TV Systems, Stations and Cable TV in Belgium

Find out what domestic and cable TV channels are available in Belgium, as well as television and radio licence regulations...

The television standard in use in Belgium is DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting).

Most countries in the world have either switched over, are switching over, or plan to switch over from analogue TV broadcasting to digital TV broadcasting. Before the advent of digital broadcasting, the main three standards were:

  • NTSC: the USA, Canada, Japan
  • PAL: most of Western Europe, Australia, southern Africa
  • SECAM: Eastern Europe and France

Today, the main digital standards are:

  • DVB-T: most of the world, including Europe, southern Africa, Australia and southern Asia
  • ATSC: the USA, Canada, Mexico and South Korea
  • ISDB-T: most of South America
  • DTMB: China

The systems are not compatible, so a television produced for one system will not work on another.

Belgian Television

In order to reflect the unique linguistic and political nature of the country, Belgium has two separate broadcasting organisations. They are self-regulating and are concerned with TV, radio and external broadcasting. Both Dutch and French stations are represented, as well as dozens of domestic and foreign channels.

  • RTBF (French language)
  • VRT (Dutch language)
    At: Auguste Reyerslaan 52, 1043 Brussels
    Tel: 02 741 31 11

TV Licences

TV licences have been abolished in the Flemish speaking region of Belgium and in the region of Brussels.

TV and car licences in Wallonia

In Wallonia the television licence fee is charged per household, regardless of how many TV sets there are.

Worth noting is that each car with a radio must have a separate car radio licence. It is necessary to carry proof of payment of the car radio licence when driving. If a new car is bought with a fitted radio, the dealer will provide a registration form to fill in.

When buying a television or a car radio for the first time, it is necessary to inform the Walloon Television and Radio Licence Service (Service Radio-Télévision Redevances de la Région Wallonne), in writing, within 30 days.

The bill is sent annually. For people whose surname begins with a letter between A and J, the licence fee must be paid in April; those with surnames starting K to Z must pay in October. People with certain disabilities are exempt from paying the television licence fee.

Notify the Television and Radio Licence Service within 15 days when changing address.

Cable Television in Belgium

Cable TV is widely available in Belgium and is used by most Belgian households. All foreign TV programmes and films featured on cable and domestic channels are screened in their original language, with French or Dutch subtitles.

Cable companies

  • Tele Bruxelles (French language)
    At: 32 rue Gabrielle Petit, 1080 Brussels
    Tel: 02 421 21 21
  • VTM (Dutch language)
    At: Medialaan 1, 1800 Vilvoorde
    Tel: 02 255 32 11
  • Telenet
    : Liersesteen Weg 4, 2800 Malines
    Tel: 01 566 66 66
  • BeTV
    : Ch. De Louvain 656, 1030 Brussels
    Tel: 02 730 40 50
  • Numericable
    At: 26 rue des Deux-Eglises, 1000 Brussels
    Tel: 02 226 52 00

It is possible to choose from a variety of packages, offering sport, music, documentaries and news, children's programmes and films.

How to get cable TV

Cable TV subscriptions can be obtained either by telephoning one of the cable companies and requesting a subscription form, or via the company websites, where it is possible to fill out an online form. Once this has been completed and sent, the cable company will arrange delivery of a decoder, and then activate the subscription once the first payment has cleared. Payment is usually made by bank transfer or direct debit.