Over the last decade and more British expats throughout Europe have been able to enjoy watching British television from satellite broadcasts using either a Sky card or, more recently, a FreeSat card.
However, when satellite broadcasts moved from Astra 2D to the more modern Astra 2E satellite in February 2014 almost everyone – including you and me – who had been enjoying British satellite broadcasts for years were suddenly cut off.
I decided to look at various solutions to receiving the BBC and other UK channels over the Internet, looking for one or more to recommend. In doing so I found a free service for watching British TV on your computer, but went one step further and ordered the components to build a basic “media centre” that allows me to watch British TV live on my television and without the need for a VPN or proxy.
On this page you’ll learn about the different options you have for watching British TV channels including the BBC in Spain and solve the problem of your satellite transmissions being cut off.
Here are some of the most common questions…
Q. If I get a bigger satellite dish will I be able to receive British TV again?
Sadly it isn’t that simple and while it may work in some areas of Spain, the majority of the country will still not be able to receive broadcasts even on much larger dishes. Check to find out if anyone locally is having success though as reception can vary a lot.
Q. If we make enough fuss do you think the BBC and other broadcasters will start to broadcast on a wider beam?
The chance of this happening is almost zero. It was a deliberate decision as the licensing rights of these broadcasters covers the UK only and there is no financial benefit to them offering a free service to us.
Q. I’ve tried watching BBC online using the iPlayer service but it tells me that it only works in the UK. Is there any way to get this to work in Spain?
You can fool iPlayer and other similar services into thinking you are in the UK by using a VPN or proxy service. Depending on your needs there are both free and paid services available to you such as Hola Internet and British TV Anywhere.
Q. If I have a broadband internet connection you say I can watch British TV. How does this work?
A company called FilmOn rebroadcasts British television broadcasts over the internet so that anyone can watch standard definition broadcasts for free on their computer. There are also paid options for HD broadcasts as well as the ability to record programmes to watch later.
You can watch the basic FilmOn service for free by clicking here.
Q. I can watch the BBC on my laptop, but is there any way of connecting it to my TV set?
If you have a modern flat screen television set and your laptop has an HDMI video output then you should be able to connect them by buying an HDMI cable.
Q. I’m watching on my iPhone or iPad. Can I connect that to my TV?
You can do it using an HDMI adaptor for whatever device you are using. There are different options depending on your specific model, but try looking here for Apple products as a start.
Q. Is there a set top box that will allow me to watch British TV again in Spain?
What you need is a media centre, like the one I’ve been working on recently. It connects your TV to the internet and, when correctly configured, allows you to watch the BBC and other British channels in Spain. See below for more details.
Although I originally only planned building the media centre just for myself I quickly found other people also wanted me to build them a one too and realised that my media centre has the potential to help dozens of people who want to be able to watch British television again.
While the quality does not match a satellite broadcast and relies upon a reliable internet connection to work, it does at least allow me to watch my favourite programmes still on my TV rather than a laptop.
You’re currently online, you want to watch British TV in Spain, and what I’ve learnt along the way can help you too.
With that in mind I’ve put together a 5-part email series that will take you through the steps needed to watch British TV in Spain. Enter your email address below to get the first part immediately!