Television in Malaysia

Television in Malaysia

Malaysian television broadcasting started on 28 December 1963 and re-introduced on 2 December 1983. Colour television was introduced on the same day. Full time colour transmissions were launched on 1 January 1990. Until recently, Malaysia did not had any 100% government-owned stations until Kuala Lumpur became a Malaysian city in 2003. There are currently 6 free-to-air television stations in Malaysia and 3 pay-to-view based television networks.

Media Prima Berhad (who owns TV3 and ntv7) were Malaysia's national television provider until 2003 when Kuala Lumpur became a city in Malaysia. TV3 and ntv7 were also broadcasted over-the-fence to Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur had many radio stations, but the only station that broadcast to other states are FM 101.5, which are not actually broadcasted from Kuala Lumpur, but are broadcasted from Putrajaya.


Television providers

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

Provider Free or pay No. broadcast channels VOD HD Red button Country of origin Transmission
Analogue terrestrial Free Up to 7 No No No Malaysia Analogue terrestrial
Astro Pay TV Around 130 (TV and radio) Yes Yes Yes Malaysia Digital satellite
Hypp.TV Free and subscription 35 No No No Malaysia IPTV
UniFi Subscription 18 Yes Yes No Malaysia IPTV
DETV Subscription 33 No No No Malaysia IPTV
U Television Non-freePay Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Malaysia Digital terrestrial
TrueVisions (from Thailand) Non-freePay 200 (Thai+Inter, no MAS) No Yes No Thailand Digital satellite from Thailand

Analogue terrestrial television

This is currently the traditional way of receiving television in Malaysia, however it has now largely been supplanted by digital providers. There are 7 channels; three of them are government-owned by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) the 2 television channels terrestrial free-to-air RTM TV1 (TV1) and RTM TV2; one by Al Hijrah Media Corporation, which operates TV Alhijrah; TV3, ntv7, 8TV and TV9 are private-owned, namely by a single operator Media Prima. Analogue terrestrial transmissions were scheduled to be switched off in phases as part of the digital switchover, expected to be completed in 2015 as a recommendation from ASEAN, however, it does not come to effect. The frequency has been moved to avoid signal jamming with television in Thailand.

Name Network Owner Launch date Channel (KL) Broadcasting area Transmitted area Broadcasting hours Formerly known as
TV1 Radio Televisyen Malaysia Government 28 December 1963 12 (UHF) Klang Valley Kuala Lumpur 07:30-01:00
TV2 Radio Televisyen Malaysia Government 17 November 1969 15 (UHF) Klang Valley Kuala Lumpur 24-hours
TV3 Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Berhad Media Prima Berhad 1 June 1984 29 (UHF) Klang Valley Kuala Lumpur 06:30-00:00
ntv7 Natseven TV Sdn Bhd Media Prima Berhad 7 April 1998 21 (UHF) Klang Valley Kuala Lumpur 07:00-02:00
8TV Metropolitan TV Sdn Bhd Media Prima Berhad 8 January 2004 25 (UHF) Klang Valley Kuala Lumpur 07:00-03:00 Metrovision
TV9 Channel 9 Sdn Bhd Media Prima Berhad 22 April 2006 42 (UHF) Klang Valley Kuala Lumpur 07:00-01:00 Channel 9
TV AlHijrah AlHijrah Media Corporation Government 7 December 2010 55 (UHF) Klang Valley Kuala Lumpur 12:00-00:00
(07:00-00:00 on Weekends)

Digital terrestrial television

In 2005, the Ministry of Information announced their plan to digitalise nationwide free-to-air TV broadcasts led by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM).[1] Trial broadcasts were undertaken, involving one thousand households in the Klang Valley from September 2006 till February 2007. According to the then-Deputy Minister of Information, Chia Kwang Chye, the trial received "very positive" feedback, i.e. "more than 60 percent said the quality of the signal ranged from good to very good. Over 88 percent said the picture quality improved, while 70 percent said the sound quality was better."[2]

On 1 January 2008, TV3 announced that they were carrying out their own tests using a completely different system, T-DMB. However their test transmission is available only to areas surrounding their main headquarters at Sri Pentas, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. The test signals consists of a single DAB stream, Fly FM, and two T-DMB streams, TV3 and a Hot Visual, which carries a slide show with audio signal streamed from the radio station Hot FM.

Despite a success of RTM's pilot trials, the digital terrestrial television transition faced many problems. These problems stemmed from the lesser enthautism of content providers toward the digitisation, with the exception Les Copaque, and the need to improve the nation's Internet broadband infrastructure. With the resignation of then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and the succession of Najib Tun Razak, the project by RTM was deferred indefinitely.

Satellite television

Malaysia's sole satellite television operator, Measat Broadcast Network Systems (a subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks) launched the Astro service in 1996. It currently holds exclusive rights from the Malaysian government to offer satellite television broadcasting services in the country through the year 2017. The rights was extended to 2022 recently.[citation needed] Now, big ugly dishes are still found in Malaysia.

There are also laws preventing too many advertisements from being aired on both radio and television, similar to the United Kingdom.[citation needed]

International broadcast

Malaysians in the United States and Canada can view TV shows instantly from Malaysia by SES-1 satellite, including television from Thailand and Laos, the channel broadcast are Malay Fun TV, Malaysia Sports (these stations are Malay-language TV in the USA), TVSelangor, Global TV (live from Malaysia).

Cable television

Mega TV was launched in 1994 by TV3 as the only cable television service. However, it faced stiff competition from the satellite television network Astro, and failed to expand its content. Because of this, it closed down in 2001, and was replaced by its competitor since then.[citation needed]

IP television (IPTV)

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.

DETV, a new paid television provider owned by REDtone, provides television and video-on-demand services on the IPTV platform, targeting the Chinese audiences in Malaysia.

TM is expected to launch its IPTV services, currently branded Hypp.TV in the second quarter of 2009, and now conducts trials with 1,000 selected households in Klang Valley, Penang and Kulim, Kedah.[3]

TM then successfully released their IPTV based on their HSBB Unifi service which only available to Unifi subscriber.

Mobile television

Maxis, DiGi and U Mobile 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. Maxis TV now offers more than 20 channels to Maxis 3G subscribers who own compatible mobile phones.[4] Yet, Maxis is expected to roll out broadcast mobile TV services based on DVB-H in the near future.[5]

U Mobile also provides broadcast mobile TV to users of selected 3G phones, also based on DVB-H.[6]

In October 2008, Astro launched Astro Mobile TV which currently provides 18 channels, all of which are mobile versions of its existing channels, seven of them are under its own brand. This service is only available to Maxis subscribers with compatible 2.5G or 3G handsets, and does not reprise its role from Maxis TV.

Internet television

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.

See also

  • List of television stations in Malaysia
  • List of Malay language television channels


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