SKY, BBC & ITV IN SPAIN & PORTUGAL
Useful InformationStuff you ought to know about receiving UK satellite TV
BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five terrestrial TV channels are also broadcast to the UK from the Astra 2 group of satellites. 'Sky' has always been a satellite service only and carries BBC & ITV, C4 and Five alongside its pay TV offering. If you cancel your Sky subscription, you will continue to receive BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five SD. There are currently three active satellites in the same position, Astra 2E, Astra 2F and Astra 2G. The Freesat service uses the same frequencies as Sky. Reception of BBC & ITV is identical on both Sky and Freesat, and switching to Sky will not bring the BBC back if you lost it in February 2014.
An active Sky viewing card and subscription are needed to view Channel Five HD.
Freesat is a free digital service broadcast from the Astra 2 satellite. It needs a dish mounted on the outside of your house to receive the service, and a digital set-top box or a TV with an integrated satelliter receiver.
Freeview is the name of the free domestic digital terrestrial service in the UK, broadcast from a network of land-based masts, and is received on a normal aerial, as found on most homes. It needs a digital set-top box or an integrated TV. Most modern TVs have digital terrestrial built in. A UK digital TV or Freeview box will work in Spain but will receive Spanish digital services in place of UK ones. The programme guide may not work completely as expected.
They worked on a different sound system. Typically, there would be picture but no sound. Modern TVs do not have this limitation. The UK uses PAL system 'I'. Spain and most of Europe use system Pal system B/G. France uses SECAM. A Sky box outputs UK system 'I' from its aerial outputs (labelled RF1, RF2). If you connect a B/G TV to the output, you will get a picture but no sound. If your TV allows it, change the country setting to UK for the channel you are trying to get the Sky signal on. Many people use the RF2 output to send a signal to a TV in another part of the house, in conjunction with a 'Magic Eye', which allows the Sky box to be controlled remotely. A Sky box needs to have RF2 power switched on for this to work. If set up correctly, a red light will appear on the Magic Eye unit. If you are feeding terrestrial TV though the same cable, you may find there is a poor picture. This is caused by interference from the terresrial channels received by the aerial. You can feed terrestrial channels through the system by connecting a normal aerial to the 'Aerial In' socket on the back of the Sky box. Choose a different channel on the Sky box RF setup if this happens. If you replace your Sky box, the RF channel on the replacement will be set to the default of 68. In some urban areas, it can be difficult to find a clear channel if the Sky box signal is mixed with terrestrial signals. Now most TV sets have HDMI, and this problem has largely disappeared. In newer Sky boxes, this "RF" facility has been removed.
Spanish Satellite TV is provided by Digital+, features Canal+ and a number of international entertainment channels such as Discovery, Disney and Cartoon Network. It is broadcast from Astra 1 (19º east) and Hispasat (30º west), and carries only a few channels in English, Sky News and BBC World, though there are optional English soundtracks on some channels. If you move into a house in Spain with a satellite dish, it is virtually certain to be pointing to Astra 1 or Hispasat and will not work with the UK satellite service. If connect a Sky box to an Astra 1 dish, it wil show a 'no satellite signal' messager. The dish can be moved by an engineer to the right satellite. Make sure you hire someone with proven experience of BBC installation, as many say they know how to get Sky, but fail to understand that the UK spot beams are much weaker. Typically, an engineer will tune a dish for the strongest signals only.
Rain reduces the weak channels. 'Rain Margin' means having a dish large enough to have something in reserve when the signal drops in rainy weather. Once rain drops are above a certain size, the satellite signal will be absorbed by them. It's similar to what happens when you put a cup of water in a microwave oven. Much of the mircrowave energy is absorbed by the water. Satellite transmissions are in the microwave band of frequencies.
All new boxes are Sky+ HD. You can choose not to subscribe to the HD pack, which adds HD versions of the channels you have subscribed to.
They no longer work at all. You need a white viewing card. Keep the old one, however, as your Sky box may be using the last four digits on the viewing card as a PIN. Current white cards will probably be re-issued in the next year or so.
See the item above. A PIN is required to view Sky Movies before 9pm, and to use the 'other channels' feature. The PIN is normally the last four digits of your viewing card. It may have been the last four digits of your OLD viewing card. (Did you throw yours away?) The PIN is now required to view 'other channels' if parental control is enabled.
You can change your PIN by logging in to 'My Sky' on Sky.com.
If you switch off the power to your Sky box when you go away on holiday, not only might it lose an important software update, your viewing card may 'sleep' after one month. The card needs to receive 'stay alive' signals from the satellite. Cards which have been put to sleep will re- activate after about 24 hours of the box being re- connected to mains power. There is an exception to this rule (see below)