Frequent questions about foreign language satellite TV

Can I receive satellite TV in different languages without a subscription or viewing card?

Yes. There are many "free-to-air" channels transmitted by broadcasters in various languages. You can receive free-to-air channels with a basic receiver and without paying any subscription.

If instead you wanted to receive specific encrypted channel/s you would need to pay a subscription, obtain a viewing card for each and have a receiver that can handle the viewing cards. Please consult an authorized installer/supplier about the specific channels to make sure you get a compatible system. This website covers free-to-air channels only.

Will I need a separate television to receive foreign language TV?

No. The digital satellite receiver used to receive foreign language channels described on this WLTV website can usually be plugged into your existing TV and VCR or DVD-recorder using a 'SCART' lead. HD systems may use an HDMI cable. You will be able to select the 'foreign' channel by using the remote control that is supplied with the satellite receiver.

I have a TV with Freesat receiver built in. Can I receive foreign language channels with this?

The satellite receiver in a Freesat TV is generally connected to an LNB with the dish aligned to 28.2E. There are very few Freesat channels in languages other than English. To get lots of free foreign language channels you could connet to a dish aligned to 13E for Eutelsat Hotbird or to 19.2E for Astra instead of Freesat at 28.2E. A better solution in most cases is to attach an external receiver that would be capable of receiving Astra 19.2E, Hotbird 13E and many other satellites without interfering with the Freesat tuning.

Can I get other languages besides English on UK Sky digital TV?

Yes. Sky offers some Asian language programming aimed for example at speakers of Urdu and Panjabi living in the UK. TV5 (French) and some Portuguese channels are also available. TVEi (Spanish) and DW-TV (German and English) were also available via Sky until recently.

Sky also offers EuroNews which is transmitted in several languages but to switch from one language to another may involve adjusting the installation settings. It also is more convenient to be able to switch language instantly via the remote control without going into the system set-up. EuroNews is also available free-to-air in a wider range of languages on Astra 19.2E and Hotbird 13E satellites than on Sky TV.

Can I get foreign language channels on digital terrestrial TV such as Freeview in the UK?

Freeview offers some channels from other countries, but these are typically in English. For example, Al Jazeera, France24, Russia Today (RT) and EuroNews are available on UK digital terrestrial Freeview but only in English.

By contrast, on Eutelsat Hotbird satellite TV, France24 is available in French, in English, and in Arabic and EuroNews is available in about 12 languages, which is ideal not only because it covers a range of languages but intermediate learners can easily switch from one language to another whenever they wish to and use the subtitles.

Satellite visibility and channel availability varies throughout the world; these notes are mainly relevant to viewers in the UK, western and central Europe, north Africa, the Near East and Middle East.

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