Television in Taiwan

Information about TV standards in Taiwan and what's available to the viewer on terrestrial, satellite and cable television...

Television in Taiwan is transmitted using the NTSC standard. There are three main television/video standards in use throughout the world:

  • NTSC - used in Taiwan, 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 configured for these systems. Multi-standard TV, DVD or video equipment will be able to play a PAL (or NTSC) camcorder, DVD player or games console.

Television Channels in Taiwan

In Taiwan there are five terrestrial TV channels which can be received with an antenna, as well as numerous cable services, including a number of international channels. Satellite television, however, is not widely available in the country.

Many viewers opt for cable services as subscriptions are relatively inexpensive. There are currently 51 cable TV areas and 62 cable TV companies operating in Taiwan, many of which serve specific local areas. Most cable companies enjoy a monopoly in their designated area. The local company should be contacted to arrange service.

Some of the major cable and digital television providers are:

  • TBC which offers a large number of both local and international channels
  • Taiwan Mobile which offers both cable and digital services

Most TV programmes are aired in Mandarin Chinese, although some are shown in either Japanese or Taiwanese Hokkien. A small number are aired in Korean and English, while most original language television programmes are aired with Chinese subtitles.

Many English programmes are available, such as CNN, BBC news, HBO, Cinemax and EPSN. Since 2012, a switch to digital television services through a set-top box for high-definition has been underway, and will gradually increase the number of available channels.