If you do not have paid TV, don’t expect to hear anything but Spanish on the television. Everything from the outside world is dubbed, except for some of the films and documentaries on TVE2. There are five public stations that broadcast nationwide in Spain:
- Televisión Española (TVE) – Spanish National Television, which is partially funded by the Spanish government has two stations TVE1 and TVE2. TVE1 is more commercial with sitcoms and talk shows, but TVE2 has a lot of independent films and documentaries.
- Antena 3 & Tele 5 – Privately owned stations that combine films, Spanish shows and American shows.
- Cuatro & La Sexta – Two relatively new (started within the past 5 years), privately owned stations. A lot of the new hit programming from the US is popping up on these stations. Plus La Sexta claims it’s the best sports station.
Each Autonomous Community in Spain also has its own regional TV Station. In Madrid, it’s Telemadrid. These regional stations are a combination of local programming, national news and foreign TV shows and films.
All of the stations above are offered free of charge. However, you can also purchase digital cable through your landline/Internet provider. The primary cable network in Spain is Canal +, which is standard issue with any cable plan. Several cable plans also provide access to all of the country’s regional stations and foreign news channels, such as CNN, BBC, etc.
It is often most inexpensive to contract a bundled package (landline, Internet and cable TV) through the provider’s Web site, which through Telefonica tends to cost between 75-90 euros per month. To learn more about the different cable plans offered, visit the Web sites of the following providers:
- Telefonica – http://www.telefonica.es
- Ono – http://www.ono.es/home1v.aspx
- Jazztel – http://www.jazztel.com/
- Orange – http://clientes.orange.es/
- Ya.com – http://www.ya.com/
If you do not have a cable connection already installed in your apartment, technicians will install it within a week of contracting the service.
Some apartment buildings have communal satellite TV, which are paid for by all of the apartment owners through their monthly assessments. Satellite television is not generally contracted by individuals, as the City of Madrid has very strict rules about where an antena can be afixed. Generally it cannot appear on the facade of any building, leaving only the roof, plus you need a city permit to install an antena.
Keep in mind that as of 2010, analog television will be made obsolete in Spain with the switch to digital.