30 Sep, 2013 @ 12:02
1 min read

EXCLUSIVE: Satellite TV ‘Big Switch Off’ draws nearer

News astra launch

A SATELLITE launch that is expected to lead to the disappearance of UK channels in southern Spain has gone ahead at last.

The Astra 2E satellite was successfully put into space late on Sunday night – two months behind schedule – after a rocket launch from Russia.

The satellite is being introduced to substitute the old Astra 2D satellite that rapid declined in performance after a few years in use.

“We will all have to wait and see what will disappear from our TV screens and when,” explained Mike Crompton of IPTV internet alternative MediaStreamz.

“The BBC has already made an announcement that it will be using the more powerful UK spot beams which means we are very likely to be losing their programmes here…but nothing has been heard yet from the commercial broadcasters.”

Although launched in late 2000, the performance of Astra 2D 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.

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 now about to change when 1N will be moved back to its original slot and all British channels will be moved to the new ‘big birds’ called Astra 2E and 2F.

Thousands of expats in Andalucia are converned about the moves, after Channel 5 and various ITV channels vanished from their screens in December last year.

“Are the rest soon to go? I really think so,” adds Crompton. “The signs are we will be losing all of the free to air television services we have been enjoying, which will include BBC radio, and that all of this will happen before Christmas.”


Claire Wilson

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  1. The BBC have always punished none license payers and UK producers don’t care as there is no revenue for them, don’t they understand that we still see the Adverts that fund the TV programs, we buy the AD’s products, even though we are away from the UK, they do reach customers.
    Let’s hope that we keep some reception although we lost a lot earlier this year and as we have a holiday home we cannot afford to keep up a year long subscription, it was free or not at all !

  2. “explained Mike Crompton of IPTV internet alternative MediaStreamz.”
    Says it all. Let’s just wait and see. What would help is a Spanish TV online guide that shows which programmes/films are broadcast in English.

  3. We believe that certain HD channels such as BBC1HD and ITVHD may be possible on a 1.9 or 2.4 satellite dish so all may not be lost, if that is not possible then IPTV is the way forward although you cannot beat a SKY+HD box that can be connected to the internet so you can watch iplayer and bbc, itv, ch5 etc via internet but also have all your SKY such as SKY Atlantic, SKY SPORTS etc.

  4. They’ve had to start a fresh thread Fred. The old one currently holds 265 comments. It’s getting crowded. Says quite a lot about the true interests of Brit expats in Spain. They really only want Corrie in the sun.

  5. This works of course and I use it when necessary, but a loss of quality. However, if you subscribe to Filmon, I believe it is then 3D quality. But if you are Mac or Apple orientated it works well.

  6. Services affected by the ruling that Eutelsat should stop using a band of frequencies used to broadcast TV and radio services to the UK and Ireland have begun transmission on temporary frequencies away from the contested band.

    These services have moved off Eutelsat 28A to temporary locations on Astra 1N or Astra 2A. See below.

    Providing all goes to plan on the 4th October (when a German court ruling dictating that Eutelsat must stop using the contested frequencies comes into force) services will commence on another set of frequencies via the Astra 2F satellite. Temporary frequencies (highlighted in bold below) will continue to be used until the 10th. – the current reshuffling of services is designed to keep services available to viewers throughout the next fortnight.

    This is a list of affected channels.

    The letter Y indicates that they will move to UK spot beam and N means a Pan European beam. But please note these are all temporary frequencies and will probably change.

    11.508 H to 10.921 H


    Sky Living+1

    Sky Two Ireland


    11.527 V to 10.979 V

    BT Sport 1 (SD)

    BT Sport 2 (SD)

    ESPN (HD)



    11.546 H to 11.171 H

    Zee TV





    11.565 V to 12.305 H

    Sky Box Office


    Challenge + 1


    11.585 H to 11.156 V

    BT Sport 1 HD

    BT Sport 2 HD



    11.603 V to 12.187 H

    Sky Box Office

    Fox News

    National Geographic


    At the Races


    11.623 H to 12.402 V



    CNBC Europe


    11.662 H to 12.129 V

    BET U.K.

