Watch French Channels in the UK

French Satellite TV

Updated 2024 January

French satellite tv is available on the Hotbird, Astra 1, and Eutelsat 5w satellites, so in most cases, it is easy to find at least one which is receivable, anywhere in England, Wales, or Scotland. 

Different dish sizes will be needed, especially with Fransat, as the latest satellite, launched in  2020, has a problem

Andrew - Expert French tv channels installer since 2008

A Brief History

For the last few decades, French satellite tv has been Analog and FTA (free to air), then  Digital Since 2005. After Nov 2016 all the main French channels have been encrypted. There are no longer many free channels, with the exception of a few on each of the satellites listed below, I have a list of the FTA channels here.

French Satellite TV Now

The best and simplest options today, to watch all the main channels – TF1, France 2,3,4,5 etc are to purchase one of the French receivers, together with a viewing card.  The TNT and Fransat cards are not monthly subscription-based, so after the initial purchase of dish and receiver, there is only a small ongoing cost, when renewing the card (** see Costs below )

The Main TNT/Fransat Channels

Channel NameDescription
TF1TF1-Groupe. A popular generalist channel featuring news, sports, entertainment, and reality shows.
France 2A public channel offering news, documentaries, and cultural programs, as well as popular TV series and movies.
France 3Another public channel focused on regional news and programming, as well as national and international news, documentaries, and entertainment.
Canal+A premium channel offering a wide range of movies, TV series, sports, and original programming.
M6A private channel featuring news, reality TV, and popular TV series and movies.
ArteA cultural channel offering documentaries, films, and other programs related to art, history, and current events.
C8A generalist channel featuring news, talk shows, and entertainment programming.
W9A private channel focused on music, reality shows, and popular TV series and movies.
TMCTF1-Groupe. Channel featuring reality TV, talk shows, and popular TV series and movies.
France 5A public channel offering educational and cultural programming, including documentaries, science shows, and cooking programs.
NRJ 12A private channel featuring reality shows, talk shows, and popular TV series and movies.
LCPTF1 Groupe. Channel focused on politics, parliamentary debates, and current events.
France 4A public channel featuring youth-oriented programming, including cartoons, series, and documentaries.
BFM TVA private news channel offering 24-hour coverage of national and international news, as well as economic and financial information.
CNewsA private news channel providing 24-hour news coverage, talk shows, and political debates.
CSTARA private channel featuring reality shows, talk shows, and popular TV series and movies.
GulliA private channel featuring cartoons, youth-oriented programming, and family-oriented entertainment.
TF1 Séries FilmsTF1 Groupe. Channel offering popular TV series and movies.
RMC StoryA private channel featuring documentaries, reality shows, and true crime programs.
RMC DécouverteA private channel offering documentaries and factual programming related to science, technology, and history.
TFXTF1-Groupe. First-run reality TV, fashion etc., series like Dragon Ball Super and Gossip Girl, and movies, comedy and super-hero films

Receiving The Main French Channels

France has had its main channels TF1, France 2, 3, 4, 5, M6, and others available by TNT, Fransat, Canal Plus, and BIS for quite a few years now. 

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

  • Fransat – Eutelsat 5w ( formerly Atlantic bird 3 ) @ 5° west
  • TNT , Canalplus  &  Canalsat – Astra 1 @ 19.2° east
  • BIS – Hotbird @ 13° east & Eutelsat 5w @ 5° west

This can be an advantage in difficult circumstances if for example one satellite is blocked by trees or a tall building, the others may be possible. To assess your options, please fill in my Quote form


Exact Angle of the French Satellites


When you submit your Quote form, I will be able  to use Google maps to assess a good dish position. 

If the tree in this picture was too tall, the 13° and 19.2° satellites might be blocked, leaving only the 5° west satellite.  Fransat would be the obvious choice in this case.

The 4 options above can be arranged anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales.  The channels shown above are present on all the 3 main services TNT, Fransat, and BIS. TNT and Fransat are VERY similar, only the regional channels are different.

Subscription Services

Canal plus, the main subscription service, also offers these main channels, along with documentaries, sports, and films. With an existing account, this is easy. I do offer a service for Canal+ for those without an existing 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, Portuguese and Spanish main channels which once were similarly difficult to obtain can now be purchased with any card or bank account.

