Television in Thailand

Thailand television broadcasting started broadcasting on June 24, 1955 (in NTSC). Color telecasts (PAL, System B/G 625 lines) were started in 1967. Full-time color transmissions were launched in 1975. There are currently 26 (on DVB-T2) and 0 on Analog television stations in Thailand.

Television providersEdit

Subscription providers are available, with differences in the number of channels, capabilities such as the program guide (EPG), video on demand (VOD), high-definition (HD), interactive television via the red button, and coverage across Thailand. Set-top boxes are generally used to receive these services. Households viewing TV from the internet are not tracked by the Thai government.

Provider Type of service No. broadcast channels VOD HD Red button Still Operate? Transmission
Digital terrestrial Free-to-air 20 Yes Yes Yes Yes Digital terrestrial television
TrueVisions Free and Pay TV Around 200 (TV and radio) Yes Yes Yes Yes Digital satellite, Cable television and IPTV
AIS Play Free and Pay TV Around 100 Yes Yes Yes Yes IPTV
GMM Z Free (Previously include Pay TV) Around 150 Yes Yes No Yes Digital satellite and IPTV
PSI Free (Previously include Pay TV) Around 150 (C-band)/100 (KU-band) No Yes No Yes Digital satellite
IPM Free Around 100 No Yes No Yes Digital Satellite
Good TV Free and Pay TV Around 100 (Including 11 Paid Channels) No Yes No Yes Digital Satellite

Analog terrestrial televisionEdit

This is currently the traditional way of receiving television in Thailand, however it has now largely been supplanted by digital providers. There are 6 channels; three of them are government public-owned by MCOT the 2 television channels terrestrial free-to-air Channel 9 MCOT HD and Channel 3; Channel 5 and BBTV Channel 7 are owned by Royal Thai Army; NBT and Thai PBS are fully government-owned. Analog terrestrial transmissions were scheduled to be switched off in phases as part of the digital switchover, which was expected to be completed in 2020 in line with ASEAN recommendations, however, the changeover has yet to come into effect.

Provincial television was discontinued in 1988, replaced by NBT, which has two hours of local programming in each of the provinces.

Name Network Owner Launch date Channel (BKK Analog) Channel (Digital) Broadcasting area Transmitted area Broadcasting hours Formerly known as End Analog (UTC+07:00)
Channel 3 Bangkok Entertainment Bangkok Entertainment
March 26, 1970 32 (UHF) 33 (HDTV)[1] Bangkok Bangkok 24-hours March 26, 2020 (00:01)[2][3]
Channel 5 Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Royal Thai Army January 25, 1958 5 (VHF) 1 (HDTV) Bangkok Bangkok 24-hours HSATV (Channel 7) June 21, 2018 (09:29)[4]
Channel 7 Bangkok Broadcasting and Television Company Limited (BBTV) Bangkok Broadcasting and Television Company Limited (BBTV)
Royal Thai Army
November 27, 1967 7 (VHF) 35 (HDTV) Bangkok Bangkok 24-hours June 17, 2018 (00:00)[5]
Modernine TV MCOT MCOT June 24,1955 9 (VHF) 30 (HDTV) Bangkok Bangkok 24-hours TTV Channel 4, TTV Channel 9, MCOT Channel 9 and Modernine TV July 16, 2018 (18:30)[6]
NBT NBT The Government Public Relations Department of the Prime Minister's Office July 11, 1988 11 (VHF) 2 (HDTV) Bangkok Bangkok 4:00 am - Midnight (End of day) TVT 11 or TV (Channel) 11 July 16, 2018 (00:00)[7]
Thai PBS Thai PBS Thai Public Broadcasting Service July 1, 1996 29 (UHF) 3 (HDTV) Bangkok Bangkok 5:00 am – 1:00 am (Next Day) ITV , TITV , TPBS , TV Thai June 16, 2018 (00:00)[8][9][10]

