Television in Russia

Information on TV standards and what's available to the TV viewer in Russia…

Television in Russia is transmitted by an analogue system using the SECAM D/K transmission standard. Digital transmission is in the process of being introduced across the country in two phases that finish in 2013 and 2015. This will follow DVB-T, the standard used in Europe. It is already offered by cable and satellite companies.

A television brought into the country must have the option to select SECAM as the system to use in order to work with the Russian system, and if not already serviced currently, compatibility for digital signal will be needed for TVs in all areas by 2015.

Terrestrial TV

To watch terrestrial TV doesn’t require a TV licence, with most apartments and houses having roof-mounted aerials that can receive 15 channels free-to-view (also available to see on cable and satellite). A mix of state-owned and private, all channels broadcast in Russian, these channels are:

  1. Perviy Kanal – News and entertainment
  2. Rossiya – News and entertainment
  3. TV-Tsentr – News and entertainment
  4. NTV – Entertainment
  5. Rossiya K – History and culture
  6. Sport – Sport
  7. 7TV – Sport
  8. STS – Entertainment and movies
  9. REN-TV – Entertainment
  10. Peretz TV – Entertainment
  11. TNT – Entertainment
  12. TV-3 – Entertainment
  13. MuzTV – Music
  14. MTV Russia – Music
  15. Domashniy – Home Channel

Cable and Satellite Television

Several of the major cable and satellite TV operators in Russia offer English-language channels or programming as part of their service. They all offer standard mixes of local channels and international channels such as CNN, BBC, Euronews, Discovery, MTV and Eurosport. Cable offers the most reliable connections, while satellite services can sometimes be affected by climatic conditions, especially in winter.

Most apartments in Moscow and St Petersburg have a cable or satellite TV connection already installed. In case a connection or a change of provider is required, applications can be made online, by telephone, or by visiting the service provider’s office. Connections usually take three to seven working days to be installed. Contracts normally have no set duration, and can be cancelled with 10 days’ notice. TV bills can be paid online, by phone, in the offices of the provider and at payment machines.

Documents required for an application include:

  • completed application form to request the services
  • passport of the tenant
  • tenancy contract

Main Cable and Satellite TV Providers

Russia’s leading satellite operator, Tricolour TV offers packages with up to 100 channels in English, many in HD, such as the Maximum HD package for R.900 per year. Channels available include: Fox, FoxLife, MGM, MTV Live, Nickelodeon, Discovery, Showcase, Animal Planet, Trace Sports, National Geographic Wild, National Geographic, Travel Channel, Fashion One, Look TV, Ocean TV and Galaxy TV.

  • For prices and packages: Click here (in Russian)
  • To sign up for services, contact should be made through the website: Click here

Packages from the TV arm of OnLime (Rostelcom) start from the basic with 98 channels at R.250 up to 112 channels for R.650 per month. Set-up costs are between R.3,250 to R.7,950 for (HD-receiver OnLime). English-language channels available include: Universal, T?1000, Fox Crime, SyFy, TV1000 Action, Fox Life, MGM, AXN SCI-FI, Paramount Comedy, Animal Planet, Discovery, Discovery Science, Ocean-TV, Cartoon Network, JimJam, VH1 European, VH1 Classic, MTV Rocks, MTV Dance, MTV Hits, RU.TV, Eurosport, Extreme Sports and Eurosportnews.

  • For details of prices and packages: Click here (in Russian)
  • For details of office locations: Click here (in Russian)

Set-up costs for NTV Plus range from between R.6,850 (standard TV) and R.18,150 (HD), which includes the installation of a satellite dish and can take up to 10 working days. Included in this is R.1,100 prepayment for the monthly subscription.

Monthly packages start from the basic programme with 94 channels at R.550 up to 120 channels for R.750.

English-language channels available include: Eurosport, Extreme Sports, DIVA Universal, Discovery Channel, Life, Animal Planet, Discovery Science, Discovery World, TLC, Disney, Cartoon Network, Euronews, RT (English), CNN International, Bloomberg, BBC World News, MCM Top, MTV Dance, VH1 European, MTV Hits, ZONE Reality, FashionTV Network, Amazing Life, CCTV News and Fox LifeWorld.

  • For details of prices and packages: Click here (in Russian)

Cable packages with Akado include 45 channels for R.425 per month. Full installation costs from R.6,725 (standard) to R.8,225 (HD). English channels include Animal Planet, BBC World, CNN International, Discovery Channel, Fashion TV, Mezzo, National Geographic, Russia Today and Travel Channel.

Other satellite TV providers