Since we have had so many inquires, and calls for more information, we decided to make this post regarding the end of availability of Satellite UK Freeview in the Algarve (BBC, ITV, Channel 5, etc) and to give to our clients or anyone that has been affected by this issue some clear and concise information. Most worrying is all these people coming out promising all kinds of features and services that are on one side plain expensive rip-offs or even worst really bad solutions that will never hold.
So first a small explanation on what has happened, the satellite Astra 1N that was providing the Freeview signal is at its end of life (around 12 years old) so it was decided that all its channels would be moved to new satellites called Astra 2E and Astra 2F. Astra 2F has a bit of a wider range, Astra 2E has a more focused beam that covers perfectly only the British Isles and not much more. Unfortunately most of the channels were moved to Astra 2E, so as of now there is absolutely no chance of ever picking up any satellite signal.
However both satellites can provide a more dispersed bean that reaches a big part of Europe, but even that is not going to help anyone on the Algarve, latest reports say that some people in Portugal are still getting some signal, in the Centre/North of Portugal if you have dishes 1.5 m or more, but in the South, Algarve there is little or no signal being received on dishes of 3 meters and more.
So what are the alternatives to watch all the Freeview Channels in Algarve
- For people that have Sky – especially Sky+ there is the possibility to have some channels, especially if those are transmitted in HD, also its possible to get some channels like Channel 4, just because the satellite Sky is using is still available. However Sky is going to move as well, so although this might work now, its not a certainty in the future.
- You can change your Satellite to the portuguese Zon Satellite Service – (Meo Satellite only has BBC World News), however this only provides BBC World News, Sky News and BBC Entertainment (Its not the same as BBC1, this is a channel that shows BBC shows), cost is around 25 euros/month.
- If you have broadband internet you can get a streaming service – although these are often unreliable, for instance the most popular was Filmon that after a week they decided to stop streaming all the Freeview Channels! You would use an IPTV (Internet Protocol Television or ITV) it is basically a box to conect the tv to the internet, that would cost the price of the subscription in the website (Filmon was 100 euros a year) and the ITV box, a really good ITV box costs 120 euros, a cheap one costs about 60 euros.
- If you have broadband internet you can use a VPN or Proxy – that is basically renting a computer in the UK and connecting in the Algarve will show as connecting in the UK, this will allow you to use all the Internet Based players like BBC iPlayer, Channel4 4oD, iTV Player, LoveFilm, etc. Still note that you will not watch Live BBC unless you have a TV License (if you already have one, great!), but to watch most of the catalog and delay broadcasting you don’t need any license, its free and high quality, a good VPN/Proxy costs 50 euros a year, and of course also an ITV to connect the tv and to connect to the VPN.
Changes are going on, Sky is moving soon and the channels are still being moved at the moment, so we could have more options, including maybe a possibility of using the satellite dishes through Sky, as always, we will keep this post updated to the realistic options available for BBC viewing.
And as always if you have questions or doubts feel free to comment bellow, share your experiences and contact us, since we have already tried quite a few of those so called solutions and we can always give you our opinion.