    BET U.K. +1


    11.681 V to 12.422 H

    Al Jazeera English


    Men & Movies


    12.523 V to 11.082 H

    Heart TV

    Capital TV

    Clubland TV

    Planet Pop

    Rocks & Co

    Gems TV


    12.560 V to 11.112 H

    Travel Channel

    Horse and Country

    QVC Beauty

    TV Warehouse


    12.560 H to 11.973 V



    12.607 V to 11.141 H

    The Active Channel


    12.607 H to 11.953 H



    12.643 H to 12.441 V

    CCTV News


    UMP Movies


    European viewers:
    Eutelsat 28A beamed its services across the majority of Europe. But some services have moved to temporary frequencies and transponders that are on the UK spotbeam. This means that during the transitional phase, some viewers in continental Europe will lose access to services marked “Y” or require a larger satellite dish.

    As these are temporary allocations, affected viewers should not take any action. The final situation will become apparant next week, when services begin to appear on their final frequencies and transponders. Then it will become clear which services will run on the UK spotbeam and which services will continue to be available across much of Europe.

  7. We will all have to wait and see but is Sky really prepared to lose the revenue from all the expats. As far as losing BBC, ITV, CH4 & 5, is this any great loss, may a blessing as so many productions are intended for those lacking brain cells. There is always the alternative of setting up a VPN on your PC if you really want to view, you can link most TV to your PC, Laptop or Netbook using either Hdmi, Vga and RCA/3.5 Jack cables. Many VPN service providers are free so my advice is to try one of these before paying for any service. The internet speeds will be slower but should be ok, if its not no money is lost.
    On a final note. Yes everyone living in another land should learn the language but sometimes its nice to have a touch of home. I`ts nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about.
    It`s not only the Brits who like a taste of home you know.

  8. Live the Dream:

    Sky wont be losing the revenue, because their own channels are unaffected, and those with Sky boxes will continue to receive all SKY channels. The Free to view channels shown via Sky but LEASED from the providers by Sky will be lost, and as you rightly say these will be all the BBC, ITV, CH4 and 5, and a few others. The only way sky will lose revenue is if people cancel their subscription BECAUSE they can no longer receive their old free to air channels. In most cases the receivers of these channels (certainly if they are resident here) will not be paying a BBC licence fee anyway, and so have no cause to complain.

  9. Great reading although with a little googling you can find a system like we have that can already receive all the UK channels that will be affected when these services change to the new UK spot beam as announced by the BBC and others.

    For the lazy, we installed a box from ukexpattv.com and the quality on our TV set is just like watching on the satellite so we will not be missing out on any of the soaps that keep Mrs P very happy during the winter evenings.

    I do hope that they do not move any of the sky sports channels, now that would upset me.

  10. To Jamie: HI there. I have a (probably obvious) question. i have just received my Sky wireless wi-fi cnnnector box, to enable the Sky+ HD box to pick up on demand (catchup). If I connect this via my VPN, does this mean I wll be picking up the UK Sky Catchup, (as I believe it uses the normal systems – BBC Iplayer and the ITV -Ch4 equivalents) or will I still be unable to receive these terrestrial channels. wait to hear and thanks.

  11. ITV it is set to launch 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.
    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. The service will initially be Wifi only.
    ITV Essentials is part of ITV’s ongoing strategy to test new business models and deliver content to viewers in new and exciting ways as well as to drive new revenue streams by exploiting content across multiple platforms.
    “This is a landmark deal for ITV. We are thrilled that we can now deliver the UK’s favourite soaps to the millions of British fans living and visiting abroad,” says ITV’s Controller of Pay and Distribution, Neale Dennett. ” In Saffron Digital we have found the perfect partner to bring these ambitions to life.”
    Using its MainStage video platform, Saffron Digital has designed and developed the service for simultaneous launch in the 12 different territories.

  12. All set to change next month when Astra move the new 2e satellite into position and transfer the FTA channels onto it and new UK service tight transmission beams.

    Astra announced the moves will start during the first week of February.

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