Television in Bulgaria

Television in Bulgaria

Television in Bulgaria was introduced in 1959. Although the Bulgarian media market is small, it is one of the most vibrant and highly competitive in Eastern Europe. Global players such as News Corporation, Modern Times Group, Central European Media Enterprises and ProSiebenSat1 and others operate the biggest and most popular media outlets in the country.



In 1954, a team at the Machine and Electrotechnics Institute in Sofia (today called the Technical University of Sofia) started experimental television broadcasting with two antennas (one for sound and one for image) on the roof of a building near the Vasil Levski monument in the city, after having previously conducted successful cable test transmissions. These experimental broadcasts aroused the interest of the Ministry of Communications, which decided to build a broadcasting tower in Sofia, with a state-controlled channel to air from it. The new channel started with an unofficial broadcast on November 1, 1959, and made its first official broadcast several days later with the live coverage of the November 7 manifestation, commemorating the Russian Revolution of 1917. The experimental channel of the MEI did not air anything but a test chart on that day, although it did show a greeting to the new Sofia Television Station three times after 19:05. The MEI channel continued to operate until late 1960, when the team started working on the future introduction of color television.

The new channel, later referred to as " Bulgarian Television" (BT) used the OIRT standard of 625 lines and 25 frames per second. It also used the D/K audio system, which was generally done to prevent reception of Western European stations in Eastern Bloc countries. Public attention was quickly caught by the new medium, and the number of bought and registered television sets increased gradually. In 1960, a powerful 20 kilowatt transmitter was installed at Botev Peak, covering a large area of the country. Later, more transmitters and retranslators were placed in various cities, towns and villages around the country.

Programming was controlled and influenced by the Bulgarian Communist Party-run government in this time, as was usual in the Eastern Bloc. The first popular program were the news, which were titled "Around the World and at Home" ("По света и у нас", with "at home" meaning in this case "in our country"), a name which is used to this day. The news' trademark "spinning globe" opening, first animated in 1961, is also still used (albeit highly modified). Other popular shows started around this time were the children's block "Good Night, Children" ("Лека нощ, деца", still in use), television theatre programs, the various sport events which were broadcast live from around the world, and music programs like the regular New Year celebration shows. Foreign programming in the early years was limited to mostly Soviet Union productions, as well as some direct rebroadcasts of Soviet television programming.

In 1972, the first color broadcast was made, again of a manifestation. The SECAM color system was used, because PAL was used in most western countries (except for France, where SECAM was invented). After several years, the entire programming was broadcast in color.

In 1974, the second channel of the Bulgarian Television was launched, with the original channel being called simply "first channel". Later, they were given on-screen logos and were named "BT1" ("БТ 1") and "BT2" ("БТ 2"). In the late 1980s, some western programming was allowed, including Pink Panther cartoons and the television series La piovra (Октопод) and Escrava Isaura (Робинята Изаура). With the fall of the communist rule in 1989, the two channels changed dramatically. They started airing a lot of US films and TV series, one of the first being The Flintstones (Семейство Флинтстоун). Their names were also changed, BT 1 became Kanal 1 (Channel1) (Канал 1) and BT 2 became Efir 2. The television organisation's name was changed to Bulgarian National Television. In the 1990s, BNT changed the color television system to PAL, while keeping compatibility with older TV sets by using the DK audio standard (on such sets, only black-and-white picture is seen). Efir 2's frequencies were sold in 2000 to News Corporation for the country's first over-the-air national channel: bTV. In 2008, Channel 1 was again renamed to BNT 1. The second programe started again in 2011 under the name BNT 2. It merged the regioanl BNT programes.

Privately owned television channels started to appear immediately after the regime change. Most were associated with a cable television (CATV) network run by the same parent company. Around 1994-1995 private over-the-air broadcasters also appeared, but they usually only operated within a single area. Nova Television and 7 Dni TV (7 дни, meaning 7 days) were two of the first such channels, available only in Sofia. After bTV took over Efir 2's frequencies, another competition selected Nova Television, already popular in cable networks around the country, as the second privately-owned national channel in Bulgaria. The authorities currently refuse to license further analogue terrestrial channels (including local ones), until DVB-T broadcasting is started.

