Being an expat in a non-English speaking country always usually presents its challenges in terms any television-viewing experience. TV time is meant to be relaxing, a way to kick back, unwind and not have to think (especially in another language). Therefore, if your only free viewing options of your favorite programs were to be in dubbed-over Castellano or Catalan, it would not be uncommon to have a meltdown!
However, the good news is that as of April 2010, Spain made the switch from analog television to TDT, also known as televisión digital terrestre (terrestrial digital television). The quality of TDT is much higher than analog (both image and sound), and the number of free channels for viewing have now increased by almost four times. Perhaps one of the biggest pluses for foreign residents is the option of being able to watch imported programs in their original language. Although this service is not currently offered by all the digital channels (Td8 still shows many dubbed-over imports) there are enough original version shows to satisfy any English-speaking TV addict.
While the channels are free, there is one catch – the TDT signal/set-up is not. You will need to ensure that: a) your building or home has a TDT receiver and b) you have either a TDT decoder box on your old TV or one of the new televisions that have TDT built into them. The TDT signal set-up will require a technician, and if you are not too handy with technical set-ups, sometimes it’s best to also have a technician help you set up your TDT box to your TV (if it doesn’t have one built in) so that you can enjoy problem-free viewing! To find a certified TDT technician (approved by the Generalitat) please use the following link: http://www14.gencat.cat/gov_ins_ict/AppJava/instaladors.do?reqCode=nosearch&comarca=&municipi=&agentTDT=1&amagalogo=0
For more information on TDT, please refer to: http://www.tdt.cat (website in Catalan)
If you want to spend a bit extra and sign up for Canal Plus (satellite service), you can easily do so by contacting :+34 902 46 77 (http://www.plus.es/). Canal Plus offers all the latest foreign programs and movies, as well as many sporting events like FC Barcelona, tennis Grand Slams, and more. You will need to pay for the satellite box and Canal Plus card (which you insert to receive the channels). Set up will require a technician to come to your home and set it all up before you can view your newly acquired programming. Canal Plus also offers a service similar to Tivo in the United States, which means that you can record all your favorite programs on your television and view them at your convenience.
- Antena 3
Game shows, talk-shows, American drama series´ like CSI (all dubbed into Spanish).
No programming in dual language.
- BTV Barcelona TV
Public TV channel, with the usual collection of hits and misses from amateurs with small budgets and lots of enthusiasm.
Entirely in Catalan
Current affairs, news, local drama series, international series, lots of sport.
No programming in dual language. Entirely in Spanish.
- TV Channel 33
Local content and international movies and series. Owned by Televisió de Catalunya, who also own the channel TV3, TV 33 is the leading Catalan language TV station in Barcelona.
All foreign TV programmes on channel 33 have dual language options so that you can watch them in their original language.
- TV3 – Televisió de Catalunya, S.A.
A slightly more ´serious´ version of TV 33, TV3 offers current affairs, news and lots of sport. This is the leading Catalan language TV station in Barcelona.
All foreign TV programmes have dual language so that you can watch them in the original language.