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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What do I need to get Freesat in Spain?

What do I need to get Freesat TV in Spain?

freesat in costa blanca

You will require two things to get Freesat TV in Spain:
A satellite dish
A Freesat receiver

Satellite Dishes for Freesat in Spain

The size of satellite dish you need for Freesat in Spain depends on where you are located in Spain and what channels you want to be able to watch in Spain.

In many areas a 1.8m satellite dish or a 2.4m satellite dish is required to receive the main UK TV channels along the Costa Blanca.

You can go for a smaller satellite dish, but your reception of the main UK TV channels, like BBC and ITV, will be limited.

Freesat Receivers in Spain

Freesat is only available on Freesat branded receivers.
Freesat is not available on Sky receivers.
Freesat receivers and Sky receivers use their own software.

The channels that you receive on Freesat receivers are "free to air" channels, ie channels you can receive for free with no viewing card or subscription.

A Sky box without a sky card gets the same free to air channels as a Freesat receiver does.

The best types of Freesat receivers to use in Spain are the Humax Foxsat Freesat range. These come in HD, and HD+ versions, the difference being the latter has a hard drive to allow recording of programmes.


To confuse things, Freesat is actually the name of the EPG Programme Guide used on Freesat receivers. This EPG can actually be received on a small satellite dish, like an 80cm or 1m dish. I have even got the Freesat on a old Sky minidish here in Valencia!

But when I ask the Freesat EPG to go to a channel like BBC, then the BBC signal is on a different frequency (and satellite) to the EPG, which is not available on an 80cm dish.

So actually you can say that Freesat is available on a small 80cm dish in Spain, but the channels on Freesat still need a "big Portuguese" satellite dish to be able to receive those channels.

This simple confusion about what Freesat actually was and would provide in Spain, was even made by some "cowboy" satellite installers, jumping on the "bandwagon" for the launch of Freesat. They advertise that Freesat and UK TV would be available on a small 80cm satellite dish for most of Spain. Well as you can see, and as they found out, they were wrong, its just the Freesat EPG that is available on a small 80cm satellite dish, not the main UK channels.

I went to a number of people who had a "Freesat TV" satellite system installed, who were diappointed not to receive all the main UK TV hcannels on their small 80cm satellite dish, and who could no longer contact thier "satellite installer" as they had "done a runner" knowing that they had not got their facts straight about Freesat.

Freesat vs Freeview

Freesat allows access to the UK free to air channels via satellite.
Freeview is a TV system in the UK that provides free to air UK TV channels via a TV aerial.
Freeview is a UK ONLY service.
Freeview is not available in Spain - dispite some comapnies saying Freeview is available in Spain, adn even using the word "freeview" in their company name or in their advertising.

Many of these same companies also say you can get Freeview channels on Freesat. Which is incorrect. Some of the channels on Freeview in the UK are PAY channesl on satellite, and require a Sky satellite monthly subscription to watch them.

Similarly, a UK Freeview box, connected to a TV aerial in SPain will receive the SPanish Digital TV channels, and not the UK digital channels. Simplyy becasue we are in Spain, and the UK TV channels are not available via the terrestrial broadcasts system (ie TV aetrial on the roof) in Spain.

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