Television in Finland: Digital Systems, Channels & Programmes
Introduction - Equipment compatibility
Electricity in Finland is 230V, 50Hz. Devices rated from 220-240V work fine.
Plugs are European type C or F Picture
Finland switched to Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) in 2008.There are 2 common DVB standards in use in Finnish buildings, DVB-C and DVB-T / DVB-T2. Less common is DVB-S. It's important to know which type your building uses to make sure your equipment can receive the signals. Hybrid DVB-T/C equipment has become standard on new equipment.
- DVB-C: Cable, or kaapeli in Finnish
- DVB-T / DVB-T2: Terrestrial, or antenni in Finnish
- DVB-S: Satellite, or satelliitti in Finnish
The system in use will be shown on your rental agreement or sales contract; if you are unsure, ask the building manager or a neighbour.
By 31 March 2020, terrestrial / antenna broadcasts will complete migration to the DVB-T2 standard to enable HD broadcasting. After the upgrade you'll need a DVB-T2 compliant TV or set-top box to be able to watch terrestrial TV.
New televisions have hybrid DVB-T/C tuners, meaning they can receive the signal in your building whether it uses the terrestrial/antenna or cable system. It seems all new televisions are also DVB-T2-compliant. However, confirm this when making the purchase.
Important: If you intend to get premium channels and want to receive them directly to your TV, you will probably need to buy a cardreader / kortinlukija module. If however you will use a set top box or DVR / PVR to receive the signals, it will probably have a built-in cardreader. More information
Televisions with integrated Internet, 'smart TVs', are increasingly common and enable you to receive Internet TV / IPTV without attaching a streaming device.
Set Top Boxes & DVRs / PVRs
These have different names in different parts of the English-speaking world, so I trust you know what I'm referring to...
In Finland they fall under the category Digiboksit:
- A digiboksi is a receiver only
- A tallentava digiboksi is a recordable digiboksi i.e. a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) / DVR (Digital Video Recorder), or Recordable Set Top Box
Hybrid DVB-T/T2/C receivers are standard in new digiboksit. However, confirm this when making the purchase.
HD - High Definition
In order to watch HD Finnish television channels, you need to have the right kind of set-top box &/or television. Choose your devices depending on whether you watch television via antenna or cable television network. Look for these symbols:
The amount of TV stations has grown since the advent of digital broadcasting. As of January 2021 there are over 20 free-to-air channels, comprising government and private channels, and in some instances HD versions of the same. These are supplemented by numerous premium Pay TV channels.
Main free channels as of January 2021
- Yle TV1: Documentaries, news, politics, satire, series, films. HD version available
- Yle TV2: News, sport, entertainment, series, films, children's programming. HD version available
- MTV3: Films, series, sports, news. HD version available
- Nelonen: Films, series, sports, news
- Yle Teema & Fem: Swedish programming; News, series, films, documentaries. HD version available
- Sub: Imported series, films, reality, chat shows
- TV5 Discovery: Films, series, documentaries
- Liv: Women's programmes, lifestyle programmes, films, series, documentaries
- Jim: Men's programmes, series, documentaries
- Kutonen: Music, entertainment, films, series, sports
- TLC: Women's programmes, lifestyle
- Fox: Series, films, documentaries
- AVA: Women's programmes, lifestyle programmes, films, series, documentaries
- Hero: Imported series and films
- AlfaTV: Current affairs, lifestyle, sports
- Frii: Women's programmes, lifestyle programmes, films, documentaries
- RexTV: Culture, sports
- National Geographic: Nature, history, documentaries
The quality of programming on Finnish TV is high. Like England and Australia, the government channels tend to broadcast more 'high-brow' content than the commercial stations, and have a greater focus on news and documentaries. All stations show recently released series, movies etcetera, and while there are lots of Finnish productions available, foreign content is also high; most shows of note from America, England, Australia, Germany and Sweden - to name a few - are broadcast in Finland.
Subtitled, not Dubbed
Finland has not adopted the practice of broadcasting dubbed versions of programmes. Typically, foreign-language content is subtitled, retaining the original language soundtrack. Foreign programming intended for small children, however, is usually dubbed in Finnish or Swedish. The lack of dubbing has undoubtedly boosted the Finns' remarkable language abilities, as well as making life easier for non-Finnish speakers!
Finland usually gives Finnish names to TV shows and movies, and this is often how they are displayed in TV programmes/guides.
The website for each TV channel includes a programme guide, but the most commonly used 'universal' guide is
Telkku: An excellent TV programme service. It covers all stations including cable operators. Programmes are available for up to 4 weeks. Movies are highlighted in bold. Telkku is in Finnish only.
Finland's has a Public Broadcasting Tax, which replaced the old TV licence. In 2021 it's 2.5% of the part of your total income over €14,000, to a maximum of €163. The tax is not charged if your income is less than €14,000.
Public Broadcasting Tax is collected at the same time as other taxes, and does not require any action on the taxpayer's part; it is automatically included in taxpayers' withholding calculations.
More information: www.tax.fi > Enter Public Broadcasting Tax in the Search box
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