Find out which local and cable TV channels are available in English in Dubai...

There are three main television/video standards in use throughout the world.

  • The system used in the US, Canada, Japan and some other countries is called NTSC
  • Most of Western Europe (including Netherlands), Australasia and Southern Africa use a system called PAL
  • Eastern Europe and France use SECAM

The three standards are not compatible with each other. This means that a TV signal (or video) produced for one system will not work on machinery that's been designed for another.

The system in Dubai is the PAL system.

Dubai has a combination of local, satellite and cable television services. Apartments and villas are usually pre-wired with certain services, however newly built villas and some more economical apartment buildings generally need to have connections installed.

Local Channels

The free to air English television channels in Dubai are:

  • Dubai One 24 hour free-to-air English language entertainment, with primarily US series
  • MBC 4 English channel with primarily US series targeted to women
  • MBC Action English channel with primarily US action series, targeted to men
  • MBC 2 English channel showing Western movies
  • City 7 TV: Independent Dubai based, free-to-air, 100 percent English language channel. Does not subtitle programmes

Most shows on these channels are broadcast in English, with Arabic subtitles.

English language channels mostly play well known US and UK series but are generally at least six months behind the pay or subscription channels in Dubai. Other channels in Dubai are:

  • Abu Dhabi TV: Shows Arabic series
  • Dubai TV: Arabic local and regional programming
  • MBC: A network of free-to-air English and Arabic stations:
    • MBC Max Channel: For the latest Hollywood films
    • MBC 3: Children's channel that is primarily Arabic with some limited English programming
    • MBC 1: Arabic channel showcasing local and regional Arabic series and entertainment programmes
  • Al-Arabiya: Arabic-language news channel

Cable Television

Cable television is broadcast by government-owned telecommunications providers, Du and Etisalat (E-Vision). Both offer similar packages that include popular international news programmes, including Al Jazeera, BBC World, CNBC, CNN, France 24 and Sky News.

Currently, residents do not have the option to choose between Du and Etisalat (E-Vision). The cable provider is assigned to a property according to its location.

Programming available on TV is frequently changing. Basic and premium channel packages such as OSN (Orbit Showtime Network), Firstnet, and Pehla (Asian channels) are available by subscription.

  • For packages and channels on offer from Etisalat: Click here
  • For packages and channels available with Du: Click here

Getting Connected

To gain access to pay channels the building must have the relevant connection. If it is not connected then call the contact number or make an enquiry using the details listed on the website. A sales representative will make contact to discuss the best package.

The representative will then arrange a technician to install the connection if necessary. Documents required for registering with Pay TV channels in Dubai include:

  • Passport copy with residence visa
  • Tenancy contract