Television in Belgium

Television in Belgium

Television in Belgium was introduced in 1953.



The three Belgian Communities - Dutch, French and German-speaking - have legal responsibility for audiovisual communication. They constitute separate markets, the common feature of which is the fact that they have been extensively cabled for three decades and are thus able to receive neighbouring countries’ channels.

They have their own systems of regulating the audiovisual media and their own public-service broadcasting authorities, namely VRT, RTBF and BRF respectively.


Native channels

The two main Belgian public TV networks, VRT in the Flemish Community and RTBF in the French Community of Belgium, broadcast their channels via operators using cable, satellite, ADSL and terrestrial broadcasting. The Belgian commercial TV stations are currently only available on cable, satellite and ADSL. Terrestrial broadcasting is limited to public service TV stations because of the high adoption rate of cable (94%) in Belgium which makes it unnecessary to broadcast commercially.

Foreign channels

Apart from the channels listed above, most cable, satellite and ADSL systems in Belgium distribute television stations from other European countries including the Netherlands, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. Most people are able to receive Nederland 1, 2, and 3 from Netherlands Public Broadcasting as well as ARD and ZDF, BBC One and Two, BBC World News and BBC Entertainment and TF1, France 2 and France 3.


In Belgium, over 94% of all households have cable television (DVB-C).


Telenet, the main cable network operator in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium, has around 25 analogue TV channels which are also available digitally (MHP over DVB-C). In total about 80 TV channels are available digitally. This includes some TV channels that were already available in analogue and digital form: Prime (in Dutch) or BeTV (in French) are pay-TV operators broadcasting several SDTV channels over one DVB-C multiplex. Telenet is however pushing for their DVB-C channels as interactive Digital TV, using their cable network for uplink purposes.

Current cable customers do not need to pay an extra subscription for about 35 digital channels, but they must purchase a set-top box in order to view these digital channels and use the interactive services.

Telenet, the main cable operator in Flanders, also offers Dutch-language or Dutch-subtitled versions of Nick Jr., Jetix, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Eurosport, National Geographic Channel, Sci Fi Channel, Travel Channel, 13th Street, Hallmark Channel, TCM, MGM Movie Channel, Star!, Zone Club, the History Channel, Animal Planet and four networks of Discovery Channel.

HDTV was expected from summer 2006, to coincide with the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but has not materialized. Despite Telenet, confirmed as part of its launch announcement of "Telenet Digital TV" on June 16, 2005 that it would sell HDTV set-top-boxes as of June 2006, HDTV capable set-top boxes for Telenet interactive digital TV were only available in December 2007. In 2009 Telenet already offered 14 HD channels on its digital network.

From July 2005 Integan, a cable network operator in the outskirts of the city of Antwerp, is offering HDTV. Integan was fully integrated in the Telenet cable network from 2009 onwards.


The main cable network operator in the Brussels Region are Numéricable and VOO. Telenet is also present, but in only a few municipalities of the region


VOO is the main cable network operator in Wallonia, the southern part of Belgium.


The two Belgian public TV networks, VRT on the Flemish side and RTBF on the French-speaking side also broadcast their channels digitally (DVB-T).

Analogue terrestrial broadcasts are being phased out.

Flanders and Brussels

VRT can be received all over Flanders and Brussels.

Analogue terrestrial TV transmission of VRT Eén and VRT Ketnet/Canvas ended on 3 November 2008. The VRT multiplex transmission from Egem will move from channel 40 (626 MHz) to channel 22 (482 MHz); that from Genk on channel 41 (634 MHz) will move to channel 25 (506 MHz), and that from Antwerpen and Schoten on channel 59 (778 MHz) will move to channel 25 (506 MHz) as well. The VRT multiplex transmissions from Brussels, Gent, Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, and Veltem will continue to operate on channel 22 (482 MHz).[1] The move to lower frequencies may result in a slight increase in coverage area of the transmissions.

Wallonia and Brussels

RTBF launched its DTT platform on 30 November 2007, which is now available to most of French-speaking Belgium and Brussels. It offers RTBF La Une and RTBF La Deux. RTBF also launched a new channel exclusive to DTT called RTBF La Trois, and they added a fourth channel to the multiplex, namely Euronews, a pan-European news channel. TV5MONDE and Arte are expected to be added before 2009.

The RTBF plans to shut down the analogue transmitters within the timespan regulated by the EU, in November 2011.


TV Vlaanderen supplies DVB-S satellite television aimed at the Flemish, Dutch speaking market, broadcasting (encrypted, Seca 2/Irdeto 2) via the Astra 1G satellite at 19.2°E. It has more than 60,000 subscribers.

In December 2008, a French language satellite platform called TeleSat has launched via the Eutelsat Hot Bird satellite position at 13°E. It broadcasts in MPEG4/DVB-S2 in SD and consists of RTBF La Une, RTBF La Deux, RTL-TVi, Plug TV and Club RTL as well as a number of French language Belgian radio stations.

Both TV Vlaanderen and TeleSat are Belgian subsidiaries of the Airfield Holding, who also owns the Dutch DTH platform, CanalDigitaal.

Canal Digitaal, a Dutch subsidiary of the Airfield Holding broadcasts from both Astra 19.2°E and Astra's 23.5°E position, which are available to the Flemish Dutch speaking market using a single dish with a Duo LNB (DVB-S).

VRT and RTBF both have international channels on digital satellite (DVB-S) called BVN (as a cooperation between the Flemish VRT and the Dutch NOS) and TV5MONDE.

(See also Euro1080).

Other technologies


Belgacom is offering digital television (IPTV) via ADSL using its nationwide telephone network. Its offering has been extended with two optional bouquets: one providing movies and one selection for families, including cartoons, National Geographic, etc.

Other private companies provide a similar service, using the Belgacom telephone network.

Digital terrestrial

With the advent of mobile digital receivers (DVB-H), Belgacom is showing some interest in building a DVB-H network.

See also

  • List of television stations in Belgium



External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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