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The Curmudgeon

The curmudgeon is a miserable sod. He likes to have a moan. He tackles subjects which many foreigners living in Spain agree with but are too polite to say anything.

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How to watch British TV in Spain in 2024 and beyond
Saturday, April 13, 2024 @ 5:39 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I first moved to Spain over 15 years ago, you could watch UK TV to your heart’s content. And it was free. All you needed was a satellite dish pointed at the Astra B satellite and a receiver next to your TV set. There was no licence fee payable.

 

No licence fee

And that was the problem! The BBC didn’t like the fact that up to one million British people living in Spain were effectively licence fee dodgers. That is still a criminal offence in the UK, by the way.

So, in around 2004 they stopped making their service available via Astra B, leaving British immigrants who wished to watch UK channels without a service.

Since this is a huge market, companies sought ways around it. Streaming to a computer, laptop or tablet or even a mobile phone was a possibility, a pay service.

Other possibilities emerged. One company, Icecrypt, found that there was a small transmitter over Rota (Cádiz) where the US military have an important base, and sold a package including router for access to a restricted number of channels.

I signed up for that and for years tolerated the somewhat inadequate system up to last week, when that too was switched off (4 April 2024). The company which sold me and countless others this system, Lemm Electronica of Ronda, are not interested in helping us out. (In the UK, the retailer is liable, of course.)

It’s not really worth the hassle of pursuing Lemm, so they’ll get away with it. It would have been nice if they had at least let us know that this problem was about to occur. So, it looks like we’re on our own.

Since 4 April, the “airwaves” have been buzzing with suggestions from British punters who have found a solution. At least here in Andalucía.

My interlocutors have come up with useful suggestions, although they all cost money. Fair enough; we had to pay a licence fee in the UK back in the day. Thanks to Susan (Benaoján), Carolyn (Montejaque), Nick Flynn (Ronda), Elaine (Jimera de Líbar), Jill  (Montejaque), Freida Maybury (Ronda), Paul Whitelock (Ronda) and Julie Wilkinson (Cortes de la Frontera) for their useful contributions.

 

Jill from Montejaque sent this link, which is well worth a read: https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2024-04-08/bbc-switches-off-satellite-signal-whats-next/87701

 

Julie Wilkinson from Cortes de la Frontera wrote: “If you have decent internet coverage, you can contract IPTV. I have a Nokia streaming box that connects to my WiFi at home and I installed the SmartSTB app (my provider charges 20€/mth and I get 100s of channels, including Sky channels for films etc.”

 

 

 

 

 

Elaine Gilfillan from Jimera de Libar uses a company called TeeVeeing for UK channels. “ I also get some French, German, etc. (I pay) 9.99€/month, no VPN required just an internet connection.”

 

Freida Maybury from Ronda: “I pay 25 a year for my VPN and 120 a year for all my TV, movies, music, etc … all languages.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nick Flynn from Llano de la Cruz has unearthed an English guy in San Luis de Sabinillas (near Estepona) who can provide a pre-loaded Amazon Firestick for 110€ with no monthly charge. After a year it’s 55€ to renew for another year.

 

STOP PRESS: Nick and I tried one out yesterday and it's very impressive. Thousands of channels from all over the world including lots of pay channels free. I'm off to the coast on Monday to collect a few; for me and other interested folk around here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carolyn from Montejaque has found a different solution: “I highly recommend my VPN supplier, Smart DNS Proxy. It’s American, and I pay $80 a year.”

 

 

 

Paul Whitelock from Fuente de la Higuera comments: “(Satellite) is no longer an option. We have to look at streaming, via fibre-optic using the mobile phone system, or Firestick. The old glory days of free TV are over, I’m afraid.”

 

 

 

How Does It Affect Me?

Personally speaking it’s no big deal for me, as I don’t watch much TV, but I do like to drop in on Match of the Day, International Rugby, the Olympics, etc, without having to traipse off to Bar Alegría in Ronda, a sports bar which shows these broadcasts, where I inevitably partake of too much of the falling-over liquid (beer).

Sometimes it’s nice in the winter to sit down in front of the telly and watch Strictly Come Dancing or Question Time or Newsnight.

On a daily basis I’m happy to watch the Spanish news on TVE1 (La 1) or the German Tagesschau on ARD or ZDF (my missus is German, and we have had no problems receiving dozens of German channels via the afore-mentioned Astra B satellite), but that’s not really the point.

 

Support in high places?

