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Spain - TV

Spain uses a system known as PAL for its television services. This is the same system which is used in most of Western Europe. Television systems are different in each part of the world, so televisions from the US or Eastern Europe will not be compatible in Spain and it is not considered to be worth trying to convert them. There is no system of TV licence in Spain as all the channels are supported by advertising revenue. There is also no broadcasting authority to oversee the television industry. There are some small regulatory organisations based at a regional level.

Television channels in Spain include TVE Television Espanola. This is a network owned by the government and which dates back to the 1950s and now operates two channels. These are La Primera and La2 and both of these broadcast programmes around the clock. Antena 3 is a station which launched in 1990 and is one of the most popular channels in the country. Cuatro is a relatively new channel, having been launched in 2005 but is free to view. Tele5 has a reputation for being one of the least politically biased channels in Spain. Canal Plus is a channel for subscribers which shows international sporting fixtures and subscribers can buy a package of programming which is tailored to their own preferences.

In addition to these national channels there are many regional channels which show regional news and other shows which have been made locally. Some of these will broadcast in regional dialects and languages. There are some Spanish shows which are popular with the locals but most expats prefer to have English language television services and there are plenty to choose from.

Digital television is very popular in Spain and there is an equivalent to the ‘Freeview’ system which is available in the UK. It is known as TDT (Terrestrial Digital Television) and offers a wider range of channels, select language, subtitles and when sporting events are shown the viewer can even choose their own camera angle. All homes now need to have some form of digital television as Spain has come into line with many other European countries and phased out analogue services.

It is possible to get satellite television programmes which are being broadcast in the UK. This can only be done with the appropriate equipment and for this viewers may need to purchase or hire from the provider decoders and satellite dishes. The Freeview services from the UK can be picked up this way but encrypted programmes which are broadcast on the Sky Digital network cannot be legally obtained in Spain. There are ways around this but if you have any problems with the service you do not have any legal redress. Premium channels can only be watched with a card installed in the decoder and these can be obtained.

In some areas of Spain it is a requirement that a satellite dish which measures more than 1.9 metres in diameter will need planning permission. The regulations vary in each region and you should check this before you go ahead with an installation as it could cost you more money to have removed if you lose out to the local authorities. If you wish to receive Sky satellite services from the UK you will need to have a satellite dish of a certain size and this will vary according to the area that you are in. For example, the 1.9 metre dish is required in Valencia but if you are in Denia you will need to have a 2.4 metre dish installed. However, in some areas a dish of just 85 cm is enough to receive British television channels.

Major cable providers include Telecable while one of the main satellite providers is Digital+. In order to be connected you can simply call the customer service department of the company and give your details. However, you can also opt to go via a local installation operator. You may be asked for proof of ID although this is not always the case. Installation can normally be carried out very quickly when you are registered with the provider.

Useful Resources

Tel: 900 222 111

www.plus.es (site in Spanish only)

Read more about this country

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