CanalSat which has been available for many years, as an add-on to the standard TNT box and card, has been dropped. Canal+ still carries all the Canalsat channels though.

Cost of Installing French Satellite TV

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 of the 4-year cards is a reasonable cost. If you live in France, just register online with TNT or Fransat and the card is €15. For us in the UK it is currently around £50 + postage for my own customers. After Brexit, the postage, handling charges and customs have added significant amounts to the costs.

Beware! Some UK sellers are making a killing on the sale of TNT cards. Always compare prices. £50 for all my previous customers, but some online sellers are charging over £80

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.

If you are considering French plus another service :

  • French+German
  • French+ UK Freesat
  • French + Italian
  • French + Spanish

Please check out my Multi-sat dishes on the All Europe pages.

I can supply the correct fully compatible receiver, for the encrypted French channels plus the FTA German/UK/Italian or Spanish channels, including cam and card. The cams do work, but only in full spec ci+ boxes. 

Subtitles - Sous Titres

All the 3 French services provide sub-titles ( in 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/deselected, during playback. 

The popular channel TV5monde Europe, on the Hotbird satellite does carry English OR French subtitles on most broadcasts. I have compiled a list here showing which satellite carries TV5 subtitles and in which language

EPG - Electronic 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.  In this respect France lags way behind UK, German and Italian channels, which all offer a 7 day guides, from which you can easily set recordings.  One common solution is to use TV Pocket website, very handy to have on your tablet device.

IPTV French Channels

Longterm satellite reception of French tv is the best option, but if you have tall trees to the south or dishes are not possible, what about Iptv.

Technology – IPTV or OTT?

IPTV or ‘cable’ is brought to you via a dedicated network like Virgin, BT or in the US Prism TV, AT&T U-verse etc. It is over a closed network. 

OTT however is the cheaper method – Over an open internet connection. Data finds its way through the network the best way that it can. 

This is where choosing the right service is critical, some services are poor quality and only really work when internet ‘traffic’ ie the number of users on the networks, is low. When traffic peaks, there is not enough bandwidth to get good picture quality or continuous cover. In this case bandwidth will ‘throttle’ making the screen resolution poor – you won’t be able to make out any fine detail. In extreme cases the stream will freeze. For a more detailed  technical discussion see my iptv article

Cable is a dedicated service and is only available within France. 

IPTVservices for French channels are all OTT, open network, so do check that your provider is high speed and legal. I can recommend the service I use – see iptv france below.

France - TNT

Click the Quote Me button to get a FREE map survey and Quotation for

French Channels TNT from Astra satellite

TF1 , France 2,3,4,5 France Ô, Canal+ ( en clair ) Arte, M6, C8, W9, Monte Carlo, TFX, NRJ12, LCP, BFM Cnews, Cstar, Gulli, L’equipe, 23, RMC Decouverte, Cherie 25, 6Ter, TF1 films LCI , FranceInfo. All the regional France3 variations.
Plus : i24, RT France, France24, CCTV, TV5monde, TV5 FBS, M6 Boutique, EuroNews

What receiver will I get with this package? 

A TNT HD receiver, with a card. The 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.

I recommend the 65cm Single lnb coated steel Technomate dish with tm1 or similar good quality lnb, having low noise and high gain characteristics. This combination gives great results in all UK areas.

Click the Quote Me button to get a FREE map survey and Quotation for

Free French channels – Fransat 

With the exception of a few additional regional channels, including Vosges, and the Berber TV channels, Fransat has all the same main French channels as TNT:

TF1 HD, France 2,3,4,5 France Ô Canal+ (programmes en clair) . Arte M6, C8, W9, TMC,TFX NRJ12, LCP Public Sénat,BFM,Cnews, Cstar, Gulli, TF1 films, L’equipe, 6Ter, RMC story, RMC decouverte, Cherie 25, LCI, FranceInfo. All the 24 regional France 3s.
Plus RT France, TV5monde, KTO, QVC, MontBlancLive, Dici, Vosges, Berber Jeunesse, Berber Music, Berber Television. ( Eitb Basque TV, 1 & 3 can be activated on application)

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.

