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Television in Finland: Digital Systems, Channels & Programmes

Introduction - Equipment compatibility
Electricity in Finland is 230V, 50Hz. Devices rated from 220-240V should work fine.
Plugs are European type C or F Picture

Digital TV

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. Less common is DVB-S. It's important to know which type your building uses to make sure your equipment can receive the signals, though hybrid DVB-T/C equipment is increasingly commonplace:

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.

Almost all televisions on sale in Finland now have hybrid DVB-T/C tuners, meaning they can receive the signal in your building whether it uses the terrestrial/antenna or cable system. However, confirm this when you are making the purchase.
Important: If you intend to get premium channels and you 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

Smart TVs
Increasingly common are televisions with integrated Internet known as 'smart TVs', which 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:

There are many hybrid DVB-T/C digiboksit on the market, but as of November 2015 some digiboksit on offer remain system-specific and will only receive DVB-C or DVB-T
Top Tip: Make sure you buy a digiboksi that's compatible with your building!


Additional TV stations have become available with the introduction of digital broadcasting. As of November 2015 there are 15 free-to-air channels, comprising 4 government and 11 private channels. These are supplemented by numerous premium Pay TV channels.

Free channels as of November 2015

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!

TV Programmes / TV Guides for Finland

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 the 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! 20 channels are listed as of January 2015, and the schedule covers the next 7 days as well as the past 2 days. Clicking a listing triggers a pop-up box with more information.
TV GUIDO: www.tvguido.com

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.
Telkku: www.telkku.com

Movie Reviews
Internet Movie Database: www.imdb.com More widely known as IMDB, the #1 site for movie & TV reviews
Rotten Tomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com is also good!

Television Licence Replaced by Means-tested Tax

As of 1st January 2013 Finland's TV Licence was abolished... sort of.

The TV Licence Fee has been replaced by Public Broadcasting Tax; a means-tested tax with a maximum of €140 per year. The tax may be less than €140 if your taxable income does not reach €20,588.24, in which case the rate is 0.68% of the sum of earned and capital income. Public Broadcasting Tax will not be imposed if your annual income is below € 7,352.95

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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