How to get international TV for expats in Madrid


Did you watch and like this video about the neighborhoods of Madrid ? It’s a first test to see if you are ready and motivated to watch TV in Spanish

Moving to Madrid means you will discover and learn a lot. So yes, you might want to indulge yourself in having your good old TV channels from home.

There are 3 options:

A. You want exactly the channels you had in your country of origin
B. You want a mix of local and international channels
C. You prefer not to spend on TV


A. You want exactly the channels you had before moving to Madrid


In a nutshell, you need to first define which channels you want, and then have a professional tell you which satellite dish, receiver and optional subscription you need.

So you know, there 3 kinds of channels:

  • the channels you can get for free thanks to well installed satellite dish – ex: all terrestrial channels you had for free in your country of origin,
  • the channels you can get for free with a receiver and a special card, from Sky for instance – ex: Sky channels, Channel 4 and 5 from the Uk for instance.
  • the channels you will have to pay to get. This part can get tricky since many providers limit contracts and reception to their own country.

Again, this topic is quite complicated, this is why I recommend you go directly to a trustworthy professional and get a quote.
A satellite dish with the installation should cost around 300 €.


B. You want a mix of international and local TV


Canal+ is your best bet to get all kinds of sports, series, movies, with a mix of Spanish and English-speaking content.
I recommend it as a good compromise to have US content, through a local provider (Canal+), so you will have also plenty of local content too, but always with the option to switch to English, or Spanish !
It will cost you 22 €/ a month for the standard inscription which will give you access to Canal Plus 1, where you have the big movies, series and sports, 2 kids channels, National Geographic, MSNBC, CNN, all the Spanish channels, and you can still buy on top of this if what you want to see something in particular.

For an additional 9 € a month, you get the iPlus which will allow you to record all movies, pause programs, plan what you want to see at what time etc… It will also give you access for free to the online-streaming service of Canal + with even more options.
Then, if you really want to watch MSNBC or other US based economy channels, you can use your high speed internet and watch via internet streaming.The premium subscription costs 50 € and will get you access to all the Canal + channels focused on sports (3 of them), series, also Fox for instance, and more specialized channels.

I recommend you start with the standard inscription, see what you need, and then upgrade or buy the specific programs you want to see if you need them. Tell me what you think !
For more information,


C. You have no idea of what you want, and prefer not to pay anything for TV


In Madrid we have TDT: Spanish Digital Terrestrial television.You get around 30- 40 spanish channels, and no foreign ones.

Of course, lots of programs (movies, sports…) are imported from the US and UK, and you will get these dubbed in the major Spanish channels.
To check the entire list of available channels in Madrid, go to

A good tip with Spanish TDT as indicated by a reader of the blog, Kir: you can always choose to watch the TV and series in English !

In any case, you can switch back at anytime to the free Spanish channels if you want to practice more and speed up your learning curve.

The truth is that forcing yourself to only consume content (newspapers, books, entertainment) you like in Spanish is one of the best ways to practice.
Indeed it allows you to leverage passion for whatever kind of topic you love, and do it in Spanish.

But for those who feel they need a bit of a transition, you will find here the right solution for your needs.


If you need help to move to Madrid zen, do send us an email !
Madridly yours,
Pierre – Moving2Madrid


PS: the cover photo and the video is from Madrid Tourist office

Posted on 15 August, 2012 by Pierre-Alban Waters in Sin categoría - Rent, New ? Start Here


2 responses to “How to get international TV for expats in Madrid”

  1. You are so right Kir !
    I updated my article to include your great comment 🙂

  2. Kir says:

    You forgot to say that with TDT you can choose to watch undubbed TV in almost every channel if the content is from abroad. I.E. Some channels broadcast the most successful series from the US with a short delay (less than 1 month on free TV or 1 to 3 weeks on pay TV), they dub them very fast, but you can always choose in the menu of your TV or TDT receiver to watch them in English.

    Subtitles in Spanish are usually availlable as well even in live shows.

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