However, the information contained in the article below is still correct, to our knowledge, at the time of publishing (July 2013), and we will continue to bring you updates when they happen.
Over the past couple of months, Menorca-Live has brought you news about the impending changes to the satellite reception for UK TV channels in Menorca. Naturally, this is causing huge concern amongst ex-pats who enjoy their ‘British TV’ and want to keep the service. Apart from the disruption, there are the considerable costs involved in upgrading to a new dish capable of receiving the necessary signals or installing an internet service, which no one wants but will be inevitable.
Far from ‘scaremongering’ people, our aim is to inform and keep readers up to date with the situation and options available, so they can plan and act according to what best suits their requirements. There is obviously a lot of confusion, some believing it won’t affect certain channels, others not knowing if their existing dish or internet connection can be utilised and many still hoping that the evil day will never come.
To recap, three new satellites are being launched to replace the ageing satellites in use for UK TV channels at 28.2º E. The first of the new satellites (Astra 2F) was launched in December last year and a group of freesat channels (Ch 5, 5*, 5 USA, plus some BBC and ITV regional channels) was moved to it. Astra 2E was due to be launched this month, on 20 July 2013, and put into service around 10 to 13 September 2013. The remaining freesat channels that are currently on Astra 1N (which include BBC, BBC2, ITV and Channel 4) were to be moved to this second new satellite Astra 2E. This has now been delayed.
The changes for 2014 are even more unsure The situation regarding Sky channels remains uncertain as at the moment Sky is saying nothing about the changes. They may move to the third new satellite (Astra 2G) which will replace the remaining aged satellite next year, or an alternative solution may be implemented. While Astra 2G is scheduled to be launched in spring 2014, and more channels will be moved to it, these channels are as yet unknown and may or may not include Sky programmes. At the moment, this is speculation and we will bring you the latest news once it is confirmed.
All three of these new satellites have an identical footprint and will mean that the reception in Menorca will be reduced. This, in turn, means that steps will have to be taken to keep viewing these channels. But, don’t just take our word for it. We have researched various reports on the internet which we now share with you below to help confirm and clarify the situation in preparation for the day when UK TV satellite signals, although delayed, will no longer function in Menorca.
There are several alternatives available to continue viewing UK channels and various established companies and individuals able to help you with this, and no doubt newcomers coming onto the scene, as well as those who always know where to get a cheaper deal. Our advice is to do your research carefully. We have based the following options below on information provided by Nigel Taylor of Satellite Services Menorca.
1. Fit a larger satellite dish, there are several types and costs
Option A: 2.4M fibreglass channel master, best quality possible, best signal reception, approx €3,999.00 for standard upgrade excluding concrete base.
Option B: 2.3M aluminium dish, inferior quality dish, slightly poorer signal than above, approx €1,999.00 for standard upgrade excluding concrete base.
Option C: 1.8M fibreglass channel master, good reception in clear weather-poor with cloud cover or rain, approx €1,899.00 for standard upgrade excluding concrete base.
Option D: 1.8M aluminium-inferior quality dish, good reception in clear weather, poor with cloud cover or rain, approx €899.00 for standard upgrade excluding concrete base, can be wall mounted.
The above options will allow all the existing internal installation to be used.
2. TV channels via Internet
An IPTV box can be fitted to an existing internet connection of more than 1.8 Mbps. The box and installation cost approx €250.00 and the monthly subscription to the 27 TV and 13 Radio channels is €23.95.
These costs are planned to be reduced later in the year. The internet connection required has to have an unlimited download. 3G and Limited Tooway systems are not suitable. One option is to install the IBRED internet system which, as long as there is clear line of sight to one of their many transmitters on the island, will give fast unlimited download speeds. Standard installation is between €150.00 and €250.00 and there are various tariffs including a six monthly rate.
3. Satellite channels from another satellite
There is a satellite that carries all BBC TV services along with ITV 1 and CH4. It is designed for reception of these channels in the outer most regions of the UK (Scottish islands) but can be received here, in Menorca, on the normal 1.35M dish. It is a coded service, but ‘pirate’ codes are available. A new receiver will be required that is capable of entering these codes and the sky dish will have to be repositioned to the new satellite.
The cost of this is approx €300.00, depending on the repositioning of the dish.
However, be aware that pirate codes do change from time to time and there will be an undeterminable period until the new codes become available, during which viewers will be without the channels.