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This month Wotsat looks at free TV from France, and how to get it

French TV's never less than stylish

Toolkit What you need to receive French free TV n Free-to-air DVB digital satellite receiver unless marked other n 60cm dish with universal LNB aimed at the correct satellite, except 16°E (80cm) and 26°E (1.2m)

France has traditionally been a difficult country to track down on satellite TV, with a double whammy of obscure satellites and using the SECAM analogue TV system. It’s easier now, although the main national broadcasters aren’t an easy catch. It was an early entrant into the European firmament, with its own satellites at the 5°W orbital position, which is now occupied by Atlantic Bird 3. The French satellite mission had two goals – providing a good signal to those living in remote mountain regions where terrestrial TV is poor, and to reach out to the French overseas departments in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and the South Pacific. Atlantic Bird 3 is still the premiere satellite for free French TV, hosting digital versions of the main terrestrial channels, although commercial channel TF1 remains stubbornly in analogue SECAM. The French TV Licence is collected with local taxes to prevent defaulters, at around £95 (€116) it’s relatively cheap. Until 2008 the state channels (including international French TV) also raised money from

The French parliament has a lot of books 2  What Satellite & Digital TV

Demain TV is the place for newsy chat

advertising, and they now face a financial crisis. Francophiles also benefit from two international channels: entertainmentbased TV5 Monde and the France 24 news service. The only free HD channels from France are Arte HD and Luxe TV (strictly speaking, it’s from Luxembourg). There’s no need to despair if your dish is fixed on Astra 1 or Hot Bird, where you can now find a healthy collection of free channels, plus some interesting TV from the Maghreb region of North Africa, where French is the, er, lingua franca.

TNTSAT The end of 2008 saw a new way to get free French TV via satellite - if you’re French. TNTSAT is an orbiting version of TNT, the French equivalent of Freeview, intended for people outside of TNT’s coverage. The 18 free channels include TF1, France 2-5, M6, Arte, Direct 8, W9, TMC and NT1. In February 2009, several HD channels will be added. Sadly, because it broadcasts from 19.2°E, it’s encrypted so only French residents can watch. To receive TNTSAT, you’ll need to import a TNTSAT receiver and a viewing card – for which you’ll need a French address, or a friend with one.

Next on Euro Spotlight

Cinq des meilleurs Five of French TV’s most popular shows

Les guignols de l’info

Canal+ Satirical puppet show on air since 1988, similar to Spitting Image but with a more left-wing outlook

Clara Scheller

France 2 Comedy-drama about a young woman living with her gay friend; think Will & Grace without the screaming


Canal+ Police drama broadcast on BBC Four as Spiral, but ironically only available on subscription channel Canal+ in France

Les chiffres et les letters France 3 The longest-running programme on French TV, and the inspiration for Countdown

Fais pas ci, fais pas ca

France 2 Docu-style French comedy about two families, one with liberal parents, the other strict. US network ABC is set to make its own version in 2009.

n Free TV from Spain and Portugal

Liberty TV has holidays for les Françaises

Could you get a bargain shopping on French TV?

Matt Jeacock/Shelly Perry/iStockPhoto


Euro spotlight * = In DVB-S2/MPEG-4 • = Also in analogue SECAM / H Also in DVB-S2/MPEG-4 high definition


Free French TV CHANNEL w



123 Sat 3A Telesud Art Channel Arte Best of Shopping Beur TV BFM TV Cash TV Demain Direct 8 EuroNews F-Men Fashion TV • France 2 * France 24 * France 3 • France 5 FTV HD Holy God KTO LCP Living God Luxe TV • M6 M6 Boutique La Chaîne H Melody Zen NLM TV NRJ 12 NRJ Hits NRJ Paris NT1 Sexy Sat TV • TF1 TV 5 Monde TV8 Mont Blanc

13°E 13°E 33°E, 16°E 19.2°E, 13°E, 5°W 19.2°E, 13°E 13°E 19.2°E, 13°E 19.2°E 19.2°E, 13°E 19.2°E, 13°E 36°E, 28.5°E, 26°E, 19,2°E, 13°E, 30°W 13°E 28.5°E, 16°E, 13°E 5°W 19.2°E, 13°E, 5°W 5°W 5°W 9°E 13°E 19.2°E, 5°W 19.2°E, 5°W 13°E 26°E, 9°E 7°E, 5°W 19.2°E, 13°E 33°E, 26°E, 9°E 9°E 13°E 19.2°E 19.2°E 19.2°E, 13°E 19.2°E, 13°E 5°W 26°E, 19.2°E, 13°E, 30°W 33°E, 13°E, 5°W

Personal services French African ent. Visual art Culture Shopping Maghreb ent. News Gambling Employment General entertainment News Men’s fashion Fashion General entertainment News General entertainment General entertainment Hi-def fashion Religion Religion French parliament Religion Luxuries General entertainment Shopping Wellbeing Religion General entertainment Music Local entertainment General entertainment Adult ads General entertainment General entertainment Local entertainment

13°E The 13°E slot has been active since 1983, but gained its famous name with the launch of Hot Bird 1 in 1995. It’s used by almost 1,000 free and pay-TV channels from all over Europe and the Middle East, and is home to some of the biggest European communications satellites. The 10th Hot Bird satellite will arrive in early 2009. n Operator: Eutelsat,

Satellites n Hot Bird 6

Launched: Atlas 5, Cape Canaveral, August 21 2002 Launch mass: 3,905kg Manufacturer: Spacebus 3000B3, Alcatel Space Transponders: 28 Ku-band, 4 Ka-band EIRP: 53dBW Ku-band, 56dBW Ka-band Beams: Fixed Europe n Hot Bird 7A

Launched: Ariane 5, Kourou, March 11 2006 Launch mass: 4,100kg Manufacturer: Spacebus 3000B3, Alcatel Alenia Space Transponders: 38 Ku-band EIRP: 53dBW Beams: Fixed Europe Notes: Replaced Hot Bird 7, lost at launch in December 2002 n Hot Bird 8

Launched: Proton M, Baikonur, August 4 2006 Launch mass: 4,900kg Manufacturer: Eurostar 3000, EADS Astrium Transponders: 64 Ku-band EIRP: 53dBW Beams: Fixed Europe n Hot Bird 9

Launched: Ariane 5, Kourou, Late November 2008 Launch mass: 4,880kg Manufacturer: Eurostar 3000, EADS Astrium Transponders: 64 Ku-band EIRP: 53dBW Beams: Fixed Europe

Le temps sera mauvais cette semaine

Go to for all the footprint maps NRJ is an edgy, youthful channel

Sat7 uplinks from Paris What Satellite & Digital TV  3


Free TV from France, and how to get it

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