 18th, 2013 11:44 am


Thank you all for your responses. It looks as though I will have to put up with the monotonous advert on Filmon as there is no facility to switch off adverts on the Android apps. As I already have an Android Smart TV box and a Google Nexus 7 tablet, I don’t intend to buy another type of computer for watching Filmon. Amazingly, the silly message about HD and the unexplained interruptions have not occurred again since I complained on this thread. Must be a good place to complain!

Bill Bullock

December 18th, 2013 12:10 pm


I have tried TVCatchup from Portugal with many Smart DNS services and with a few VPN trials. TVCatchup detects that I am not in the UK every time. When I emailed the VPN providers, they admitted that TVCatchup was too smart for them and was actively detecting VPNs. Best of luck if you still want to try TVCatchup. It’s a pity because it looks like a good way of getting to the best TV channels quickly.

Having played around with Android, on a Smart TV box and on a Google Nexus 7 tablet, I have concluded that a Windows 7 computer connected to a TV is easier if you want to stream live TV or download a programme to watch later. My Smart TV box does not fill a 22 inch TV screen either, so the picture would look stupid on the big TV in the sitting room. The tablet does not connect to a TV and is therefore best used in the mobile situation or when lying in a hospital bed!

I would recommend an IPTV box, such as the Blade MAG-250, and a managed TV streaming service from a reputable dealer like MrSkyTV in Spain or Marc Electronica in the Algarve. They have been providing a satellite TV service in the Iberian peninsular for many years and intend to stay in business by providing the alternative TV service when the big switch off happens.


December 19th, 2013 10:53 am

Hi Chris

I am happy to have filmon to get me through the weeks after the switch off

I think that is the best strategy. Anyone who is already geared up to use FilmOn is already prepared for the switchover and the possible switch off in February. There are no guarantees but it seems very unlikely that UK FilmOn itself (I don’t mean a 3rd party app or addon) will be shut down by February.

A free trial of an unblocking service is a good stop-gap in the event that FilmOn does close at some point. It will also provide breathing space if you need to source another FilmOn app or addon. A smart DNS or a proxy is easier to set up than a VPN and will provide access to iPlayer and itvPlayer live and catchup.

As Bill has pointed out, TVCatchup (TVC) is a harder nut. A smart DNS or a proxy will not work and TVCatchup is vigilant about unblocking. Their main, maybe their only, strategy is to monitor multiple concurrent users at the same UK IP address. So, AFAIK, TVCatchup does not “actively detect VPNs”. FilmOn simply assume that multiple users on the same IP are attempting to unblock the streams – even if they are not. FilmOn then blacklists that IP. You therefore need a UK IP shared by just a few users or, better still, unique to a single user.

At least one broadband provider in the Malaga region (BB4S) provides a unique IP (BB4S calls it a proxy). See:


Of course, if one already has broadband via landline then one may not wish to change provider. I know of a neighbour who has switched and has had the landline removed.

Extract from the BB4S site:

Question: Can I use BBC Iplayer, ITV player etc?
Answer: Generally these services are blocked to users that are outside of the United Kingdom (using a non-UK IP address). However it is possible to access these services if you use a “UK proxy service”, such services are available to buy on the Internet for around €10/month. bb4s provides a free proxy server for all of our customers.
Using the bb4s proxy you can currently access live BBC and ITV channels FREE for example: “”

Note the answer states you can currently access live BBC and ITV channels FREE for example: “”

Anyone thinking of using BB4S is advised to verify the above if they want to use TVC. For the 30€ per month fee, BB4S includes a telephone. They state:

Our BB4S phone uses your broadband Antenna to provide a telephone service that works just like an ordinary landline.

Free installation
Free Calls to regular and International Landlines
Low cost calls to Mobiles (Cheaper than Skype)
Free UK 0844 local rate number
Clear & reliable call quality
Regular monthly statement and billing

You can see that the most reliable way to unblock TVC is to have a UK IP address shared by just a few. Try a Google search for a VPN on “unique UK IP VPN” without the quotes.
Ignore the ads in the hits list.

Streaming from iPad Direct to your TV

You probably do not want to use your iPad as a set-top box. However, the iPad can stream wirelessly to an Apple TV box connected to the TV (explained by Paul). The streaming uses ‘Airplay’, which is supported by the Apple TV box.

XBMC also supports Airplay. The cheapest way to stream from an iPad to your TV is XBMC running on the Raspberry Pi (about £45).

See this video:


When the video starts just let it run (after stopping the ad). Don’t be tempted to click the video on how to set up XBMC – labelled “RaspbMC (XBMC) Setup” – the method he describes is a bit too technical.

Given that you are in the UK over Christmas then you may be interested in getting a Raspberry Pi. A good alternative to an Android box. Very good for iPlayer catchup. The FilmOn addon is advert free. Worth the money just for Airplay. See this link for the detail on how to set up XBMC on a Raspberry Pi:



December 20th, 2013 3:09 pm


Thank you for all that information.

I like the idea of streaming from the ipad.

@Bill Bullock

Thank you. I will see how I get on with filmon and the other free options. I am not sure about a managed service. I don’t know how reliable those streams are.


December 20th, 2013 6:13 pm

I have to say that everything I have seen and read about raspberry pi, backs up what Mr Sky says. It does look extremely tricky from the videos I have watched, and I (also a fairly technically minded 66 year old, having programmed computers since 1963) would not be happy trying it!!

I am happy with the Sky+ Catchup and iPad/apple TV for filmon at the moment, and will probably go with the Astra2TV system, which is the best I have seen, when the changeover happens.

But, and a big but, wait until February to see if anything actually happens, as we have been down this road so many times now.

Happy Christmas everyone.


December 25th, 2013 9:24 pm

Excellent post Mr Skytv

We had been considering the rasberry but after reading the above and making a few yahoo searches, have decided to get the mag box instead as we do not want to rely on 3rd party unknown people for plugsin.

We wondered why Jameston Bradley was spending so much time on this Blog it now appears that it was to promote the rasberry pi, we also noted the lack of response to several people that asked what would happen if the filmon got shut down.

We will be in Sotogrande from January 5th please get in touch, I sent you an email.

Enjoy the holidays

Merry Xmas


Paul P.

December 30th, 2013 11:05 am

Good morning. I hope you all had a good Christmas.

Hilary said, “we have decided to get the mag box instead as we do not want to rely on 3rd party unknown people for plugins.”

The problem is that you would still be relying on unknown 3rd parties to supply the stream used by these boxes and the suppliers are just as likely to disappear (if not more so) than Filmon who have massive resources.

The source of proprietary streams used by the Mag 250 and similar systems will be rigorously pursued and shut down by the broadcasters if they originate from within the UK and if they are received on satellite systems in Europe they may not survive the shut down themselves.

Mag 250 boxes are normally supplied flashed with firmware specific to one stream supplier and although MrSkyTv has mentioned they have sourced a supplier who will allow existing owners of Mag 250 boxes to connect to their service for a fee, most suppliers will not do this as they want to make a killing on the sale of the Mag 250 which can be purchased for a fraction of the price they charge. There is also no more guarantee that a second source will be any more reliable than the first.

MrSkytv have supplied a lot of useful information but it should be born in mind that they are a business with a vested interest and their information and advice should be considered in this light.

I think too much is made of the possibility or even probability that Filmon will be closed down. There is no current evidence to support this. The truth is that no one really knows how reliable any of these sources are going to be, especially when they come under the intense demand placed on their resources by many thousands of expats connecting to their servers.

My advice would be to wait until after the shut down has occurred and then see who is able to supply a reliable service, or if the idea of being without UK TV for even a short time is unacceptable, to buy a cheap Linux based combined satellite/IPTV system with access to Filmon and UK catchup services for around €125. I would be reluctant to pay an inflated price for a box locked to a stream which also has a monthly fee until I was certain it would survive the change over.

Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy and UK TV filled 2014.


December 30th, 2013 11:41 am

Just had a scroll through what is probably the longest thread ever seen on Olive Press, and regardless of all the advice on here (some good, some rather vested), my own approach remains unchanged from what it was all those months ago when this topic first kicked off. That is : “Wait and see”. The switch-off now looks as though it won’t happen until mid-February at the earliest, so I’m pleased I didn’t jump onto the first band-wagon that came along. In my case, with an excellent download speed and unlimited download limit, a VPN still looks like the best bet, although what the impact of potentially tens of thousands of ex-pats all competing for the same data streams will be remains to be seen. Interesting times ahead…


December 30th, 2013 1:07 pm

Fact is that you don’t need a IPTV, since there are satellite solutions already available that broadcast all the main UK channels. Ironic too that it has been available for years. Strange that noone on here mentioned that lol.

The thread can be closed btw, OP.

Bill Bullock

December 30th, 2013 1:28 pm


Please explain what these satellite solutions are.


December 30th, 2013 1:49 pm

I agree with everything you say Paul P – wait and see


December 30th, 2013 3:20 pm

Bill, I just asked my local satguy and they came up with an existing satellite solution that gives me just the core UK channels (no frills you appreciate). It is immune to the switch off as it’s coming from a different source. No subscription either, although it may need a card update once in a while, so no different from my old free-to-air Sky box in that respect.

I’ve found IPTV ok for Netflix, BlinkBox and LoveFilm (no VPN needed for any of those note) but it’s far from reliable. Buffering and internet outages are commonplace and of course streaming providers are always finding ways to stop UK users, even by blocking whole VPN ranges. Nothing is perfect at the end of the day, but if you can find a satellite solution to watching UKTV, use that is my advice.

Anyway, no big switch off here :)


December 30th, 2013 4:07 pm

Fred are you talking network broadcasting system here – coming from a line of view mast and working in a similar way to sky – being received by a box and encrypted card.


December 30th, 2013 4:32 pm

@Fred. So what is this mysterious ‘existing satellite solution’, which is ‘free’, and gives you ‘just the core UK channels’. And if there is such a solution, what is all the on-going discussion about? Details, please. Yours in optimistic expectation etc….
P.S. I think this is a wind-up. ;-)


December 30th, 2013 4:38 pm

I’ve found a solution, over the holidays I purchased a second hand Russian ICBM on e bay. On the 26th December I shot down the new satellite so you should all be OK for another couple of years, which is more than I can say for me as I have gone completely ga ga and the nice men in white coats are coming to take me away.

For the love of god people the second world war got less coverage. You’ll either have UK TV or you won’t, what I will tell you is if you don’t have it you’ll still wake up the next day (God willing) and start watching Spanish TV and wondering what all the fuss was about.

Bill Bullock

December 30th, 2013 4:59 pm


What is your location please? The satellite TV dealers in the Algarve certainly don’t seem to have this solution.


You obviously don’t appreciate good TV or watch Six Nations Rugby!


December 30th, 2013 6:36 pm

I think Fred may be referring to the BBC backup satellite that’s been mentioned a few times on here. The channels are BISS encrypted.

See my post on June 4th.


December 30th, 2013 8:43 pm

It may be the BISS system as the channel list seems similar. So far it has been fine, but nothing is guaranteed of course. I’m sure that dedicated masts will eventually bring the TV in, they are doing that in Nueva Andalucia already.

Bill Bullock

December 31st, 2013 3:43 pm

As I see it, the BBC backup system on Intelsat 907 is not going to be a substitute for the Freesat system we get now.


December 31st, 2013 4:03 pm

Hardly surprisingly this has ballooned into a massive topic since I first saw it and posted the optimistic ‘wait and see’ attitude along with others!

What has been said raises a few questions, so, briefly:

If all these IPTV providers have sprung up and a lot of people subscribe to them, is the internet infrastructure going to cope? It’s OK for a load of expats to browse, send emails and make the odd call on Skype, but everyone simultaneously sitting down to an evening of IPTV is quite another thing.

Does anyone know if the HD equivalent channels for the channels which are to be lost, i.e. BBC 1/2/3/4 HD, ITV 1/2/3/4 HD etc etc are part of the Sky package as someone mentioned regarding Channel5 HD and therefore not disappearing if you pay for Sky? If so surely the best option is to pay for a Sky HD package and just carry on with the same dish, rather than paying for ‘dubious’ re-broadcasters using IPTV?

Rather than paying for a VPN to hide your Spanish/Portuguese IP address or using some other kind of unblocker, why not use another ISP such as Tooway Satellite? Admittedly unlimited internet is rather expensive via this service but you get a genuine UK IP address and with the money you save by not paying for Sky, not paying for a VPN and/or not paying for an IPTV re-broadcaster you could pay for the extra cost of unlimited Tooway over and above the cost of your current internet. You would also avoid the overloading of the Telefonica core system I mentioned in point 1. With a UK IP address you can just watch everything free on the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4onDemand, Demand 5 etc and in many cases just use a smart TV or a smart Blu-Ray player to connect it to your normal TV and watch in the normal way with a normal remote control.

If you really want free TV the alternative satellite system Fred and Jamie mentioned does work. To hedge my bets I invested £129 in a generic HD satellite receiver and pointed a spare 90cm dish at 27.5 degrees west and with the appropriate BISS code can now watch: BBC1, 2, 3, 4, CBBC, CBeebies, News Parliament, BBC1 HD, BBC2 HD, BBC3 HD, ITV1 HD, Channel 4 HD, CBBC HD BBC1 London, BBC1 Wales, BBC1 Scotland, BBC1 NI plus all the national BBC Radio channels. They do change the BISS codes from time to time but so far I have updated them twice with no problem.

Incidentally does anyone know if the radio channels currently on Astra will move to the pan-European beam or the UK beam on the new satellites? They are not geo-blocked on the iPlayer so hopefully there is no reason why they shouldn’t remain on the pan-European beam.

Happy new year!


January 1st, 2014 11:56 am

Hi Rob

If all these IPTV providers have sprung up and a lot of people subscribe to them, is the internet infrastructure going to cope?

I think that’s the big unknown. I guess the answer, in part, depends on the current demand on the infrastructure made by the younger generation in Spain. If they routinely use Androids and other PCs to stream audio and video on a large scale then maybe the impact of the extra loading following a UK sat switch off will not be so great as you might expect. Maybe there could be bottlenecks depending on the sources of the UK TV streams, which could present problems even though you have fibre broadband. Most of the journey from the streaming server to your home is via cable which, for streams from the UK to mainland Europe, means submarine cable. Then there is the problem of extra loading on the streaming servers. This is really a question for a telecoms specialist.

Sadly, the BBC radio channels will be on the UK spot beam.

Yes, the BBC backup sat does work – I tested with a 60cm dish in the UK and a 90cm dish in Andalucia. It is advisable to consult with a sat dish installer for UK TV – who should advise you about the possible limited time-frame. Even if the encryption is not strengthened, which would make reception impossible, the satellite itself comes to the end of its life in 2 to 3 years.

Does anyone know if the HD equivalent channels for the channels which are to be lost, i.e. BBC 1/2/3/4 HD, ITV 1/2/3/4 HD etc etc are part of the Sky package as someone mentioned regarding Channel5 HD and therefore not disappearing if you pay for Sky?

I believe I posted something on this. The BBC HD channels are not part of the Sky package and neither is ITV 1 HD. However ITV 2, 3 and 4 HD are currently part of Sky.

See “″


January 3rd, 2014 8:23 pm

Countdown to Switchover

With just over a month to go before the start of the switchover from the 1N satellite to the new Astra 2E, this seems a good time to sum up the main alternative internet solutions. Much of this is repetition of what has already been posted on this blog.

Most of my posts on this blog have been intended for readers who already have broadband, either via a telephone landline or wireless, and who have some experience of using a home computer. My emphasis has been on the DIY approach, using generic computers to watch internet TV. The alternative is the dedicated, so-called IPTV ‘off-the-shelf’ subscription packages.

IPTV Subscription Stream Packages

From a purely technical viewpoint, there is nothing wrong, in principle, with the IPTV packages. I know some readers have reservations about the origin, the cost and reliability of those ‘tied-in’ subscription streams that come with the package. However, my view is that, providing those streams prove to be reliable (I suspect some will and some will not in the longer term), then the monthly subscription (about 15€ to 20€) is not a bad price for the Freesat channels. The big initial expense is the cost of the IPTV box – and for that reason alone you may prefer a cheaper DIY solution until we know the effects of the switchover and get more feedback on the quality of the subscription streams.

Still Time for a Stopgap Internet Solution

The switchover is planned to start early February and so may be complete by mid-February. That still gives you the time to get a low-cost solution in place as a stopgap. Of course, if you do not have some form of broadband, and no telephone landline, then an internet solution may not be possible. Depending on your location you may be able to receive TV via ‘network broadcasting’, which does not require the internet. Alternatively, something like the BB4S wireless broadband option is worth considering if you live in their operational area. They provide a broadband connection via wireless. It will not provide 24 hour UK TV because of the fair use policy but may be enough for your needs. It includes a telephone and a UK IP address, for watching UK national TV broadcasts, all for 30€ per month.

If you are a reasonably IT literate computer user, with 1Mb/s broadband or faster, then you will almost certainly have used your computer to view UK TV – possibly direct from the FilmOn website. You may have connected your computer’s output (maybe HDMI) to your TV screen and so are already able to view UK internet TV in the comfort of your TV room. You may have purchased a remote control compatible with your computer (about £13) so that you can switch internet channels from the comfort of an armchair. In short – you are already prepared for the switchover and can survive the few weeks it may take, after the likely loss of UK sat TV, to seek out a suitable, more permanent solution.

A Generic Internet TV Set-top Box

By ‘generic computers’ I mean devices such as a laptop, desktop, Apple and Android devices. That would include the iPad and the Android tablet. There are many other devices which readers may not have encountered, For example the AppleTV box, the Android boxes and the Raspberry Pi. An Android box is basically an Android tablet but without the touch screen.

Connect a monitor or a TV to an Android box and you have an Android computer, that can be controlled with a mouse, keyboard or a remote control.

Provided the generic computer has a suitable audio video output, such as HDMI, it can be connected to a TV or large monitor. The computer is then essentially a ‘set-top box’ for internet TV. It converts your TV to a smart TV. A laptop or a desktop PC is a very large ‘set-top box’ and you probably envisage using something smaller such as an Android box. There is no difference in principle, apart from size and cost, between a laptop or desktop PC and an Android box used as a set-top box. Given a choice and the room, I would use a laptop or desktop. The downside of laptops and desktops, apart from the size, is that they have a possibly noisy fan and they consume a lot of power. The Raspberry Pi, by comparison, has no fan, a very low power consumption and can be left permanently switched on.