Digital terrestrial televisionEdit

In 2005, the Ministry of Information announced their plan to digitalize nationwide free-to-air TV broadcasts led by MCOT. Trial broadcasts were undertaken, involving one thousand households in Bangkok from December 2000 till May 2001. In December 2013, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) set up series of auction for DTTV. Four types of licenses are offered as followed: High-Def. channel license, Standard-Def. channel license, News channel license and Youth/Family channel license. All the major operators and content owners in the industry won the bid for new licenses e.g. BEC World, Bangkok Broadcasting and TV, GMM Grammy, ThaiRath Newspaper, Nation Multimedia Group, True Visions etc. According to the license condition, DTTV services launched since April 2014.

Cable televisionEdit

All national cable TVs in Thailand must accept by MCOT, The first provider is International Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) in 1989, next one is Thai Sky TV in 1991 (but off-air in 1997). Universal TV cable network (UTV) is the third provider in 1993. But after Asian financial crisis, UTV merged with IBC in 1998, changed its name to United Broadcasting Corporation or UBC (TrueVisions in present) and be monopoly provider.[citation needed]

IP television (IPTV)Edit

In contrast to Internet TV, IPTV refers to services operated and controlled by a single company, who may also control the 'Final Mile' to the consumers' premises.

Mobile televisionEdit

True Move provide mobile television services for reception on third generation mobile phones. They consist of a mixture of regular channels as well as made for mobile channels with looped content. True Move H TV now offers more than 20 channels to True-H 3G subscribers who own compatible mobile phones. Yet, True is expected to roll out broadcast mobile TV services based on DVB-H in the near future.

Internet televisionEdit

Television received via the Internet may be free, subscription or pay-per-view, multicast, unicast, or peer-to-peer, streamed or downloaded, and use a variety of distribution technologies. Playback is normally via a computer and broadband Internet connection, although digital media receivers or media centre computers can be used for playback on televisions, such as a computer equipped with Windows Media Center.

Popularity of terrestrial TV stationsEdit

The audience share achieved by each terrestrial channel in Thailand is shown in the first table below. The second table shows the share each channel receives of total TV advertising spending. Channel 7 is both the most popular and most commercially successful station with just under 50% of the total audience followed by Channel 3 at just under 30%. The other terrestrial stations share the remaining 20% of the TV audience between them.[11]

Audience Share:[11]

TV Station (Operator) 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 1H[12]
Channel 7 42.4 41.3 42.0 44.7 45.4 43.8 47.5
Channel 3 24.5 25.6 29.5 26.8 27.7 29.5 29.0
Channel 5 8.1 7.3 6.7 7.6 8.6 8.0 6.9
Modernine TV 10.3 10.2 9.2 9.6 9.9 9.7 9.2
NBT 2.9 3.0 2.4 4.9 3.4 3.4 2.4
Thai PBS (Values shown for 2005 - 2007 is for ITV (Thailand)) 11.8 12.6 10.2 6.1 4.9 5.6 5.0

Market Share - Share of total TV advertising spending:[11]

TV Station (Operator) 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 1H[12]
Channel 7 28.0 27.4 27.7 31.0 28.0 31.0 31.7
Channel 3 20.8 22.2 22.5 28.0 28.0 27.0 27.0
Channel 5 16.5 16.0 15.9 20.0 20.0 18.0 17.7
Modernine TV 13.9 14.4 14.5 17.0 19.0 20.0 20.0
NBT 2.3 2.8 2.6 4.0 4.0 4.0 3.6
Thai PBS 18.5 17.3 16.9 0 0 0 0

Thai television contentEdit

Thai soap operasEdit

Soap operas are a popular genre of Thai television. They are known in Thai as ละครโทรทัศน์ (RTGSlakhon thorathat, lit. "television play") or simply ละคร (lakhon, pronounced [la.kʰɔːn], also spelled lakorn). They are usually shown every night at primetime on Thai television channels and start at 20:30. An episode of a prime-time drama is usually two hours long (including commercials). Each series usually is a finished story, unlike Western "cliffhanger" dramas, but rather like Hispanic telenovelas.

