Television in Thailand
Information on the TV standards in Thailand and on what's available in English to the viewer on terrestrial, satellite and cable television...
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 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.
The television transmission standard in Thailand is PAL B. This is different to the PAL I system used in the UK, so older televisions from the UK are unlikely to work in Thailand. Older NTSC televisions from the USA will also not work in Thailand. Many newer TVs are multi-system and can accept PAL or NTSC signals. The television's user manual should include this information.
Television Stations in Thailand
There are six terrestrial TV stations that are controlled by various government agencies, including the Royal Thai Army and MCOT. A TV licence is not needed. There are, to date, no firm plans to introduce digital broadcasting technology, although it has been investigated.
Terrestrial TV channels
The terrestrial channels broadcast predominantly in Thai. Some have small sections of English-language programming or with some TVs the language can be changed to English for certain programmes.
- Channel 3
- Channel 5 (in Thai only)
- Channel 7
- Modernine (Channel 9)
- NBT (National Broadcasting Service of Thailand): with some daily transmissions in English
- Thai PBS (Thai Public Broadcasting Service)
Digital television in Thailand was launched in 2014. By 2017, 95% of households are expected to go digital. Televisions which are not digital can watch digital television by using a set-top box. Around 48 channels are available to viewers, although this number varies from region to region.
Cable and satellite channels
The biggest satellite TV provider is True Visions UBC, which has a large number of channels broadcasting in English available, with different packages of varying costs depending on the channels chosen.
Most programmes are aired in English and a monthly programme guide is sent to the subscriber's home address with a full list of channels and schedules for the month.
True Visions and many other independent companies operate cable TV channels in Thailand in a variety of languages.
True Visions has a wide selection of channels with movies, series, documentaries, music, entertainment, including National Geographic, Star Movies, HBO, BBC World, News 24, Star Sports, TVB, Animal Planet, CNN, Bloomberg, Cartoon Network and many more.
To subscribe to True Visions, copies of your passport and House Registration Document (Tabian Baan) or the land title (Chanote) or the Condo title deed are required. If it is a rental property the landlord has to provide copies of their ID card and House Registration Document.
English language news, interviews, travel articles and local arts and culture. Available by cable or on channel 78 on True Visions.
The standard terrestrial TV system in Thailand is PAL B. This is different to the PAL I system used in the UK, so older televisions from the UK are unlikely to work in Thailand. Older NTSC televisions from the USA will also not work.
Many newer TVs are multi-system and can accept PAL or NTSC signals. The television's user manual should include this information.
DVD Region Codes
Some DVD players are region locked, meaning that they will only play DVDs from the region where they were first used. Thailand is in DVD Region 3, along with the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan.
- Wikipedia has a full list of DVD regions
DVDs purchased in other regions, such as the US or UK, may not work on region-locked DVD players first used to play DVDs purchased in Thailand. Similarly, a region-locked DVD player first used to play DVDs purchased outside region 3 may refuse to play Thai DVDs.
Radio in Thailand
Thailand has hundreds of AM and FM radio stations controlled and sometimes owned by various government agencies. Some are national stations that can be listened to all over Thailand but others are local to towns or provinces. Most broadcast in Thai language although some towns in Thailand have a number of stations that broadcast in Thai and English. Most local stations can also be listened to online.
- LyngSat provides further information on satellites and free satellite TV in Thailand