Television, Cable and Satellite TV

Getting to grips with TV standards and understanding what's available to the TV viewer in Hungary…

Television Standard

The television transmission system used in Hungary is PAL, and most television and video appliances can be configured to this format. Countries with PAL systems normally (with a few rare exceptions) have 220V voltage and 50 Hz frequency, while countries using NTSC normally have 110/220V voltage and 60 Hz.

In order for foreign television sets to work in Hungary, they should be compatible with this standard. There are three main television and 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, parts of the Middle East and Eastern Europe

Terrestrial and Digital Television

There is currently both digital and terrestrial transmission in Hungary although the terrestrial transmission will be gradually phased out by the end of 2014. There is no TV tax or licence fee payable.

Most channels require subscription via a television company, although there are a few terrestrial channels that can be viewed without a subscription. Without cable, or a digital satellite receiver and dish, however, only Hungarian channels are available.

Cable and Satellite Television

If equipped with a satellite dish or cable, most areas in Budapest can pick up the following English language channels: Sky News, CNN International, MTV, Euronews, Super Channel, Eurosport, the Cartoon Network/TNT, FoxSport/Cartoon, Sport 1, MSNBC, Animal Planet, and Discovery Channel. Some foreign cable channels such as History, Discovery or BBC may be dubbed into Hungarian, however. It is advisable to shop around and find out in advance which channels are broadcast in English. Channels are often listed as “magyar, angol” (Hungarian, English) although in reality this may mean that only a few programmes are in English whereas the rest are dubbed.

If satellite subscription is chosen then the dish and other equipment can be bought or rented from the supplier.

Suppliers

T-Home: Provides several packages combining landline, cable TV, internet and mobile phone services, with both cable and satellite TV options; basic packages contain only Hungarian channels but some packages have a few English-language channels such as Sky News, MTV or Discovery. It also offers various discounts.

Connection can be arranged by telephone, online (in Hungarian) or in person at a T-Pont or T-Partner shop. It takes between one week and one month to get connected.

  • To arrange connection by telephone call 1412 and press “2” for an English speaking operator
  • To find a local T-Pont or T-Partner shop: Click here, choose an area from the drop-down list, click on “Ügyfélszolgálat” (Customer Service) and then on “Keresés” (Search). The search result will show the address, telephone number and opening hours of the shop (website in Hungarian)

A passport or a driving licence is needed to arrange a contract with T-Home, and also a recent utility bill, which can be submitted later by post.

UPC: The largest cable TV provider in Hungary, UPC offers several packages combining landline, cable TV, internet and mobile phone services. It provides both cable and satellite TV options; basic packages contain only Hungarian channels but some packages have a few English language channels such as Sky News, MTV or Discovery.

  • To arrange connection by phone call 1221 and choose “7” for an English speaking operator
  • To find a local UPC shop: Click here

DIGI: Offers several packages combining landline, cable and satellite TV, and internet services. It provides both cable and satellite TV options; basic packages contain only Hungarian channels but some packages have a few English language channels such as Sky News, MTV, BBC Entertainment or Discovery (website in Hungarian).

Connection can be arranged by telephone, online (in Hungarian) or in person at a DIGI customer care shop.

  • To arrange connection by telephone call 1272
  • To find a local DIGI customer care shop: Click here (in Hungarian)

A passport or a driving licence is needed to arrange a contract with DIGI, and also a recent utility bill.

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television)

There are a number of IPTV providers, which deliver television services over the Internet: