Watch French Channels in the UK


The new Eutelsat 5w came into service in January 2020 and has a problem! When the solar panels were tested they only provided half power. So although France is ok signal wise, Uk customers north of London need increasingly larger dishes. For full details please read  my blog post

Since Nov 2016 all the main French channels have been encrypted. There are no longer many  free channels, with the exception of a few on Eutelsat 9a. So the only real options are to purchase one of the French receivers with a card. However TNT and Fransat are not subscription based, so after the initial purchase of dish and receiver, there is no ongoing cost (** see Costs below )

France has had its main channels TF1,France 2 to 5, M6 and others available by TNT, Fransat and BIS for quite a few years now.  These 3 options are easy to arrange in the UK.  The channels shown below are present on all the 3 main services TNT, Fransat and BIS. TNT and Fransat are VERY similar, only the regional channels are different.

Canalplus , the subscription service, also offers these channels, along with documentaries, sport and films, but unless you have a French bank account and address, it would be almost impossible to arrange a Canal+ account. These have to be installed with a Canal+ official box  ( le Cube) and card, which are rented, not purchased. Things are changing though, Czech, Dutch and Spanish main channels which once were similarly difficult to obtain, can now be purchased with any  card or bank account. Canal+ has had a bad 2018 losing the rights to broadcast French football, it dropped the Motorsport channel in August and its iptv service Canalplay losing customers to Netflix.

CanalSat which has been available for many years, as an addon to the standard TNT box and card, is still going although it too is undergoing changes.


Fransat used to have a one time payment for their card but now both TNT and Fransat operate the same policy of a 4 year card. After 4 years you will have to renew the card. 

Renewal is becoming a bit of an issue. Fransat especially . Unlike TNT the Fransat cards are not shown for sale on any dealers websites and Fransat are trying to keep sales to France only.

  Beware uk sellers making a killing on the sale of TNT cards! Always compare prices. £39 for all my previous customers, but some online sellers are charging £80 plus.

BIS has several packages, with 12 month cards costing between £100 and £250 per year approx. Bis can also be arranged with BeIN sport ( France ) subscription added.

Each of the 3 main services are broadcast from a different satellite:

  • Fransat – Eutelsat 5w ( formerly Atlantic bird 3 ) 
  • TNT , Canalplus  &  Canalsat – Astra 1 
  • BIS – Hotbird & Eutelsat 5w

This can be an advantage in difficult circumstances, if for example one satellite is blocked by trees or a tall building.

If you are considering French plus another service perhaps French+German or French+ UK Freesat, I can supply the correct fully compatible receiver, cam and card, for this. The cams do work, but ONLY in full spec ci+ boxes.  Recent changes on the Fransat platform have added 2 Basque channels and 3 Berber channels.

Subtitles – Sous Titres

All the 3 French services provide sub-titles ( French ) , they can be switched on and off from the main menu. Recordings made from the box with an HDD, will have the subtitles available and can be selected during playback.  The popular TV5monde on the Hotbird satellite does carry English subtitles on most broadcasts.

EPG (  Programme Guide)

On TNT and Fransat boxes a simple now and next Electronic Programme Guide is available. The full 7 day EPG is not possible except on the Canal Plus system.

What receiver will I get with this package? 

A TNT receiver, with a card. Card is valid for 4 years.

Notes: Choose Fransat if you want the RMC sports addon. Choose TNT if you also want the German and Spanish free channels.

Single lnb, 65cm coated steel dish from Triax or Technomate,  with tm1 or similar good lnb, with low noise and high gain. This combination gives good signal strength in most uk areas.

TNT and Fransat Channels have  the same Core main channels.

Note: the Fransat card does not expire, so Fransat is effectively a one-off payment.

Fransat includes the  regional Vosges , the 3 Berber (Morocco) channels. The Eitb Basque channels are only available on application with Basque address 

What receiver will I get with this package? 

A Fransat receiver, with a card. Note: Choose Fransat if you want the RMC sports addon

I want UHD 4k What receiver will I get with this package? 

TF1 is the first in France to have an Ultra High Definition Channel, if you have a 4k TV perfect ! It will give an excellent picture on an HD tv as well

For the Full story on TF1 UHD see our French blog frenchchannels.

Single lnb, 65cm coated steel dish from Triax or Technomate,  with tm1 or similar good lnb, with low noise and high gain. This combination gives good signal strength in most uk areas.

Attention Sports Fans!

RMC sports HD channel 1 &2 are now available on any Fransat card.


Subscriptions – without commitment

You can subscribe for 1,3 or 12 months

Watch on TV or Mobile / laptop with app

 See RMC Sports page

Single lnb, 65cm coated steel dish from Triax or Technomate,  with tm1 or similar good lnb, with low noise and high gain. This combination gives good signal strength in most uk areas.

What receiver will I get with the BIS packages?  The reliable and versatile Technisat single tuner receiver with BIS ( viacess secure ) cam ensures reliable updates – since 2016 many older receivers with embedded viacess firmware fail to update the card properly

What receiver will I get with this package?  The reliable and versatile Amiko 265, the latest in the HD mini series from Amiko.

For these channels I recommend the 80cm dish for 3 satellites

Not only the free French but also German, Hungarian, Polish, Italian and Arabic channels available

If you want to combine French channels package  with channels in another language, eg English Freesat ,  French or German, you can choose a motorised dish or a multi satellite dish . The Many of the receivers in my Reviews including  the Amiko HD are  capable of multi-satellite tuning.

Motorised 1m dish can receive any satellite from 30 degrees west to 42 east, in most places.

Multi satellite Wide angle dish with up to 4 or 5 satellites on a Toroidal dish with 40 degree spread

Multi sat ( up to 4 or 5 satellites ) on a standard Parabolic dish – 20 degree spread



What receiver will I get with the combined package?  The reliable and versatile Technisat single tuner receiver with Fransat cam will enable combinations of French Channels with : 

German, UK, Spanish,  Italian, Hungarian, Arabic and many more

For the very popular  TNT  receiver made by Strong model SRT 7404 , for anyone wanting a replacement or a second remote for a bedroom ( usually £22 from distributor ! ) 

Dishes not allowed on your building?

I can now offer you French TNT channels through IPTV: please read my article on iptv on my separate blog –  

8 thoughts on “Watch French Channels in the UK”

  1. Hello. Now Sky and Virgin have discontinued the chanel TV5MondeEurope, can you please suggest a way of receiving the chanel via satellite with the option of switching between English and French subtitles. We would also like to be able to program the set top box in advance to record programmes. We currently have a Sky dish and set top box. Our tv has 3 hdmi sockets all of which are currently used. We would thus need some kind of splitter or buy a new tv with more hdmi inputs, or unplug something. My wife is a French teacher and has used the channel extensively until it was recently discontinued, a real nuisance. She is not particularly interested in any other chanels. Many thanks.

    • Hi Bill,
      I would suggest that a dish to receive both Astra 1 and Hotbird, would be the best solution, you would then be able to see the TV5 monde Europe programme with subtitles in English and French. Many German, Italian and quite a few more free language channels would be available to you on the same dish. You could also expand the available free French channels by adding a 3rd lnb on the Eutelsat 9b satellite.
      See my full detailed TV5 monde page on the blog

  2. Hello,

    This might be a stupid question but I wanted to double check the only way to receive French TV in the UK is via a satellite dish? You can’t ‘just’ have a box without the dish?

    I’m only checking as I rent a flat so not sure I’d be allowed to install a satellite dish but would love to get French TV, as I’m French and when my family comes over they can also watch it 🙂

    I’m not very knowledgeable about all the options available so thanks in advance for the advice.


    • Hi Sabrina,
      On the internet you’ll find a few iptv offers, the problem is which is official and legal? In the last month the Italian Police raided a big company suspected of selling tv channels via iptv without the rights to do so , consequently many thousands of boxes over the continent went off as they all relied on the software from them….
      Best recommendation, get satellite – no interruption of service, same service as in France, same boxes as sold in France , perfectly legal.

  3. We have a TNTSAT decoder (Strong 7404) which has worked well but now we cannot get any French channels. The German and others are fine and the signal & quality strength is good on those channels.(95% and 90%). On the French channels the strength is 99 and quality between 6 & 9.

    Have you any suggestions please

  4. We have recently moved from Astra to Hotbird because TVi (Spain) has changed. We also watch TV5Monde and can get this on Hotbird as well, but whereas we used to receive the Information which populated the EPG (Samsung Smart TV) it now appears to be missing. Any ideas would be welcome.

    • Yes there have been a number of changes, you would be better with both Astra and Hotbird lnbs. Available subtitles and EPG info is different on the two satellites.


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