Your right, and it’s fairly cheap to setup an old SKY dish to pick up the broadcasts, receivers can be picked up at Currys, Dixons, Debehnams etc, plus the benefit of a strong stable broadcast signal unlike a TV aerial.
Euro 2008 to rule TV slots - UK
ITV and BBC braced for complaints from viewers - Soaps will be shifted to make way for matches
Viewers who had hoped they had seen the last of Cristiano Ronaldo for the season are set to be disappointed.
Football widows and widowers hoping for unrestricted access to the TV this summer due to the failure of the home nations to qualify for Euro 2008 are in for a shock. ITV and the BBC are bracing themselves for complaints next month when live matches will dominate prime time despite the absence of any domestic interest.
Thanks to the legislation under which major international football tournaments are reserved for broadcast on free-to-air television, they must all be shown live and in full on the main channels of the rights holders. Only when they are scheduled to show two matches at the same time can they move one to a digital channel.
Between June 7, when the tournament kicks off with joint hosts Switzerland playing Czech Republic, and the final on June 29, the two channels will show 27 live games on BBC1 or ITV1, plus a further four on the digital channels BBC3 and ITV4.
Of those, 23 will kick off at 7.45pm in the middle of prime time, necessitating the rescheduling of soaps and other shows.
On June 7, for example, ITV’s prime-time Saturday night schedule will be dominated by Portugal v Turkey. And on Thursday June 12, EastEnders will make way for Austria v Poland on BBC1.
Scheduling requirements have already caused problems for ITV, which provoked complaints last month when it dropped the second episode of the US import Pushing Daisies to shoehorn nine episodes into eight weeks before the tournament started.
The decision annoyed many viewers who had been looking forward to the heavily trailed show, which stars the British actor Anna Friel.
Pushing Daisies follows Ned, a man with the ability to bring the dead back to life. Friel plays his childhood neighbour and the object of his first crush, who is resurrected by Ned.
An ITV spokesman said the station bought dramas in six or eight parts, adding: “Unfortunately, given the high-profile nature of the 9pm Saturday slot, we only have eight windows at the moment.”
Last time England failed to qualify for a major tournament, the 1994 World Cup in the US, most games kicked off outside prime time.
But both broadcasters are confident that viewers will tune in and that excitement will build, citing the familiarity of British audiences with many of Europe’s top players thanks to expanded coverage of the Champions League and the fact that many of the biggest stars ply their trade in the Premier League.
They point to a combined audience of 20.5 million for the last World Cup final between Italy and France and suggest that the lack of home interest will allow for a different take on the tournament.
“There won’t be the swell of optimism that there has been at previous tournaments, which is a shame. It’s a big blow that England aren’t there. But there is enough quality there for a very exciting football tournament,” said BBC pundit Alan Shearer.
“It just goes to show how lucky we are to have the likes of Torres, FÃ bregas and Ronaldo in the Premier League and be able to watch them every week.”
But ITV, already counting the cost of Â£10m to Â£12m in lost advertising revenue due to England’s failure to qualify, could lose out further if peak-time audiences are hit and has scaled back its plans.
It will have commentators and reporters on the ground in Austria and Switzerland but anchors Steve Rider, Matt Smith and Craig Doyle will host the games from a studio in the UK. The BBC, meanwhile, will send a full team, including Steve McClaren, the former England manager who lost his job after failing to qualify for the tournament, who has been signed up as a co-commentator by Radio 5 Live.
UEFA has been looking into the possibility of challenging the “crown jewels” list that reserves all matches in European championships for free-to-air broadcasters. While it accepts that games involving the home nations and the latter stages should be reserved for terrestrial free-to-air television, it would like to open up the earlier rounds to more bidders.