The Bulgarian Telecommunications Company provides one experimental DVB-T transponder in Sofia since 2004. While DVB-T broadcasting in other large cities such as Burgas, Varna, Plovdiv and Stara Zagora is expected to start in near future, it is not known when exactly this will happen, although the frequencies for the transponders are already set.


Cable television (CATV) in Bulgaria appeared in the early 1990s, with some of the earliest networks starting operation in 1991 and 1992. Satellite channels from other countries were one of the main features of cable television at the time and in the following years channels like Cartoon Network Europe, MTV European and Discovery Channel became very popular, as more people subscribed to the (relatively cheap) cable TV operators. Many (if not all) cable companies created their own television channels, which were available only to their subscribers. Due to technical limitations, it was initially difficult for such channels to be distributed to other populated places in the country, but in the late 90s several channels started to appear in the entire country using Bulgarian Telecommunications Company cables as the distribution method. In 1998, M SAT (then known as Mustang Sat) became the first Bulgarian channel available via satellite. The local terrestrial channel Nova Television from Sofia became available all over the country in 1999 using cable transmission. Around 2000-2001, some foreign broadcasters such as Discovery Channel and the Hallmark Channel (now DIVA Universal started Bulgarian translations of their channels using DVB subtitles. Currently, most cable networks carry a large selection of local and foreign channels, both translated and untranslated. Translation of foreign networks has since expanded from subtitles to voice dubbing, with channels like AXN and Jetix (formerly FOX Kids) (now Disney Channel) having a Bulgarian audio track.

Analogue broadcasting is still used by operators, and it was the only method used before 2004-2005. Since then, many of them started lowering the number of analogue channels in order to launch DVB-C transponders. However, because the monthly fee for the digital packages is higher, some subscribers choose to continue using the analogue service, although with less channels than before. Currently, the biggest cable operators provide DVB-C channels in the major cities and towns. As of 2009, analogue channels are usually the only service available in villages.


Satellite channels from Bulgaria appeared prior to the existence of a DTH operator. The first channel to start broadcasting via satellite was MSAT (then known as Mustang Sat, after parent company Mustang) in 1998, operating from Varna. Before this, the Mustang channel was distributed through cable lines, maintained by the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company. The following year, the Bulgarian National Television launched a special channel, TV Bulgaria (now known as BNT World), dedicated to Bulgarians living abroad. Several other channels followed, including the musical channel MM.

Then, in 2003, Bulsatcom became the first Bulgarian DTH operator, offering initially a limited amount of channels on Hellas Sat 2[1]. The next year, ITV Partner (now TotalTV) was launched as a DTH service by Interactive Technologies PLC, broadcasting on Eutelsat W2[2]. Both supply DVB-S satellite television in Bulgaria and most European countries, with some of the TV channels using the two DTH operators as their main distribution medium (so that the channels are easily available to cable operators without the use of long-distance wires). The second half of 2010 is expected to see the long anticipated launch of the third Bulgarian DTH provider, operated by Bulgaria's Vivacom. There is also a small package operated by Telenor on Thor 3, which has for a long time distributed certain Bulgarian TV and radio channels.

Generally, Bulgarian television companies do not require a high fee for their channels' availability to viewers (some have no fee at all), but because of licensing restrictions of foreign programming, most satellite channels are encrypted, so that distribution outside Bulgaria can be limited. Free-to-view channels carry less (or none at all) such programming, airing for example music or locally produced programs only. Currently, most channels that broadcast nationally are available via satellite.

