As a Panoramic Villas rental client and home owner on the Costa del Sol you will all be aware that there has been much talk and much deliberate hype/panic over the switch off of the UK TV channels on the Costa del Sol.
When will it happen and what will be the alternatives?
As a Villa Rental company representing your property and working in close partnership with you we have carried out some extensive research to help provide you with as much information as possible on this topic.
The following covers the honest nuts and bolts of the situation along with three alternative internet solutions to give you back your UK TV channels.
Firstly, to recap…
The Satellite that previously transmitted the UK channels is to be replaced by a new satellite which has already been launched. This new satellite is not set up to transmit the Channels we have all come accustomed to seeing whilst on the Costa de Sol. It is believed this new satellite will take effect in the next 2/3 weeks. As such, the usual channels of BBC1/2, ITV’s, Channel 4, etc in fact pretty much most of what is currently available on Freeview, will no longer be receivable on the Costa del Sol.
So what are the alternatives?
Well, as we understand it, TV sourced via the internet would seem to be the only viable alternative.
This however, will not be without its problems, which most of the companies selling/renting the boxes will do their very best to skip over.
In many areas the internet signal strength whether via Telefonica, WiFi Blue or Satellite internet etc, is less than good and the boxes and quality of reception/picture will ONLY be as good as the signal strength you receive into your home, the actual hardware itself will do the job and as far as we can glean be pretty reliable, but how good will the download speeds be from the various internet providers?
There is really no way around this situation. There is also the problem that as more and more homes come online and gobble up precious bandwidth, the likelihood may well be that the situation will get worse, sorry to be so pessimistic, but I am being completely honest, this is nothing that your installation engineer can remedy, we will all sink or swim on the reliability of the internet download speed coming into our properties.
Many internet service providers take the view that their service is for picking up emails etc. Hence streaming TV which eats much more bandwidth is not what they promised or what they wish to provide for. Often we are witnessing a situation referred to as “throttling”, which amounts to the bandwidth and signal strength being badly curtailed at peak times or of an evening when owners/rental clients are at home and do wish to view the TV.
As stated, the IPTV Boxes themselves have no moving parts and in theory should be pretty reliable hence there will not really be any such thing as good old fashioned TV engineers to fix them.
If they do become faulty, inside the warranty, they will be replaced FOC, out of warranty probably thrown away and a new one will need to be purchased.
The real value to the supplier of these boxes is the monthly payment and not so much in the actual box itself.
So, if the reception and picture is lousy, chances are you will be politely told “Hard luck” it’s the fault of your internet service and there is nothing your box supplier and or the recipient of your monthly fee can do about it… you take your chances.
Having given you the negatives, we cannot just sit on the fence and wait to see what unfolds or for our TVs to go off sometime in the future not to come back on.
Do you need to be a little pro-active and be prepared? Ultimately, of course that is for you to decide.
We have been exploring/testing IP TV (Internet Protocol) boxes for some weeks now and can help advise on supply/installation in and around Fuengirola/Mijas should you wish.
As previously mentioned there are no tangible guarantees with this but please be assured if it works out badly, it will work out badly for pretty much all other home owners.
However, as far as we know, right now it is the only alternative that is out there for Home Owners to keep their UK TV channels and renters happy.
Is called an ‘Amino Box’ this provides all of the above BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 plus variants.
It also has a very useful ‘On Demand’ catch up facility so you can view any and all programmes broadcast over the past 30 days, anytime you like.
The box is:
- Very well built
- Requires a wired Ethernet connection, your installation engineer can advise regarding extenders to prevent drilling holes or miles of cables
- Requires a consistent 2 MBs to work well
- It can be a bit ponderous and just take a moment to think and find the channels/catch up. (All internet boxes will be the same depending, again on the quality of the internet but the picture and sound is very good)
- The price is typically 269 euros plus any additional cable extensions, mains pass through boxes/additional installation time etc
A monthly subscription of 15.00 Euros plus IVA is payable via PayPal directly to the service provider.
Is called a ‘Mag 250’:
- This is a slightly cheaper option and not nearly as substantial, that said it provides all of the same channels but with NO catch up facility
- The bonus is that this box will still function to a decent standard even on slightly less than 1Mb. Picture quality is compromised but still watchable, this is noticeable on live sports but for most of everything else, it is fine and it will work in areas where the Amino Box will not
- Cost is 229 Euros again, plus any additional hardware and time required to install
- Monthly costs are exactly as for the Amino 15 euros plus IVA
The Amino box is much a better product than the standard Mag 250 box producing a better picture and a 30 day catch up facility, it is well worth the difference. However, as and when the available internet is compromised the Mag 250 will do the job adequately.
Is a superior quality Mag box:
(These details were forwarded just this morning 22/11/13 by Rupert from Cabletec as a superior option especially for on demand services and those who would like live football).
A new Mag box that I have just acquired does have catch up TV and a second server should the first go down etc. It also carries a service called “video club” which is a bit like DVD on demand. Find your film and away u go in perfect clarity etc, provided the download speeds are acceptable… of course!
This box hosts all the Sky and Aljazerra channels too which is worth a lot of money especially if they are football/sports fans as they show all the premiership games and more.
Value wise it does cost more at 35 a month currently, however it has probably well over a 1000-1500 euros worth of subscription alone.
Allan… I can discuss this option directly with owners should they wish?
**NOTE** Sky HD/subscription clients… there is one other possible route to market (if your not currently a Sky subscription client, you can talk to Rupert directly about having this installed, it could be a good option and of course you will also get all the Sky channels).
This option is called a VPN Router (Virtual Private Network) this is an additional box which in simple terms sits in-between your router and your satellite box and fools Sky into thinking you are in the UK and hence allows the On Demand catch up to work so giving you access to channels that cannot be viewed live.
This is also a great option for those owners with a “Smart TV ” as the VPN Box also fools the TV into thinking your receiving in the UK, hence all “On Demand” BBC iPlayer, ITV Player etc etc will work.
Note for Sky clients, this ONLY works with Sky/HD subscription boxes and not Freeview boxes.
If and when the switch off comes, the situation will undoubtedly become manic. If you are interested we suggest you get in touch with the below installation technician asap.
You will pay the technician directly for the hardware/installation and he will advise at the time of installation how to log onto the service providers website and arrange the monthly payments via PayPal.
NOTE this is a stable and trusted payment method, payments can be stopped and started at any time online, so if the house is unoccupied for three months you can simply terminate payments and reinstate as required. However, be careful as interrupted TV will as we know result in grumpy clients.
Installation is by a long standing and trusted satellite engineer well known to Panoramic Villas and based in Fuengirola, the contact details are below:
Company Name: Cabletec
Tel: 0034 639551352, 0034 952469923 or 0034 616549344