Generic and Dedicated IPTV Set-top Boxes Compared

The dedicated IPTV boxes described in this blog, that are used to watch paid-for (subscription) streams, are also computers. The difference is that they are generally locked into a paid-for internet TV stream whereas, with a generic computer, there are alternative sources of mostly free streams, for example, the BBC live TV transmissions via iPlayer. The IPTV boxes generally do not have a higher specification than the generic boxes such as the Androids and the Raspberry Pi. For example, the MAG-250 IPTV box has less RAM (memory) than the Raspberry Pi (256MB as opposed to 512MB) and a slower processor (450MHz compared with the minimum 700MHz on the Pi).

Systems using generic set-top boxes on the one hand and IPTV boxes on the other have their advantages and disadvantages. If you want an off-the-peg solution you may be advised to go for the IPTV box package including subscription streams. My recommendation is, if you are already able to watch TV on an existing, generic computer, delay buying into another system until after the switchover.

An advantage of the IPTV package is that the streams are not blocked. The streams are generated by re-broadcasting the original UK broadcasters’ satellite broadcasts over the internet by a third party and are intended for the paying customers of the re-broadcaster. FilmOn, the most popular free streaming service for UK TV outside the UK, is also not IP blocked but FilmOn is not restricted – it is intended to be used by a generic set-top box (computer). The re-broadcasting of the IPTV streams is, of course, illegal.

A disadvantage of an IPTV package is that the cost of the IPTV box is normally inflated – in the case of the MAG-250 from about 60€ retail to about 170€.

On the question of legality, any re-broadcasting of UK national TV is potentially illegal. We’ve heard plenty about that on this blog. There is no doubt that re-broadcasting from within the EU, without the agreement of the original broadcaster, is illegal. So, the subscription streams that are tied to a particular IPTV box are illegal. Obvious exceptions to that are Sky OnDemand and YouView – where there is agreement with the original broadcasters. The situation with one UK re-broadcaster, TVCatchup, is that they are broadcasting legally according to UK law. There is a slightly complicated legal loophole that allows this.

With FilmOn, concerning the UK streams that they broadcast, the situation is not quite so clear. Their situation has not been tested yet in the UK courts, AFAIK. FilmOn uses a novel technology, using antenna farms, which is an extra, complicating factor, because it neatly circumvents existing EU law. FilmOn claims that, by uniquely allocating an antenna on a farm to a single end user (the TV viewer), the transmission of the original satellite broadcast via the internet, destined for that unique viewer’s TV, is not, in fact, a re-broadcast and hence not illegal. Time will tell.

Wait and See?

My view about how to proceed has always been that, because the loss of Freesat is very likely but not 100% guaranteed in the south and west of Spain then, rather than ‘wait and see’, it is sensible to hedge your bets and to have a low cost internet solution in place in the event of a ‘switch off’. Therefore, postpone a decision about investing a significant amount for a more permanent solution, if required, until after the switchover, when the situation about UK satellite TV reception becomes clear.

This is essentially the view expressed by Paul P, who wrote:

My advice would be to wait until after the shut down has occurred and then see who is able to supply a reliable service, or if the idea of being without UK TV for even a short time is unacceptable, to buy a cheap Linux based combined satellite/IPTV system with access to Filmon and UK catchup services for around €125.

Only the reader can decide what is an acceptable time to be without TV.

If you decide to do nothing in preparation and simply wait to see what happens at the switchover, then you may feel pressured into a quick decision when the switch off occurs.

I think that Paul P provides a sensible, self-help model for a community. He wrote:

I have supplied a simple set of instructions to several of my technically challenged neighbours

I imagine that, in the coming months if not already, local groups will emerge who will share their DIY expertise.

The “cheap, Linux-based system” mentioned by Paul P is the GI Genius using the Enigma2 plug-in for FilmOn, the same box as sold by MrSkyTV. The price, 125€, seems reasonable for a box that doubles as a satellite receiver and an internet TV box. If you already have a satellite TV set-top box (I’m sure most of you have) then I do not see the point of the GI Genius box, particularly if you require the cheapest solution to give you breathing space immediately after the switch off. You could use a low-cost internet box (about 60€) alongside your existing satellite box. There is, of course, one advantage of the combined satellite/internet box – you would only need a single remote to operate the combined box instead of one remote for the satellite box and another for the internet box. AFAIK, the satellite component of the Genius box does not do Sky On Demand and, because On Demand provides catchup via iPlayer and itvPlayer, it is a big plus for owners of the Sky+ On Demand box.

A consideration is the experience gained by those like Paul P and his neighbours in the use of one system. It can be a false economy to go for the cheapest solution. For example, the extra 60€ you may spend on a more expensive GI Genius box is easily offset by the time saved by sharing experience with neighbours.

A Low-Cost Stopgap Set-top Box

If you haven’t already got something like a spare laptop or an Android tablet, that you can use as a set-top box, with FilmOn, for a few weeks following the switch off, and haven’t got the support of a ‘Paul P’, then I recommend the Raspberry Pi running XBMC or a cheap Android tablet with an HDMI lead connection to your TV. The tablet is easier to set up but not so convenient to use as the Pi.

The negative opinions expressed on this blog about the Pi are clearly not based on any personal (and certainly not recent) experience and so, I believe, are ill-informed and possibly biased. My recommendation presupposes that you are not a complete computer novice and that you can follow written instructions or that you can get help from neighbours.

If you decide to go for an alternative system after the switchover, then the cheap Android tablet (about 80€) used as a stop-gap has the advantage that it can be used as a stand-alone PC when you no longer need it for internet TV on your TV. It can also be used with a second TV for internet TV. Similarly with the Raspberry Pi – you could use it with a second TV or, like me, you may be happy to continue to use it for your main access to internet TV. You could eventually use a proxy, Smart DNS or a VPN with the Pi or Android so that you are not restricted to FilmOn.

If it turns out that FilmOn streams slow down because of the heavy load on their servers in the month following the switch off, it is worth considering using their HD subscription service (about 14€ per month). Because it is paid for, the quality should be maintained.

See this link and the associated video for some background on the Pi running XBMC. The link and the video show the improvements and the quality achieved in the last six months with high definition video on the XBMC Pi.


For how to buy a Pi and how to set up with XBMC, go to:


In case there is any doubt, my reason for including the Pi amongst the alternatives is that, unlike Androids and iPads, it is not well known as an internet TV box by the general public.

Neither is the AppleTV box – but that box is limited compared with the Pi – and more expensive.

If you have genuine reservations about the Pi based on what you have read online, then please post on here with the relevant web address. There is no need to include quotes from the text of the web reference – just the web address will do but, if possible, explain your concern in your own words. Please only post with references to the Pi used to watch video and TV – and, if possible, make sure that the reference concerns only XBMC software for the Pi released within the last six months. The software for XBMC Pi has been improved significantly since then.

Here’s a quote from ‘Sascha’ . You can read the original from his post (August 26, 2013) in the forum link below, bottom of page:


Quote from Sascha
I have an AppleTV and a Raspberry Pi connected to my TV – and although I am a great Apple fan, I must say the Raspie wins on almost any aspect.
Setup was pretty much plug and play (copying some files to an SD card was the hardest part) and I can control all functions via the TV remote (yes, no additional remote is definitely a Plus). Then there are all these Plugins: I have access to several broadcaster’s media libraries (like, BBC) and of course YouTube.

Oh, and there is even AirPlay on the Raspberry, which was really the reason I bought the AppleTV in the first place. Works perfectly.

The only problem I’ve encountered is that there is no “on” button. So if I switch the Raspberry off, I can only get it up again by power cycling. Then again, the AppleTV can’t even be switched off in the first place…

The only aspect where AppleTV wins is access to the iTunes store. If you want to rent movies from Apple to watch them on your TV, the Apple device is your choice. Otherwise: Buy a Raspie for a fraction of the price (but don’t forget that you need to buy an SD card, a case and a power supply as well).

The Raspberry Pi, including a SD card with the operating system pre-installed, the case and the power supply, is about £40. Because the OS is already installed, there’s no need to copy those files to the SD, as described by Sascha.

Paul P.

January 4th, 2014 1:32 am

Happy New Year everyone.

Very useful summary from Jamie. Thank you.

A couple of points regarding combined IPTV/satellite boxes which are worth mentioning.

There are in fact several different set top boxes available based on Enigma 2 plugins running on a Linux operating system and more recently android bases boxes.

In the case of GI Genius boxes there are also several models including but not exclusively the one supplied by MrSkytv and these boxes do include an On Demand service which provides access to BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and a number of none UK catchup services without the need for a VPN.

These boxes are also HD capable so provided there are any HD channels around after the changeover, this would be a useful addition.

As Jamie mentioned earlier in this blog and has been touched on more recently, references to an alternative satellite source on Intelsat 907 at 27.5 West are very unlikely to provide a long term solution. These channels are not available to the public and are a backup service in case of failures to broadcasters transmitters. They are protected by BISS encryption which is changed frequently and may well be upgraded to an unbreakable encryption system if too much interest is shown by expats. Users of the system would need to be prepared to lose the channels on a regular basis, when the encryption codes are changed until the new codes are hacked and made available. Finding and installing these codes is likely to be beyond the average user and if the encryption is upgraded, any investment made in purchasing an suitable set top box for this satellite would be lost. Conventional boxes including all S*Y boxes cannot receive these channels.

Finally, don’t forget, for those with a UK home or friends/relatives prepared to host the service, there is also the Slingbox/Slingcatcher option which provides full access to all the options available on the devices connected to the Slingbox in the UK.


January 5th, 2014 1:52 am

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

Now, that is surprising! I get an email from the Olive Press at 3:36a.m yesterday morning, about a post from MrSkyTV. I read the post on the website – it’s from someone called IPTV GUY, posted at 3:23a.m.

and IPTV GUY begins by saying:

Totally agree with Mr sky

followed by an identical copy of the MrSkyTV post. We have a MrSkyTV clone, AKA IPTV GUY

On the Jeremy Stenton-Jones blog:


you can read:

We have had many people contacting us saying;

1. We are really unhappy with the Raspberry PI in Spain
2. XMBC is really difficult to use and far too complicated
3. XBMC keeps crashing
4. XBMC Spain is a waste of time for watching UK Television
5. Raspberry PI really is so frustrating to use
6. I eventually got XBMC working but PI melted after 2 hours
7. The kids are not Happy with the PI XBMC set up
8. We rent out the property and tenants simply cannot use XBMC to watch BBC etc
9. My Raspberry PI keeps getting software issue
10. My Raspberry PI is a waste of time
11. I took a hammer to my Raspberry PI
12. Why is XBMC so difficult to use?

Another statement from the Jeremy Stenton-Jones blog:

We have spoken to many people that have been poorly advised and have ended up wasting money a Raspberry PI box in Spain that is really difficult to use and totally relies on the likes of Filmon to provide BBC1 and ITV, our question has always been “What happens if Filmon gets shut down?”

These comments are very like the MrSkyTV and IPTV GUY comments on this blog.

The common denominator in the above and similar (almost identical) comments from others appears to be ‘fiction’ fabricated from half-truths. This looks like a concerted effort to undermine the humble Pi. But why would they bother? In any case, seasoned computer users who for years have installed computer applications themselves, without needing to phone Microsoft for help, do not require help from a re-seller of IPTV boxes to install or troubleshoot the Pi. There is enough support from the XBMC and the Raspberry Pi forums. Anyone who can install and configure an email application on a PC will not feel daunted. Why would you go to a blog or organisation where there is zero experience of XBMC for support. For that reason alone I do not believe that the 12 questions above were serious question from real people with real problems. I’ve spent years trawling forums on a vast range of IT topics and have
never seen such vague, poorly constructed, and plain stupid questions. Who’s going to post a question:

“my Raspberry Pi keeps getting software issue”?

Real questions are far more precise and normally include a description of the problem.

“Melted after 2 hours did it? If you dropped it in the fish tank, don’t dry it under the grill”. LOL!
“The Ras Pi has a 5V, 1A power supply. Did you wire it direct to the mains?”

I do, however, agree with this point:

“We rent out the property and tenants simply cannot use XBMC to watch BBC etc”

But I don’t believe that anyone would rent a property seriously expecting the client to use a generic set-top box, not unless the system was securely locked.

MrSkyTV alias IPTV GUY said:

Raspberry PI uses Raspbmc and Raspbmc has a Facebook page so you can read the comments of hundreds of confused & fed up people trying to watch TV with this device.

I checked out the Facebook page of RaspbMC and by 25th Aug 2013 it had received 12,000 likes. It now has 18,326 likes and rising. So much for a system that, according to MrSkyTV:

has hundreds of confused & fed up people trying to watch TV with this device.” But forget the RaspbMC variant of XBMC for a moment. I recommend the OpenElec version of XBMC for the Pi. Here’s the Facebook page:


The MrSkyTV spokesperson really ought to do his homework. Anyone can misquote to create a false perspective. You appear to have zero direct experience with the Rasberry Pi set-top box running XBMC and so you resorted to a secondary source from a blog written by a PhD student. A careful reading of the blog does not undermine the Pi as a TV set-top box. In fact, the particular source you chose is not about using a Pi as a set-top box for internet TV.

You quoted (20th December) from the Austin Toombs blog on the Pi and concluded:

even he (Austin Toombs) has had issues using a Raspberry PI to watch TV, please do not take our word for it Google it and read his complaints

But Austin Toombs was not “complaining”. Furthermore, he was not, in the project that he described, attempting to use the Raspberry Pi to watch TV – he was using the Pi to interface with his iMac PC to stream media (audio and video) from the Mac to the Pi. He said:

Now it seems like the next step I need to do is to get it (the Pi) talking with the iMac that we have all of our media on, and it looks like I’ll need to install something on the iMac for that to work. Something about Samba or SMB or something.

It was in that context – and not the context of streaming UK TV using XBMC – that he joked:

Man it’s amazing how computer illiterate I can be sometimes, even with a background in computer science. (Do you) need someone to explain some really complicated software engineering design patterns for you? I’ll do it! And you’ll even be able to understand them by the end. (Do you) need someone to describe how computers actually talk to each other and stream music? I can only give a half-assed answer.

He was actually being self-deprecating because he recognised his own limitation. He was really saying that he is as clueless as the next person about streaming audio between computers. However, in his post here, 20th December, MrSkyTV interpreted this comment as meaning even a PhD student was unable to configure a Pi to watch TV.

Even if your quotes had been relevant to watching TV on a Pi, would you trust a PhD student in aeronautical engineering to pilot a light aircraft. Austin Toombs made it clear that he was not experienced in ‘flying’ the Pi for streaming video from a PC. Neither am I and so I spent less than an hour to find out how. My 8 year old grandson searched on Google and found a YouTube video in less than 10 minutes. He then played and paused the video at relevant points while we set up the Pi. It is very straightforward and involves using a share to the relevant folders on the source PC. The only difficult part was typing the PC’s username/password into the Pi – if you have password protected accounts on your TV. The setting-up process takes less than 10 minutes. As I explained at the start – this has nothing to do with watching TV on the Pi.

When referring to the steps in his project needed to set up XBMC (a pre-requisite for watching TV on the Pi) Austin Toombs said:

I’m trying out what’s on here: ‘’ Hope it works!

and later he said “I was quickly able to get it pretty far.

What he was saying is that installing XBMC (the RaspbMC version) on the Raspberry Pi was quick and fairly straightforward. Given that the MrSkyTV team clearly have no or very limited knowledge of the Pi (apart from what it suits them to quote out of context) and certainly no recent working knowledge, it is perhaps not so surprising that they were so wide of the mark.

I would strongly recommend that you do not attempt the installation method of RaspbMC used by Austin, described in the link above. Instead use this simpler method to install the OpenElec version of XBMC:


MrSkyTV goes on to conclude:

OK so we have a PhD student (Austin Toombs) unable to get to grips with his Raspberry PI and then it gets even worse

That is a total misrepresentation of what Austin Toombs was actually saying. I imagine Austin Toombs himself would be highly amused by the “half-assed” attempt made by MrSkyTV to discredit the Pi.

Despite the above I wish the MrSkyTV team success in attempting to undermine the DIY alternatives to the commercial package that they market, that is the MAG-250 that’s tied into subscription streams. The fewer people who use the free streams, FilmOn, iPlayer, itvPlayer and so on, the better, for those of us who have learned how to switch on a PC, use a mouse, download an application, copy a file and read instructions and so are not reliant on subscription streams. With fewer extra people streaming FilmOn etc, the quality of those free streams should not suffer significantly, if at all, after the switchover.

MrSkyTV said on the 20th December:

We simply cannot and will not stick our head in the sand, total reliance on Filmon as a source of UK TV is both irresponsible and bad advice in our opinion. As many people who have been worried about the new Astra 2E footprint possibly leaving thousands without UK TV are sold a system that may or may not work

Well yes, that’s correct. It is good that you seem to have learned a lesson from your earlier mistake – selling the GI Genius box that was, it now seems, “totally reliant on FilmOn”. I presume you gave no thought at the time to the implications of the possible loss of FilmOn or the failure of the FilmOn plug-in on the GI Genius. Interesting the way you describe your selling of the Genius IPTV hybrid set-top box at MrSkyTV as “irresponsible and bad advice”. Your conversion experience would be commendable if you were not trying to distance yourselves from FilmOn so that you can promote the MAG-250 as being so superior to a set-top box using FilmOn – while at the same time forgetting that only recently you were actively selling the GI Genius box (possibly still are) that relied solely on FilmOn.

On 5th December, MrSkyTV wrote:

XBMC relies on Filmon, at present Filmon is not available on the Android platform and has not been available via TSMEDIA for 5 days! Hundreds of very upset clients calling a certain wholesaler that was selling these!

OK – So lets say you spend £100 on a PI with remote etc and then Filmon disappears so you have no ITV or BBC etc it is a waste of time and money.

As a supplier of UK TV in Spain for almost 12 years we are very reluctant to supply a service that relies totally on FREE content from Companies and individuals that may or may not be around next week or the week after.

First, XBMC does not rely solely on FilmOn. But more important, highly commendable, MrSkyTV! that you are so reluctant to supply an inferior service – but that is exactly what you were doing when you sold the GI Genius TSMEDIA box – a box that was, apparently, solely reliant on FilmOn for UK TV. If there were other UK TV plug-ins for the Genius then what are they – and did you inform your customers of the alternatives when they phoned you to complain that the FilmOn TSMEDIA plug-in had failed?

Concerning your comment about XBMC running on the Raspberry Pi, the price is just half what you state – just £50, including the cost of an optional WiFi dongle. And your statement is also wrong because, unlike the GI Genius box, the one that you sell for 395€ that I believe was set up with FilmOn only, XBMC can use several UK TV plug-ins and not just FilmOn.

MrSkyTV wrote:

If you want BBC1, ITV,CH4,CH5 etc and want a 100% reliable service XBMC is hardly the way to go. Can you imagine as a Business supplying thousands of people with XBMC and then Filmon stop broadcasting?