List of television channels

Terrestrial (free-to-air channels with national coverage)

  • BNT 1 first national TV network, formerly BT1 (Bulgarian Television One) and Kanal 1 (Channel 1), BNT's first program and first channel.
  • BNT 2; second national television network, formerly BT2 and Efir 2, BNT's second program and second channel
  • bTV; first private TV network, formerly used by BNT's second program (Efir 2)
  • Nova Television second private national TV network, formerly used by Soviet television, TV Ostankino and ORT (old frequencies don't always match the new ones)
  • TV7; third private TV network.
  • BBT; fourth private TV network
  • Bulgaria on Air; fifth private TV network

Cable and/or Satellite

  • TVart
  • Balkan Bulgarian Television
  • VTK (ВТК) (This channel is operated by the Bulgarian Military)
  • Balkanika TV
  • Bulgaria Kabel TV
  • City TV
  • E-Kids
  • VTV
  • Box TV
  • bTV Comedy
  • bTV Cinema
  • bTV Action
  • Diema
  • Kino Nova
  • Diema Family
  • EBF Bussines TV
  • Fan TV
  • Fiesta TV
  • Folklor TV
  • FOX Life
  • FOX Crime
  • Utilisima
  • TV+
  • FILM+
  • SPORT+
  • Hobby TV
  • Pop Core TV
  • Kanal 3
  • Bulgaria on Air
  • MAD TV
  • Nova Sport
  • Planeta TV
  • Planeta Folk
  • Premium Digital (A pay-per-view television system created and run by Amotera Ltd.)
  • Rodina TV
  • SKAT
  • Sport 7
  • Super 7
  • Travel HD
  • The Voice TV
  • Travel TV
  • Community TV
  • BNT World
  • TV Europa

Foreign channels translated into Bulgarian

Channels marked with an asterisk (*) have a Bulgarian audio channel, all others have Bulgarian subtitles only


  1. ^ A movie-style career: The pioneering role of Bulsatcom's Plamen Genchev in the era of satellite television, Capital (in Bulgarian)
  2. ^ ITV Partner, LeoSat Ltd.'s website (in Bulgarian)

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Digital television in Bulgaria — Cable=Some of the biggest cable operators started to provide DVB C channels in the major cities including Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv,etc.=Satellite=Bulsatcom and ITV Partner supply DVB S satellite television in Bulgaria and most European countries.… …   Wikipedia

  • Televisión Nacional de Bulgaria — Balgarska Nationalna Televizija Televisión Nacional de Bulgaria Tipo Empresa pública Fundación 26 de diciembre de 1959 (51 años) Sede Sofía …   Wikipedia Español

  • Télévision Numérique Terrestre — first logo TNT (Télévision Numérique Terrestre) is the national digital terrestrial service for France. It formally arrived on 31 March 2005 after a short testing period. Like Freeview in the United Kingdom it will support many new channels as… …   Wikipedia

  • Bulgaria en el Festival de la Canción de Eurovisión 2010 — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Bulgaria estará presente en el Festival de la Canción de Eurovisión 2010. La televisión búlgara ha confirmado que se hará un nuevo sistema de preselección, en parte, debido al fracaso en la semifinal de Krassimir… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Television content rating systems — give viewers an idea of the suitability of a television program for children or adults. Many countries have their own television rating system and each country s rating process may differ due to local priorities. Programs are rated by either the… …   Wikipedia

  • Television in Finland — Television was introduced in Finland in 1957, and digitalized in 2007/2008. Color television started in 1969. Prior to 1986, YLE monopolized the Finnish television. All terrestrial analogue stations stopped broadcasting on September 1, 2007.… …   Wikipedia

  • Television in Spain — was launched in 1956, when TVE started its regular broadcasts. Prior to 1982, public television monopolised the Spanish television, but the first private television was not launched until 1990. In 1974, colour transmission started with tests in… …   Wikipedia

  • Television in Greece — Television broadcasting in Greece began in 1966 and this was preceded in 1951 by statute 1663 permitting television broadcasting.[1] Contents 1 History 1.1 1960s 1970s 1.2 1980s …   Wikipedia

  • Television in Switzerland — was introduced in 1950. People who live in Switzerland and receive television services are required by law to pay a television licence fee, which is used to finance the public radio and television service SRG SSR idée suisse. Licence fee payers… …   Wikipedia

  • Television in the Netherlands — was introduced in 1951. In the Netherlands, the television market is divided between a number of commercial networks, such as RTL Nederland, and a system of public broadcasters sharing three channels, Nederland 1, Nederland 2, and Nederland 3.… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”