Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Digital +

During the first few months after moving here we had no television reception at all. If we had wanted British TV, the only solution would have been a huge satellite dish and a dodgy contract with Sky via a bogus address neither of which appealed to us.

People who had lived here for some time told us the problems they faced getting British TV. They'd spent hundreds of euros moving from one system to another. Even then they found that programs would disappear only to miraculously reappear the next day.

So what other choices did we have?  A simple aerial would have brought us Spanish terrestrial TV but without any command of the language that would have been hard work. We could have bought a freeview box along with a satellite dish pointed to Astra 2 or Hotbird. There are plenty of channels available to watch via either.

What we opted for though was Digital + which is the equivalent of Sky here in Spain. The deal was you bought the package for 10€ and then phoned to arrange for installation. A week later our dish was installed and we sat back to see what was available.

Many of the channels were in Spanish as you might expect but a good few broadcast programmes in both English and Spanish. We could get BBC World News, Euronews, France 24 (in English), CNN, Fox News and even Al Jazeera in English. For weather there was Meteo which although in Spanish is easy to follow.

We quickly found People and Arts which showed BBC series like Spooks, Hustle, Changing Rooms etc. and AXN which shows CSI, CSI Miami and CSI New York along with many other American series.

Canal 1 and 2 show a lot of films in English which are barely two years old. Sci-Fi and TNT also host films in English mostly from the late 90s. Canal 1 also shows excellent series from both England and America e.g. The Tudors and Mad Men.

National Geographic and Viajar are two of our favourites. Both show a mix of programmes in English, Spanish and French. We've learnt a lot about our new country by watching those channels.

For music fans there are VH1 , MTV Spain, Latin and 40 along with a good selection of digital radio stations. Children are well catered for by a host of cartoon channels including several broadcast by Disney. We even have a cookery channel which shows Jamie Oliver's programmes dubbed into Spanish.

With 160 channels, there is a lot to explore including a dedicated high definition channel and the excellent Sony TV channel. Our new iPlus box allows us to receive HD TV and has the facility to record programmes on its 160Gb hard drive. It was on offer at 395€ and was well worth it.

The question we are always asked though is, "can you get BBC and ITV?" The answer is of course NO - neither would be legal. Do we miss them - not as much as you might expect.

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