In London – up to Manchester a Single lnb, 80cm coated steel dish from Triax or Technomate,  with tm1 or similar good lnb, should be ok. 

Further  North, the signal from the 2020 satellite Eutelsat 5wb deteriorates (its solar panels never achieved full power). This means it may be necessary to increase size to 90cm or 1m.

TNT and Fransat Channels have  the same Core main channels.

Note: the Fransat card does now expire, this changed around 2016, so Fransat is now exactly the same cost as TNT , a new card is required every 4 years, fortunately not a huge cost.

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

Europa & Champions League

Attention Sports Fans! RMC Sport added to your Fransat card !!!

  • Subscriptions – without commitment .  You can buy with contract or without ! 
  • You can subscribe for 1 – 11 months – cancel at any time, or at a discount with 1 year 
  • Watch on TV or Mobile / laptop with app
  • To buy simply email me with your details and requirements

BIS - France


 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. 

The Bis signal on Hotbird is ok using a Single lnb, 65cm coated steel dish from Triax or Technomate

If using Eutelsat for BIS, see dish sizes above ( Fransat )

Click the Quote Me button to get a FREE map survey and Quotation for

Free French channels

Amiko model MIRA X

What receiver will I get with this package?  The reliable and versatile Amiko MIRA X, 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

Motorised and Multi-Satellite Reception

If you want to combine France with channels from other satellites you can choose a motorised dish or a multi satellite dish 

A 1metre dish with a diseqc motor can receive European, African and Asian satellites from 30 ° west to 32  or even 56° east, in most UK locations.

read – Motor Dish Page

A standard fixed position parabolic dish can be fitted with 2,3 or more LNBs for multi-satellite reception, eg France, Germany, Italy & Spain

read – All Europe dish

Toroidal Wide Angle Dish

A Special fixed position toroidal dish can be fitted with 2,3 or more LNBs for wide angle multi-satellite reception

read – All About Toroidal dishes

Technisat S6

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?

Invisible Dishes

There are plastic see-through  dishes available for TNT (65cm) and Fransat (80cm)  Check out these on the Dishes in Disguise page.

Human Rights

Under this bill passed in parliament, anyone is entitled to a dish, to receive anything important to the individual – You can appeal a “No Dishes Allowed” order, in court!

IPTV from France

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


Are there any French channels on Sky UK?

A. No, France 24 is available on both Sky and Freeview, but only in English

Can I get French TV without a dish

A. Yes, but there is a yearly / monthly subscription, the quality is dependent on your internet speed and iptv takes a huge bandwidth, so it may impact being able to watch iptv and use internet for other things together.

Which is the best French satellite box to buy?

A. Once you know which service (TNT, Fransat or BIS) you are going for, look at the receivers in the sidebar, or simply ask me via email.

Are there any French Channels on Freesat?

A. No but, It is a relatively easy task to add TNT to your dish if it’s a standard 65cm parabolic dish or upgrade from a Skydish, then add a TNT box. Most will allow you to tune in the UK Freesat channels too.

What is the Fransat satellite Position?

Fransat is from Eutelsat 5wb which is 5° West of South. 5Wb replaced 5wa in 2020, it is at the same orbital position, but may be weaker if you’re north of Birmingham latitude. 

11 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

    • We would also like to be able to program the set top box in advance to record programmes

      I can’t see any answer to this question?

      • Most stbs have some form of recording capability, in most, simply plugging in a USB recording media device is enough *. Sadly French providers TNT and Fransat are lacking the necessary software to be able to program from an EPG ( programme guide ) but you can usually set up a timer fairly easily, setting up the clock is critical, set up the time to start and end ( or length of recording ) and lastly the channel. If you’re stuck email me with the make and model of your stb and I’ll try to help.

        * formatting the USB device should be done on the box, if you cannot get the box to recognise your device, reformat it with the PC Verbatim utility first ( it can be downloaded from my site see recording page )


  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

    • Hi Tim,
      Has your card expired – check these free channels below, if they are ok, then check when you bought the card, it should last 4 years. Contact me to order a new card.
      LCI or C News
      Those are on the same frequency as France 5, and TF1 film series, so if they are working, then your dish and receiver must be ok, it is most probably the card expired.

  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.


Leave a Comment