For many years the British in Spain have been able to watch their favourite English programmes via satellite using a dish of just over a metre in diameter to receive a signal directed through a Sky or Freeview box to their television. Hundreds of thousands of expats have used this system although it is irregular as the British television companies only have a licence to broadcast in the UK.
Last November a new satellite was launched and last week the BBC transferred all its channels to it. On Monday night ITV and Channel 4 followed suit. The new satellite transmits a narrower beam directed at Britain and so the British homes in Spain lost their signal.
A bigger dish will not solve the problem in our area. Even a dish of over 3 metres in diameter would not be able to pick up the signal. The obvious solution would be to stream the channels through the internet but, unless you have a British Internet Provider, you will not be able to receive programmes from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 web sites. There are web sites such as http://www.filmon.com from which you can stream all British television and much more but these are operating illegally and are being closed down. The picture is not of very good quality either.
We can still get British TV on our computer because we have a satellite internet system Avanti which sends its signal from Goonhilly Downs in Cornwall, thus the British TV web sites sense that our Internet Provider is in the UK. The problem we have is that, although our system is fast and stable, our download is limited to 50Gb a month which is not enough for regular TV viewing.
Our advice is do not panic and invest in anything yet. In a short time a viable alternative will emerge and in the meantime do not sit indoors watching telly. Go outside and enjoy the beautiful spring weather and countryside of Andalucia and improve your Spanish by watching their TV at night.