In my opinion, the many thousands (a million?) of British residents in Spain are entitled to have a decent free-to-air TV service from the UK. What is the British Embassy in Madrid doing about it? Or the British Consulate in Malaga? Not much, I suspect. What do they do all day? They no longer even issue British Passports.

What about the English-language press published here in Spain? I don’t see the EuroWeekly News lobbying on our behalf, nor SUR in English, nor The Olive Press (I thought this was supposed to be a campaigning newspaper!). The paid-for papers, like Costa del Sol News, neither. Online news services? Forget it!

So, we appear to be on our own. The best options going forward appear to be either a streaming service, a service via the mobile telephone network (fibre-optic), Firestick or VPN. What’s that? I hear some of you say.

 

Streaming

As far as I can work out from my enquiries, streamed TV means not live, and the number of UK terrestrial channels are limited. This is not what I want.

I am happy to watch UK terrestrial channels live, so I want a minimum of all the BBC output, ITV 1 to 4, Channel 4 and Five. Is that too much to ask?

 

Fibre-optic

If you have fibre-optic in your area, you can buy a package that gives you TV. However, the company I enquired with, Hitsmobile, who are part of the same group as Masmovil, only gives you channels from the USA and limited UK channels. Not for me.

 

 

 

Firestick

Please see my STOP PRESS above.

 

VPN

I’ll leave it to an expert to explain. Christopher Seward has been using the internet since 1994 and launched one of the very first VPN comparison websites in 2013. An expert in the field his reviews, testing and knowledge have helped thousands of users get the correct VPN for their needs.

Although his latest version of the article is three years old, it’s the best I could find.

 

 

 

 

What you need to watch British TV in Spain

Written by Christopher Seward

Updated on January 2, 2021 First Published December 15, 2015

“We’ve been getting a lot of requests asking us how you can watch British TV in Spain so we’ve put together this guide to help you achieve that.

“We’re going to show you how to watch British TV in Spain.

“This is especially important now the UK has left the EU as EU portability rules no longer apply.

“You’re going to need a VPN service. No technical skill is required!

“This method will let you watch BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, ITV Player and all the most popular UK TV services, plus a few lesser-known ones too."

 

“What you need to watch British TV in Spain

“From now on the easiest way to watch British TV in Spain is to do so on a computer or laptop. You can also use a tablet and if you’re desperate then a smartphone will work too.

“All of the UK online TV services are blocked outside the UK so if you try to access them in Spain, you’ll be told it’s not possible.

“To bypass this block, you need to use a totally legal service called a VPN.

“VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is a way of encrypting your internet and routing your connection via another location.

“The upside is you assume the identity of that location and with a VPN the websites you visit will think you’re in the UK. So, TV streaming sites will let you view them because they think you are in the UK.

“Don’t Panic!

“First thing is, don’t panic, they sound more technical than they are, but thousands of people from teens to pensioners make use of them daily and with just 1 or 2 clicks you’re set-up and ready to go."

 

“Where do I get a VPN for British TV in Spain

“VPN services have exploded in recent years, and they’re now offered by thousands of different companies. Finding a good provider can be difficult in the sea of services.

“There are two critical features you need to be aware of before getting a VPN. Firstly, they have to have a “UK server”.

“Secondly because you’re streaming video all the way from the UK to Spain you need a VPN service that is fast; otherwise, you’ll end up with buffering.

“We’ve been reviewing VPN services for the past 7 years and put together our three top VPN providers to watch British TV in Spain.

“We recommend using NordVPN because they’re one of the easier services to use and they’re also one of the cheapest. Feel free to take a look around though and do your own research.

“Just click a provider’s name below or the green button to visit their website.

  1. NordVPN
  2. ExpressVPN
  3. CyberGhost VPN

 

“How do I use the VPN for British TV in Spain?

“Once you’ve signed up to a VPN provider, you’ll be given your login and password details.

“Next you should decide what device you want to watch on. You can alternate between devices so you can use it on your laptop and a tablet, you aren’t just limited to one.

“Once you’ve decided what device you want to use it on then download either their software for your PC or Mac desktop or laptop from their website or their app for Android or iOS from your app store.

“If you want to use the service on a tablet or phone then you must have the TV service apps installed while in the UK, for example the BBC iPlayer app, the ITV Player app etc.

“For a desktop or laptop the process is much simpler.

