UK TV in Spain: Freesat, Freeview, Sky UK TV Explained Simply…

Many people are confused about whether they can receive free UK television in Spain.

The subject of what UK channels you can receive is something we are always being asked.

Terms such as free UK television in Spain, Freeview and Freesat are always cropping up so we ask expert satellite installer Jon Worby to explain it to you.

Confusion About Free UK Television in Spain

Many people, including satellite installers in Spain, get confused about Freeview and Freesat.

If satellite TV installers are unable to get their terminology correct, then no wonder British expats on the Costa’s in Spain are getting more and more confused about how to receive UK TV in Spain.

As British expats move to the warm coastal areas of southern Spain in the Mediterranean, they find it frustrating that they are not able to watch the UK television programmes such as BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5, or the other 100 plus other UK TV channels, including Sports, movies and news, that are available to view for free.

Although they try to watch local Spanish television channels, some feel the quality of programmes on Spanish TV is not that good as UK TV, they do not show many popular UK TV programmes like Coronation Street or Eastenders.

Not all programmes are available in English, (although the switch to Digital Terrestrial Television – TDT – has meant a lot more UK and USA imported programmes are available in English.)

Freeview in Spain

Freeview is a free digital TV package that is available to people living in the UK.

It is not, like many people say, available outside the UK especially Spain.

You cannot receive Freeview in Spain.

Freeview is a UK only digital television system that is transmitted from the land based television transmitter masts, like Emley Moor and Crystal Palace.

The signals from these terrestrial transmitters are not strong enough to reach Spain.

Many UK TV channels are available on “free to air” satellite systems. British expats around Europe can watch their favourite UK TV channels for free via free to air satellite in Spain.

Free to air means that there is no monthly subscription to pay, unlike the pay TV channels offered on satellite packages offered by Sky TV.

Freesat in Spain

Freesat is the name of a brand of satellite receivers designed to receive these free to air UK satellite television channels.

You can also use a Sky digibox or any other digital satellite receiver to receive the free to air signals.

A Sky digibox without a viewing card will still be able to receive BBC and ITV channels, and all the channels a Freesat receiver can receive.

You can receive many of the UK free to air TV channels by installing a small satellite dish and a digital satellite set top box.

However, due to the frequencies used, the main UK TV channels such as BBC and ITV may not be available on these small satellite dishes, and therefore much larger satellite dishes will be required, from 1.8m to 2.4m.

Spain does have its own version of Freeview, called Television Digital Terrestrial – TDT.

Using a TDT set top box, you are able to receive around 30 digital Spanish television channels via your TV aerial on your roof.

The digital aspect allows a much clearer picture than the old analogue TV system, and has the option to change the Spanish dubbing soundtrack on UK and USA imported programmes into the original version.

It should also be noted that some UK “Freeview” set top boxes do not work in Spain correctly, as they are programmed for the UK TV service and not the TDT service.

So if an installer says that they are able to install a UK Freeview television system for you in Spain, ask them a few questions. As Freeview is a service received by a TV aerial, then why are they installing a satellite dish?

Will you able to receive all the UK Freeview channels, like “Dave” and Sky Sports News, for free on their system, as many channels available for free on Freeview are in fact subscription only on satellite.

Remember You cannot receive Freeview in Spain!

Important Changes to Satellite TV

Given the changes to the Astra2 fleet this summer, you can still use dishes in the Costa del Sol but they now have to be at least 3.5m which is not practical for most people.

The second of three new UK TV satellites is expected to be operational in September 2013. Until the satellite is up and running and transmitting, no-one can know exactly what size satellite dish will be required to receive its transmissions in Spain, so any comments on its reception is purely speculation.

Although you may use the first new satellite, 2F, as a benchmark, there is no way of knowing if 2e will be exactly the same, or have exactly the same reception in Spain until it is operational.

As someone said to me even identical twins are not 100% identical… But we will have to wait until around September 2013, when the BBC ITV C4s are expected to move to 2E, the second new satellite to know for sure.

Yes the Costa Blanca (Alicante / Valencia) are has been “lucky” and not noticed any drop in reception from the first new satellite…in fact I and some caravanners are still getting the channel that moved in December on an 80cm dish in some areas!) but is this by designed, damage to the reflectors, or luck?

And you will NOT lose ALL channels, as many UK channels are on a “pan European” beam, and some on a satellite not operated by Astra. Internet TV may be an option for people who do not want “big dishes” (in Greece and Cyprus they have been using 4m dishes for the last 10 years!) , but it certainly cannot beat the quality of a direct from satellite system.