Oh dear – you really should get your facts sorted. It appears that you are as unfamiliar with XBMC as you are with the Raspberry Pi. Not surprising given that there is no profit for you selling the Raspberry Pi. I can understand that you would not sell the Rasberrry Pi computer – for the same reason that you would not sell Windows laptops or Apple Macs. They are multi-purpose, generic computers. However, it does not follow that the XBMC operating system is fundamentally floored simply because FilmOn could, although unlikely, close down.

That is what you seem to be suggesting. In the same way, the Windows operating system is not fundamentally floored just because FilmOn could stop working. They are, XBMC and Windows, both generic operating systems. You can use a Windows internet browser to watch TV on the BBC or the FilmOn website. You can use XBMC with the iPlayer plug-in to watch BBC TV or the FilmOn plug-in to watch TV. The fact that FilmON may stop does not impact the viability of XBMC or Windows.

In any case, there is no such thing as a 100% reliability – a daft thing to suggest – wouldn’t you say?

“Can you imagine as a Business supplying thousands of people with XBMC and then Filmon stop broadcasting?”

Quite, MrSkyTV – how long will the subscription streams that you re-sell survive after the switch off?

It strikes me as very odd that MrSkyTV not only chooses to believe but give voice to their patronising view of the technical competence of the readers of this blog. Do they at MrSkyTV not realise, just by reading some of the contributions, that there are readers who are able to:

buy a computer
plug it in and switch on
browse to a TV website
install a TV app or add-on
and so watch internet TV?

MrSkyTV wrote:

1. Raspberry PI is incredibly difficult to program.
2. Raspberry PI is incredibly difficult to use.
3. Raspberry PI is relies on FILMON and or offshoots of.
4. Raspberry PI offers no live support.
5. Raspberry PI uses free streams, nobody earns anything so there is nobody to complain to.
6. Raspberry PI is NOT a proper solution to the problem.

I’ll answer these points one at a time.

1. Raspberry PI is incredibly difficult to program.
I wonder how MrSkyTV knows that. In any case I have never needed to write a program, not even a script, for the Raspberry Pi. Whether the Pi is difficult to program or not, the point you make is irrelevant. How many people on this blog have needed to write a program in order to watch TV on a laptop or Android. Why would you, therefore, expect them to need to write a program to watch TV on the Pi? You can buy a Pi with a pre-configured drive in the form of an SD card. You simply insert the card into the Pi (much easier than installing a hard drive in a desktop or laptop) and then follow the instructions to install the XBMC operating system.

2. Raspberry PI is incredibly difficult to use.
How do you know that? Of course, your statement begs the question ‘use for what?’. If you mean, for example, use to watch catchup TV then the Pi is, if anything, easier to use than a laptop is for watching TV from the BBC website.

3. Raspberry PI relies on FILMON and or offshoots of.
Given this comment I find it difficult to believe that MrSkyTV has actually read this blog. I have no idea what he means by ‘offshoots of’.
The Pi is worth having just for BBC and ITV catchup using the iPlayer and itvPlayer plug-ins. It works very well with TVC and FilmOn for live TV. It does not rely on just one source of UK TV streams.

4. Raspberry PI offers no live support.
Well for that matter neither does MAG-250 or iPad or Android or the GI Genius box or a laptop or desktop computer. Despite that, it’s surprising, isn’t it, that so many computer users get by with online support?

5. Raspberry PI uses free streams, nobody earns anything so there is nobody to complain to.
What good does complaining do? When the streams close they close, whether you are using a Pi or a £1000 home theatre PC. When MrSkyTV customers phoned MrSkyTV to complain about the recent failure of the TSMEDIA FilmOn plug-in, what support did they get? Maybe you told them to wait to see if the plug-in was updated.

6. Raspberry PI is NOT a proper solution to the problem.
I have no idea what this means. Any offers?
For the more technical, take a look at this:


January 5th, 2014 2:13 pm

I do NOT like the raspberry system, and neither am I a fan of the Mag250 link to “nonFilmon”. It is equally cumbersome, albeit cheap and with no monthly rental fees. My neighbour bought this system, and is finding it frustrating to use.

Obviously we will not have the simply one click system, but as I have said before, the Astra2TV system seems to me to be the best out there at the moment.

However, unlike a lot of people now using this blog (going for nearly a year now) I have no axe to grind, and simply want to find out what is good out there, for my community. As I have also said, for me in the interim I will use (probably) flimon streamed to my TV from my iPad via Apple TV, (it offers a record facility),and I also have a UK VPN linked to my Sky+ HD box which is giving me all the catch up and on demand services offered by Sky.

I do feel for those people who were caught up in the panic last February and rushed out to spend their euros, but I suppose for those of us who want to continue to watch UK TV (even at a price), we will all have to do something sooner or later. I just now prefer the “later” option.

Apart from pushing the Pi system, I have found Jamie’s comments generally concerning the state of play very useful and interesting. But he obviously has upset this who are using this forum as a sales channel.

Happy new year to you all.

Anne in Nerja

January 5th, 2014 2:30 pm

We found a video on youtube that shows you what you have to do to watch TV on a raspberry pi using xbmc and have to say it looks far to long winded for us.

It looks very complicated to use, if we did use xbmc I think we would just use it on our pc so no need to buy a raspberry pi.

This is the video – “”

If we did decide to purchase a iptv box I think we would go with a established supplier like mr sky.

I noted that Austin Toombs said “Its really hard” and “I’m going to have to section off an entire day” So reading between the lines I would agree with mr sky that he did not find it easy and he has a degree in computer science, we still struggle to set up the dvd recorder ha ha.

This is from his blog (Austin Toombs)

OK so we have a PhD student unable to get to grips with his Raspberry PI and then it gets even worse when he says; “It’s really hard to work on these kinds of projects when there are only a few minutes at a time when we can figure it out.

I think to really get it working, I’m going to have to section off an entire day or a large chunk of a day, make myself lots of coffee (or maybe something that will relax me for when I get frustrated with all of the “connection timed out errors”

Paul P.

January 5th, 2014 4:31 pm

I rather think this blog is getting out of hand. It is not a forum for pointless argument which does nothing to help bemused expats come to a reasoned decision about the way forward.

I also think it is inappropriate to allow posts to be placed by commercial enterprises who are not really interested in providing helpful information but on the contrary, are promoting their own products and whose only motive is that of creating the maximum profit for themselves.

MrSkyTV, now apparently also known as IPTV Guy (I wonder why – could it be that saying the same thing twice using a poorly disguised pseudonym makes it more likely to be true?), was selling the GI Genius for an eye watering €395 when the identical product configured in exactly the same way could be purchased from an online satellite dealer for €129!

I have no objection to businesses making an honest profit and no doubt MrSkyTV and others will be making a lot of money over the next few months and good luck to them, we should all be so fortunate, but there is a difference between an honest profit and profiteering.

I suggest that in future postings here should be designed to help, offer advice and share knowledge and experience and that any which do not fit these criteria should be deleted by the moderator.

Or perhaps the time has come to close the blog altogether?


January 5th, 2014 5:59 pm

I agree Paul p. By now anyone who has shown an interest in this blog should be aware of the various options open to them – the only reason for it now seems to be for self serving people to try to make their various killings. The options are all also available in the many free papers in circulation as well. All we really need to know now if possible is exactly when the “big switch off” will happen


January 5th, 2014 6:49 pm

Hi Paul,

A diplomatic post as always.

Concerning your reference to “sales channels”, I am intrigued that, given the free advertising, they are so touchy, and so offensive.

I am not pushing the Raspberry Pi but I am, as I have stated many times now, advocating an open source, generic internet box approach – at least in the short term. Several. of the contributors here, including yourself, are already using that approach without any input from me.

I would recommend a laptop with HDMI output and running XBMC – I could probably source a used laptop for the price of a smart TV box (about £80) and upgrade it if necessary for my own use. However, readers of this blog may find sourcing a cheap laptop too difficult.

I am providing more information about the Pi than other devices, originally because it was not well known but now simply to redress the bias, the ignorance, the rhetoric and the hostility shown by those recent contributors to this blog with their own very transparent agenda.

I am interested to hear what are your reasons for “not liking” the Pi. Perhaps like me, you’ve viewed some of the YouTube videos and decided it’s far too complicated – exactly my reaction. Some of the videos, even from the Pi Foundation, do nothing to help the reputation of the Pi.

If this blog lasts at least until the switchover I shall spend more time ‘pushing’ the Android TV boxes and one other alternative – a NUC box.

I already explained, early in this blog, that I only recommend what I have tested and found suitable. After comparing the G-box Midnight Android box and the Raspberry, almost exactly a year ago, I initially thought the Android had the edge – although at the time it was almost twice the price of the Pi. However, given the improvements in the Pi firmware in the last year, that the Pi works particularly well with catchup, includes AirPlay for streaming TV from the iPhone and iPad, runs alternative plug-ins, such as FilmOn and TVCatchup better than an Android box’s apps and supports CEC, the Pi, in my view, now has the edge.

This does not mean that there are not other suitable Android and non-Android devices – there are. There is a new Android box to be released in the first half of 2014, Google’s Android powered Nexus TV Box. That box is likely to be competitively priced, as with other Android devices. See:




January 5th, 2014 7:27 pm

I have to say I agree with Paul P. We appear to have reached a point where various factions are almost vying for business in the aftermath of the switch off, not what this blog was intended for. Sad really.

These same people I suppose are seriously hacked off as they probably stocked up on the various boxes nearly a year ago and still have most of them!

A lot of people over the past year have contributed some very salient points and extremely useful information, Jamie being one of them, and at the forefront, especially with reports on the satellite itself. This was not intended to be a point scoring exercise, but that of a forum to help those of us who were unsure of what to do and which route to take. Especially people in my position where as president of a large community we needed to know how to be able to satisfy our 200 plus owners . I now have a pretty good idea of how to my our owners.

As the switchover would appear to now be imminent perhaps now is the time to finish the blog. It is certainly one of the longest running – almost a year now – and as I say has been extremely useful.


January 5th, 2014 8:37 pm

The JSJs and IPTV GUYs should not judge others by their own standards. Paul P and I are not colluding to push an agenda. We clearly have similar views on some of the strategies for the switchover. Try not to imagine there’s a conspiracy around every corner. The only clear indication, on this blog, of ‘conspiracy’ is what now is revealed as a common front by the MrSkyTV team and associates.

So far as suggestions to end this blog are concerned, I am sure there will be a need for a similar ‘forum’ (perhaps particularly) post switchover. Until such a move is agreed, my view is that this blog should continue. Any ideas for an alternative?

Paul P.

January 5th, 2014 9:25 pm

I am reluctant be drawn into a tit for tat with IPTV Guy/Mrskytv but feel I should make it clear that Jamie is not my “mate” as he seems to think, nor have I any connection with either of these two contributors.

I am an end user with an interest in assisting my friends and neighbours in overcoming the loss of UK TV in Spain with the most unbiased information and best value equipment I can find. The truth is that I think you have both become enbroiled in a rather tedious and unsavoury argument which has no place on this blog.

Jamie has, however, frequently posted useful information which has helped quite a number of people here and I support that approach.

The replacement box for the GI Genius is the GI Genius E3HD which is a slight improvement on the original and costs around €130 including VAT with all the plugins pre-installed. Carriage from a dealer is €8. It seems IPTV Guy/Mrskytv has taken a dislike to me for highlighting the cost of his equipment!

Close it down. It’s become pointless.

Peter W

January 5th, 2014 9:35 pm

I was in Spain for Christmas and had arranged to have broadband connected .
I was near Almeria so I used Schedia.

They offered me a rate allowing me to pay only whilst in Spain so I thought I would give it a try. Connection was fine giving good coverage for tv , Skype and Apple FaceTime.

I took with me a I phone I pad and my Apple TV box small enough to bring in your case.

Although satellite tv still worked I used the above to give me channel 5 through film on. All of the above is free. It also gives all other UK channels There is also an irish I player app for RTE allowing access to their programmes again free.

I used the British BBC I player and ITV I player using a VPM I use in Ireland that costs me £5.00 a month.

I also used the international BBC I player app it costs €49 a year and provides hours and hours of BBC programmes available in Spain ( no IP blocker or VPM required )

So if the satellite no longer works they are ways to still keep connected they may be a little different but do offer things you don’t get with the basic sky box everyone is use to

When I return to Spain later this year if there is no satellite I will still see the UK programmes
No waiting up late to watch something as there is a time difference I will use the I player or pick what I want when I want
As a lot of people go to Spain for the weather isn’t it better to be able to pick when you want to watch!!!

Let’s not worry I am sure everyone will find a solution all I would say is don’t spend too much money my above option is not to expensive


January 6th, 2014 1:18 am

Hi Peter W,

Welcome to this blog. It is refreshing to have a comment that is back on track and with some new info. Previous comments have queried is it possible to pay for broadband only when in Spain. You are the first to come up with a positive response.

Web Manager

January 6th, 2014 11:53 am

All 39 comments from James Gold, Jeremy Stenton-Jones IPTV GUY, MRSKYTV, Paula, EX OLD BILL, Sanjay – which were all posted from the same IP address – have been removed for breaking the terms of our comment guidelines.


January 6th, 2014 11:58 am

Well-spotted, Web Manager. Mr. Sky TV has certainly shot himself in both feet. :-)

John W

January 6th, 2014 1:48 pm

A bit of an explanation about the Schedia service in the province of Almería. It is a radio link based internet service.

Individuals get a small aerial pointing line of sight to a shared receiver. The service then uses radio link hops with pairs of aerials until it reaches a town that has a fast fibre optic internet connection.

In certain circumstances they also can provide a shared larger aerial (still <50cm) on a communal roof. With wiring of the internet service to individual apartments using the conduit used for satellite TV cables.

Note this is not shared internet for the whole community. It is still individuals in the community paying for their own internet connection. They are just sharing some infrastructure in the apartment block.

Each customer has their own 4 port TPLink wireless router connected to the aerial via an ethernet cable (and additional distribution equipment for the community based service). This router is the same type that some people are using as a second router managing a VPN connection with a UK IP address.

Each customer can purchased either a 4mbps or 6mbps internet connection with "unlimited" use. There is also an option of a VOIP phone connection as well if required.

There is a one off installation cost (<100 euros and cheaper per customer for community installations). The monthly cost is less than 16 euros a month for their cheapest service.

One other benefit is that Schedia provide the option of being able to switch the service off for a number of months to reduce the overall annual cost.

We know of a number of people who have installed Schedia internet in our town of Almerimar. It is also in use nearby in the area of Roquetas.

As yet, in my view, it is early days in terms of proving the reliability of the service. Also, it will be interesting to see how it copes with loads of people streaming UK TV after the switch off.

Nevertheless, for people in the province of Almería, it may become a way of getting more reasonably priced internet services. Thus enabling more people to use the various possible solutions described in the comments in this blog.

Prices for internet access here in Spain are still high in my view. However, things like Schedia will hopefully cause the price to drop significantly from all suppliers over the coming years.

Please note that I have nothing to do with the sale of the Schedia internet service.


January 6th, 2014 2:08 pm

Well well well, no surprise there then (well maybe one), total exoneration Jamie, and well done web manager.


January 6th, 2014 2:12 pm

John W – it sounds similar to the “Network Broadcasting” system currently on offer on Costa del sol. Does it also use an encrypted card.

John W

January 6th, 2014 3:05 pm

Paul – Schedia is just a cheaper way of getting internet access in your house/apartment without the need for a fixed phone line. You then need to do something else to get a UK TV service over the internet.

I only posted to expand on the reference to Schedia in the comment by Peter W yesterday.

To my knowledge the only equipment in the apartment/house is the TPLink router connected via ethernet cable to an aerial somewhere nearby. I guess that they may do something with the firmware in the router to help them administer the internet service, but I am not certain. However to my knowledge there is no other equipment involved and therefore no way of having an encrypted card.


January 6th, 2014 3:11 pm

James Gold lol. Another wide-boy from Marbella.


January 6th, 2014 5:45 pm


Yes Jamie, I have watched the videos of Raspberry Pi, and did find them a tad complicated. Not for me. The good news is the sharks are away, and perhaps now the blog can continue in the vein for which it was meant. Genuine advice without any ulterior motives.

I personally have found all your comments useful, and, as you say, I will wait and see (also the attitude of Paul P and others). I am sure that the cowboys will fall by the wayside (one piece of advice is do NOT take any system from anyone who wants the years rental up front), and the genuine suppliers will not suddenly double their prices when the cutoff happens (if it happens!!)

I will continue with my Sky/AppleTV.UK Router for the time being, and use film non initially if it happens , while then looking at IPTV isolations. I have already mentioned the one I feel covers most bases for me so will not do so again.

Keep on trucking, and it is you I turn to for news and advice on the actual satellite situation. So thanks for that.


January 6th, 2014 6:54 pm

I’ll be back in Spain this week. Got a raspberry pi in England. Set it up on a small telly placed next to the homehub. Plugged it all together. It installed xbmc in about 10 mins. You need a reliable broadband connection for the set-up. My brother has bt infinity. I used a spare mouse for the installation plugged into the USB.

Once installed I switch off. It takes about 45 secs to reboot. That’s the time from switch on to working.

The biggest job was placing the board in the bottom of the case and screwing the lid down and moving the TV screen to connect the broadband. On the case I got the lid has 2 break off tabs that you can leave in place if not required. One covers the top usb socket and the other covers the socket where the broadband cable plugs in. I broke them off before fitting the lid.

That took about 20 mins.

We installed the youtube plug-in just for fun and got youtube on the TV. My brother now wants one.

It streams video from the ipad to the TV. Perfect.

I thought it would be difficult cos what I’ve seen about setting up a raspberry.

We got TVcatchup working on the ipad. Then had a go at putting the TVcatchup plug-in on the raspberry. With help from the bro it works and the progamme guide is good. Took about an hour. Now I know how about 10 mins. I now have 2 ways to watch TV the ipad and the rasberry.


January 7th, 2014 8:37 am

What was really confusing was the sudden, out of context, post from ‘calpense’ – for a first post and in the form of answers to questions that nobody had asked, it seemed as though calpense was posting to the wrong blog. What was even more surprising was that anyone bothered to reply.

Jamie, I was replying to the two questions that James Gold and MRSKYTV asked on September 16th, 2013 2:32 PM September 25th, 2013 3:25 PM respectively.

1. Why is BBC1 available in Australia?
2. Why is ITV available in Thailand?

My point was to explain that neither of those channels are available in either of those countries, and should not be confused with BBC and ITV ones that are, and why BBC and other UK domestic channels are available in some countries, but not in others. If anything was off-topic it was the posts about Australia and Thailand, which are irrelevant to this discussion.

