Satellite TV in Tavira

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For a number of years, we were able to receive all the UK's BBC, ITV and other Public Service Broadcasts from Astra 2, often referred to as the Sky satellite. "Astra 2" actually consisted of 4 satellites, all co-located at around 28.2° East. These craft were getting old (Astra 2A was well past its 'best before' date and 2D was sick), one by one they were replaced between September 2012 and December 2014.

These changes did not affect viewers in the UK- in fact they benefited from stronger signals and improved services (more HD channels for example). But here in southern Europe it's a different story. The replacement satellites were built to order and the broadcasters specified that they wanted to reduce the over spill into Europe as much as possible. This was in order to satisfy the demands of the copyright holders who were not happy that content was available, for free, all over Europe.

The new satellites (Astra 2 F, E and G) all came equipped with two 'beams'; a tight 'UK' beam, reducing coverage to the British Isles and not much else, and a pan-European beam. The UK beams took all of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 & 5 channels plus numerous others. The pan-European beams continue to carry channels that aren't so fussy about broadcasting to the UK only, such as news channels, advertising etc. 

Astra 2F launched late 2012, and it took a few channels which of course disappeared from our screens. The subsequent 2E launch was dogged with delay after delay, but it finally came into service during the spring of 2014. 2G followed in December of that year. This saw the end of us being able to easily receive all our favourite TV channels.

Our 'Stop Press' and 'Still want UK Telly?' pages have more details.