There are various options for watching British television in Spain. Of course, by watching Spanish television, you can get some extra help with learning the lingo… but sometimes you want to just wind down.
When we first left the UK, and lived in Lanzarote – we only had the local Spanish channels… and DVDs to watch. We watched the local news and weather, and a variety of quiz shows (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, for example, complete with a chappie in a silver suit just like Chris Tarrant).
Here are some options if you can’t be without your English speaking telly. Options can vary from area to area. Please note, that some of these options are in breach of certain laws and regulations, and you use them at your own risk. We are not recommending services… we are simply letting you know the options available via any Google search.
1. Sky TV. There are Satellite engineers in all areas of Spain who can fix you up with this. You can watch it as a free option, or pay for a monthly subscription as in the UK. Bear in mind that according to their Terms of Service, this should not be accessible outside of Blighty. Via this method you can watch your usual BBC, ITV and bonus channels. At time of posting, Channel Five is unavailable – so no Big Brother or CSI at this time. If you want to catch the live TV listings, click HERE
2. Nilesat. This is an Arabic satellite service – we ourselves had it for the last 3 or 4 years of living in Lanzarote. It has a variety of channels… including a number of English speaking options. BBC News 24, Fox Network, and a number of dedicated movie channels. Great for watching American series. You can get this as a free service, or pay extra for a monthly subscription.
3. Streaming television. There are a number of free websites on the internet that provide this service (BBC iPlayer, Channel Four on-demand etc) – but most will recognise your non-UK IP address and block you from viewing. To get around this, you will need to mask your IP Address. There are a number of services that will do this, and the large banner to the top right is just one example. Another downside to this is that it is completely tied to your internet connection – so if your internet speed isn’t great – this probably isn’t an option for you.
4. YouTube etc. If you are not worried about watching television live, you can catch many shows on such websites as YouTube.
5. Downloading torrents. Downloading of files via a Peer-to-Peer network is not necessarily legal in itself. However in a number of Spanish court cases, the Spanish courts have said it is ok as long as it is for private use and you are not benefitting financially in any way. Download files to your computer at your own risk, and of course make sure that your computer is fully protected with appropriate antivirus software. For this you will need to have a program such as eMule or uTorrent installed on your computer, and then source the torents from any number of torrent download websites available on the web. You can then either watch these files on your computer… copy the files to an external harddrive that works with your TV….. or run your computer through to your TV using a HDMI cable (all of that will depend upon the capabilities of your own equipment). A Google search will bring you up plenty of results. Please don’t bother leaving comments on this article asking us for help with this – we won’t reply. Update: In September 2013, Spain passed a new anti-piracy law. However this does not affect the users of “peer to peer” websites, according to Reuters. More information HERE
6. Hiring DVDs. The vast majority of new release DVDs will have a “change language” option. You can also have subtitles showing. This is a great way to learn some extra Spanish. For example, try watching your favourite movies, but add Spanish subtitles… or simply watch it in Spanish if you already know the script pretty well. You can pick up some great Spanish this way (including some choice swearwords if you have similar movie tastes to us).
So there you have it. Of course there are other options… and we have listed just a few. The safest way is to stick to the local channels… or pick up a book instead!
Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business – Spain Web Design by Gandy-Draper.
Born a “Norverner”, she then spent most of her life “Dann Saff” before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle’s loves are Alan, the internet, dogs, good food, and dry white wine – although not necessarily in that order.