Sorry for the misunderstanding and confusion.


January 7th, 2014 12:16 pm

Hi calpense

Thanks for your clarification. I agree with you that, although one could argue that if those channels are available in other countries then why not in the EU, that parallel, however, is tenuous because, as you have explained, it was based on a false premise. So, as you say, not directly relevant and, if anything, a distraction.

I should like to clarify something Paul P said:

I should make it clear that Jamie is not my ‘mate’ as he seems to think, nor have I any connection with either of these two contributors

Now that the comment to which he was replying has been removed – Paul’s comment is out of context. He was replying to IPTV GUY. So, just to clarify, Paul P was saying:

I should make it clear that Jamie is not my “mate” as he (IPTV GUY) seems to think, nor have I any connection with either of these two contributors

I also wish to confirm that I still support Paul P in his use of the GI Genius hybrid set-top box with his local community, used to deliver internet TV through FilmOn. Now that some of my recent comments have lost their context, they could be misunderstood, for example:

. . . selling the GI Genius box that was, it now seems, ‘totally reliant on FilmOn’. I presume you gave no thought at the time to the implications of the possible loss of FilmOn or the failure of the FilmOn plug-in on the GI Genius

Out of context, that comment implies that recommending a box, such as the Genius, that is totally reliant on the FilmOn plug-in, is irresponsible. Paul P realises that I was quoting the view of another contributor and that the use of FilmOn, in my view, is not irresponsible. However, other readers of this blog, assuming they are in the least bit interested, could get the wrong idea – and so could Paul P’s neighbours, whom he supports.

In any case, the Genius box may be able to support UK TV plug-ins other than FilmOn – I just don’t know.

I was asked, repeatedly on this blog to provide the names of alternative UK TV streams. With the exception of one genuine enquiry, it is now clear that those requests were contrived, not genuine, specious, designed to undermine. I guessed as much at the time – hence my decision not to respond. However, I have made clear throughout this blog what I consider the main alternatives to be. For example, see my comment on December 13th, 2013 9:15 pm.

Paul P, in his last post, stated:

The truth is that I think you have both become enbroiled in a rather tedious and unsavoury argument which has no place on this blog.

I am sorry Paul P thought my comments tedious. What I found tedious was the distraction of having to justify and defend a position from what, it has transpired, was a concerted attempt to manipulate this blog.

Paul P.

January 7th, 2014 3:25 pm


Fair points well made. You have accurately summarised the position following the removal of the 39 posts from MrSkytv et all.

Thank you for clarifying those matters which no longer read as they should.

I would also like to say that I did not intend to suggest that Jamie’s comments were tedious, but rather that the need for them and the ongoing argument itself was tedious, so apologies for any unintended offence which may have been caused. As I have said more than once, I have always considered Jamie’s posts to be helpful, reasoned and informative.

Regarding the GI Genius and other Linux based Enigma 2 plugins, I can confirm there is an “On Demand” option which gives access to BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and a number of none UK catchup services including Ireland without the need for a VPN, but I am in the UK at the moment and cannot actually test this properly. I have asked one of my “technically challenged” neighbours to do so and will report back if I get a reply, but don’t hold your breath!

I will be back in Spain in mid February so at the worst will be able to confirm this one way or the other then.

If there are any users of GI Genius boxes out there who can supply an answer to this question in the meantime, it would be helpful if they could post their experience here.

Perhaps there is a little more life in the blog now that those who were attempting to manipulate it for their own self interested purposes have been removed and we can get back to the real reason for it in the first place.


January 8th, 2014 3:07 am

The Lazy Bird has Still Not Flown

The Astra 2E is still parked up at 43.5 east. If it doesn’t wake up soon it’ll be late for the rendezvous at 28 east in early Feb. Meanwhile the 1H sat, that passed the 2E at 43.5 east some weeks back, traveling west for destination unknown, has continued beyond 28 east and is about to arrive at what is its likely destination at 19.2 east.

Provided the guys at Astrium get the 1H safely parked and have fully recovered from the winter break, they can perhaps now turn their attention to the 2E, wake that bird, fire it into its transfer orbit and gently guide it west on its final journey. We can then start the countdown proper. When will the transfer begin – maybe two days but don’t bet on it.

Thanks for the reply, Paul P. I wasn’t offended. I was expressing regret that, as you said, a blog intended to help should become mired in a time-consuming distraction. That said, I believe that many of the points that were contested did serve to highlight in stark relief some of the key features of the alternative solutions. From the ‘discussion’ I now have a better understanding of the GI Genius – which was discussed because the Genius was central to much of the dissent. I am interested to discover that the Genius catchup plugins may not require a VPN. I was confused when Paul P first mentioned the support for ‘On Demand’ – given that Sky uses that phrase for its own version of catchup on the Sky+ box. What I still do not know is does the Genius catchup therefore work via a proxy if not through a VPN tunnel? I am sure other readers would wish to know.

I don’t know how these blogs are closed down. A logical time, given the title, would be in the weeks following the switchover. Of course, that will depend on the frequency of new comments. I suspect that, given so many are waiting to see what happens, there will be more queries through February/March.


January 8th, 2014 10:22 am

I suspect you are right Jamie, and given that the dissenting element of this blog are no more, it may make sense to keep it open for follow up queries or problems. I suspect the moderator will decide in due course, when the best time to close down is.

Once again thanks for your information, perhaps it will now drag into march !!

John k January 10

January 10th, 2014 5:10 pm

There have been many hours of reading on this blog, the vast majority of which has been (is) very interesting and informative. But I have noticed right the way through that elderly expats have been virtually ignored.

I’m not talking about in general but not ONCE has the subject of the many hearing impaired expats cropped-up, people who rely on subtitles with the programmes.

Currently I have a sat box from Egland (mustn’t mention the name!) which gives perfect subtitles on every channel it covers. Frankly I would be totally lost without the subtitles….I couldn’t hear any of the programmes.

I am the only expat to bring up this subject?….what do others especially the hearing impaired think? So far, despite hours and hours of searching I have found only 1 IPTV box that right now supports subtitles. As I write, only one other will also have them in a matter of a few weeks.

As far as I can find out no VPN services support subtitles and Filmon doesn’t either.

The outlook for the hard of hearing may be a bit tough when 2E actually starts transmitting.

Billy Big

January 10th, 2014 6:09 pm

This article was a year ago and we still have tv.
They said we were losing it in 2001 and i am still waiting for that.

John k January 10

January 10th, 2014 6:12 pm

Perhaps I should have mentioned that the IPTV box currently with subtitles costs 199eu and the box that will have subtitles in a couple of weeks or so, costs £99.


January 11th, 2014 3:14 pm

@ JOhnK
I am getting quite tired of flogging this particular horse as it simply refuses to die, the vast majority of comments on this thread seem to be set around making money for some wide boy or other. I will state quite clearly here I am not a salesman I do not represent any company either here in Spain the UK or indeed the wider the world. If you are bothered about British TV programmes simply switch to Digital TV in Spain or the terrestrial channels. On a lot of the Digital TV aka Canal plus you will find many British and American programmes and series and on many of these you will be able to get subtitles in English ( a recently added service) to help Spaniards learn English. For example you will be able to get good documentaries, Sherlock, Downton Abbey, the excellent Scandinavian dramas such as The Killig, Borgen and The Bridge and many may more, yes it will cost you but it is stable, legal and unlikely to disappear at the whim of the inward looking, naval gazing backward UK. You will not get Coronation Street, EastEnders or such garbage programmes as Britain hasn’t got talent, if your quality of life is dependant upon programmes such as these I suggest you stay in the UK as exploring all the natural beauty and wonders of a foreign country are not for you. I apologise if I sound sarcastic and harsh but I really am sick to death of all the self flagellation on here about something that hasn’t happened and for a lot of us who don’t live in English enclaves on the Costas never will. It’s not a universal turn off and once whatever has happened a solution will quickly be found for those that have lost the signal.
I wish you all a Happy New Year and assure you that whatever transpires I will not be returning to my country of birth which has become such a basket case, Tony Blair drove me out and nobody since has given me a good enough reason to return. Yours a bitter and twisted not very old man.

John k January 10

January 11th, 2014 6:41 pm

John K

One thing is definitely certain about your post, your really are, as you describe yourself, ‘bitter and twisted. You make assumptions without knowing the facts. You tell me to go on digital programmes….but I don’t have a digital tv. It is an analogue model.

With regard to the programmes you suggest I watch,well you are too late, I have seen them all either on BBC or ITV.

However you are right about one thing, the forthcoming satellite switch is going to be a money pit for a lot of the people that will be selling ‘solutions’ to the problem in Spain and Portugal. Do I blame them? Not really, but I do envy them making hay while the sun shines.


January 11th, 2014 7:55 pm

Hi John K

I do not feel qualified to contribute much to the lack of subtitles on streamed TV. I agree though that, apart from references in this blog to watching Spanish terrestrial with English subtitles, there has been no discussion AFAIK about subtitles, and no discussion for internet streams.

From a quick search of the BBC website I get the impression that adding subtitles to live TV internet streams is a ‘work in progress’. See:


Catchup TV on BBC iPlayer (and I presume ITV etc) does (sometimes/often/always) include subtitles. This can be switched on/off on the BBC iPlayer site once the stream is playing.

If you use XBMC for BBC catchup, go to the iPlayer plugin configuration to enable subtitles. That works for me on my laptop.

You wrote:

As far as I can find out no VPN services support subtitles

I don’t know what you had in mind. A pure ‘VPN service’ may encrypt a stream, it ‘directs’ the stream via a server in the UK (for UKTV) but it is not designed to change the stream in any other way. If the stream does not include subtitles the VPN cannot add them. If the stream includes subtitles, the VPN will not remove them. I just tried iPlayer (Eastenders catchup with subtitles on) through a UK VPN – and the subtitles worked.


January 12th, 2014 12:17 am

Why do certain people feel the need to sit in judgement about what is OK for people to watch on TV? Delusions? The only time I ever watched a soap was when my dear-departed Mum stayed one Christmas, and as she was an avid Eastenders fan, we had to sit through it. I was so depressed by it by Boxing Day, that I retired to the shed for subsequent episodes. But if that’s your meat, fine by me. The fact that its my poison doesn’t mean I’m any better than you, and I certainly wouldn’t come on like some precious, high-handed hanging judge just because you happen to like it. So to those who fancy that they have some God-given right to pontificate about what constitutes good or bad viewing for other people , next time you’re shaving in the bathroom mirror, look yourself in the eye and say: “Who the …. do I think I am?”…

Anne in Nerja

January 12th, 2014 12:34 am

calpense you said

“neither of those channels are available in either of those countries, and should not be confused with BBC and ITV ones that are, and why BBC and other UK domestic channels”

You are wrong!

Branded as “BBC UKTV” most BBC1 & BBC2 TV shows are Broadcasted exclusively by FOXTEL by paying additional subscription fees.

BBC UKTV channel not only shows TV shows such as Eastenders, Dr Who, Come dancing, Keeping up Appearances, etc they also show many ITV channels such as Coronation Street and Emerdale Farm.

If you take a look at – “” you can see the full TV guide.

Jamie you said

“Hi calpense

Thanks for your clarification. I agree with you that, although one could argue that if those channels are available in other countries then why not in the EU, that parallel, however, is tenuous because, as you have explained, it was based on a false premise. So, as you say, not directly relevant and, if anything, a distraction”

You are also wrong!

In addition to BBC UKTV you can also watch most ITV1 and ITV 2 channels they even show “The only way is Essex in Australia” look it up.

Same Same Thailand.

Stick to the facts guys, before posting comments like this do a quick Yahoo search and check the facts. Durghhh.

John k

January 12th, 2014 11:27 am

John k

Jamie, Jamie, what a superbly informative post on subtitles, but if I may say so, a bit beyond me.

You see, I have never ever looked at Catch-up or the BBC and ITV iplayers. They don’t interest me. I watch TV live. BBC, 1 and 2, ITV 1 and C4. The subtitles on those programmes, through my Humax box, are really excellent. I couldn’t wish for anything better.

With regard to VPN, I contacted all I could find on the Net and they all told me they didn’t stream subtitle programmes. You have proved that wrong with your experience of EastEnders.

There is another problem with VPN as far as I am concerned. I contacted all I could find on the net and they all told me they did not stream subtitles. You have proved that wrong with your experience of EastEnders.

I have another problem with VPN streaming. My TV is analogue (really excellent picture) and only has a Scart and RCA red, yellow and white input connectors. The VPN outfits use HDMI.

I shall wait until the change over and then I have got my eye on a box that has both HDMI and the RCA connectors.


January 12th, 2014 12:57 pm

“Anne in Nerja” ??

the point I believe was that BBC TV per se is not broadcast direct. Foxtel do broadcast UKTV but selected content and a mix of the various channels.

In any event is hardly relevant here.

Anne in Nerja

January 12th, 2014 1:28 pm

The point is that they are both wrong BBC & ITV TV channels are available in Australia & Thailand. They have got it wrong, so just clearing up any confusion or misunderstanding.

In any event my post is perfectly relevant as it has been discussed several times earlier, my issue is that they are both wrong so I decided to post the facts.


Let the back peddling and hair splitting commence.

John k

January 12th, 2014 1:51 pm

Frankly, Anne who cares…… This is really a discussion about subtitles.


January 13th, 2014 12:09 am


Thanks for your comments re. my questions on 31 Dec (I had to scroll a long way up to get back to that date!!)

Pity the radio channels will be on the UK spot beam, at least they are on 27.5 W as well. It’s not the same on the iPlayer, too jumpy and cumbersome to do what I do with it.

Your point about the Intelsat 27.5 W satellite age noted – I suppose it will get replaced but will the BBC Satback service still use it? If they change to use a satellite at a different position in the sky and/or change the encryption method it will require them to change a lot of infrastructure on the ground so maybe not likely. However they may be planning ahead to allow for a different satellite which we cannot access. Also there appears to be little else on this bird so a new one being launched or positioned to that spot just for a few BISS BBC/ITV channels might be unlikely.

I’ll stick with it for now though! (and paid for Sky of course)


January 14th, 2014 12:52 pm


No, we have not got it wrong. The whole basis of this argument is that what people want to watch is exactly the same BBC and ITV channels as people in the UK, not international services like BBC UKTV or ITV Choice. Or for that matter, BBC Entertainment, which you can legally subscribe to in Spain.


Have you ever seen BBC Entertainment? Or BBC Prime before it? The reason why British people living in Spain have never liked them is because they show different programmes from BBC One and Two, usually old ones.

The BBC would be happy to offer BBC Entertainment to satellite and cable operators in Spain, but none want to carry it. In Latin America, where there are fewer British expats, you can get a local version of BBC Entertainment with Spanish subtitles.

If people compared ITV Choice with ITV channels in the UK, they’d notice that it’s not the same either. Hair-splitting? Hardly – just advising against comparing oranges and bananas, irrespective of whether you use Yahoo (how quaint) or Google. Yes, they show The Only Way Is Essex in Australia, so what? It’s shown on a channel owned by Foxtel, not ITV.

BBC UKTV, along with BBC Entertainment, is not the same as BBC One and Two in the UK, just as TVE Internacional is not the same as TVE La 1 and La 2 in Spain. Can I suggest that you print out the schedules and actually compare them?

@micmc47 Well said!


January 14th, 2014 1:16 pm

To John K

You said:

I have never ever looked at Catch-up or the BBC and ITV iplayers. They don’t interest me

Hi. Agreed, catchup does not not suit everyone, although more people are using catchup along with recorded TV – partly as a lifestyle choice. In southern Europe catchup is just one strategy for UK TV reception. If a catchup stream supports subtitles, that is a bonus and may be of interest to others following this blog.

On a separate point, not related to catchup, you mentioned:

I have another problem with VPN streaming. My TV is analogue (really excellent picture) and only has a Scart and RCA red, yellow and white input connectors. The VPN outfits use HDMI.

Whether your TV is ‘analogue’ or ‘digital’ is not relevant. The only significance of an analogue TV in this context is that, with analogue, you use a Scart or AV (RCA) connectors. That does not prevent the use of a VPN. The only purpose of a VPN is to hide your IP address and so allow you to receive certain UK TV streams. An internet set-top box, used to process the internet TV streams for display on a TV, can generally connect to a TV via HDMI or RCA. I sometimes use an old analogue TV myself, connected via the RCA output of the set-top box. In principle, this is no different from connecting your Humax satellite receiver to your analogue TV using a Scart.

From what you say, you appear to think that a ‘VPN’ is directly connected to the TV. A VPN is not a physical device that you plug in. A UK VPN is essentially an internet service, based on a server (a computer) in the UK, which you access via an internet connection from an internet set-top box connected to your TV, as described above.

You mentioned ‘VPN streaming’ implying that the VPN is the TV stream. It is best to think of the VPN as the network that carries the TV stream, although that itself may confuse give that a VPN is not a physical device. However, it can be useful to think of a VPN as a physical object – and for that reason it is often referred to as a ‘VPN tunnel’, meaning a hidden tunnel through the internet network, that can be used to protect your identity, encrypt your sensitive data and, in the case of hiding your IP to view TV, to give you an internet presence in another country.

The point is that, to access streams such as BBC, you can hide your IP using a VPN, a proxy or a Smart DNS. You can view the TV programme on an analogue or digital TV.

You mentioned you have a Humax satellite box. Is that the Foxsat with the PVR recorder? If so, you can connect that using the Ethernet port on the back (the RJ45 socket) to the internet. With your IP address hidden, you can then watch UK TV catchup channels on your existing TV. On the Humax you go to channel 901 for BBC and 903 for ITV catchup. I mention this because it is possible that other readers have a Foxsat and do not realise that it doubles as an internet box for catchup.

However, AFAIK, although you can get subtitles with catchup using iPlayer on a PC, you cannot currently when using iPlayer on the Foxsat satellite receiver.

To Paul

Hi, is it possible to switch subtitles on with iPlayer catchup (On Demand) on your Sky+ box?

Bill Bullock

January 14th, 2014 2:04 pm

Well said calpense! Personally, I want to watch the Six Nations Rugby matches live in February / March and if I can’t get the BBC live in Portugal, then I’ll have to go back to my daughter’s house in England for a very long holiday. Then there are the high quality drama and nature programmes on the BBC and ITV. I don’t watch soaps but everyone to their own likes and dislikes.

I’m all set up with IPTV and laptop methods of watching UK TV and recommend everyone else prepares themselves too. The first rugby match starts very soon!

John k

January 14th, 2014 5:01 pm

John K

@ Calpense

Extremely well said Calpense, I couln’t agree more.

