12 Dec, 2012 @ 14:00
1 min read

No more CSI in Spain

CSI cast members

EXCLUSIVE by James Bryce

IT’S an important part of the daily routine for many expats in Spain.

But catching up on your favourite British TV programmes could soon be much harder after a change in satellite settings deleted Channel Five overnight.

BBC One, BBC Two, ITV and Channel Four are also expected to follow suit next year, which would leave many unable to watch popular shows including EastEnders and X Factor.

The move has been met with dismay by expats in Andalucia, who were given no warning of the impending switch over.

“I have been inundated with calls from people wanting to know what’s happening and what the timescales are, but the honest answer is that nobody knows for sure,” said Mark Wood, boss of Costa del Sol-based satellite company The Sky Doctor.

“There have been a lot of rumours about all the other channels being switched off on December 16 but it could be anytime between now and next August.

“I am 99.9% sure they will disappear eventually but all is not lost, all Sky channels are unaffected and Channel Five HD is still available.”

Mike Crompton, from Casares-based company Media Streamz is convinced that it will lead to a rapid growth in internet TV next year.

“I think we will lose all good UK channels by next summer and the only way you will get them is via internet streaming,” he said.

James Bryce

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: [email protected] or call 951 273 575


  1. hello, your feature is disappointing and lacks any real investigation into the issue.

    you quote that sky channels are unaffected but what is this based on? sky broadcast on the same satellites as the free chanels. it is only good fortune that people received uk tv via satellite in spain because the existing satellite had a less controlled footprint. the new satellite has a smaller footprint designed to focus over the uk.

    anyone using a sky box with a card in spain is in breach of skys contract.. your contract is for UK reception only! sky have no legal or contractual reason to provide a signal to spain.

    with regard to internet based tv, companies that re-broadcast uk tv channels may be working without licence and subject to closure at any time.

    p.s. if you are desperate to watch csi, get an aerial and watch it on spanish tv [you can change the audio to english].


    steve g.

  2. Don’t panic just yet, the situation at the moment is like one of those questions on QI, nobody knows. There are three new satellites being sent up and the final signal line up is as yet unknown as is the final signal footprint. Only when the chopping and changing is finished will we know the possible solutions. In the meantime do as steve g says get an aerial and tune into Spanish TV which shows a huge amount of favourite series which can easily be switched into English, if you want even more choice get a package from Digital plus (similar to SKY bit more expensive but totally legal) where you can see even more British productions and get SKY news and BBC world, they have just introduced English sub titles for a lot of their American and British productions. Hope this helps and stops people jumping on a plane back to the UK, Spanish TV is pretty good once you get used to their timings which can jump around a bit.

  3. BBC Channels will NOT be lost on the 16th or 18th December. The BBC have said their move to a new satellite will be “in summer 2013”.


    “All Sky channels are unaffected”
    Incorrect. It is thought that some Sky channels will be affected and move satellites on the 16th or 18th December. And others will be affcted when they move from their current satellite to new satellites.

  4. We’re in the UK keeping up with a number of series and the lack of UK channels would be very disappointing. Coincidentally we are coming in January and will be sourcing a new TV to replace our tube TV. Can anyone advise as to whether an internet TV can receive UK TV? I currently use a proxy server through my laptop to occasionally catch up on iplayer but use a UK digibox for all the Freesat channels. With downloads at around 1mb -suitable for surfing and emailing only – the internet service would have to be upgraded, a costly exercise.

  5. john, i would be careful buying an internet tv because the manufacturers ‘change the goalposts’ regularly and so do the tv companies. itvplayer *should* work on a new internet tv but the web is full of negative stories about internet tellys.

    it will still need a proxy because itv will ‘know’ you are not in the uk.

    another choice is use a decent up to date laptop with a cable to connect to your telly. that also means you can play dvd and video files direct from your laptop. don’t forget watching tv on the internet will mean its downloading a lot of data and you might be limited by your broadban suppler.

  6. This is a bit confusing, I guess because nobody knows. We have a Sky box but only have all the free channels. Is there is a difference if we were to buy a Sky subscription? Does anybody know?

  7. no, sheilagh, it won’t – and buying a sky subscription may be a costly exercise because if you lose the service when the satellite changes are made, you have no comeback with sky – their service is for uk only. some people have an address in the uk and use an account at the uk address but bring the box to spain – this works at the moment but for how long is uncertain… could be a few months at most.

  8. I thought the Olive Press was a NEWSPAPER.This saga has been going on for several months and the Olive Press has only just found out!
    There is much more info on more newsworthy sites.

