French TV via our Smart TV?

Thinking about this autumn and next year and realising Europe will have to be the target market for our gite. Up until now all our business has come out of the UK so we have a Smart TV with Amazon and Netflix and also a humax box with a satellite designed to pick up UK channels.
If we are to target the French we will need to offer French TV and OH is talking about needing a French satellite. But I’m wondering whether we can’t get a good selection of French channels directly via our Smart TV? I notice Arte already comes installed.
Obviously there are quite a lot of French films and soaps and documentaries already on Netflix and Amazon, but I’m wondering about the “standard” channels?
I see Canal Plus is also a possibility on our Smart TV bu OH is very reluctant to go with them as he thinks it is very expensive and we were well and truly screwed by them when we tried to cancel in the early days of our lives here.
I’d welcome some help and advice please. Thanks.

Do you have good internet?

We have UK TV via Satellite (Freesat), UK catch-up (& Amazon Prime) via a home-brew VPN and French TV via the Orange Livebox.

Ironically we watch less and less TV these days…

What do you mean by “good” Paul? On a good day we get 3mb. That’s fine for Netflix and Amazon on our Smart TV. I’d forgotten about Orange. Yes we have an Orange Live box - how much do you pay and what equipment do we need?

You need to get a package with TV & will get a separate set top box, just check the Orange website - but 3Mb might be a bit dodgy (and if you are only getting 3Mb on ADSL you will be too far out for VDSL or fibre I suspect).

The other option is 4G - if you have a strong signal?

In the past Sue you could get something called a TNT receiver which was the French equivalent of Freeview and operates via a normal TV aerial. I’m not sure that exists any more. If you have a SmartTV though and an appropriate rooftop aerial then you should already be able to receive the French equivalent of Freeview. At least that was the situation in the past, although I’m talking about at least 5 years ago.
I expect I’ve been no help at all!!!
Izzy x

French digital TV ( Télévision Numérique Terrestre) certainly still exists - and if Sue hasn’t got a good enough Internet connection for the Orange TV service (or a 4G package which includes TV) it might be the way to go.

However there is a bit of a catch-22 if you want both French and UK TV including digital services such as Amazon.

A UK TV will happily receive French TNT - but all the channel numbers will be wrong because it does not understand the French EPG

A French TV will have the French versions of Amazon & Netflix - which need separate subscriptions (certainly Amazon Prime is separate, not sure about Netflix) which might not be what Sue wants.

From Sue’s preamble I assumed it was a UK TV that they had brought with them - worth Sue confirming which nationality the TV thinks it is.

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Hi Paul, I know it’s a French Smart TV. We’ve lived here 12 years and there is no “brought with them” everything these days bought here in France. Hence my saying there are a lot of French films etc on the versions of Netflix and Prime that we have and that Arte and several rather bizarre French channels are already loaded. I was trying to avoid the costs of having another satellite dish installed for what might be no more than a couple of French families a year - I much amused the HomeAway helpline guy today when at the end of our conversation he went into his sales spiel about now being able to be on Expedia and have millions of people looking at my advert and I explained in any one year I take about 6 bookings!!! So, in future I’m envisaging 2 English, 2 Dutch and 2 French. And I just wanted an easy solution for the French families in the way of entertainment without going to great expense.

We have an aerial on the roof for terrestrial French digital TV, it works perfectly. No need for a dish IMO.

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In that case the simplest will be to just hook an aerial to the TV as suggested.

TNT decoders are still available - check out When I used an English TV I bought one and it worked very well. I now use a French TV, so it’s unnecessary. Naturally this only enables access to FTA channels.

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Thanks Brian
Thanks Paul
Do I need an aerial on the roof? Or would an internal aerial be ok?

Sorry Brian, just reread this. Don’t understand. We have a French TV. So if I don’t need a TNT box how do I get French channels?

They are built in. You need a normal roof TV aerial though. Your TV remote will have a way of selecting between input from the aerial and from other sources (usually HDMI). Fundamentally it’s just like accessing free-to-air TV in the UK.

An internal aerial might work, it depends on your local signal strength. A roof aerial is likely to be much better in most cases however and they’re not expensive.

Thanks for this Brian, it’s not so much the cost of the aerial as the need to have someone put it up for us. There is no way we are going to do it ourselves and our roofs are very fragile - never a good idea to have someone walking on them!

Hi Sue

Getting the expert in to fit an external aerial is perhaps the best solution. They will have insurance to cover themselves and whatever they get up to, if the roof does collapse (heaven forbid).

I presume you have house insurance as well… ???

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You shouldn’t need to install another satellite dish to receive French TV via satellite, it is broadcast via Astra2 at 19.2°E so you can still pick it up with a dish pointing at 28°E, but you would probably have to change the LNB to a dual head that is set so that you can receive from both (I think that 9° is about the maximum for dual LNB feeds). You would also need a satellite demodulator that is configured to receive TNTSat (which requires a card from CanalSat, cost approx. 13EUR).


  • Orange TV - separate subscription on top of your Livebox subscription, the box being provided by Orange;
  • MolotovTV - an optional subscription app that runs on Android (i.e. should be installable on your SmartTV)

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. Last time we looked at all this was 12 years ago when we first came here and finished up paying Canal Plus and had a standard aerial. The world has moved on somewhat so it’s a new learning curve for us!

Download Molotov tv, gives you all the French channels and no charge

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We have Molotov TV loaded on our Samsung Smart TV - just sometimes we have to reload the app (usually we think after a mis á jour).
It is free but you can subscribe to their HD service if you like

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