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Saturday, May 08, 2008

French TV

fourtien celcius, sometimes a bit colder

OK, I admit it, I write too Little. Our form already exists for some time, but we keep it a secret and our famous midnight olls wich we lets count posted one time only, that was between Toussaint and XMass. Ofcourse its a question of setting priorities. Or you enter your cosy office space with a temperature of 14 degrees (celcius) to write an article or would you rather watch your favorite french TV programm?

Ofcourse the first choise you say, but I assure, even if your a ardent tv hater, if you were here, you would choose the latter. Sometimes its so cold that I fear to turn into a polar bear. Delightfully warm I must admit, but then I'll have to move to a zoo and I'm just starting to get used here.

part of our officeoor

Our comfy office in the south of france, equiped with all modern conveniences and adapted to todays standards.

All well, but now about that French TV. In the Netherlands, onyone hooked up to the cable can watch 59 stations or more. Not that all of them are that interesting, but you can receive them and - not of less importance - after a hard days work you can zap till you drop. But in France thats different, cause where in heavens name would the leave all those cable's? So most people have a 1960's antenna or satellite-tv.

We were promised that in the course of 2008 all of the Aveyron would switch to digital tv (Télévision Numérique Terrestre, TNT in short). But until then we will have to do with the six free stations: TF1, France 2, France 3, Canal+, Arte and M6. OK Canal+ is coded, but that still leaves us 5 high-quality stations where the best of the best (barf) is being broadcasted. Arte is an exception, true is true, nothing but top notch films and documentairies of the highest level, but mostly from the time I was'nt born yet and that give me such a pre-embryonic feeling.

The top of the pits is TF1 (privatisez since 1987). On each time of the day they broadcast the most horrid of programms like for instance (barf, I can hardly utter the words...) Starac, short for Star Acadamy, yes indeed from Endemol (Etlataupe, the french version of Idols, you know the program where the best copycat wins.

And thats being hosted by a crosbreeding of Jos Brink, George Clooney and Sarkozy, I mean a man in a black suit with nosophobia between all those youngsters. I don't get it. In the Netherlands he would have been chased away longtime, pelted with tomatoes, eggs or something else. But here the man is a hero.

Oh well, just zap on you would say. But I do, I do. ANd then you arrive an the public stations France 2 and 3. France 2 is plainly put a subsidized station for the big audience, or as from elelven at night instead of the usual sexmessages you get a talk programme about the female orgasm, but with a real panel chairman, 'hands-on' experts and ofcourse the inevitable psychiatrist.

Ok zapping through, too France 3. At last a station with a message, except for the advertising (la PUB short for la Publicité). Yes, in the Netherlands it can be bad, but advertising here is so flat and virtuous, it makes you wanna puke. And the worst of all, it is soooomuch. One cannot watch watch for three minutes undisturbed, or you have to watch yet another car advertising with in the background a hoarse female voise or people that by eating a dessert all of a sudden get a urgent desire for sex. Yes it's high time someonone takes action because with all these hidden sexmessages we might soon turn into a bunch of Bonobo-monkeys. In short, you may understand, I'm very glad with the plans of Sarko (short for Sarkozy) to bannish all the advertising from the public stations, and fill those gaps with quality cultural programs.

Taffy: rightio man, good thinking man..but waittaminute Sarko howz you gonna pay fo tha?

Sarko: now well easy with internettax…

Taffy: ah yeah, but do you think all of them Frenchmen consent that?

French bloke : bon, et alors? (ah well, so what?)

Taffy: Oh well…, e-mail, online bankin', online datin', downloading films 'n music, (yves point net), int'net phone, int'net tv, int'net radio, viagra…

French bloke: bof, pt'êt' ben qu'oui (owhh, wha' I'dd say), internet… ça m’est bien égal, je m'en fous pas mal, je m'en tamponne, je m’en torche, je m'en balance, je m'en contrefous et tout le reste.