For more information contact Jon Worby via – who has been installing and maintaining digital satellite and TV systems on the Costa Blanca for many years.

SimplyUKTV – UK TV in Spain, IPTV

Business Address: 69 Avenida Del Prado, Nueva Andalucia, Marbella, 29660


Telephone: +34 604400373

Other Towns or Areas You Cover or Service: Whole of Spain

Type of Business: Watch UK TV in Spain, IPTV

Best Features:

Simplest setup for non technical users
Works likes normal TV
14 Day catchup
All popular channels BBC, ITV, C4 etc
4221 Box Office Movies
1464 Box sets to Binge Watch
Very High and consistant Quality
Completely Legal
12 years in Business


Main Description:

How to watch British TV in Spain

SimplyUKTV is the best alternative to iPlayer, ITVx and other UK free to air streaming services that are blocked in Spain.

We offer 122 Popular UK TV channels including BBC, ITV and Channel 4, as well as the hugely popular Dave.

SimplyUKTV is very easy to set up and use.

It works just like your normal TV channel listings you don’t need to switch between multiple apps to find the programme you want

SimplyUKTV is a much better solution to watching UK TV in Spain than VPNs which are often too slow to provide a high quality picture and often get blocked by the providers.

We can’t be blocked because we’re completely legal and have been in business for 12 years so have great relationships with all the major broadcasters.

Add Your Business Button

Most Popular Related Reading…

Move to Spain/Live in Spain

Work-Jobs in Spain

Home Page

Full Index


  1. garethemery says

    I have an old sky box in Spain which gives me sky news but not a lot else.
    I pay a monthly subscription to Sky in UK but if I take that card down to Spain and insert my paid sky card in the old box down there will I be able to get the various channels I get in UK such as sky sports and sky movies even if I cannot get the terrestrial channels? Does anyone know? I am also looking for a good internet provider and am told that in Mijas Pueblo there is still no fibre optic broadband yet but I need a reliable provider with at lease a 5 mg supply? Can anyone help?

  2. John Hutcheson says

    Hi I currently work as a sky engineer and have done for the last 15 years and I’m looking at moving to Spain and I’m looking for company’s that might be looking for a installer/engineer. If anybody knows of any contacts please let me know.

    • John
      you would make sufficient money being self employed here in Spain..
      there is no decent Sky engineers only those that swop boxes and charge a fortune for it.
      Spain is still far behind the UK with TV and Internet and they are in needs of good honest engineers..
      they are just fitting Fibre and I know of a few English people who are helping do this..
      work for your self,, make some money.. well you will if you are registered as legal and an honest engineer that does not try to rip expats..
      good luck..
      if you need somewhere to live, I know of a nice 2 bedroom place in Carihuela going for 6000 euro a year..

  3. Mark Austin says

    I still get good UK TV from Sky because I am in Galicia with a large parabola. If you are less fortunate, I really recommend that you get a fully loaded Android TV box off eBay (about 50 GBP delivered), connect this to the Internet and use FilmOn (there are several other flavours but are all basically the same thing and it is FREE). It may take you some time to work it all out, but try, trust me. If you get buffering (that is peak viewing and Internet time), switch from HD to non-HD mode. I caution strongly against buying the MAG box “service” offered by Europa Telecom as they will charge you for their expensive catch up service whether you want it or not (if you do not take it, you get a really limited number of channels).

  4. hello sir ,i am anglophile that likes to wach british tv. i do live in lleida just outside and iam interested in getting one freesat box. could you help me to get me to the right direction in orther to get one since my sky box is playing up.tanks

  5. All, an alternative with your PC, MAC, IOS and Android devices is
    This allows you to connect your device via UK services and therefore gain access to all UK content such as BBC Iplayer, ITV, BT SPort etc

  6. patricia van breemen says

    This may sound “sad” but we are contemplating retiring to Nerja and to be honest I do not think I can spend my retirement evenings without my English t.v.. Do you think there will be ways around this when everything changes? Thank you.

  7. James Gold Marbella says

    I just purchased IPTV box from mrskytv it is a freesat box and iptv box so we have now got CH5 back and Mrs Gold is happy, this box has no monthly fees and is 1080p HD picture, I have also connected my pc to the box over home router so I can stream movies on to the TV when the Mrs allows. Was easy to set up although I had to get a extra long cat5 cable from router to back of tv so the box is there. It looks just like a normal sat-box but allows you to connect to internet to watch itv bbc etc and there are also plug ins that can be added, am now able to watch the box on my laptop in the shed am now thinking about a better router and possibly upgrading the tv to one of these Samsung smart tv’s that myself & mrs gold looked at today in carrefour. I dealt with Jason Harding thumbs up from us.

