Television in Finland: Digital Systems, Channels & Programmes
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- Digital TV & Equipment
- TV Programmes for Finland
- Public Broadcasting Tax
- Related Links
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. In 2018 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 in 2018. 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 September 2018 there are 15 free-to-air channels, comprising 3 government and 12 private channels. These are supplemented by numerous premium Pay TV channels.
Free channels as of September 2018
- Yle TV1: Documentaries, news, politics, satire, series, films
- Yle TV2: News, sport, entertainment, series, films, children's programming
- MTV3: Films, series, sports, news
- Nelonen: Films, series, sports, news
- Yle Teema & Fem: Swedish programming; News, series, films, documentaries
- Sub: Imported series, films, reality, chat shows
- 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
- Frii: Women's programmes, lifestyle programmes, films, documentaries
- 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 how they are displayed in TV programs/guides. It can be confusing because the Finnish names often have little relation to the original names, even for a fluent Finnish speaker. For example The Fast Show is called Ruuvit Löysällä - meaning Loose Screws. An appropriate name - but not much help if you see it in a TV guide! But help is at hand...
This TV guide is unusual in that it displays TV shows with their original names rather than the Finnish names. It also indicates the language of each show, and in many cases its type / genre. Very handy indeed!
TV GUIDO: www.tvguido.com October 2018: Site down
Telkku is also 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 TV Licence was abolished in January 2013... sort of. The TV Licence Fee was replaced by a means-tested Public Broadcasting Tax, which in 2018 is 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
- Digita.fi: All about digital TV in Finland; channels, receivers, technology, coverage etc.
- Viestintävirasto: Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority
The Viestintävirasto site provides detailed technical, legal and consumer information about all forms of regulated communications in Finland. The main sections of interest are Internet & Telephone, TV & Radio, Post, and Information Security.
- TV & Radio section: Operations and networks, receiving TV broadcasts, radio programmes
- www.viestintavirasto.fi En, Fi, Sw