Tafy : …

Yes its incredible, but the average French person cannot see the usefulness of internet. Back to Minitel! We have no knowledge of any Frenchmen from around here, and I mean not one, that uses the emailadess they got from their boss. It's far beyond them when you tell them your children play with their dutch friends over the internet, it's sheer voodoo to them. But well, they are so kind the French, and that makes up a lot

French TV is not all trouble and affliction, not at all, but I do miss one thing and that is a personal view. Whatever program I watch, I always have this feeling of Big Brother pulling the strings, presenters, hosts are puppets (on a string) and that makes programss so often flat, joyless, so easy to forget. Even a man like Cauet ( - comparable with Paul de Leeuw (Dutch TV) is a product of televisionindustry, sure he provoces, but is the kind of provocation without a message and that appelas to the general public. I miss the personal input of people like Wim T. Schippers, Frans Bromet, Paul de Leeuw, because that is what made the Dutch TV (or whats left of it) of interest to me. Ah well, if after reading this chering column you get the urgent desie to watch French TV then Ruud has the following tips for you:

Tip 1) SECAM – If you want to hook your tv to the local french cable or antenna, ou will need a tv capable of SECAM, the kind of signal used by the Frenc tv transmitters. In France image quality is slightly better then the PAL system used in the rest of Europe. Strange but many modern TV cannot cope with SECAM, weird if you know that almost any SECAM tv can handle PAL. If your going to use satellite than any tv will do, cause the image from the satellite receiver is in 99.9% of all cases SVH-S, Video, Scart or TV signal according to the popular PAL system.

Tip 2) SOUS-TITRAGE (subtitles) - do jou live in France then it's a hot tip to have teletext on your tv so you can read the french subtitles with movies and documentairies supporting this option. After all if you in daily live do'nt get in touch with the french too often, watching tv-series with french subtitles is thé way to learn French. Keep in mind that not all stations ffer subtitling for all of their programs and that each station uses a different page, usually it is 888 or 889, but other pagenumbers are used too.

Tip 3) SATELLITE DISH - many people in France have a sat-dish (Fr: parabole), the distances ar longer, so you won't find cable outside the vilages and because of the hills and mountains there is no signal for a roof mounted antenna, after all antenna-to-antenna works in a straight line of 'sight' without anything blocking the signal. Satellites tend to hang in the sky much higher, so that solves the problem. For a few tenners you can buy one and if you put up the thing yourself (afternoon of work) then you have saved another 350 euro. At this moment you can still use analog satellite recievers, but that will change in due course. If you want to reiceive free English stations you will need a digital receiver and you will have to cough up some more dough, It takes a bit of shoppping around but you will need something inbetween the 350 to 450 euro's. Oh and befor I forget, if you want to get the BBC channels and sky then you will need to get the receiver in the UK and register to an UK-address. Do'nt forget the possible 30 euro's fee (sometimes even more) for monthly or yearly subscriptions.

Tip 4) TNT and HD-TV - when we bought our stellite receiver we were told that in september 2007 the analog transmissions from Hotbird (Fr: ‘otburd’) would stop and be replaced with the digital TNT, at places where TNT is difficult to catch on a regular antenna (as is with us) one can access it throught satellite (requires satellite dish with digital LNB and digital satellite receiver). The introduction of TNT has sustained delay, but can be found oat many places already (18 chanels) and since dec 2007 it is also on satellite, althoug the transmissions do not com from Hotbird as promissed but another one. For receiving TNT on satellite one needs a digital decoder sold about 150 euro and the satellite dish needs to get pointed to anather satelite. In 2011 everyone shoud be able to receive and watch TNT.

Tip 5) INTERNET-TV  There are two kinds of Internet TV, *1* A TV connection direct from the modem (an extra option you pay for through your subscription), or *2* as a internet videostream, like a film from internet. We use our internet connection for internet and telephone. The direct TC connection is of good quality but to us a redundant luxury since we've already got Satellite-tv. On the other hand with our provide (club-internet / neuf cegatel) the French national stations and a bunch of thirteen other stations can be watched online over the internet. The imagequality of the videostreams is reasonable. If we open the webadres we get an overview of the available stations. ANd because we can hookup the laptop to the tv we can watch it on TV, we do that mostly for the kids.

There is a number of sites that offer a clear overview of available internet tv stations, not all official statins are included, but that lack is filled with the non-official tv stations that only braodcast through the Internet. A portal like that can be found at There are sites that offer a 3000+station viewer but most of those channels can only be seen by paynig for the pro or premium version of the playerprogramm. The quality is nt worth mentioning and most of the stations can be found for free in the internet! A sample of such a waste-of-money-program is 'AnyTV', do'nt go for it, its an absolute waste of money!

Tip 6) TV and RADIO LICENCE FEE in France is just the TV license fee, its called ‘la redevance de l'audiovisuel’. Its about 120 euro and you pay it through your taxe d'habitation. The criterium is to have a TV, not wether you watch something else or do'nt watch at all, it makes no difference.

Well, we think that for now this is sufficien for the TV loving emigrant.

120 euro is too much for a tip

posted by Ruud at 23:33  |  send a comment

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