Television in Thailand

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Thailand television broadcasting started broadcasting on 24 June 1955. Color telecasts (PAL, system B 625 lines) were started in 1969. Full-time colour transmissions were launched in 1975. There are currently 6 free-to-air television stations in Thailand.

Television providers[edit]

Subscription providers are available, with differences in the number of channels, capabilities such as the programme guide (EPG), video on demand (VOD), high-definition (HD), interactive television via the red button, and coverage across Thailand. Set-top boxes are generally used to receive these services. Households viewing TV from the internet are not tracked by the Thai government.

ProviderFree or payNo. broadcast channelsVODHDRed buttonTransmission
Analogue terrestrialFree-to-air6 (switch off in 2020)NoNoNoAnalogue terrestrial
Digital terrestrialFree-to-air48YesYesYesDigital terrestrial television
TrueVisionsPay TVAround 200 (TV and radio)YesYesYesDigital satellite

Analogue terrestrial television[edit]

This is currently the traditional way of receiving television in Thailand, however it has now largely been supplanted by digital providers. There are 6 channels; three of them are government public-owned by MCOT the 2 television channels terrestrial free-to-air Modernine TV and TV3; TV5, BBTV CH7 are owned by Royal Thai Army; NBT and Thai PBS are fully government-owned. Analogue terrestrial transmissions were scheduled to be switched off in phases as part of the digital switchover, expected to be completed in 2020 as a recommendation from ASEAN, however, it does not come to effect.

Provincial television has been discontinued since 1988, replacing by NBT, which has two hours of local programming in each provinces.

NameNetworkOwnerLaunch dateChannel (BKK)Broadcasting areaTransmitted areaBroadcasting hoursFormerly known as
Channel 3MCOTBangkok Entertainment Co., Ltd. (BEC)26 March 197032 (UHF)Rama IV RoadBangkok24-hours
RTA TV-5Royal Thai Army Radio and TelevisionRoyal Thai Army25 January 19585 (VHF)Sanam PaoBangkok24-hoursRTA TV Channel 7
BBTV Channel 7Royal Thai ArmyBangkok Broadcasting and Television Co.,Ltd. (BBTV)1 December 19677 (VHF)Mo ChitBangkok24-hours
Modernine TVMCOTMCOT PCL24 June 19559 (VHF)Rama IX RoadBangkok24-hoursThai TV Channel 4, Thai TV Channel 9 & MCOT Channel 9
NBTPRDThe Government Public Relations Department11 July 198811 (VHF)Vibhavadi Rangsit Road Din DaengBangkok24-hoursTelevision of Thailand (TVT) Channel 11
Thai PBSThai Public Broadcasting ServiceThai Public Broadcasting Service15 January 200829 (UHF)Vibhavadi Rangsit Road Lak SiBangkok21-hours (5:00 AM–2:00 AM)ITV, TITV

Digital terrestrial television[edit]

In 2005, the Ministry of Information announced their plan to digitalise nationwide free-to-air TV broadcasts led by MCOT. Trial broadcasts were undertaken, involving one thousand households in Bangkok from December 2000 till May 2001. In December 2013, NBTC set up series of auction for DTTV. Four types of licenses are offered as followed: High-Def. channel license, Standard-Def. channel license, News channel license and Youth/Family channel license. All the major operators and content owners in the industry won the bid for new licenses e.g. BEC World, Bangkok Broadcasting and TV, GMM Grammy, ThaiRath Newspaper, Nation Multimedia Group, True Visions etc. According to the license condition, DTTV services launched since april 2014.

Satellite television[edit]

Thailand's sole satellite television operator, Thaicom launched the TrueVisions service in 1998. It currently holds exclusive rights from the Thai government to offer satellite television broadcasting services in the country through the year 2017. The rights was extended to 2022 recently.[citation needed] Now, big ugly dishes are still found in Thailand.

There are also laws preventing too many advertisements from being aired on both radio and television, similar to the United Kingdom.[citation needed]

Cable television[edit]

All national cable TV in Thailand must accept by MCOT, The first provider is International Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) in 1989, next one is Thai Sky TV in 1991 (but off-air in 1997). Universal TV cable network (UTV) is the third provider in 1993. But after Asian financial crisis, UTV merged with IBC in 1998, changed it name to United Broadcasting Corporation or UBC (TrueVisions in present) and be monopoly provider.[citation needed]

IP television (IPTV)[edit]

In contrast to Internet TV, IPTV refers to services operated and controlled by a single company, who may also control the 'Final Mile' to the consumers' premises.

Mobile television[edit]

True Move provide mobile television services for reception on third generation mobile phones. They consist of a mixture of regular channels as well as made for mobile channels with looped content. True Move H TV now offers more than 20 channels to True-H 3G subscribers who own compatible mobile phones. Yet, True is expected to roll out broadcast mobile TV services based on DVB-H in the near future.

Internet television[edit]

Television received via the Internet may be free, subscription or pay-per-view, multicast, unicast, or peer-to-peer, streamed or downloaded, and use a variety of distribution technologies. Playback is normally via a computer and broadband Internet connection, although digital media receivers or media centre computers can be used for playback on televisions, such as a computer equipped with Windows Media Center.

Popularity of terrestrial TV stations[edit]

The audience share achieved by each terrestrial channel in Thailand is shown in the first table below. The second table shows the share each channel receives of total TV advertising spending. BBTV CH7 is both the most popular and most commercially successful station with just under 50% of the total audience followed by TV3 at just under 30%. The other terrestrial stations share the remaining 20% of the TV audience between them.[1]

Audience Share: [1]

TV Station (Operator)2005200620072008200920102011 1H[2]
BBTV CH742.441.342.044.745.443.847.5
Modernine TV10.310.
Thai PBS11.812.610.

Market Share - Share of total TV advertising spending: [1]

TV Station (Operator)2005200620072008200920102011 1H[2]
BBTV CH728.027.427.731.
Modernine TV13.914.414.517.
Thai PBS18.517.316.90000

Thai television content[edit]

Thai soap operas[edit]

Further information: Thai television soap opera

Soap operas are a popular genre of Thai television. They are known in Thai as ละครโทรทัศน์ (RTGS: lakhon thorathat, lit. "television play") or simply ละคร (lakhon, pronounced [la.kʰɔːn], also spelled lakorn). They are usually shown every night at primetime on Thai television channels and start at 20:30. An episode of a prime-time drama is usually two hours long (including commercials). Each series usually is a finished story, unlike Western "cliffhanger" dramas, but rather like Hispanic telenovelas.

A series will run for about three months. It may air two or three episodes a week, the pattern usually being Monday–Tuesday, Wednesday–Thursday or Friday–Sunday. A channel will air three soap operas simultaneously at any given time. Because they attract the most viewers, each channel competes for the most popular stars.

Thai soap operas have very distinctive, though formulaic, characters and narrative conventions. Though some stray from these conventions, most adhere to them, especially ones that are very popular among Thai viewers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Analyst Briefing Presentation". MCOT. 2 March 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Analyst Briefing 2Q". MCOT. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2012.