“Firstly, launch the VPN software or app and connect to their UK “Server”. Once connected all you have to do is visit the TV provider website on your desktop or laptop. If you’re on a tablet or phone just launch the TV service app.

“That’s all there is to it. You can now watch British TV in Spain and other countries."

 

Conclusion


The cut-off only happened nine days ago, so it’s early days. Clearly there are some “workarounds” already, but given the size of the potential market (around a million) I am sure some entrepreneurial types will come up with something good in the next few months.

But I’m afraid the era of “free telly” has now gone for good.

As for me, I need to get my skates on and get a new system. With the UEFA Champions League coming to a conclusion soon, the major football leagues in Europe too, and of course the FA Cup, the Olympics later in the year and General Elections all over the place, not least in the UK, where the only question really is: “HOW BIG WILL LABOUR’S MAJORITY BE?

 

PS

If any reader knows more about this, please leave a comment.

 

© The Curmudgeon

 

The Good Guys:

Carolyn 

Nick Flynn

Elaine Gilfillan

Jill

Freida Maybury

Christopher Seward

Paul Whitelock

Julie Wilkinson

The Curmudgeon

 

The Bad Guys:

BBC

British Consulate, Malaga

British Embassy, Madrid

Costa del Sol News

EuroWeekly News

Lemm Electronica, Ronda

SUR in English

The Olive Press

 

Acknowledgements:

Amazon

Charry TV

Hitsmobile

La Sexta

Wikipedia

Xataka

 

Useful Links:

Elaine Gilfillan, Qualified teacher of EFL, Jimera de Libar   Tel: (+34) 711 01 15 27

Freida Maybury, TEFL qualified English tutor   Tel: (+34) 634 33 01 51

Paul Whitelock, translator and corredor (independent estate agent)  Tel: (+34) 636 52 75 16  www.help-me-ronda.com 

Julie Wilkinson, translator and independent gestora ("fixer")  Tel: (+34) 744 60 65 03 

 

Tags:

Amazon, Android, Astra B satellite, iOS, BBC, BBC iPlayer, British Consulate Malaga, British Embassy Madrid, British immigrants, British TV in Spain, Christopher Seward, Costa del Sol News, Crazy Guy, Curmudgeon, CyberGhost VPN, desktop, Elaine Gilfillan, EuroWeekly News, ExpressVPN, Firestick, FA Cup, Freida Maybury, General Election, Icecrypt, ITV Player, Julie Wilkinson, laptop, Mac, Nick Flynn, NordVPN, Lemm Electronica Ronda, licence fee dodger, Olympics, Paul Whitelock, PC, receiver, Rota, satellite dish, Smart DNS Proxy, SUR in English, The Olive Press, UEFA Champions League, UK channels, Virtual Private Network, VPN comparison website, VPN software, Virtual Private Network, workaround

 

 



Like 1




17 Comments


marcbernard said:
Sunday, April 14, 2024 @ 11:10 AM

I have been using https://unblockmytelly.com for many years and am very pleased with it. Currently I am about to renew my membership this summer and hope that they are again able to offer my long term arrangement for €85 single payment. Dial it up and see what goes!





JOHN LLOYD-JONES said:
Wednesday, April 17, 2024 @ 5:08 PM

Maybe you could try Spanish tv ?


Arturo said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 7:02 AM

I have a firestick and my internet provider (plusnet) have installed their own free tv channels (311) on it for their customers; no extra fees are required, so I am only paying €29.95 a month all in for all my British tv channels plus a few more


travelingrandad said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 8:02 AM

TV in Spain



Several ways to sort this problem.

My friend uses a VPN. This allows him to watch BBC, ITVX, Channel 5 etc whilst in Spain or on his last visit to Marocco. Lots of companies offering this service look carefully but my friend used NORD VPN and can use it on ten devices, I shall shortly do similar.

The best solution is to have IPTV from various sources, google it. I use VWATCH and have done for a few years. This gives me 12,000 plus channels so I get all the sports and movie channels from all over the world anytime I like.

I have the software for that loaded onto a “Firestick” so that when I move, I just take the stick with me and plug into the TV at my new location, yes, I realy do travel that much. VWATCH also gave me the correct codes so that I can watch on my laptop or tablet, a useful “add on”. Gone ar the days when I am forced to cough up for “Sky” TV.


PablodeRonda said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 8:19 AM

travelingrandad's post is very helpful and a good summary of what's out there at the moment.

As for me, yesterday I trialled a pre-loaded "Firestick". It's truly impressive. I could get thousands of channels from all over the world and some SKY pay channels.

All for 110€ for the pre-loaded Firestick with remote control and then around 50€ every year for renewal.

I'm off to collect one for me on Monday. Just in time for all those major sporting events coming up this summer. Yippee!


MartynPKing said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 8:21 AM

While a VPN may be enough to unblock BBC iPlayer for viewing in Spain, it's no guarantee. There's a recent article at https://www.comparitech.com/blog/vpn-privacy/bbc-iplayer-vpn-not-working/ that explains things quite well.

I'd also add that although you say that "streamed TV means not live", there are two type of streamed TV: on-demand programmes and live. In the case of live TV, e.g. sports, the stream is typically delayed by a matter of seconds because of the process of converting the broadcast to a stream, but it's effectively live.


Rob said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 9:53 AM

Any idea why the amazon stick has to be renewed each year and how does that work exactly?


Watchmanager said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 10:10 AM

I visit Spain and Europe regularly and always take out a month's subscription from Teeveeing, formally TVmucho. It gives all the freeview channels you get in the UK and its LIVE TV.
It also let's you RECORD multiple channels at the same time and is perfectly legal. There's no need for VPNs etc. It's so easy to use as well. The following price is for a single screen but there are many more plans.
Google it and see.
It costs the princely sum of 9.99euro (about £8 a month) or a yearly subscription of 89.99euro (about 7.50 euro a month)(about £6 a month).
I connect the night before I come away and record what I may miss during traveling.
I do this on my android phone but you could transfer it to your TV screen if required.
As for preloaded firesticks, they aren't illegal but loading and watching off them is illegal and you would need to pay for a good VPN to stop being traced.
Teeveeing is excellent, legal and gives you everything you get on the UK and even other countries if you want.





HammyDave said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 10:21 AM

Well now that many of us with Holiday Homes in Spain and who have Fibre internet in the UK its possible to use your home network to watch UK TV. I have ZEN Internet and the supplied router can act as a VPN server. You can then install a VPN client on your Firestick or PC and stream TV as if you were at home. I actually bought a second router for Spain so I have two WiFi networks in my Spanish house. One goes through the VPN so devices on that appear to be in the UK. The other doesn't so when using that you are in Spain. Of course no one will tell you about this because they make no money from it...


HammyDave said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 10:28 AM

Oh and please don't tag the BBC as a "Bad Guy" I am sure they don't care about who watches the BBC in Spain. The people who do care are the people who own the programs the BBC (and ITV) buys in, especially any Sports it shows, e.g. Wimbledon. They insist that the BBC keeps these within the UK as when it leaks it limits their ability to flog these rights in Spain......


travelingrandad said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 10:59 AM

Rob, the firestick does not need to be renewed each year, what you need to do is renew your subscription to the IPTV provider.
I normally do this on the last day of my subscription to make the changeover simple.
It is normally all done by text and it is worth mentioning that often your browser will resist attempts to visit a site (sure does with VWATCH)


travelingrandad said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 11:12 AM

You might like to see

iptvflixstream dot com, this looks helpful








rob_j1 said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 2:03 PM

My internet comes from Avatel. I get way too many channels, and couldnt be bothered to watch TV anyway. Too many commercials. Better to just look for what you want on the internet when you want it.


Simon said:
Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 7:51 PM

I am very confused as I have no issue watching UK TV via my Freesat box


Martin McMerkin said:
Sunday, April 21, 2024 @ 2:40 PM

I am in Alicante, I have 1.8m dish from 2008 and it still pulls in most Freesat channels and has dome from day one.

So, free to air and so far so good.

Tomorrow ????

There is not so much on I watch these days, must be getting old, "hehe" but it was a good investment for me.

I understand a while back this could have been lost due to satellite changes but I was lucky



PablodeRonda said:
Friday, April 26, 2024 @ 7:49 AM

This article has provoked a lot of interest. I've now got my pre-loaded Amazon Firestick up and running, with the help of my pal Nick. It's very impressive. It's early days and I'm still getting used to it, but I've already watched live tennis from Madrid, the first episode of a biopic about Hugh Hefner (Playboy founder) on the Amazon channel and it's all looking good.
It appears that the problem we have in southern Spain (ie UK TV cut off) does not apply everywhere. People in Alicante/Valencia continue in the old way apparently having access to a satellite which still works.


Wade Stars said:
Monday, May 13, 2024 @ 8:29 AM

xb


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