We have received a number of enquiries about television reception in the Algarve. Until the start of 2014 we were able to receive most of the popular UK channels (BBC 1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 etc) via satellite from the UK. This service became unavailable at the start of the year and although we have tried to provide alternatives, each of these has proved to be less than ideal up to now.
So first a small explanation on what has happened. The satellite
Astra 1N that was providing the UK channels 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, while 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.
So what are the alternatives to watch UK Channels in the Algarve?
- Channels on Sky Satellite Receiver – we still have a 1m satellite dish in place connected to a Sky box. This still receives a few free to air channels, notably Sky News, so if you simply want to keep up with UK news, this is the best option. You may find other channels, 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.
- Change to the portuguese Zon Satellite Service
– We have not done this as the only UK channel available on this subscription service is BBC World News
- Net TV using the Android Box
– as we have relatively fast broadband at Casa Alimas we have purchased an Android IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) box, which can stream TV channels to the TV. However, this is not that reliable, as the suppliers keep changing what is available. The most popular
service is Filmon, but it can be hard to make this work. During 2014 we have tried setting up the box, but when there is a problem, guests change the settings, which then makes it difficult for any subsequent guests to follow the instructions. We will keep monitoring this service and see if we can set up the box in a more reliable and robust fashion.
- Google ChromeCast - we have purchased a ChromeCast device, which plugs directly into one of the HDMI connections on the TV. Again, this works as an IPTV device, streaming using the internet, however, this is used in conjunction with a laptop, smartphone or a tablet. We have tried it with a laptop, and an iPad with some success. With it, you download some apps then whatever is streamed on your device can be displayed on the TV. As many guests bring a laptop or smartphone with them on holiday, this is a promising solution.
- If all else fails... Before you come to the Algarve, it is worth putting a few DVDs in your case. We have a DVD player, and a few DVDs, but you are best to bring some of your own. If you want to watch some sports fixtures - notably Premier League football, Rugby and Formula 1, take a visit to the Bull 'pub' in the village as they are able to show most fixtures - often with English commentaries.
We will be looking at new options as they become available.