What many people don’t know is the various different ways to receive UK Channels, some simple and straightforward, and free, others more complex and sophisticated. Which is best for you? Read on.

Let’s start with the simplest solution, available throughout Portugal, no subscription fees. It’s what many people refer to as the military satellite, supposedly made to stream UK TV to UK armed forces throughout Europe and North Africa. You will need a dish installed and the appropriate receiver. The available channels, BBC ITV Chanel 4 and 5 are live, no catchup but the picture quality is very good. The downside is that nobody knows how long this satellite will remain in service, rumour has it they plan to discontinue this service, but when is an open question.

If you have strong internet signal with no data limit, ideally fibre, IPTV is a very good solution. The best solution is a dedicated IPTV service which offers up to 100 channels including sport and movies and a built-in catchup service for up to 14 days (depends on the supplier). According to many, this service has proved to be very reliable and high quality. This is achieved as they have their own servers located abroad. The basic service will cost up to up €200 a year. Sports, films etc cost more.

Another popular solution is using your smart TV and a VPN service. This is not straightforward, and you should seek help in setting it up. The best, according to some, is Express VPN and Pure VPN. Periodically they are blocked and the providers have to give you a new IP address. Both the above services are good at finding a new IP address to use but you can lose service for a few days.

There are several devices you can use with these VPN services, Apple TV (which has problems with BBC iPlayer) but otherwise very good, just search set top TV box on Google. There are also dongles such as Google Chromecast, Amazon FireStick etc, but you need a VPN service for all of these. A good stable internet signal is essential and no data limit, streaming TV uses a lot of data.

The original solution, until the mainline UK channels removed their service, was, and is, the SKY + box. Via a reasonable size dish, you will get Sky news and a selection of free to air channels. You can get a Sky card from the UK with the channels you want (except the BBC, ITV, channel 4 and 5). Service only goes down in heavy rain. The big advantage is if you can connect your Sky box to the internet, then you can access the Sky catch up service which essentially offers you BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub (no adverts), etc. You can access and download a wide variety of recent programmes, box sets etc. Internet speed is not critical as you can download programmes overnight, this might take longer, but it doesn’t matter.

Whatever solution you choose, be sure to get advice from a reputable company. There are plenty of options and alternatives, find what’s best for you.

If your solution is internet based using a VPN, Algarve Computer Centre are very knowledgeable. Email: kurt@algarvecomputercentre.com

For IPTV and dish-based systems, Sky SOS are very experienced. Call Chris on 916378722. There are other companies available, these are suppliers readers used over the years who we know have most of the answers and a good knowledge of all the systems.


Resident in Portugal for 50 years, publishing and writing about Portugal since 1977. Privileged to have seen, firsthand, Portugal progress from a dictatorship (1974) into a stable democracy. 

Paul Luckman