  9. Fair do’s jon, but I do hate people that have left the UK by choice, criticising the UK, and demanding it’s benefits at our expense. We have enough trouble making ends meet without spongers. The pensions and heating allowance stuff is a different argument which we needn’t get into here, where we are talking about entertainment having to be paid for. I am sure there will be many more opportunities in due course. Remember when we had to pay to obtain gippy satellite cards. there was someone there to facilitate it AT A PRICE. Perhaps the Olive Press could offer a programme list where the source is English, to make it simpler to identify the Spanish TV programmes to tune into. Maybe there is already a publication, on paper or online. I don’t want to hear about speaking Spanish. My wife and I have been trying for 23 years but what with running a time consuming business very little of the language has stuck. It didn’t hep when I was told by a Spanish waiter to verbatim ‘speak in English mate, you are doing my head in’

  10. I don’t think it’s even about the language, I speak fluent Spanish and my husband is a Spanish speaker but I can’t abide most Spanish TV (much of it is like a competition to see how many people can speak at once, when you aren’t forced to sit through 6 minutes of adverts). I will miss things like Masterchef and Strictly, which don’t have Spanish counterparts (or at least not which would be acceptable to my tastes!). Also children’s TV for my son, most of the stuff on the Spanish kids’ channels is frankly appalling. I love Spain, its people, its language, but I love British TV more! I would actually be happy to pay a licence fee (QUÉ?!) to be able to still get the BBC (I can live without all of the others), I wonder if they have considered that option?

  11. interesting, but how do you manage a licence fee in spain? what about the legalities? as it’s a satellite service it would need to be encrypted and each receiver would need to subscribe to a similar setup to sky. not only that, all uk tv except the bbc is commercial based… what’s the point of ads for the sofa carpet specialist or oak furniture warehouse or any uk business when you are watching outside the uk? other issues include the fact that tv shows are licenced to the bbc, itv, etc, to be broadcast only in the uk…. it’s a minefield!

  12. A lot of the big American shows like CSI are shown on Spanish TV and if you have a modern TV there is an option to change the language, you can also do this with most movies and kids TV shows.

    Have lived here 10 years and speak good Spanish but Spanish TV in general is awful and as almost as bad as Strictly ;). I have a Chilean wife (so Spanish speaking) who prefers the UK TV than the Spanish but we have the whole Sky package and although C5 has gone it is still there on HD

  13. steve g made that coment about changing the audio channel earlier on in this forum.. if you do have an old tv from before spain went digital, you won’t have any channels unless you have a digital tv receiver plugged in!

  14. All this fuss about not being able to receive British TV. What’s the point in living abroad if people are going to try and cling on to all the dross which is churned out over there?. In any case most of the decent programmes are available in English right here on Spanish TV. All you have to do is access the menu and change the language if Spanish is too much of a challenge.

  15. Fair point from Amparo. But the pretty large holiday rental market, cites the use of sky/satellite T.V. as one of its attractions for people who may only be able to spend their hols. here. As folk have tried further-flung bases from which to strike out on car trips, they tend to chill in front of the telly at night, especially in rural situations, where there may be few distractions. The mind boggles at the effect on the costas, when it affects the football or Corrie. The internet must fill the gap, but can it?

  16. uk football is available of euro-satellite services that you subscribe to just as with sky. with the exception of the world cup [which is shown on spanish tv] and a few other matches, most footie even in the uk is only available as pay to view. the majority of bars i’ve ever seen footie in on the costas has not been on sky. p.s. the holiday rentals that advertise sky tv, are, in reality, just as bad as the ‘looky looky’ man selling bootleg dvd’s on the beach.

  17. The future is clear, the old satellite services are being switched off, to enable better services to provided for the UK. How soon is anybodies guess. At the moment only a few channels like ch.5 and 4seven have been effected, but slowly over the next year more will be transferred including BBC ITV and channel 4 – basically all the Freeview channels will be eventually moved.

    Some areas of Spain may still be able to receive but even then the signal will be much weaker than before. I am based at the bottom of Catalunya and the Astra 2F signal here is virtually non-existent even on a 180cm dish.

    Subscribing to SKY is also not going to help because channels like BBC, ITV, Channel 4 &5 are provided on the SKY box via Free2air. Saying that, SKY currently doesn’t have any plans to move it’s main subscription channels like, SK1 & 2, Living and Atlantic, so at least for the time being these will be safe – but not for long.

    So that’s it guys. The days of getting your UK TV for free in Spain are coming to an end.

    So what can you do about it ??

    Well some people are already using proxies to view online streamed content, this is OK but nowhere near as convenient as just sitting down in front of their telly. And of course you need a good fast reliable internet connection too, so no good for people like me who don’t even have a fixed phone line. Also the use of proxies to mask your IP is highly frowned upon legally – so don’t start complaining when you get a knock at the door from the Guardia Civil.

    Me personally, I’m tired of all the cloak and dagger tactics required to keep UK TV so I’m going to get CANAL + which provides a lot of UK & US TV in English (CSI, Doctor WHO, films ect) in original English for around the same price as SKY without all the hassle. And Ok, I won’t we able to watch Eastenders and Hollyoaks anymore, but they’re boring these day anyway.

