Satellite TV in the Gulf

by: mavisrueda

In: Entertainment | Qatar | Saudi | Technology

26 Oct 2005

There are 2 options for expats wanting to watch their favorite television shows and programs in the Middle East. Either you pay to subscribe to a Satellite Pay-TV service of your choice or get Free-to-Air Satellite and watch shows for free. If you’re on a budget and would note necessarily need the channels you’re paying for with the packaged set, your best bet is to get someone to install a satellite dish system for you. Some apartments in Doha already have satellite dishes installed on their rooftops, provided by the owner of the building. If you don’t have it in yours, you could get someone to install the whole system along with the dish for about 600-700QR. With this, you get the dish, 3 LNBs (Hotbird, Nilesat, Arabsat – these are the only satellite available in most of the middle east), cable, and the receiver. You can go to Mergab Street near Al-Sadd (near Doha Clinic) to look for the shops that install this for you. What channels are free-to-air (you can watch them without paying for subscription)? Well, for those wanting English shows/programs, you get the Middle East channels One, MBC 2, MBC 4 (they show some old and new seasons of Gilmore Girls, Smallville, Las Vegas, Survivor, House Swap, Extreme Make Over, Oprah, Martha, Friends, etc. along with English movies). Of course, most would be repeats after a day of watching or two. For news channels, you have BBC News, CNN, and Euronews. You also get Arirang from Korea, Fashion TV, and other channels that show bits and pieces of English programming like Bahrain 55 and Alrai. However, some shops and installers sell a “special” receiver in which you can view some subscription-based programs by inputting their code through the remote of the receiver. You can get new codes, if they change, on the internet. With this, you can watch European channels like Multivision 1-6* (see below for more info on codes) showing Western movies. You also get Eurosports 1,2 and Classic. You get channels from SF DRS and TSR which shows blockbuster movies, classic movies, newer seasons of western series (Lost, Desperate Housewives, Smallville etc.). You have to select the right audio channel to hear the original English track. Some shows don’t have it so you have to settle for French, German or Swede. You also get BBC Prime but not the other BBC channels. If you’re the one who wants to pay for such, here is a rundown of paid TV services. You can visit their website for more details.

• Showtime – www.showtimearabia.comDepending on how much you really want to see some of the latest western TV series and shows, Showtime may be your answer. It might cause you an arm and a leg though! Their TOTAL PACKAGE would cost you QR2640 per year and their MOVIE PLUS for QR2388! However, it is fair to say that they have the best programming there is. They have E!, BBC Food, TV Land (24, Friends, CSI, Smallville, Alias, David Letterman, Nip/Tuck and even Desperate Housewives), Turner Classic Movies, Hallmark Channel, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network channel, etc.

• Orbit –“The Orbit Satellite Television and Radio Network is the world’s first fully digital, multi-channel, multi-lingual, pay television service”. Mid-priced subscription at QR150/month for their Mega Package. They have Super Movies, Cinema City, America Plus (Everwood, Nip/tuck, cold Case, Smallville, Dead Like Me, ER, Las Vegas, Carnivale), Orbit ESPN, Disney, History Channel,etc. They have Arabic channels like Al Riyadiyah, Cinema 1, Series, Fann, Alsafwa and Alyoum. They now have a Filipino package (PinoyPlus) with syndicated shows from GMA 7, Philippines!

• Art – www.adduniverse.comThis mostly caters to Asians (India, Pakistan, etc.) as they have exclusive channels for them and they have the cheapest packages too. They have the Firstnet, Art and Pehla bouquets. I’m not sure of what they have right now since I can’t access their site so you have to see for yourself on their website.

The Filipino Channel (TFC)They provide 6 exclusive Filipino channels from ABS-CBN, a media network in the Philippines. They have News Channels, Movie Channels and general entertainment channels packaged together. It is quite expensive and even Filipinos are complaining that for 6 local channels, QR2200++/ year is not worth it. But if you really want to catch Filipino shows, this is your only option. * Codes: For more info on codes, you can visit this forum or view the codes here. For Multivision, usually it requires a firmware/software upgrade for your receiver so check out this forum and see if your receiver supports the upgrade.

2 Responses to Satellite TV in the Gulf


Helen Kariv

October 15th, 2006 at 7:38 pm

Dear Sir,
Where can I get a weekly listing of the MBC shows on 1,2,3 and 4?
Thank you,
Helen Kariv



October 15th, 2006 at 9:16 pm

You can start by looking at their website here..
Hope this helps!

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