French Digital TV (+ Web / App Based TV)

Hello, can anyone advise me on the cheapest and best way to access French digital TV channels?
We only have access to a handful of channels via our aerial, but would really like to be able to watch French dramas and films if possible, and wean ourselves away from watching foreign language programs on Sky.
Do the French TV providers have anything similar to Sky-go, i.e. a pay as you go package for digital premium channels?

Is the TV French or imported and do you get the full range of free to air channels?

there is a list here

The main internet providers have Internet TV offerings covering a wider range of channels - do you have broadband?

Hi Paul, It’s a French TV, so we get the standard free to view channels via the aerial, and yes we do have broadband. It’s SFR provided by UK Telecom. I’ve seen that the set top boxes are available, but I don’t really want to pay an annual subscription as we’re not in the house all year. I’d just like to be able to watch a better calibre of French channels than we have at the moment, when we are here.
As I say, an equivalent to Now TV would suit us perfectly, as we could subscribe on a monthly basis.

I get 26 French stations through a rooftop aerial and a TNT box. If you are not getting that many you may need to update your receiver as the system changed to HQ a short while ago. A TNT receiver only costs from less than €20.

OK, not sure whether UK telecom uses a VPN to get you UK TV which might interfere with getting French IPTV, let’s hope not. Do you take either of their TV packages?

Are you just after more film channels or on demand?

Is something like or any good?

Is Amazon Prime or netflix worth considering?

I thought everyone got the same through an aerial alone but clearly not. My son’s tv is plugged into an aerial in our roof, no set top box or decoder or anything, and he gets around 50 channels.

We have our phone, internet and TV via Orange and pay around 45€ a month for that. We have all the usual channels that are free (haven’t counted them but a lot more than via the aerial) and the ability to subscribe via that to the pay channels like Canal+ - I also logon to my Netflix account via the Orange TV.

There are some local channels as well which might explain the extras.

Likewise, though we have a standard landline, some of the reasons for that are probably no longer valid and it would be cheaper to have the phone via the Internet as well but I can’t be motivated to change it at present.

We don’t actually watch much French TV - mainly because the rest of the family don’t speak much French and partly because we’re still doing a few bits (mainly the kitchen) so don’t have a lot of time to sit in front of the goggle box.

Mostly we rely on Freesat and iPlayer. or downloaded content on a DLNA media server. I’m actually taking a new TV over next visit rather than the old cast-off one that is there at the moment so we’ll hopefully have all the UK catch-up as well as Amazon Prime (currently though the TV is a “Smart TV” it is too old to run half the apps).

Thank you everyone for your comprehensive responses, and you’ve certainly given me some solutions I wasn’t aware of. It could be that investing in a set top box from the hypermarche is the first thing to try as it might give me more channels than we have through the aerial. And then I might try or to see if it gives access to specific programmes, such as Engrenages (even though the next series is the last).
We pay 36.90 per month for UK Telecom, which gives us unlimited SFR broadband, unlimited VOIP telephone calls throughout Europe, and VPN if we want to download iPlayer.
Personally, I have found watching French TV is the best way to improve my conversational French and definitely helps with improving my accent.

OR…you could use any of the web / app based services offering live and catchup services (multilingual), most also work with Chromecast (etc) direct to your TV - like:





AND - the brilliant…


…and others…just have a good old Google

Happy Viewing :slight_smile:

(PS - hope you don’t mind - I changed the post title as it may help other users)

You beat me to it Simon. A French friend of mine hasn’t bothered to replace her broken TV and now watches everything via the internet.

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Yep it’s the way to go Mandy! Most (French assigned / geolocated) Smart TV’s have apps for the above services and more - most free, with pay options for Canal+ of course :slight_smile:

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I probably need to update my TV as it’s really slow doing anything via the internet on it and it doesn’t have apps for those things. I’ll wait until something goes wrong with it though and stick with Orange TV and my laptop for now :slight_smile:

Have you thought about using a Chromecast dongle Debra - if you have a spare HDMI socket on your TV? Then you have the option of casting from your laptop / smartphone etc to the TV screen. It’s important for the Chromecast dongle to have a reliable internet source but the TV internet capacity is irrelevant - you’d simply be using it as a viewing screen (via the dongle shoved into it!!).

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Now that Simon has edited the heading perhaps I’d better add that in addition to the TNT French TV I receive I also use Chromecast to watch Netflix, Arte and even YouTube via an App on my phone or iPad.

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Just to flip the question around - has anyone a good solution for watching French TV in the UK? Satellite not an option.

Paul - you can use most of the services listed above in the UK with an appropriate VPN.

To be honest using a VPN is something I would prefer to avoid - at least a commercial one. I might use my own but that involves kit being powered up at both ends of the link and I normally switch the French side of things off when we’re not there.

OK - 2nd solution for you - Smart DNS, no software implications.

Nope, I don’t want anyone fiddling with my DNS queries either thanks.

FilmOn might work

I’ve suggested 2 solutions Paul to watching French TV in the UK (not sure where Filmon comes into it!!). I may have avoided wasting my time if you’d stated you were averse to using VPN’s & Smart DNS services in your original question. Ah but…ah but…ah but…gets a bit boring.

Here’s 2 more solutions…or maybe not…:wink: