Digital terrestrial television, often referred to as Freeview, is now well established in the UK, Italy and Germany, and is now available in France via the explosively titled TNT (télévision numérique terrestre) service, introduced at the end of March 2005.
TNT have now integrated with Canal + bringing more choice including HD (high definition).
If your house is in an area with the appropriate coverage, and you have a television with a SCART socket and an analogue TV aerial, all you need to purchase is a decoder box to enjoy eighteen French channels. These set-top boxes are available in most grandes surfaces or electrical goods shops with prices starting from €29.
Before the introduction of TNT in France, you would have needed a SECAM enabled TV to watch French television. Most televisions from outside would not have been able to pick up the signal. For example, many UK televisions are only PAL enabled. However, the decoder box means your TV can cope with a digital signal, so as long as you have the all important SCART socket – and most reasonably new televisions do have one – you can tune into French TV, regardless of where your television was purchased.
To see if you can receive TNT in your French postcode area, click on this link: http://www.tnt-gratuite.fr/ . You can always double check by asking in the store before you purchase your set-top box decoder. Your aeriel must be pointing in the right direction, but again the store can confirm this.
The digital images will be a lot clearer than standard analogue pictures and depending on your television’s capabilities, there may also be an increase in sound quality (Dolby Digital).
The 18 subscription-free channels are as follows:
TF1: France’s premier television channel (according to TF1). News, films, entertainment and occasional live sports events. Aimed at the general public and families.
France 2: National public service broadcasting.
France 3: Regional and local programmes.
France 4: Public service music, cinema and sporting emissions.
France 5: Public service broadcasting of an educational nature.
Canal Plus: The unscrambled programmes are made available from the well-respected subscription channel.
You can also receive the 16 subscription free channels through selected Canal Plus packages but for these you will need a decoder. There are currently five available: Syster; TNT +; Pilotime; Mediasat; Mediasat Max HD
There are up to 300 channels on Canal Plus with packages starting from 20.90€ per month. HD (High Definition) in now also available on Canal Plus
Here is a list of some of the channel and packages:
CANAL+ eight channels
CANAL+ Film 1 Premiere channel for films and series, 24-7.
CANAL+ Film 2 Films, also independent titles and older films, shown 24-7.
CANAL+ Film 3 Films and series 24-7.
CANAL+ Sport 1 All local studio programs, and exclusive games
CANAL+ Sport 2 More live games, and other sports programs.
CANAL+ Mix Films, series and live games, only for subscribers to the Total package
CANAL+ Film HD High Definition channel, only for subscribers to the Total package
CANAL+ Sport HD Sports content in HD format
CANAL+ three subscriber packages
CANAL+ TOTAL All our channels.
CANAL+ SPORT A pure sports package with CANAL+ Sport 1 and CANAL+ Sport 2.
CANAL+ FILM Films & series only in CANAL+ Film 1, CANAL+ Film 2 and CANAL+ Film 3.
In addition, CANAL+ offers PPV services including film PPV with 11 film feeds and ‘season’s ticket’ with 140 live sports broadcasts from Elitserien.
There is also 45 radio stations on Canal Plus on selected packages.
M6: Offering music, re-runs of American series, reality television, documentaries, films, and science fiction.
Arte: Franco-German venture. Intellectual content, history and films. Often shows films in their original language with French subtitles.
Direct 8: Presided by the renowned French author Philippe Labro, this channel offers films, as well as environmental and current affairs broadcasts.
W9: An offshoot of M6, solely devoted to music.
TMC: Television Monte Carlo is a general entertainment channel partly owned by the Principality of Monaco.
NT1: Films, series, documentaries, news and cartoons.
NRj 12: The well established radio station makes a foray into television – the predominant theme, unsurprisingly, is music.
La Chaîne Parlementaire : 18 hours a day of French politics….ouch !
BFM TV: The economy and money matters.
i-Télé: 24 hour rolling news.
Europe 2 TV: Another radio station making the move to television.
And last but not least, a channel called Jeunesse TV which intriguingly claims to cater for 6 to 14 year olds as well as their parents.
Useful French words and terms
Digital terrestrial television: la télévision numérique terrestre – TNT
Set-top box decoder: un décodeur
SCART lead: un câble péritel
SCART socket: une prise péritel
Can I receive digital TV in my postcode area: Puis-je recevoir la TNT ? Mon code postal, c’est le *****.
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