  18. pleant of stating the obvious and repeating what’s allready been said, lincoln!

    with regard to the guardia paying you a visit for using a proxy… not a chance, the spanish isp’s don’t care and are so inept wouldn’t know what to do anyway!

    a few years ago the governing bodies of copyright told the spanish governemnt that all spanish isp’s needed to divulge the details of any users who were downloading illegally… spanish government told them to b***er off!

  19. **David Smyth**. I think you need to be very careful before you suggest to people that the Spanish ISP’s “don’t care’ about the legal requirement to store details of internet activity or are “inept” at carrying out their obligations. Copyright issues may not necessarily be a top priority but other illegal activity is most certainly interrogated.

  20. **David Smyth** Actually I brought up a number of issues that had not been said before and I really cannot see the need for you to be slapping people down on this board – surely everybody has a right to post their opinions.

    **amparo** I do agree with you and just because the ISP’s haven’t done anything so far doesn’t mean they never would.

    But I don’t think the problem here really is copyright. People who are watching TV or downloading music and films are probably not on the radar at the moment. Unless you are distributing, renting or selling – this is another matter altogether.

    The bigger problem is the use of proxies to hide or mask your own IP and hence location is a very shady area indeed.

    Apart from being high frowned upon legally, the big problem is that you are sharing an IP or pool of IP’s with of bunch of other people who could be up to considerably worse things than just catching up on Eastenders and criminals just love using proxies for exactly the same reason – to mask their real locations. And of course when the police do finally catch up with the criminals there will be little to separate their activity from yours as you would both have been sharing the same IP pool.

    I’m not saying you would go to prison, but you might have a number of very uncomfortable weeks having your home searched and your computers removed for inspection.

  21. Reading the foregoing posts on this subject is like eavesdropping in an expats bar. So many know alls and so much disinformation.
    It is not a criminal illegality to receive and view Sky or any other UK broadcaster whilst in Spain. Spain does not have a licensing system for receiving any radio or tv signals, Spanish or foreign. The BBC and Independent channels do not have their own satellites, they along with BSkyB are licensed to transmit using the Astra satellites. The current satellite Is almost twelve years old and is fading. The first of two new satellites is in orbit and transmitting signals now, albeit on a smaller footprint than the old one. Some channels have been lost already and more will be lost up to and after the launch of the second Astra satellite in mid 2013. The best current advice is not to do anything, particularly buying a smart tv or taking out a new subscription with Sky, you could lose your money. BSkyB are under no obligation outside the UK to refund subscriptions for a loss of signal, It also false to state that UK citizens, resident or visiting Andalucia are cheating the system by getting Sky and others free. The Sky set top box is available at all reputable tv retailers and from dish installers in Spain, shipped in bulk by Sky.P to Spain. No one is getting away with free coverage , a full subscription for all Sky’s Preminger channels is £ 95-00 per month. There may be some card cloning which is illegal.. It is recommended that you should wait until after the launch of the second satellite (mid Year 2013), asses the channels you have lost or are losing and then install a three meter dish for approximately €650. This would have a strong possibility of pulling in your favourite channels. Let there be no more gossip about the Guardia or illegal ISPs , jail or other scurrilous rumors .

  22. **Peter Crabtree** An eavesdropper is exactly what you are, only hearing half the story and then enforcing your opinion without knowing the facts.

    Who are you to tell others what they can or cannot say and I suggest to actually read the posts carefully and properly before criticising what the people have said.

    For example: I cannot see a single mention from anybody claiming that watching British TV in Spain is illegal – nobody has said that. So you yourself are providing disinformation.

  23. **stefanjo** it isn’t so much being switched off, as out of range. The channels will still be there, it might however more difficault to get them. And of course those people with existing installations ‘may’ have to improve their systems or put a bigger dish. I think a lot of people are going to need the help of a professional satellite installer.

  24. Peter reckons it will be around six hundred and fifty quid and a dish like a flying saucer. Even then, there’s huge doubt, especially where it’s most wanted. “Switched off” of course, is a figure of speech.The thing will still be hanging around up there, waiting to bang into the space station. Do “professional installers” have magic powers not available to ordinary mortals? Caveat Emptor!

  25. Who is this Mike Crompton? How many years has been in the industry? I have spoken to many satellite guys who have no clue where he came from. If he is making quotes like:-

    “Mike Crompton, from Casares-based company Media Streamz is convinced that it will lead to a rapid growth in internet TV next year.

    “I think we will lose all good UK channels by next summer and the only way you will get them is via internet streaming,” he said.”

    Why has none heard of his background. And who are media streamz. never heard of them?

  26. We are no longer fitting Dishes in this part of the Costa del sol, We are now installing IPTV solutions for our clients.

    Its the most cost effective and practical solutions that employs a decent Set Top Box which plugs into a normal TV. Many local Sat guys are signed up and fitting these.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

Respected journalist and mum of two dies unexpectedly

Next Story

Surgery death

Latest from Lead

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press


One is not amused!

EXCLUSIVE: Baroness Hilde Von Voss has called on the BBC