You really are cooking with gas!


January 14th, 2014 5:11 pm

No Jamie they do not appear to work which makes sends considering the on demand and catch up effectively recordings and thus would need to be loaded already showing sub titles. Subtitles do of course work on all sky “live” broadcasts

John k

January 14th, 2014 6:29 pm

John K


Hi again, Jamie. I have read – carefully – all your posts on this blog, so much so, that I feel I almost know you! Hi, friend!

Thanks a bunch for going into the detail of VPN, but you see VPN doesn’t interest me, in just the same way that catch-up and the two iPlayers don’t interest me.

Yes, My Humax box is the foxsat model with the pvr and that is my ‘catch-up’. If there is a prog on at the same time as I want to watch a different one, live, I put a little red recording tick on the one I want to ‘catch-up’ with and then watch it at my leisure.

I connected the ethernet cable between the Humax and the router. There was a steady green light on the cable plus an orange flashing light. And that was as far as I could get. On the ethernet drawing on the screen it said ‘Back’ and when I pressed the Back button on the remote, the wording changed to ‘Find Out More’ on a pink bacground. But none of this bothers me in the slightest because as I have previously said, catch-up and the iPlayers are of no interest to me.

I have already got my eye on a super £90 IPTV box with subtitles on which I don’t need to hide my identity as it is all done on the box. It streams uk freeview programmes which, when the time comes, should suit me admirably.

I do want thank you most sincerely, Jamie. for all the technical information you have given me, but I am a simple soul and the subtitles box that I shall get when the time is right is perfectly satisfactory for my not very technical mind.

It’s always good to hear from you, because I know that when I read your posts I am in for an enjoyable reading session.


January 14th, 2014 7:52 pm


Hi Paul, thanks for the prompt reply.

I know that re-broadcasters such, as TVCatchup, who, as you know, broadcast UK live TV, explain that they cannot deliver subtitles because they would need to transmit a separate stream with subtitles. That would be too expensive. Essentially, that confirms your idea that they “would need to be loaded already showing sub titles”. However, it seems that is not how the subtitles on iPlayer catchup streams are delivered (but I could be wrong).

When you toggle subtitles on and off via the iPlayer web page, the stream, that is already playing, continues seamlessly. If you were switched to a different stream I suppose there would inevitably be a connection delay. This gives the impression that the subtitles can be switched independently of the audio/video stream. Also, on my Humax Foxsat satellite box, under Accessibility Help for catchup, it states “At the moment subtitles are not available, however we will be adding them soon.” It seems that although the BBC now have the technology to support subtitles in their iPlayer catchup streams, the 3rd parties, such as Sky, YouView, Humax, who use the iPlayer streams, cannot take advantage of that technology as yet.

Here’s a year old forum discussion about the lack of BBC subtitles on the YouView on demand (catchup) box, from a year ago.


I just found this post on he VirginMedia forum:

Re: When are Virgin going to have subtitles on catch up tv/tv on demand and iplayer?
?28-12-2012 08:48 – edited ?28-12-2012 08:50

I wouldn’t hold your breath people.

SKY do NOT have subtitles on their On Demand service,they have hundreds of threads on their support forums complaining about it but SKY say they are not obliged(by Law) to provide subtitles for On Demand, so they say they are ‘not providing them anytime soon’.

I would be very surprised if Virgin DID provide them.
EDIT: Sorry this is in regards to their ‘On Demand’ content on their Sky+ Boxes,not iPlayers(BBC,ITV etc)

It could be that the 3rd party providers, such as Sky, are about to make the transition and support subtitles on their On Demand service.

I am surprised that the main players, such as Sky and Virgin, are not able to or only just in the process of implementing subtitles, whereas the open source, non-commercial XBMC media centre already delivers subtitles via the iPlayer plug-in.

I have noticed that XBMC has a subtitle plug-in for adding subtitles – but have no idea, as yet, which providers’ streams are supported.


January 14th, 2014 11:07 pm

The Bird has Flown The Nest

The transition has started. The Astra 2E is on its way! Progress will be monitored so we’ll soon be able to predict the speed and so the ETA at 28.2 east. Maybe two to three weeks.

The satellite data currently predict that by the 21 Jan (just one week) it will reach 39.7 degrees east – that’s a shift of about 4 degrees west out of the total 15 degrees. At That rate it will take almost 4 weeks to reach 28.2 degrees east. I suspect, though, that given the move has only just started it will soon be steaming due west and so its angular speed will increase.

Once there and before the switchover starts we’ll get the first indications of the UK spot beam footprint.

Paul P.

January 15th, 2014 12:02 am

Just a quick update to confirm Astra 2E has commenced it’s transit and should be on station at 28.2 East within the next couple of weeks or so. Not long to go now until we know what works and what doesn’t!


January 15th, 2014 7:21 am

I am still here! Lost track a bit over Christmas. Switch it over! It’s going to go so put us out of our misery….

My plans is still to get a VPN-enabled router and subscribe to a cheap VPN – then hopefully be able to configure the router. With this I’ll get Sky catchup as I subscribe to Sky. For live terrestrial TV (World Cup coming up in 2014) I don’t think I’ll have much choice but to hook up the laptop to the TV – not ideal I know…

Once the changeover has happened, I’ll call Sky, using the 067 prefix that Paul kindly mentioned to tell them that they reduce my hideous 69.50 pounds monthly fee (scandalous) by 50% at least or I will cancel and take out another subscription in my father’s name. He has been offered 75% off but they do tie you in for 12 months, so I am thinking of waiting until the switchover happens just to be 100% sure that Sky Sports channels won’t go over to 2E (wouldn’t want to be tied into a 12 month contract and lose a sports channel).

I have also been considering many, how can I put it on here, ahem, ‘different’ systems, whichs are available around here as well as the UK, where you get the lot for an annual fee. Let’s just say that their legitimacy is questionable, but I do know several people here who have one and they work great. You get everything – Spanish Canal Satellite, Sky the lot. No On Demand would mean no BBC though and I’m not sure if there is a facility to record.

Not sure if this helps anyone decide for themselves, but that’s where I am with mine.

Anne in Nerja

January 15th, 2014 11:11 am

calpense –

But the BBC and ITV are showing BBC and ITV TV shows, they may be 4-5 weeks behind the UK but they are still shown, CH4 is also supplying TV shows to Australia.

I have already looked at the TV guides and they show all of the most popular UK TV shows. I even posted the links, so I suggest you do some more homework.

Forget BBC Entertainment & BBC Prime – Nothing like that at all, forget the branding and focus on the content, take a look at the TV guide and you will see.


January 15th, 2014 6:26 pm

Astra 2E Progress

The 2E is currently moving east at about 0.86 degrees per day.

It is now positioned at 41.5 degrees east.

The journey to reach 28.2 east is:
41.5-28.2 or 13.3 degrees.
That will take:
13.3÷0.86 or 15.5 days

It then has to lose height and speed up to return to geostationary orbit.

Given this current estimate, it is likely to ‘land’ late on 31 January – in good time for some testing, the hand over to SES and the ‘switch over’.


January 15th, 2014 7:43 pm

SO Anne and your point is………………..??


January 15th, 2014 8:51 pm

A Windows PC as a Set-Top Box

I’ve mentioned a few times that a full PC, based on the Windows operating system, is a versatile, general purpose computer for watching UK National TV. A laptop or a desktop would be ideal as a set-top box, apart from its size and power consumption.

Unlike the small set-top boxes, such as an Android or similar, a Windows PC can deliver UK TV through the provider’s web page, such as the BBC iPlayer page. You can watch live TV using the web pages of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and so on.

Used laptops with HDMI output are available for about £80. Here are examples that just sold on ebay, that run Windows 7 and have HDMI output.



I’m not seriously suggesting that you pay for postage from the UK – but it gives an idea of the price.

Using the BBC iPlayer web page is a ‘learning curve’. The Watch Live section, for live BBC TV, is under TV Channels, towards the bottom-left of the screen.

If you can connect to your TV to the PC with HDMI, the BBC live video quality is very acceptable and should be good when streaming HD.

There are alternatives to using the websites for BBC and ITV. For example, the BBC provides the ‘iPlayer Downloads’ application that you install on your Windows or Macintosh PC. Unfortunately it cannot be used for live TV.



To install it, go to:


On some PCs, live TV through a web page can be slightly jerky. I prefer to use the XBMC media centre program on my laptop. One reason is that XBMC is so versatile – it can be installed on different PCs, not just Windows and Macs. If you learn to use XBMC on Windows, you’ll be able to use it on Android, iPad and Linux PCs. Also, with XBMC, you can bring together a selection of internet video streams under one roof, such as BBC, ITV, TVCatchup (for live TV) and YouTube. XBMC works particularly well running on a Windows PC. When you first install and run it you may be dismayed by its apparent complexity – it’s like shopping in the corner shop all your life and then visiting a retail park.

XBMC may give the impression that it takes over your Windows PC because, in its default setup, it fills the whole screen. But simply pressing Alt Tab (hold down the Alt key and press Tab) takes you back to the familiar Windows screen.

If you decide to install XBMC on your laptop don’t expect instant results. The installation is easy enough but learning to drive XBMC can be bewildering. Think back to your first PC when you could maybe open the word-processor – but not much more. I suggest, if you are impatient to try it out, you install YouTube before you attempt streamed TV. The installation is fairly straightforward.


Here’s the link to download the XBMC program on your PC:


Then, for Windows, click the blue Windows icon, then save/run the XBMC exe file, currently xbmc-12.3.exe. After agreeing to the licence agreement, you are asked to Choose Components. Stick with the full install and just click Next.

After XBMC is installed, open it and you’ll see the XBMC menu. Provided you are still connected to the internet, XBMC will start to update some of its add-ons – you’ll see the messages on the bottom-right. To switch back to these instructions press Alt Tab.

The XBMC menu is a horizontal menu that you navigate by pointing the mouse over the menu without clicking. The Video menu item, in the centre, is used for watching videos and streamed internet TV. Do not click on the menu just yet.


These instructions assume that you are already very familiar with the use of a mouse and moving around menu systems.

Before you can stream TV or videos you have to install an add-on. This video shows the simplest way to install the YouTube add-on.


You may prefer to see a list of instructions before you watch the video and try the installation. The installation should go smoothly provided you have not been browsing and randomly clicking round the menu system. Note that, to go back a stage when moving around XBMC, do a mouse right-click when the mouse is pointing at an empty part of the screen.

1. point and hover over Videos on the main menu – do not click – the sub menu. ‘Files Add-ons’ will display
2. move the mouse down and click Add-ons
3. click Get More
4. a list of add-ons appears
5. scroll down the list to YouTube
6. click YouTube
7. an Add-on Information box pops up
8. click Install

Alongside YouTube in the add-ons list, the install progress is shown.

A message appears bottom-right showing that YouTube is now installed and enabled. Wait for the ‘working’ message to timeout.

Now view the video link shown above. Open the video in your web browser.

Then, if you haven’t already, try installing the YouTube add-on.

Once YouTube is shown as enabled on the ‘Add-ons – Video Add-ons’ screen, click the Home icon (the house) on the bottom-right of the XBMC screen to return to the main XBMC menu.


To use YouTube:

1. point at the Videos menu item – do not click
2. click Add-ons

You will see that the YouTube add-on has been added.

3. click YouTube

Because this is the first use, the Settings box may be displayed – just click OK

You now see three YouTube options: Explore, Search, Login. Search allows you to search for a title, such as ‘doctor who’ and the search will be saved in XBMC.

4. click Search
5. click Search again

Type in a search, example doctor who

6. type doctor who
7. click Done

The ‘hits’ are listed.

8. click ‘The Night of the Doctor’

To stop the stream, move the mouse. The VCR control is shown – bottom of screen.

9. click the stop icon. You are returned to the previous list.

To return to the main menu, click the home icon.


January 15th, 2014 9:47 pm

Thanks for the latest info Jamie. End of January in place, 2 weeks testing and then we should know..

I equally am not sure of “Anne’s” point as we are neither in oz or Thailand.


January 15th, 2014 10:05 pm

Seem like the BBC iPlayer now allows viewing of ITV, C5, C4 and a few other free channels.

Paul G

January 16th, 2014 12:07 am

Buy a laptop on E bay and watch UK TV in Spain.

Before you place that bid on E bay you may want to read this.

E bay say their machines will not likely have trojan horses or spyware….

The question..

Is it safe to purchase a second hand, used, nearly new laptop or a PC on Ebay?

Will your second hand PC or laptop be infected with a Trojan Horse or Malware?

It has happened to many others with sellers often not even realising that they where selling infected equipment, and it is happening more and more.

The trojan horse myth and the monster inside…….

We have all heard the term Trojan Horse, but what exactly is it?

A Trojan Horse is a destructive program that masquerades as a harmless application. Unlike viruses, Trojan Horses do not replicate themselves, but they can be just as destructive. One of the most dangerous examples of a Trojan is a program that promises to rid your computer of viruses but instead introduces viruses into your computer.

The Trojan can be tricky. Who hasn’t been on-line and had an advertisement pop up claiming to be able to rid your computer of some nasty virus? Or, even more frightening, you receive an email that claims to be alerting you to a new virus that can threaten your computer. The sender promises to quickly eradicate, or protect, your computer from viruses if you simply download their “free”, attached software into your computer. You may be sceptical but the software looks legitimate and the company sounds reputable. You proceed to take them up on their offer and download the software. In doing so, you have just potentially exposed yourself to a massive headache and your computer to a laundry list of ailments.

When a Trojan is activated, numerous things can happen. Some Trojans are more annoying than malicious. Some of the less annoying Trojans may choose to change your desktop settings or add silly desktop icons. The more serious Trojans can erase or overwrite data on your computer, corrupt files, spread other malware such as viruses, spy on the user of a computer and secretly report data like browsing habits to other people, log keystrokes to steal information such as passwords and credit card numbers, phish for bank account details (which can be used for criminal activities), and even install a back-door into your computer system so that they can come and go as they please.

Why would you want to leave your home network open to attack?

To increase your odds of not encountering a Trojan, follow these guidelines.

1. Avoid second hand PC equipment such as cheap laptops off E bay, Gumtree or Facebook Buy / Sell Groups as they can infect your whole home network and reek havoc. E bay say their machines will not likely have trojan horses or spyware….

2. Trojans can infect your computer through your home or business router, rogue websites, instant messaging, and emails with attachments and infected second hand equipment. Do not download anything into your computer unless you are 100 percent sure of its sender or source.

3. Ensure that your operating system is always up-to-date. If you are running a Microsoft Windows operating system, this is essential.

4.Install reliable anti-virus software. It is also important that you download any updates frequently to catch all new Trojan Horses, viruses, and worms. Be sure that the anti-virus program that you choose can also scan e-mails and files downloaded through the internet.

5.Consider installing a firewall. A firewall is a system that prevents unauthorized use and access to your computer. A firewall is not going to eliminate your computer virus problems, but when used in conjunction with regular operating system updates and reliable anti-virus software, it can provide additional security and protection for your computer.

6. See rule 1

Nothing can guarantee the security of your computer 100 percent. However, you can continue to improve your computer’s security and decrease the possibility of infection by consistently following these guidelines.

Summary; Why risk it? You can buy the new Google chrome laptop brand new in the box direct from Tesco for £229 with HD output so you can connect your laptop using a HDMI cable to your TV and stream iplayer etc or Filmon although the quality is poor and you will find changing streams cumbersome and hard work your TV time will be more like PC time. Get an IPTV box it makes better sense, try and avoid XBMC & Raspberry PI.

If you buy any PC or Laptop 2nd hand you could leave yourself open to such viruses that spy on the user of a computer and secretly report data like browsing habits to other people, log keystrokes to steal information such as passwords and credit card numbers, phish for bank account details (which can be used for criminal activities), and even install a back-door into your computer. Avoid any second hand PC or Laptop even if you are tempted in to saving £100 it is a risk not worth taking unless it is from a close friend or Family member.

Buying a 2nd hand PC on E bay is bad advice IMHO


January 16th, 2014 9:42 pm

Hi Rob

Concerning the BBC backup sat, from your earlier post I realised you have the know-how for a realistic decision about the investment against the benefits. I had not even begun to think, as you have explained, about changes to infrastructure. Also, compared with the typical lifespan of any UK TV installation in Spain, two years, if it lasts the full term, is not bad.

My concern with Sat-Back is with those who have not got the skill to install the solution themselves. An installation including the box could easily be 300€ and, unfortunately, the system could survive for just a few months only. To break even it would need to survive about 12 months.

Good luck with the switch over.


January 16th, 2014 10:04 pm

update on the TV front – Sky are rumoured to be trying to add the BBC and ITV channels to their own platform. Based on the consensus that Sky will move to the wider spread European satellite beam this could be good news. This should all start to fall into place towards the end of February this year


January 16th, 2014 11:06 pm

Amanda, sky already broadcast on the wide beam – that is why they (all the SKY channels) will remain in all their glory. Minus the free to view channels they currently broadcast (BBC ITV CH4 CH5 etc). They effectively lease these from the providers and it would be good if they can come to an arrangement this late in the day but don’t hold your breath. I stand to be corrected and hope you are right


January 17th, 2014 1:20 am

To Paul

That’s correct. It is likely that, during the switchover, Sky’s encrypted broadcasts from the 1N satellite will transfer to the 2E satellite pan-european beam and not the UK spot beam.

These broadcasts include ITV HD channels 2, 3 and 4 and Channel 4 HD.

To Amada

It would be good to have some basis for those rumours. We’ve had enough rumours already.

Unless we have some evidence it is safer to assume that Sky will not be replicating BBC and ITV1 FTA scheduled broadcasts as encrypted broadcasts on a pan-European beam. The reason that ITV HD channels 2, 3 and 4 are encrypted and broadcast by Sky is that they are not available as Freesat broadcasts on the UK spot beam.


January 17th, 2014 11:30 am

Paul, Anne’s point escapes everyone. The point that BBC UKTV is nothing like BBC Entertainment at all is neither here nor there – it is available in Australia and New Zealand, and nowhere else, and is even less likely to be available in Spain than the BBC’s domestic UK channels (which is what people actually want).

Personally, I think that the BBC and ITV should set up separate versions of BBC One, BBC Two, and ITV for Spain, which would show programmes at more or less the same time as the UK, although they wouldn’t have the same schedules as the UK for rights reasons. However, they are in no rush to do so, just as Spanish satellite and cable operators are in no rush to offer such channels.

If Anne wants BBC UKTV or any other Foxtel channels, she can get someone in Australia to Foxtel GO, set up a VPN in Australia, and watch it on whatever internet-enabled device she sees fit, because BBC Entertainment is going to be all she’s going to be able to have in Spain as far as BBC Worldwide is concerned.

