Get to grips with TV standards, understand where and how to pay the TV licence fees, and find out what's available to the TV viewer in Greece...
The television transmission standard in Greece is PAL. In order for foreign television sets to work in the country, they should be compatible with this standard. There are three main television/video standards in use throughout the world.
- NTSC: used in the USA, Canada, Japan and some other countries
- PAL: used in most of Western Europe, Australasia and South Africa
- SECAM: used in France and Eastern Europe
The three systems are not compatible with each other. It is not possible to watch television on an NTSC or SECAM appliance, or to use DVD or video players which are configured for these systems. Multi-standard TVs are compatible with PAL (or NTSC) video recorders, DVD players, games consoles and other video equipment.
A non-PAL compatible television in Greece will not receive a signal to transmit sound and picture.
Television in Greece
There are around 150 local and regional television stations in Greece.
Many English-language programmes are available on Greek terrestrial TV. Programmes are rarely dubbed: in general, only children's programmes, animated movies and very few other programmes. Foreign TV shows and movies are often broadcast in their original soundtrack, with Greek subtitles.
Greek state television
is the Greek national public broadcaster. It provides three free-to-view TV channels (ERT1
) and is broadcast nationwide.
is the television channel of the Greek parliament (in Greek). The channel broadcasts parliamentary sessions during the day, but often shows English language documentaries and nature programmes in the evening, as well as other, non-English foreign language films.
Main national networks
In addition to the three national channels there are several free-to-view commercial channels available all over Greece. These are Star, Alter, Antenna (ANT1), Mega, SKAÏ, Alpha, Macedonia, MAD, MTV Greece, CNN, TV5 Europe, Channel 9, Channel 10, 902 TV.
The television licence, one per house, is paid together with the DEI
or Public Power Corporation's electricity bill. There are no documents or specific procedures required, the mandatory fee is automatically included in the bill, issued every two months.
Cable and IPTV
There is one Cable TV operator in Greece, called Hellenic Cable Networks
. It offers cable, internet services, DVB-C and analog TV services without the need of an external STB.
IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) television services are offered by the following Greek telecom companies:
Their services include local Greek stations, as well as international stations, NOVA Cinema and Nova Sports. This is sold in special combination packages with the telecom operator's telephony and high-speed Internet services.
To subscribe to a service the following documents are required:
- Tax identification number (AFM number)
- Rental contract or Title of Deeds
- Proof of identity
Digital and Satellite Television
By the end of 2012, digital broadcasting (DVB) will replace analogue television broadcasting (International Telecommunication Union (ITU) decision and European Union directive).
Television sets sold today are equipped with a digital receiver; older ones will only be able to receive digital broadcasting if they are equipped with a DVB-T MPEG4 set top box. A separate box is needed for each individual television set.
DVB is a global standard, meaning that televisions with built-in decoders bought outside Greece, and also external decoders (such as FreeView and Top-up TV boxes from the United Kingdom) will work.
provides digitally broadcasted television stations which include;
- Cine+: movies
- Sport+ and Info+ (from 16:00-20:00) with a daily news programme
- News+ in English
- Prisma+: documentaries, movies, news and children's programmes, also accessible for the disabled with subtitles and sign language
- RIK sat: Cypriot national channel
These channels are available for free. The television set must be equipped with an embedded digital receiver (DVB-T) that supports the MPEG-4 image system or a set top box to receive these channels.
NOVA is a Greek provider of digital satellite television. For a monthly subscription fee, NOVA offers a variety of digital channels (movie, sports, children's programmes, music, news, entertainment) and interactive services. International programmes are available in their original language with Greek subtitles.
Free-to-air programming from other countries (such as the UK) may be received with an appropriately-sized and -oriented satellite dish and digital satellite receiver. Alternatively, it is possible to access UK-based Free-To-Air (FTA) programming on the same satellite that broadcasts Sky Digital.
Many providers abroad (including in the US) also make television services available via the Internet, but a decoder may be required.