TV Systems, Stations and Cable TV in Malaysia

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

The transmission standard in Malaysia is PAL.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 a NTSC or SECAM appliance, or to use DVD or video players which are configured for these systems. Multi-standard TV, DVD or video equipment will be able to play a PAL (or NTSC) camcorder, DVD players, games console and other video equipment.

Malaysian Television

Foreign television sets must be PAL-compatible in order to work in Malaysia.

There are a number of free-to-air stations, which are owned by the government or the ruling party, UMNO (through Media Prima, a commercially-owned company). These stations are not independent and are subject to censorship. Set-top boxes receive the majority of television services. Most programmes are in Bahasa Malaysia, Tamil, Mandarin or English, and some are subtitled in English.

There are eight free-to-air analogue channels:

  • RTM1 on Channel 1 - mainly offers programmes in Malay such as talk shows
  • RTM2 - Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil programmes, and news bulletins in English
  • TV3 - mainly offers programmes in Malay and some American shows
  • 8TV - imported English and Chinese programmes aimed at teenagers
  • ntv7 - mainly has imported programmes, and news bulletins in English
  • TV9 - a mix of local Malay and imported programmes

Digital switch-over

Malaysia's switch-over from analogue to digital has been postponed indefinitely.

Satellite TV

The main satellite provider is Astro which offers a subscription-based satellite service. Satellite TV is subject to the same censorship as government-provided, free-to-air television. Astro, a monopoly, has exclusive satellite television broadcasting rights in Malaysia until 2022. To subscribe to Astro, a dish and decoder box are required.

  • Astro
    : Customer service - 1300 82 3838

NJOI is a subscription-free satellite TV service. Digital satellite services are also available from Thailand.

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television)

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

  • DETV offers video-on-demand, and predominately Chinese language programmes
  • Hypp.TV offers a number of channels for free, and subscription

TV Licences

TV licences were phased out in 1999 and Malaysian TV (RTM) is funded by government, taxation and advertising. Media Prima operates the other channels.

Further Information

  • Asiawaves - Malaysia TV: Television Stations and Channels