As for ITV Choice, here are what some viewers in Thailand have to say about this wonderful channel on its Facebook page.

I live in Thailand and since ITV GRANADA became ITV CHOICE it has gone down hill rapidly. Same old mindless repeats over and over. I found the best way to get accurate schedule is to go to and in the bottom right click ITV CHOICE. you have to deduct 1 hour from the shown time but at least it is reliable unlike the rubbish schedule from ITV.


January 17th, 2014 11:57 am

Reply to Paul G

Buying a Used PC

Using Ebay auctions to get an idea of the price of a used laptop is not a general recommendation to buy from Ebay. Checking prices on Ebay is equivalent to window shopping.

Paul G stated:

Buying a 2nd hand PC on E bay is bad advice

It could be bad advice – it depends on the circumstances.

The only reason Paul G gave for his conclusion was the possibility of malware infection. The focus was on a type of malware called a Trojan.

Only the prospective buyer can decide if they have the confidence to buy a used PC, whether online or through a local advert or an acquaintance.

I would not recommend buying any used Windows PC unless you already have experience of Windows machines and are familiar with their routine maintenance, including the use of anti-virus software.

I do not recommend you make any significant purchase of an electronic device on Ebay unless you have previously bought at least a few other items on Ebay.

If you are seriously disturbed by the possibility of owning an infected PC then it’s best not to have a PC.

There are other valid reasons why buying a used PC can be problematic and I give those a higher priority than the possibility of malware infection.

When buying on Ebay, for example, you can never be quite sure what you are going to receive unless you personally collect your purchase. My main concern, if buying computer equipment, is always the condition of the hardware, the age and the specification. The software is secondary but you should always ask, when buying a Windows PC, if the original recovery disks are included and, if not, is there a recovery partition on the hard drive. You should also ask if the COA sticker is in place and legible.

If the circumstances are right then you can buy on Ebay and get a very good deal.

The reason for a second PC, in the context of this blog, is clear. See my post, January 3rd, for some of that context. The buyer would already have used a Windows PC for streaming TV and now wishes to use a second PC, maybe a laptop, as a dedicated PC connected to a TV through HDMI.

Paul G stated:

It has happened to many others with sellers often not even realising that they where selling infected equipment, and it is happening more and more.

I wonder where Paul G gets this information. Where’s the evidence?

He then lists five points, starting with:

1. Avoid second hand PC equipment such as cheap laptops off E bay, Gumtree or Facebook Buy / Sell Groups as they can infect your whole home network and reek havoc. E bay say their machines will not likely have trojan horses or spyware

Again, where’s the source? Let’s have the original data – or are we just indulging in hearsay and a bout of modern mythology?

Factory Reset

I strongly recommend that anyone selling or giving away a Windows PC should do a ‘factory reset’. This is so obvious, to protect any confidential content you have on that PC as well as to provide the recipient with a clean ‘as new’ computer. A factory reset restores the software to its state when new.

If you are buying a Windows PC ask the seller:

1. has it had a factory reset
2. does it have the recovery disks
3. does it have a recovery partition
4. is the COA sticker attached and legible

New Windows PCs come with either recovery disks or a recovery partition on the hard drive. If your PC, bought new, has neither you should ask the seller for the recovery disks.

When buying a used PC, you should check out online, using the make and model number, whether that model of PC is supplied with the disks or a recovery partition. A previous owner may have deleted that partition and so, if that model should have a partition, it is essential to ask the seller before you buy. If the seller cannot answer the questions then do NOT buy.

When you buy a used PC that has not been factory reset, do the reset yourself as soon as you receive it and then install your preferred anti-virus and anti-malware. However, depending on your experience, it may be best not to buy without a factory reset.

Some vendors on Ebay do routinely refurbish computers before selling – and this includes a factory reset.



The seller stated in the description that it was ‘seller refurbished’ and :

Windows® 7 Professional 32-bit (pre-installed, Toshiba-HDD recovery)

meaning that it does have a recovery partition.

Before buying, ensure that you do have the full description of the machine – including the make and model number. The above machine was described as:

‘SATELLITE PRO L450D-12X PART NUMBER: PSLY6E-00C004MP’ by the vendor. A quick check online told me that that model does, indeed, have a recovery partition.

One other piece of advice, so obvious that it’s easy to forget. Check out the Ebay seller’s buying and selling on the feedback and under other items for sale. It is far safer to buy from someone experienced in electronics/computers. With the best will in the world, a seller with experience of owning just one computer has problems even listing that item on Ebay with a proper, accurate description and model number. Best to avoid.

Are Laptops on Ebay Malware Infected?

Of Course. The average used Windows PC is no more or no less likely, on average, to be infected by malware than the average PC in a home, that was bought new. Given that many

sellers do a factory reset, as much to protect their own data as to provide a professional service for the buyer, the probability is that your PC at home, that you bought new, is more likely to be infected than a machine purchased on Ebay.

Provided you buy from an experienced seller, with a track record of selling PCs, then that increases the probability that your Ebay purchased PC is malware free.

So, what was the source that Paul G used for his list of five caveats. Interestingly, points two to five were lifted directly from the web, verbatim. For example, there is an almost identical article on Ebay. The author, ‘darin8664′, an Ebay seller, was providing general advice on computer protection but was offering no opinion on the wisdom of buying used PCs.

The original source is probably:


Of the five points, the most interesting in the context of buying a computer is point number one:

1. Avoid second hand PC equipment such as cheap laptops off E bay, Gumtree or Facebook Buy / Sell Groups as they can infect your whole home network and reek havoc. E bay say their machines will not likely have trojan horses or spyware

That was Paul G’s sole contribution. He simply pasted it in at the start of darin8664’s list. Why did he do that – presumably to give an impression of authenticity and gravitas.

Which category of offence does that come under?

A plagiarism
B deception
C malpractice
D none of the above

For a first post to this blog, that was quite a rant, Paul G – even though you didn’t write it yourself.

The original Ebay article:


Paul G

January 17th, 2014 1:24 pm

So best to avoid spending £80 on a second hand PC or laptop on Ebay then, why take the risk? At least if you buy new you get a 24 month warranty.

The Google Chrome laptop that I mentioned is incredible value, if you asked a friend or family member in the UK to buy one from Tesco the P&P with Royal Mail International signed for would be no more than £20.

For the sake of an extra £150 buy new and have the peace of mind and a warranty and initial free technical support.

FACT – Buying second hand PC equipment is not a good idea.

Jamie; thank you so much for pointing out the links to the content that I adapted and shared on this comments page, many thanks.


January 17th, 2014 4:58 pm

To Paul G

why take the risk?

Quite. Don’t get out of bed – too risky.

thank you so much for pointing out the links to the content that I adapted and shared on this comments page, many thanks

My pleasure.

You said:

Buying second hand PC equipment is not a good idea

Remind me again – why is that?

Concerning your recommendation, the Google Chrome laptop:

If someone asked you for an apple, would you give them a banana? You replied to a post (January 15th) about using a Windows PC, indulged in a mostly irrelevant and completely off topic monologue about Trojans and now you recommend a machine that is not a Windows PC. Presumably, you did not realise. When you refer to a Google Chrome laptop I presume you do mean a Google Chromebook with a Chrome operating system. I think anyone considering buying a second Windows PC as a set-top box would be dismayed to discover that they’d been sold a Chrome machine with an entirely different operating system.

I must remember that. If ever I sell a used Windows laptop on Ebay – I’ll send them a new Chromebook instead. When the buyer complains I’ll explain that it’s new and virus free – so why should you worry.

Apart from that, I do agree, £229 is a reasonable price.

Web Manager

January 17th, 2014 6:47 pm

John k

January 17th, 2014 7:19 pm

@ Jamie and Paul G

I find this Chrome Book dialogue between Jamie and Paul G to be illuminating (and in some ways I won’t specify rather amusing) Why?

Well, because I have a Samsung Chrome Book that I have been using totally trouble free for nearly two years, now. It is simplicity itself to use and was very quick to set up and start banging off e-mails.

I don’t have a Windows computer (Toshiba) any more. I scrapped it. The one I had was always going wrong or getting infected.

If what I was told by the Curry’s salesman when I bought the Chrome Book, was true, it cannot be infected by a virus of any kind, including,of course,the jolly old Trojan. I must say that I have downloaded some very (Windows) suspicious items since I have been using it with no problems at all.

It is very fast, light to carry around and all-in-all I find it absolutely perfect for my needs. But I am the first to admit that for dedicated computer nerds it would be too lacking, but for your everyday Joe Bloggs laptop user (like me), it fits the bill very nicely.

And, yes, I paid £239 for it with excellent back-up and support if required.


January 17th, 2014 8:52 pm

Hi John K

I don’t have a Windows computer (Toshiba) any more. I scrapped it. The one I had was always going wrong or getting infected.

I hope you didn’t sell it on ebay!

It is always good to have first hand experience. I’ll not express any view on the Chromebook’s susceptibility to malware except to say that it will not be any more vulnerable than a Windows PC. Vulnerability to malware is not a relevant issue (at least not so far) in this blog.

The context is the use of a PC to view TV and, in particular, with the PC permanently connected to a TV. I have read a few reports about the Chrome in that context – some good and some not so good. I was, in my last main post, describing the use of a Windows PC, mainly because of its proven track record but also because more readers will be familiar with Windows. If one already uses Windows as one’s main PC workhorse then one may prefer to build on that experience. You may wish to use the save programs on the TV connected PC. That would not, in general, be possible with a different operating system.

but for your everyday Joe Bloggs laptop user (like me), it fits the bill very nicely

That’s an interesting point. I would say that it is often users, like you maybe, who without realising it, push their computers harder. They are generally very young, they never use a word-processor or email but they spend hours streaming video or playing computer games. That’s when the limitations of the hardware and software become most apparent – including the broadband connection.

Paul G

January 18th, 2014 2:17 pm

I Have now spent many hours going through the posts and find that no matter what you say it will result in a long on and on and on post by Jamie on your subject with loads of quotes, lots of nit picking etc. And then the same people all saying “excellent post Jamie” or “well said Jamie” etc.

I must admit that it has put me off posting anything as being publicly criticized and almost mocked on a public forum by someone hiding behind a PC is not my idea of fun so I have been watching from the sidelines until now.

This comment from Jamie – “I have read a few reports about the Chrome in that context – some good and some not so good.” Really Jamie? Have you? How unusual that you have not posted these not so good reports. (makes a change) he then goes on to say “I’ll not express any view on the Chromebook’s susceptibility to malware except to say that it will not be any more vulnerable than a Windows PC”

Thankfully the post from John K says –

“If what I was told by the Curry’s salesman when I bought the Chrome Book, was true, it cannot be infected by a virus of any kind, including,of course,the jolly old Trojan. I must say that I have downloaded some very (Windows) suspicious items since I have been using it with no problems at all.”

Despite this Jamie responded by saying –

“I have read a few reports about the Chrome in that context – some good and some not so good.”

So Jamie (bless him) has gone from suggesting people buy 2nd hand £80 PC off E Bay and when told that it is risky now starts to slate the new Google Chrome Laptop or should I have said Chromebook (whatever)

Why did I make my first post?

I just wanted to warn people about the risks of buying on E Bay as was suggested / recommended and or used as an example to show people prices, was in fact bad advice from Jamie.

My advice was to buy a New Google Chrome Laptop from Tesco if you like the idea of using Filmon or iplayer etc.


If watching TV using a laptop suits you then go for it, as you get a laptop and way to watch TV although you must realise that using a laptop to watch TV is nothing like using a satellite receiver or a IPTV box. I spent 7 months in Dubai with work and was using my laptop to watch TV and just got fed up with the slow VPN that I had to use to access iplayer that took ages to download anything I wanted to watch but that is just my opinion.

If you just like to watch the News in the morning and 2/3 TV shows in the evening then using a laptop to watch TV may be suitable for you.

Loss of UK TV in Spain AKA The Big Switch Off.

I think that the majority of residents on the Costa del Sol (not people living in UK that are looking for a solution for friends in Malaga) would look towards a IPTV set-top box from a local supplier that allows people to choose if they just want the basic freesat channels or premium channels, this is what I am looking for, I do not want to purchase a circuit board that I then need to build a case for, program, set up and then spend a whole weekend trying to watch a TV channel as suggested by Jamie, I want a box with a remote control that takes a few seconds to turn on and has all the channels in a list just like normal TV.

Something like this – “”

In closing;

So do you admit that was bad advice suggesting buying a 2nd hand PC on E Bay?

You said –


JANUARY 15TH, 2014 8:51 PM

A Windows PC as a Set-Top Box

I’ve mentioned a few times that a full PC, based on the Windows operating system, is a versatile, general purpose computer for watching UK National TV. A laptop or a desktop would be ideal as a set-top box, apart from its size and power consumption.

Unlike the small set-top boxes, such as an Android or similar, a Windows PC can deliver UK TV through the provider’s web page, such as the BBC iPlayer page. You can watch live TV using the web pages of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and so on.

Used laptops with HDMI output are available for about £80. Here are examples that just sold on ebay, that run Windows 7 and have HDMI output.



After my post questioning Jamie’s advice he then said – “Using Ebay auctions to get an idea of the price of a used laptop is not a general recommendation to buy from Ebay. Checking prices on Ebay is equivalent to window shopping.”

No idea why he is acting this way? Bit of a “Bully” in my opinion.


January 18th, 2014 3:28 pm

Are we getting multiple ID’s from the same IP address again? Perhaps the web manager could check, and if so, take appropriate action. As for the interminable and increasingly bitchy discourse on here about second hand computers, to buy or not to buy, please go open a new thread somewhere else folks. All I want to see on here is useful info relating to ‘The Big Switch Off’. Someday quite soon now, I suspect…

Anne in Nerja

January 18th, 2014 4:36 pm

I like the look of that Paul G, it looks like the mag range of iptv box. Has anyone tried Roku?

Question to Paul G. What do you mean build a box for it?


January 18th, 2014 4:41 pm

I think we are ! A couple.

Blimey it will be great when the switch off actually happens!!!!


January 18th, 2014 5:02 pm

To Paul G

Yes, I did say:

I have read a few reports about the Chrome in that context – some good and some not so good

You replied:

So Jamie (bless him) . . . . now starts to slate the new Google Chrome Laptop


How unusual that you have not posted these not so good reports

Slating the Chromebook is not my intention. I welcomed John’s post and would welcome the views of other Chromebook users on here. You may regard it as ‘nit-picking’ but it is important to compare ‘like-with-like’. The Chromebook is not a Windows PC and I believe that the Chromebook you mentioned is not a substitute for a PC running Windows 7.

Do you wish to see those reports or, better still, just the links to the webpage? I guess that most readers on here will think that the pro’s and con’s of Ebay buying is completely off topic.

However, a laptop for viewing UK TV is very much on topic.

Is there a particular model of the Chromebook that you had in mind?

John k

January 18th, 2014 5:02 pm

In answer micmc 47, who (rightly, in my opinion) has appealed for these comments to get back to the problem that is staring us in the the face, namely the forthcoming switchover, I will do so now.

I have spent many, many fruitless hours trawling the net for an IPTV set top box that really appealed to me

Eventually, after so much concentrated searching, I found, on paper at least, what I was looking for.

It’s called the Ex-Pat TV and will be my £99 answer when the switch-over occurs in a couple or so weeks. The monthly charge for subscriptions for the basic package is (from memory) £19 and £29 for the premium package. There is a 7-day money-back guarantee and 14 days catch-up.

Again, if my memory is correct, the unit will run on .5mps ADSL broadband in SD mode. I didn’t take in anything on the site about HD as my tv is sd only.

John k

January 18th, 2014 6:07 pm

I have just looked up the Ex-Pat TV site and the unit does run on 0.5mps broadband. There is no mention of ADSL, that was my mistake.


January 18th, 2014 8:04 pm

Blimey it will be great when the switch off actually happens!

Any advance on the night of 9th/10th Feb?

But don’t hold your breath, Paul. Self-promoting comments on blogs like this will surely escalate.

Expect a rash of gratuitous advice as the ‘service providers’ vie to sell their wares.

Paul G

January 19th, 2014 4:52 pm

Free IPTV can be achieved with nothing more than a PC or a Laptop these can be connected to your TV using a HDMI cable, you can buy a 10M HDMI cable and have your laptop or PC next to you to change channels and look at TV guides. Not ideal but will get you the basics you can use hola unblocker and its free in google chrome store to change your IP address to a British one so you can access iplayer or you can use Filmon.

IPTV providers in Spain charge anything from €15 a month with some charging €38 a month for a full package although some offer a all in price of around €500 you can see them on E Bay for £500 including one year access, some suppliers charge €145 for a box and then a monthly fee.

I do not like XBMC. I cannot understand how anyone can use a PI it is a complete waste of time and much hard work to use, I have read many posts on frustrated and fed up people that have simply wasted money.

I also read some interesting comments here –


I have been searching for IPTV boxes and reading forums and doing some homework have decided on the MAG-250 box as you can change suppliers and packages if you need to and not tied to one supplier. I did not fancy the raspberry PI as it just looks like too much hard work to watch TV as I just want something that we can turn on and watch without any messing around.

I am going to buy one from the Company that has the advert at the top of the page.

I will post my findings soon.

Details of the Google Laptop.

Product Details – Samsung XE303 Chromebook, E5250, 2GB, 16GB, 11″, Silver

Samsung’s sleek Chromebook comes in a highly portable design that delivers outstanding performance to accommodate your multitasking requirements.

Fast and efficient to use, the Chromebook is equipped with pre-installed security for protection against viruses and malware; another innovative security measure called cloud storage safely backs up your files with reassurance. The XE303 Chromebook is the first ARM based Chromebook with a Dual Core processor that delivers greater power efficiency for an overall exceptional performance in an ultra-slim profile.

Incorporating an intuitive interface, the Chromebook enables you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings with easy navigation via its oversized multi-touch touchpad. Offering a superb web experience, you can spend the whole day surfing, streaming and working on the web on just one charge. And with an amazing 8.5 hours of battery life, the Samsung Chromebook is the ultimate companion that makes light work of keeping up with the hectic lifestyle of tomorrow.

For full specification –


This was copied from the Tesco website.

Paul G

January 19th, 2014 5:00 pm

Anne – I was talking about the PI not coming in a box, its just a circuit board.


January 19th, 2014 5:56 pm

SKY TV is being investigated for not allowing border less access to SKY, so is Canal+ and SKY Deutschland, they are breaking EU Law by not allowing access to residents of other EU countries.


January 19th, 2014 8:23 pm

Commission will in particular investigate whether these provisions prevent broadcasters from providing their services across borders, for example by refusing potential subscribers from other Member States or blocking cross-border access to their services.

The opening of proceedings in no way prejudges the outcome of the investigation; it only means that the Commission will treat the case as a matter of priority.


John Simpson

January 20th, 2014 9:31 am

Have taken the same route as Paul G.

“””Free IPTV can be achieved with nothing more than a PC or a Laptop these can be connected to your TV using a HDMI cable, you can buy a 10M HDMI cable and have your laptop or PC next to you to change channels and look at TV guides. Not ideal but will get you the basics you can use hola unblocker and its free in google chrome store to change your IP address to a British one so you can access iplayer or you can use Filmon.”””

Have 5m HDMI cost €6 from the local Chinese bazaar in Mijas Costa. Works perfectly. I also bought a Chromecast from Amazon for £30+ including post to the UK. This allows wireless streaming of all hard disc PC content plus Youtube where I have already found this weeks BBC shows I have missed e.g. Holby and Murder in Paradise.

Only unresolved nuisance is that I cannot download (copy) iplayer programmes in Windows 8 using Google Chrome. Website commenters have found the same with Firefox. Typically Hola, which is a great free VPN site, doesn’t work with Internet Explorer so I can’t test downloading on that one

The only expense I have had is the HDMI lead and the optional Chromecast

If it’s live sports you want then use Google Chrome as a browser and add a Google extension “” free and works well, all the Premier Matches and I daresay the rugby

Jamie Goddard

January 21st, 2014 5:58 pm

Ive been reading a lot of “20e per month and 200e for box) adverts and I, like other, will be keeping wallet in pocket until it actually happens.

And anyway there are free services that allow you to watch all UK TV for Free

All you need is a internet connected device (laptop, PC, new TV etc…) most laptops can be plugged in to your TV and heypresto…


January 22nd, 2014 12:45 pm

Heypresto – “Prices have doubled”

Paul G

January 22nd, 2014 1:19 pm

Just taken delivery of mag250 box, very happy so pleased I avoid the raspberry PI my neighbour is so fed up with his, 4 memory cards later and he is still getting error messages.

Anne in Nerja

January 22nd, 2014 5:05 pm

No BBC TV for Spain, but you are OK if you live in South Korea! The BBC just signed a deal to supply BBC TV shows to South Korean IPTV supplier.


January 22nd, 2014 6:56 pm

Anne’s right. It’s complete bol*ox that we can’t just pay for BBC TV here, get it legally, pay our share, get more income for the BBC etc etc etc.

Instead, it’ll go into the pockets of pirates here…..

Typical EU – a complete and utter sham there to serve the interest of those in power and their mega-rich friends,


January 22nd, 2014 9:10 pm

They are supplying BBC Shows not the bbc channels – a vast difference

We can get bbc legally in Spain as well – it is called BBC entertainment and is the bbc subscription service – but selective programs (like those being received in other countries already mentioned )

Anne in Nerja

January 22nd, 2014 10:12 pm

Not just South Korea that are enjoying watching BBC TV shows either! I just had a look on Google and the BBC have been very busy setting up TV deals in many countries but not Spain or France in fact they seem to avoid Europe completely.

Whilst BBC1 as a channel may not be Broadcasted most of top BBC TV shows such as Top Gear, Dr Who, Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares, Torchwood, Keepin up Appearances, Eastenders and many others are all being enjoyed around the world and bearing in mind Spain has the third largest British Ex Pat community you would think that someone at the BBC would have though about providing a service to the many British people living in Spain.

It is very annoying to see the TV guides on the websites below knowing that if I where on the other side of the planet I could be watching BBC TV shows easier than when Astra 2E comes in to service in Spain next month.

I pay my TV fee every year and have done for over 40 years, it really annoys me.

Why have the BBC admitted to deliberately narrowing the beam on the UK, knowing that most of Spain will be without BBC TV shows. It is terrible.

This is what I found.





New Zealand


January 22nd, 2014 11:49 pm

Anne: all these examples are served up by internet, (the WWW. is a clue) you know, PHONE LINES. Nothing stopping you accessing the same way, (if the Spanish system doesn’t groan to a halt under the pressure.)

Anne in Nerja

January 23rd, 2014 12:41 am

Sorry to state the obvious but a BBC channel is made using BBC TV shows, so no idea what you are saying?

Paul said “They are supplying BBC Shows not the bbc channels – a vast difference”

If you read my post I say “BBC SHOWS” no mention of BBC1 or BBC2???

Also Paul said “We can get bbc legally in Spain as well – it is called BBC entertainment”

What do you mean by legally?
No Laws in Spain against watching British TV?

So are you saying it is illegal to watch BBC1 or BBC2 in Spain then?

If you take 5 mins to visit the links I posted you can see that they are showing more up to date BBC TV shows than you get on BBC Entertainment.


January 23rd, 2014 10:05 am

I was making the point that we CAN get bbc SHOWS here in Spain, on subscription. But as Sefanjo says, the clue is still the internet

However, and I don’t know how many times this has to be said, but there is no legal requirement or obligation for the BBC or any other uk channel provider to broadcast their programmes to any other European country, in the same way as there is no legal requirement or obligation for Spain to broadcast their programmes to the uk, or for that matter Korea, Australia or South Africa to broadcast THEIR programmes to the uk.

The new satellite the bbc are using operates a spot beam to concentrate the signal over the uk, thus ensuring maximum coverage to the country they are obligate to supply. Unfortunately that beam does not reach southern Spain, but if you move to anywhere north of (probably ) Madrid, or to the north west, the chances are you may receive a signal. We have been fortunate for many years to pick up the bbc and other channels for free, but now those days are gone, and the only way forward is the internet via the any methods previously discussed, or network broadcasting, which does not use the internet. Or subscription to the bbc entertainment services etc.

Unless of course the new satellite does reach southern Spain!!! We will Know soon enough now I suspect.

John k

January 23rd, 2014 6:33 pm

It woud be very useful to hear the experiences of people who have already bought an IPTV box. For example, the one I have got my eye on is Ex-Pat TV for live TV with 14 days catch-up. (The spelling and spacing of the letters is important as there are quite a few other boxes with very similar names.)

The Ex-Pat TV doesn’t require either a VPN or an IP Shield. I think that is extremely useful and quite rare if you look round the Net.There is a 7-day money back guarantee.

It is a bit costly at £99 with the channels being £19 a month for the basic package and £29 for the premium package,(with no contract), but the £99 for the box is cheaper than a lot of others I have looked at on the Net.

What do other people think about buying a box as opposed to a straight VPN package?

Personally,I definitely prefer a box, but it would be good to hear from people who are really happy with their VPN arrangement and also to hear from people who have taken the plunge and bought an IPTV box?


January 23rd, 2014 6:47 pm

I agree with you john inasmuch as an easy to use IPTV box is the answer for me. As I have said before – whilst I have a full sky+HD setup with a linksys UK VPN router for sky catchup and on demand, for live bbc etc I am going for the Astra2TV box which whilst more expensive to but is cheaper on monthly rental for everything .


January 27th, 2014 1:39 am

In response to John K about buying an IPTV set-top box.

I think you may be referring to a dedicated package of set-top box plus paid-for streams.

Now that the switch over to the Astra 2E is so close, those many (probably the majority) who have adopted ‘wait and see’, having waited so long already, are not going to be panicked at this stage into any solution. It seems to me very sensible to wait for a few more weeks.

I am guessing when I say that most people will go for a dedicated IPTV solution as opposed to a generic solution. Maybe the one recommended by Paul G / MrSkyTV and one or two others. At this stage there seems little to choose between the alternatives. John K mentioned his requirement for subtitles and so I guess that the box he has recommended does support subtitles. Does the MAG-250? Of course, it is the TV streams and not the box itself that provides the subtitles. The John K system does seem a little over priced at £19 per month for the basic package but, for the additional subtitle support, that is worth paying.

Paul’s choice, Astra2TV, does catch-up and live TV. None of the IPTV providers that I know of states the source of their TV stream – although IPTV FOR YOU states that:

We operate from a UK data centre (London)

If that’s true then they could be first in the firing line from the ITV lawyers.

The big unknown with any internet TV solution is the reliability of the streams, including the official streams from the UK PSBs – such as the BBC streams through iPlayer. It is probably sensible, therefore, to wait for at least another few weeks after the switch over until we get reports about how well the different streams cope with the extra demand.

My last few posts were about the generic IPTV solution using a Windows set-top box – and the possibility of using a spare laptop/desktop. My view is that connecting a laptop situated next to a TV is a temporary solution – mainly because of the size and the energy inefficiency (and for some a noisy fan could be a nuisance). Apart from that, a Windows PC works well as an IPTV box.

If you don’t have a spare laptop then I definitely do NOT recommend buying a new laptop, either a Windows or Google Chrome/Linux or any other similar machine, just for that purpose. It is simply not cost effective and, for a permanent solution, there is better alternative to a laptop.

A Small Footprint Windows Set-Top Box

The less expensive and more satisfactory alternative, a Windows PC box, is essentially a Windows ‘tower’ but with a much smaller footprint. If you can source a used PC, and you are comfortable with that, fine. I, personally, would not pay more than about £90 for a laptop to use as a set-top box. The price of the alternative neater solution – a small Windows box – starts at about £180. Just twice the used laptop price but new and designed to be used as a set-top box – and so does not look ‘out of place’ next to your TV.

These smaller footprint windows boxes with a quiet fan are used to stream video for viewing on a TV screen. They are called home theatre PCs (HTPC). Computer and home theatre enthusiasts commonly assemble HTPCs themselves. One of the overriding considerations, apart from size, is low noise level.

They are normally sold without the operating system.

Because they can run a full Windows operating system they support Flash Player used to deliver TV through the web site, such as iPlayer and FilmOn.

Here’s an example of one of the costlier (and not so small), high spec Windows HTPC boxes, the ASRock ION 3D 152D/B. It is a little less than 8″ square and 3″ deep:


It’s quite expensive at £369.

A ‘Next Unit of Computing’ NUC PC

Small footprint Intel HTPCs (small physical size and low power) are called ‘next unit of computing’ PCs or NUCs. These Intel PCs, that run a full Windows or Linux op system, sell from about £120 new.

A NUC is a PC unit in a very small box. It is only slightly larger than an Android smart TV box (about 4″x4″x1.5″) but heavier and more robust. It has a quiet fan and a low energy rating. Before the naysayers start writing in, I should explain that setting up is only for the experienced. It is harder to set up than a Raspberry Pi although you can buy a NUC already fully set up and working. You can access the UK PSB streams through the web page or XBMC.



These HTPC boxes are set up in the normal way, with an internet connection and a HDMI lead to the TV and are controlled with a PC remote control.

John k

January 27th, 2014 12:15 pm

In response to Jamie:

The box I have got my eye on is indeed a package with streamed content. It doesn’t support subtitles right now, but they are promised by April at the latest. The Mag-250, Jamie mentions, is sold by (among others) IPTV4You and the blurb states that subtitles will be “along soon”. That has been stated for several months now, so I suppose it is anybody’s guess as to when “soon” will arrive.

Before I buy a box, which won’t be until all the furore of satellite 2E has settled down, I shall view Filmon with high-performance headphones. That’s assuming that Filmon doesn’t disappear from our screens in the meantime.

The only box that I know of that currently supports subtitles is again from IPTV4You and that is the expensive (in my book) Telergy. However, a company rep told me that there is a 20/30 second delay after the programme has started before the subtitles kick-in. I think there is something wrong there, and it certainly wouldn’t do for me.

What is most interesting about both box companies that I have mentioned, is that neither of them require an IP Shield or VPN to hide your location. Does that mean that they have come to some sort of arrangement with the broadcasting companies? Both of them declare very strongly that their content can be viewed world-wide.

I was not impressed with Jamie’s, may I say convulted description of laptop/computer solution to the problem. I am still firmly convinced that a dedicated box with streamed content is the answer, but I may well have to change my tune if the broadcasting companies take an opposing view.

Way back in April/May last year, I think it was, Jamie stated that he was writing from England. I wonder if all his very interesting posts in the interim period have all emanated from the UK or has he now made the move to Spain or Portugal?

Anne in Nerja

January 28th, 2014 4:58 am

Sounds like relying on Filmon may not be such a good idea.

Paul G. How is the MAG IPTV box that you purchased? What internet speed is needed?

Information about Filmon –

Court Delays FilmOn X Appeal, Leaves Ban In Place
Streaming television service FilmOn X suffered another setback in court this week, when an appellate panel said it won’t rule on the company’s request to lift an injunction against it until after the Supreme Court decides

The order, issued on Thursday by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, leaves FilmOn X unable to stream TV shows in the U.S.

The move came around one week after a coalition of broadcast networks that initially sued FilmOn X sought an “emergency” stay of the company’s appeal. The networks argued that it made sense to wait and see how the Supreme Court ruled
U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer in Washington, D.C. sided with the broadcasters and entered a preliminary order preventing FilmOn X from streaming TV shows while the lawsuit is pending

Last week, the Supreme Court said it would consider the broadcasters’ appeal of the New York court’s decision. Observers expect the Supreme Court to issue an opinion by June.


January 28th, 2014 9:24 am

At the moment Anne, the ruling only affects Filmon in the US. It does not affect the broadcasts in Europe.

However, as you say, it is always possible, and a lot of the systems out there do rely on Filmon (or NonFilmOn) as their source.

Paul G – I would also be interested in the MAG IPTV box you bought.


January 28th, 2014 12:49 pm

The antics over FilmOn in the US courts are more entertaining than the average UK soap.

Thanks for the update, Anne in Nerja.

I am sure that Alki David will not be happy with the court’s decision to await the US Supreme Court ruling. I guess a delay like that will cost him.

an appellate panel said it won’t rule on the company’s request to lift an injunction against it until after the Supreme Court decides whether Aereo is legal



The decision not to make a decision and to await the outcome of the Supreme Courts Aereo decision is not quite a ‘ball in long grass’ scenario. But FilmOn will take comfort from the link to the Aereo case. And, if you currently watch FilmOn, it represents at the least a six month stay of execution.

If, in the longer term, say 9 to 12 months, FilmOn is effectively closed down in the US, how will that affect its UK broadcasts? Alki David could decide to close the whole show – but he is more likely to continue the European operation. His business is based in the UK and his FilmOn X operation’s antenna farm is in Switzerland. Then it’s up to the UK PSBs to take on FilmOn.

The significance of the ruling to wait for the Aereo decision is important. Aereo uses the same technology loophole as used by FilmOn – the antenna farm. The appellate panel has considered that, if the ruling goes against Aereo, then that will close the same loophole for FilmOn – but, as is quite possible, if Aero wins at the Supreme Court then that strengthens the case for FilmOn.

Whatever the outcome there – FilmOn will be around for at least six months, giving its users in Europe time to look for the ‘best buy’ solution once the dust has settled after the switch over.

The more immediate problem that faces FilmOn users in Europe and, for that matter, all users of UK TV streams, legal or otherwise, is how the extra demand on the broadband infrastructure and the stream servers will impact the quality of the streams. If, after a few weeks into the switch over, the quality does deteriorate, first test your broadband speed at peak viewing times. If that is still adequate (about 1Mbps or more) then the server could be struggling. It could be, in the case of FilmOn, that you will not even be able to get a connection to a FilmOn antenna. One solution could be to subscribe to FilmOn (about €14 per month) but first ask FilmOn if that will help. A subscription has the added benefit of receiving their high definition streams.

Paul P.

January 28th, 2014 1:13 pm

Filmon in Europe is based in Switzerland and they do not re-broadcast TV, instead they allocate a virtual antenna
to each user.

When a viewer selects a program, the web browser sends a request to the Filmon application server. The application server then sends information about the selected program to the antenna server. The antenna server allocates a specific
antenna to that user from which the user selects the programming. Users are assigned a different antenna each time they select a program. However, no two users are ever using the same antenna.

This is entirely legal in Switzerland which is why Filmon are located there and will not be affected by the results of US court cases.

In my view, Filmon are just as likely to survive and probably a lot more so, than many of the illegal streams providing programmes to dedicated IPTV boxes such as the Mag 250, especially if those streams are provided from UK based servers where the broadcasting authorities will be resolutely pursuing illegal streamers and closing them down when they find them.

With only a couple of weeks to go before the transfer of channels to Astra 2E is completed, my advice continues to be to wait until the dust settles. In that way it will be possible to see which of these systems still work when the servers (assuming they are still operational), are at maximum demand as thousands of expats start watching TV at peak times.

John k

January 29th, 2014 5:20 pm

Somebody please tell me if I am right or wrong…..

If you select a UK box that does not require a VPN or an IP Shield, doesn’t this mean that to all intents and purposes, you are watching from the UK, in which case no threatening action by the broadcaster to close it down???


January 29th, 2014 5:47 pm

If by a uk box you mean a straightforward uk freeview box the I am afraid it will not work in Spain John K.


January 29th, 2014 6:27 pm

doesn’t this mean that to all intents and purposes, you are watching from the UK, in which case no threatening action by the broadcaster to close it down?

It means exactly the opposite.

John k

January 29th, 2014 7:05 pm

Sorry, Paul, I did’nt make myself clear. I was referring to an IPTV box.

Jamie, I don’t think there will be a problem. Say the BBC take court action against an IPTV box company that is sending out their programmes (which would take quite a while to set up) and the BBC won the case, just as they did when the BBC sued the Catch-up operator,

No problem, Catch-up simply moved their operations out of the BBC clutches and they were back in action very smartly.
Problem solved. Simple.

John k

January 29th, 2014 7:26 pm

Jamie, you said “It means exactly the opposite”
I will not be upset if you call me thick but if a box company sends out a BBC or ITV prog and there is no IP Shied or VPN receiver, then the box company hasn’t re-broadcast anything, because there is no receipt….surely?


January 30th, 2014 2:56 am

Who gives a toss,I live mostly in Germany or Vienna (most beautiful city in the world) or Spain (GC),and would not miss TV even if it did not exist,I watch,perhaps 2 hours TV per week,if that,and find it full of crap which,quite honestly,insults my intelligence,which is probably what it`s meant to do.I do however spend a lot of time on internet which is just as bad……………..

John Simpson

January 30th, 2014 7:57 am

Thanks for you personal insight Tony. If you don’t give a toss then don’t waste time contributing. Simples!
I find the internet the biggest time waster, but wouldn’t be without either – given a choice


January 30th, 2014 9:20 am

You just enjoy your Viennese Waltzes “Tony”

Paul G

January 30th, 2014 11:40 am


All is well with the box that I purchased although I do have a few gripes;

The box only has BBC NEWS & SKY NEWS, I enjoy RT News and Euro News and Bloomberg, these are not available on the box although I have been told that they may be added.

