Setting up television in Portugal
From local programmes to digital packages, blogger Sam Milner gets you channel surfing television in Portugal.
I love watching television and must confess that I watch about three hours a day of good old English television, especially on an evening. In Portugal you can obtain all the English channels along with freeview without any cost to you.
Digital television was introduced to Portugal much later than the rest of Europe and digital broadcasts did not actually begin until the end of April 2009. The service consists of six channels that are free to access with a seventh channel that is used as a test channel for High Definition broadcasts. It is widely anticipated that all of the terrestrial channels will start to be broadcast in High Definition in the near future.
Many people who move to Portugal decide to have a package installed that enables them to watch Sky television because, to be honest, there is not much on the Portuguese channels to get excited about.
To give you an idea, here is a list of the Portuguese terrestrial channels:
RTP1: This is the main channel, and much like the BBC in the UK, the programmes on offer comprise news, current affairs and dramas. It is the second most popular TV channel in Portugal.
RTP2: In a way this channel is similar to BBC2. It is the only channel in Portugal to broadcast American TV series during the most popular hours of viewing. It is the terrestrial station in Portugal with the least viewers.
SIC: This is the first privatised TV station in Portugal and it is renowned for its chat shows which can literally go on for hours throughout the day. SIC is the third most popular channel in Portugal.
TVI: This is the most popular of the terrestrial channels in Portugal and is primarily aimed at housewives and the elderly and concentrates on chat shows and human-interest stories.
Given the limited selection, many expats opt for a digital package. I would suggest that you invest in a Digibox. This will ensure that you will receive the best reception if there is a weak signal in your area. It is always worth asking your neighbours which Digibox they use but the Pace and Panasonic are usually the choice of most people.
Along with this, you may want to get a high grain satellite dish and also a matching Low Noise Blocker, also known as an LNB. A figure of around 0.6dB for the LNB will give you the best results and you will find that your reception will improve vastly.
As for installation, you would be again advised to ask for recommendations. If you get any of the English speaking newspapers you will see adverts for SKY installers offering their services. Installation fees can vary so always get a quote in writing before you go ahead.
Finally, remember that storms in the winter may affect reception!
Samantha Milner / Expatica
Samantha Milner is an expat blogger who lives in the Algarve in southern Portugal with her family. This is an extract from one of her articles called 'Setting up broadband in Portugal'. You can read it in full by clicking here.
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