FRANCE is rightly proud of its artistic culture but unfortunately this does not often extend to its television programmes.
Evening schedules are often dominated by two-hour long talk shows, dubbed American series and excruciatingly drawn out musical ‘spectaculars’.
Therefore it is no wonder that many people are keen to install satellite TV so that their choice is widened.
But with so many different standards from PAL-I to SECAM, SECAM-L and SECAM B/G just what can you watch on your TV set?
John Sidwell, and his wife Sue, have been running their satellite installation service bigdishsat.com from the Limousin region since 1996.
And they have experienced many of the problems and pitfalls of television installation.
“Most televisions bought in the UK will not receive the terrestrial TV transmissions from French transmitters,” explained John.
“This is because the broadcast standards are different in the UK from the rest of Europe.
“France uses a transmission system known as SECAM L, the UK uses PAL-I, the rest of Europe uses PAL B/G.”
French terrestrial TV has six stations broadcasting throughout the country: TF1, France 2, France 3, Canal Plus, M6 and Arte, but reception can be poor in some areas.
A television set in France is comparable in price to those in the UK and you may find some being offered in a sale.
For example, a small portable TV with remote control, from the local supermarket costs about €80 - €100 just make sure you have an internal aerial if required, as one does not come as standard.
Satellite TV is very popular in France and the choice of stations can be mind blowing with a wide variety of content in an array of languages available.
“To connect a satellite receiver to a television you will most often use a SCART lead,” said John.
“The Digibox satellite receiver for UK programmes has two SCART sockets, a UHF socket and on some models an S-VHS socket, which gives superior sound and picture quality.
“All these connections can be used with a British TV in France; which one depends on the TV itself.
“A television bought in France will usually work with the Digibox if it is connected using a SCART or S-VHS lead whilst the UHF outlet connects the TV aerial for terrestrial French broadcasts.”
However, it should be remembered that it is not necessary to have a Digibox or a card to receive English transmissions.
BBC TV and radio, for example, are available free to air often using cheaper equipment.
You can now buy receivers which will give you both French analogue free to air transmissions and English digital free to air transmissions, all in one box.
It is also important that should you employ someone to install your satellite TV system that they are registered in France with a Siret number and are fully insured.
Related: Satellite broadband in France
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Can anyone recommend a reliable Satallite Installation company who covers the Haute Savoie area? We are in Chatel to be precise.
Posted by: Darren Parker | 04 September 2007 at 14:35
I like that France doesn't even depend on tv for entertainment like we do here in the US.
Posted by: switch to satellite tv | 28 September 2007 at 20:43
We have a small canal boat in France and would enjoy watching some TV. Would you advise us what is available to us and how to go about getting it.
Posted by: NANCY RYAN | 20 October 2007 at 21:29
You can buy "caravan kits" in many shops in the uk which are a briefcase with a small powerful dish, lnb and digi box - they also come with details on how to point them. These should pick up the free UK stations.
Posted by: Graeme Swan | 22 October 2007 at 08:54
Many thanks for that, I couldn't think of a solution myself, and I'm sure Nancy will appreciate the advice.
All the best, Craig
Posted by: Craig McGinty | 22 October 2007 at 09:08
I've mentioned this company before, but I was really impressed with www.broadbandinfrance.com
an offering total English non-tecci support through installation and operation, dealing direct with France Telecom and keeping in touch giving a really caring service. The delivery of the technical gubbins was spot-on and their telephone back-up was a real comfort. I can't speak too highly of a real service.
Posted by: Derek | 08 May 2008 at 12:19
Does anyone know of a free sat installer for the la manche region
Posted by: matt | 11 August 2009 at 18:42