The video club movies from last month are now unavailable and I get a “file missing” message, I was told that they delete the older movies when new one’s are added.

The recording and 7 day catch up service is now a pay per year service so in order to go backwards 3 days and watch a missed TV show you have to pay to get this service unlocked.

The recording facility allows you to set the recordings up to 7 days ahead and download all Movies in video club, the recoding window that pops up is very easy to use and is very similar to our sky box although whilst easy to use I dont fancy having to pay an additional 145 euro to be able to record, download and watch 7 day catch up.

I complained to the supplier who told me that this was introduced January 1st and that they where offering to pay 50% of the fee as a good will gesture so fair play to our supplier, who told us that they had to pay to get their demo box upgraded and they are an agent!

Picture quality on our 55″ LED is very good especially on Sports, the older TV shows like Only Fools and Horses is a bit grainy but ok, the demo channel is usually showing BBC1 in the evenings and this demo channel is in HD.

What I do like is the amount on Sports channels available, plus lots of Movie channels and Documentaries. Very happy with the choice.

I would guess that this supplier will be introducing HD channels and probably want to charge for it so will wait and see.

I have 4MB internet connection.

I give the MAG250 box from Mr SKY TV 9/10

It would be 10/10 if RT News and Euro News and Bloomberg could be added and using recording and 7 day catch up was FREE.


January 30th, 2014 1:40 pm

Mr Sky TV plugging again….

John W

January 30th, 2014 4:14 pm

Any news on the satellite progress and when the switch off might start?


January 30th, 2014 6:07 pm

The 2E satellite arrives at its operational position tomorrow. The switch over of the Freesat channels could be any time in the next two weeks. There is a 50% chance it will happen next week.


January 31st, 2014 10:08 am

The Bird has Arrived



SES has confirmed that:

ASTRA 2E has now been deployed at its final destination in the orbital arc of 28.2/28.5 degrees East . . .

. . . (and that) the ASTRA 2E satellite enters into commercial service in the orbital arc of 28.2/28.5 degrees East on February 1, 2014.

. . . (and that) Over the coming weeks, BSkyB, Channel4, ITV and BBC programming in this arc will be transitioned to the new satellite with its powerful footprint over the British Isles. – See more at:


So, it will be operational from tomorrow 1 Feb.

Paul G

January 31st, 2014 10:38 am

Operational tomorrow, but probably 14 days before transmissions start.


January 31st, 2014 10:39 am

Worrying that BSkyB channels are also clearly mentioned as transferring over to the new UK beam…so we could even lose some of those as well. It won’t be just the BBC and ITV non-HD channels which go onto the UK beam as that would be impractical, in my humble opinion. Some will go UK and some pan-Euro. Which goes where we will only know in the next few weeks.

I hope they get a move on so we know how to act. I still haven’t cancelled by rip-off 60 quid a month to Sky as my objective remains to be offered half that price by them. However, as this means I’ll be tied into a 12-month contract, I can’t really do anything so as not to end up paying for Sky channels that maybe I won’t even be able to receive.


January 31st, 2014 11:39 am

Hi Mike

Worrying that BSkyB channels are also clearly mentioned as transferring over to the new UK beam

I know it does seem a little ambiguous but the SES statement does not say that. It states:

BSkyB, Channel4, ITV and BBC programming in this arc will be transitioned to the new satellite with its powerful footprint over the British Isles

Trying to remain positive, my interpretation is that there are two separate (but conflated) statements there.

1. “BSkyB, Channel4, ITV and BBC programming in this arc will be transitioned to the new satellite.
2. “the new satellite with its powerful footprint over the British Isles

There is no definitive statement that the BskyB programming will ‘transition’ or transfer to the UK beam. These official statements are not always written as precisely as one may expect. For example, the writer says ‘will be transitioned’ to the new satellite. The word ‘transition’ in the context of satellites, has a precise meaning – it refers to the orbital movement of a satellite. Its use in the SES statement, when referring to the transfer of the TV programmes from the 1N to the 2E transponders, is unusual. I don’t think the writer intended to imply in that brief statement that BskyB will transmit on the UK spot beam.

Of course, the above must not be interpreted to mean that the Sky programming will not transfer to the UK beam. We still do not know, officially.


January 31st, 2014 6:14 pm

Following on from my earlier post, and the ambiguity of the SES statement concerning BSkyB, here’s a statement from a staff member on the “” forum:

He referred to:

the sloppy PR piece SES issued earlier today.

and added:

I don’t for one moment believe BSkyB will exist solely on narrow Beams. Let’s stick to our eternal mantra: ‘Wait & See!’



Tony Turtle

January 31st, 2014 6:35 pm

Sorry Jamie, but, the statement states:
“BSkyB, Channel4, ITV and BBC programming in this arc will be transitioned to the new satellite with its powerful footprint over the British Isles”

Which says that The four groups of programming will be moved to the new satellite, therefore meaning those viewers in Spain are up the creek with only a baseball bat as a paddle. My father is 84 and trying to get him to (a) learn enough Spanish to enjoy TVE and the rest or (b) understand an internet driven system will be next to impossible.

For those in the past who have stated Sky and the BBC refuse to licence their signal in Spain, it’s the other way round, Spain refused to pay the fee!

I have now been watching this thread for about a year now, and everytime we get “It’s going offline tomorrow” tomorrow comes and it is still there!


January 31st, 2014 7:14 pm

Tony, I am keeping my fingers crossed for you all from Wales. I would also be dreading the switch over to the new satellite.

To all the smug gits who say, “Why do you watch TV anyway? It’s crap” I will say that I’ve just watched an excellent documentary about Easter Island on iPlayer. Good for you if you have the funds to entertain yourself in other ways, but for many of us watching TV is a cheap form of entertainment.

As far as TVE goes, I have several friends who speak Spanish fluently but have never bothered to shell out for a Spanish digibox for the simple reason that most Spanish TV just isn’t very good – even more so if you can understand every word, I understand! The news programmes seem decent enough but the entertainment on offer is pretty inferior.


January 31st, 2014 8:05 pm

Reply to Tony.

The 2E satellite has several dish antennae. One dish will transmit the UK PSB (the ‘Freesat’) programming on the UK spot beam.

It is that UK beam that has the narrow footprint centred on the UK and it is channels transmitted on that beam from that dish that will almost certainly be unreceivable in most places in Southern Europe.

I agree that the BSkyB channels will be transferred to the 2E sat – but a transfer to that sat does not inevitably mean that all BSkyB channels will be transmitted on the UK beam.

The current assumption remains that encrypted BSkyB channels are likely to be transmitted on the pan-European beam from another of the 2E’s dishes.


February 1st, 2014 2:45 am

If Vienna is the most beautiful city in the world, Tony, stay there all year round.

For those in the past who have stated Sky and the BBC refuse to licence their signal in Spain, it’s the other way round, Spain refused to pay the fee!

No it isn’t. If Sky and the BBC wanted to broadcast their UK channels into Spain they’d have to clear the rights for them. However, they don’t want to. Nor do cable operators in Spain want to carry them, because Spanish broadcasters have bought the rights to many of the programmes shown, not least Canal Plus. There are companies which rebroadcast Sky channels in Spain, but they won’t have had Sky’s permission to do so. Torresat has actually dropped Sky channels and only has free-to-air channels from the UK.

Anne, watching the BBC’s domestic channels directly via satellite outside the UK is not illegal, as the signal isn’t scrambled – but the BBC doesn’t like it, because in order to keep rights holders happy, it has to reassure them that the signal doesn’t reach that far outside the UK.

I agree it’s silly that there are more BBC TV channels available in South Korea than there are in Spain, but you should take that up with BBC Worldwide – they’re the ones that decide what channels are shown where. If you are more interested in specific BBC programmes rather than channels, many are available on VoD services in Spain.

The BBC’s position is that if you no longer live outside the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, it has no obligation towards you, no matter how many years you lived in the UK and paid the licence fee, or even if you still pay it at the property that you may still own in the UK. I don’t agree with it any more than any of you, and think that it could be a lot more flexible, but what can you or I do?

The Irish, Dutch and Belgians have got BBC One and Two on cable for years because they’re close enough to the UK to pick up the terrestrial signal – but their cable operators have had to pay the rights holders. The SNP says that a similar arrangement would happen in Scotland if it gets independence, because that’s what happens when you become an independent country. However if the worst comes the worst, Scotland are still within the footprint, just as the Republic of Ireland is.

The Swiss have had a system where their expats in the rest of Europe could go to their nearest consulate with their passports, pay their licence fees, and get a satellite viewing card to watch TV from home. However, when I asked the BBC about this, it said that programme rights apply to territories, not citizens. Switzerland might also be able to have got away with it because it’s not in the EU, which is why its courts have upheld cable and IPTV operators’ right to carry BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5


February 1st, 2014 10:26 am

Succinctly put Calpense. Sum it up perfectly.


February 1st, 2014 11:18 pm

I`m not in Spain right now but in Germany but follow this thread with interest.Personally speaking I would not miss TV if they turned it off completely all over the world,it`s full of intelligence insulting shit and is only there to keep the proleteriat amused while our politicians and other manipulators think of more ways to control and manipulate us all.If I lived in Spain all the time I`m sure I could find a million things better to do than sitting at home watching TV.Come on people for God`s sake GET A LIFE……………

Paul G

February 2nd, 2014 8:44 am

Calpense said:

BBC’s domestic channels directly via satellite outside the UK is not illegal, as the signal isn’t scrambled – but the BBC doesn’t like it, because in order to keep rights holders happy, it has to reassure them that the signal doesn’t reach that far outside the UK.

What rights holders??? All tv shows on BBC are owned by BBC FOOL.

Also calpense said:

However, when I asked the BBC about this, it said that programme rights apply to territories, not citizens. Switzerland might also be able to have got away with it because it’s not in the EU

LOL liar….


February 2nd, 2014 10:58 am

Oh dear, back to stupid bickering again.

it is going to happen, whatever, grow up, accept it and make arrangements if you want to watch UK TV. If not, as someone else said, why bother to use this blog?


February 2nd, 2014 11:00 am

@Tony. Congratulations on spewing out one of the most patronising, arrogant posts I’ve seen to date on this thread… and I’ve seen a few. Usually from the same hymn sheet, accusing anyone who actually watches TV of being seriously lacking in intelligence, or in your case, part of the lumpen ‘proletariat’. Yes, quite a lot of TV is mental chewing-gum, which requires little more from the recipient than to position themselves in front of the screen and to open their eyes. However, some TV is not only highly entertaining, but dare I say it, educational. So next time you’re tempted to pose as self-appointed hanging judge over me or anyone else, go to the nearest mirror, look yourself full in the face, and ask: “Who the … do I think I am?…”


February 3rd, 2014 2:37 am

I know exactly who I am,and am sometimes dissapointed when I look in the mirror,but,I must repeat that TV is full of pure rectal outpourings and I don`t miss it it one bit.I have a TV and pay my GEZ (begrudgingly) because I need one to watch my VCDs,DVDs,etc,(on large screen),but TV ,very little,in my opinion it is full of shit which I do not need,and to a large extent does insult my intelligence and I repeat I DO VERY WELL WITHOUT IT AND DO NOT MISS IT,and I repeat that if I lived in Spain I would have many better things to do……………………………………………..OK.


February 3rd, 2014 9:18 am

Your banal comments have absolutely nothing to do with this blog, so go and tuck yourself up with a good book, and drink your horlicks sunshine.

As has been made clear before, the question is NOT whether we even bother to watch TV at all, but rather, what arrangements can or should be made for those people who do (and believe me Tony, there are a lot of elderly people who DO rely , believe it or not, on TV as their only contact with the outside world) use it.

PS Do capital letters meaning you are shouting ?

PPS So you don’t been live in Spain, which, of course, is what this blog is all about !!


February 3rd, 2014 9:47 am

Well said, Paul, but this is not the first time he’s trolled into this thread, and I fear we may just be feeding this saddo by responding. I’m ignoring him and his like from here on in, and perhaps they’ll go elsewhere to vent their bile. And he has the nerve to tell people to ‘Get a life’… He really should go and look in the mirror and repeat those very words out loud…


February 3rd, 2014 12:04 pm

Agreed micmac47


February 3rd, 2014 3:32 pm

Death Star approaching….


February 3rd, 2014 5:00 pm

ha ha ha he he he is this thread still going on. I don’t think it’s even the original TELEVISION IS GOING OFF FOR EX PATS thread either.

Ooo look, it’s still working everybody. Do please tell us when the next date is for it all going off.

There’s nothing wrong with liking watching uk television. Especially the elderly who have it for comfort. It makes people feel connected to the uk too whilst enjoying the mediterranean relaxed atmosphere and climate. (Sorry for mentioning the NICE WEATHER to any grumpy sods out there)

Tony just should turn off his television…

..and also his computer.

John Simpson

February 3rd, 2014 7:19 pm

and maybe his life support system


February 3rd, 2014 10:57 pm

May be some moves to 2E tonight. Of course, SES could start with BSkyB channels, in which case most of Europe should not be affected when that happens – unless any of those transfer to the UK beam.


February 4th, 2014 9:24 am

As I’ve said – I can’t see all Sky package channels going to pan-Euro and none to the UK beam – that doesn’t add up. But Sky aren’t daft, so expect all sports channels to go to pan-euro and entertainment / kids stuff plus maybe some movies, which make more sense on demand to go to the UK beam. Sky know that it’s live sports where the real money is.

My prediction anyway.

Rebel Base is within range….


February 4th, 2014 9:58 am

BSkyB (Sky) channels transferred last night

Yep! loads of Sky channels, including ITV HD 2, 3 and 4, now transferred successfully to 2E pan-European beam. So, if you watch Sky TV through your Sky account you have reason to celebrate.

As many had predicted (hoped), those Sky channels have transferred to the pan-European.

You may even, in many parts of Europe, receive a stronger signal for those channels, previously transmitted on the old 2A satellite.

So now, the original question – what will be the fate of the UK Freesat channels?

John Simpson

February 4th, 2014 10:58 am

Have been reading this thread now for what seems like a lifetime and finally we have some news from Jamie specially about Sky.
I use a Freesat box brought over from the UK to get my Freeview, through the Community dish, which it seems may well be useless in a few days. I am a Sky subscriber in the UK. If I bring over a s/h Sky box, available for about £20 in Cash Converters, will my UK Sky card work with it, and which channels will I receive. I have just dispensed with Sky+HD since I was paying something like £60 a month mainly just to watch the Sports Channels. I pointed out to them that I was out of the country for 3 mths a year and resented paying for those months. That wasn’t a factor for them but Sky readily dropped my subscription to £30 per month (12mths)so that I can no longer receive HD but all the Sports Channels, the Freeview channels and some Sky Channels. IMHO most TV’s these days are capable of excellent pictures without the need to pay a premium for HD.
From reading these mails I understand that Freeview may no longer be available through Sky
Obviously some more changes can be expected, maybe this week


February 4th, 2014 11:20 am

Wow! That’s a good start. That’s half of the World Cup sorted! Pity the rest of ITV is crap.

Where you finding this information Jamie?


February 4th, 2014 11:21 am

I also appreciate that so far my prediction earlier today has been equally crap…..


February 4th, 2014 11:47 am

@John Simpson

The short answer John is yes, the card will work with the box, but Sky now have to pair the box and card. So it all depends on whether that can be done, ()age of box, type of subscription etc) and you will only (once the transfer happens) be able to receive SKY channels, NOT free to view or terrestrial channels (BBC, ITV etc).

If you are in Spain, remember to prefix any call you make to Sky with 067, as other wise they will be aware of where you are calling from and will not talk to you.


February 4th, 2014 12:15 pm

Mike said:

I also appreciate that so far my prediction earlier today has been equally crap

No – you are correct. Not all the BSkyB channels have transferred yet and so maybe, as you suggest, some may still go to the UK beam. For those without a Sky account, one hopes that Sky News SD, for example, soon to be transferred from the 1N, will be on the pan-Europe and not the UK beam.

The details of the transfers can be found on the specialist forums, in particular “”.


February 4th, 2014 1:07 pm


After having a look on there, I think I’ll leave it to you to break the good/bad news…..


February 4th, 2014 6:22 pm

Announcement from BBC – Switch Over Early Thurs 6 Feb

The BBC channels on the 1N satellite (the BBC Freesat channels) will be switched from 1N to 2E in the early hours on Thursday. This will almost certainly mean the loss of those channels in the far south west of Europe.

The announcement:

Astra 1N is shortly to be moved to its permanent position at 19°East, so the affected BBC services will be transferring to a new permanent home on Astra 2E (28.2°East).

This will take place in the early hours of Thursday 6th February 2014. Care has been taken to ensure the minimum of impact to UK viewers both during and after the change, such that no viewer actions should be required.

A small number of channels are unaffected by the change. These are on the multiplex “DSAT 8” which is carried on Astra 2F (also at 28.2°East). These are BBC ONE Scotland HD, BBC ONE Wales HD, BBC FOUR HD, BBC NEWS HD, CBeebies HD.

The ‘small number of channels’ referred to are probably already not receivable in south west Europe.




February 4th, 2014 9:58 pm

Bye bye Beeby Beeby goodbye….. So that’s it then. My daughter won’t be happy when she finds out CBeebies isn’t on anymore poor thing.

Enjoy tomorrow then!

Need to know what’s going to happen to Sky Sports now….


February 5th, 2014 9:11 am

Paul – thanks.

Paul G

What rights holders??? All tv shows on BBC are owned by BBC FOOL.

BBC Fool? Is that a new channel from BBC Worldwide? There was one called BBC Food some years ago. Spelling ‘fool’ in capital letters is what West African scammers do when they’ve been rumbled.

No, actually, not all TV programmes shown on the BBC are owned by the BBC – it buys UK rights (and only UK rights) to sporting events from relevant organisations like the Football Association, Rugby Union, Lawn Tennis Association, etc, and rights to US films from the Motion Picture Association of America. And even many UK programmes are produced by independent companies, which have the right to sell them directly to TV channels abroad.

LOL liar….

Thank you for correcting me – I take it you’re a lawyer specialising in intellectual property, then? Better tell that to Peter Davies, former head of strategy at the BBC, the BBC’s legal counsel, who will bow down to your superior knowledge.

Of course, there are cases of rights applying to people rather than territories, namely the Armed Forces, who can watch versions of BBC One, BBC Two and ITV via Eutelsat W3A courtesy of BFBS with a viewing card, along with Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2. However, you probably won’t be able to get one from anyone serving in Gibraltar because they watch it on a cable network confined Ministry of Defence properties. People servin