  8. satandpcguy says

    John Hopwood: True, some different makes and model of boxes perform better than others, but unless the Sky box is damaged, then it should receive the same channels as a Freesat box, since Sky boxes and Freesat boxes use the same frequencies for the channels they carry.

    Until the channels moved from 1N to 2E, which is expected to be late August / September, no-one can say for sure what sized dish will be needed to receive the channels on the new satellite, or what sized dishes will work and will not work in areas of Spain. And no two satellites are exactly the same.

  9. It looks like a 3.1 dish may not be big enough on Costa del Sol, there is even talk of a 5M dish being required. Costa Blanca will not be affected and 1.4 Famaval dish will be fine.

  10. John Hopwood says

    I have two places on the Costa del Sol. One has a 2 mtr dish and receives ok through a Sky box, although I anticipate losing channels when the new transponder is in operation.
    The second home has a 1.25 dish and this would not receive with a Sky box, but receives quite well with a Freesat box. I was told that the reason for this is that the Freesat receiver is a lot more powerful that a Sky box. If this is the case, is it likely that a Freeview Box with a 2 metre dish will possibly receive a decent signal when the transponder changes?

  11. satandpcguy says

    Flo: A sky box, even with no sky card, will receive the same channels as a Freesat box. They use the same signals for their channels, so the chances are that if you do not get a channel on the Sky box, you will not get it on a freesat box. However, saying that, there are some really poor sky boxes around.

  12. John Powell says

    I just moved to a new finca and got myself an iptv box from a company on the costa del sol called UKEXPATTV.COM (A neighbour put me in touch and this has saved me installing a dish for just a few weeks viewing)

    I now get all the free to air channels and they have a catchup service where I can view the last 14 days of programs. For me all of this is better than my old satellite dish.

    Worth Checking Out – Regards from Coin

    • Thnsks interesting reading I’m heading down there at the end of the month to mijas costa, our apartment has a big sat on the roof so I’m interested to see the programe we have left, I have a old skybox down there? However I was thinking of taking a freesat box if that was an advantage?
      Is anyone else in the mijas costa area having problems?

  13. Ben Alford says

    Given the Changes to the Astra2 fleet this summer, We can no longer use dishes in the costa del sol, We are now fitting IPTV solutions from
    Dish size to get the channels in this area is at least 3.5m and this is just not practical.
    Have a look at the services offered by

  14. Graham Collins says

    We have been told that there will be no Sky Freesat on the Costa Del Sol after March 2013, is this true.

  15. Hi, I’m curious to know if there are any British TV package/bundles offered by Spanish companies or if they are even starting to consider offering such services.

  16. freeviewspain says

    Alan on another note, try a different post code on your Freesat receiver as not all ITV1 regions have moved.

  17. freeviewspain says

    Alan, this is not correct. The Costa Blanca area is still receiving Channel 5 on dishes as small as 1.1m. It appears the further west we go the weaker the signal. This used to be the opposite with Astra 2D, However the new satellite Astra 2F appears to have a different footprint, and some areas of Spain have gained, whilst others are significantly worse off! Most BBC and ITV channels will remain as they are until the 2nd quarter of 2013 as they are due to move to Astra 2E.

  18. Alan in Aguadulce (Seville Province) says

    6th December 2012.
    Happy Christmas, I have been informed by Free Sat installers that Free to Air Uk English Language TV will not be available in Spain from 16th December due to the reduction of the digital footprint of the new F2 Satellite, which takes over from Satellite F1 which had a large footprint. ( Much technical data.)
    I have a FreeSat box and a Sky Box and have been wired up from a very large Dish. However, I have lost channel 5 and all of it’s related channels and ITV 1 on the Free Sat box in the past few days.
    What is the latest info about this or is it just a hoax. If it is not is it another way to scam money out of expats who have invested a great deal of money in the past? More importantly why has none of this information been passed on through the ex-pat Press.

  19. Hi Debra

    All you need is a satellite dish and suitable receiver to get FREE UK TV there are no monthly fee’s once you have your own dish. If you have SKY TV in the UK why not bring your UK SKY card on Holiday with you.

    +34 618 585 051

  20. debra youngs says

    Hi is there anyway I can get English channels on TV in Spain and just pay for what I use when there as only there for holidays thanks Debra

Help Add To This Page - Send Us a Tip or Comment - Add a Photo - Suggest a Correction...