A series will run for about three months. It may air two or three episodes a week, the pattern usually being Monday–Tuesday, Wednesday–Thursday or Friday–Sunday. A channel will air three soap operas simultaneously at any given time. Because they attract the most viewers, each channel competes for the most popular stars.

Thai soap operas have very distinctive, though formulaic, characters and narrative conventions. Though some stray from these conventions, most adhere to them, especially ones that are very popular among Thai viewers.

  • They are always about achieving a perfect ending in which the leading characters marry their soulmates and live happily ever after.
  • The two main lovers are established at the beginning of the series. Viewers have no difficulties singling them out of the crowd for they tend to be the most popular soap opera stars of the moment. The male lead role usually called Phra Ek (พระเอก) as the main actress had named Nang Ek (นางเอก)
  • The presence of one "bad" female character, sometimes more, is commonplace. This is the person who is totally in love with the male lead and will do all that is necessary to stop the two would-be lovers from fulfilling their destined ending. She tries everything to be the main actor's girlfriend and always tries to get rid of the main actress. She is often a stereotypical character who does not hesitate to do bad, bad things to the main actress including trying to steal her boyfriend before the wedding. She is often a rich girl or comes from a good family background, but has nasty behaviour and is manipulative. Few of these characters are kind. She is usually a living person, but a few of these characters can be evil, dead women who come back as ghosts. The most popular ones are Poot Mae Nam Khong or the remake of Pob Pee Fa. Nang Rai or Nang Itcha (นางอิจฉา) is a famous name for Thai viewers.
  • "Katoei" (กะเทย – man dressed like a woman) are often used as comic relief. Sapai Look Tung is popular for this role.
  • In the end, all conflicts in the story must be resolved. Everyone forgives each other. The "bad" guys receive their punishments and the "good" guys receive their rewards. However, some series end with unsolvable problems such as Poot Mae Nam Khong.
  • Thai soap operas are often melodramatic to the point of becoming camp. Most productions are written and produced with the assumption that the more melodramatic it is, the better. This is why situations are grossly exaggerated, actions are overly theatrical, and screams and shrieks (from the bad female) numerous.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Note - Digital TV Station but owner by BEC Multimedia Company Limited and Launch date on 25 April 2014 on 16:00 (Thailand Standard Time)
  2. ^ “26 มี.ค. 63” ดีเดย์ช่อง 3 ยุติอนาล็อก พร้อมเผยแผน Next Move 2020 posted by Jenpasit Puprasert Yarmfaojor page
  3. ^ Last TV Analog in Thailand 🇹🇭 posted by bundit konroo YouTube page
  4. ^ Video of Channel 5 analogue switchoff posted by the Broadcast.Engineering.NBTC Facebook page
  5. ^ ช่อง 7 ยุติการออกอากาศระบบแอนะล็อก posted by JRK YT YouTube page
  6. ^ ช่อง MCOT ยุติทีวีอนาล็อก 16/7/2561 posted by DorRorSor YouTube page
  7. ^ ช่อง NBT ยุติทีวีอนาล็อก 16/7/2561 posted by DorRorSor YouTube page
  8. ^ ThaiPBS (Analog) - Technical Difficulties (15th June 2018) posted by Watty Tyanmy YouTube page
  9. ^ ETC - การเปิดเครื่องส่งแอนะล็อกอีกครั้ง 2:00 หลังจากที่ปิดไปเมื่อ 0:00 16 มิถุนายน 2561 posted by ezybzy YouTube page
  10. ^ Video of Thai PBS analogue switchoff posted by the Broadcast.Engineering.NBTC Facebook page
  11. ^ a b c "Analyst Briefing Presentation" (PDF). MCOT. March 2, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Analyst Briefing 2Q" (PDF). MCOT. August 16, 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2012.