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Television and Home Entertainment

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expatriate information for Indonesia

Yes, for those of you that are asking ... yes, of course, there is television in Indonesia!

Television Stations

The Indonesian government's state television channel is Televisi Republik Indonesia (TVRI). Private TV stations include:

  • ANTeve
  • B Channel (Jakarta and Java only )
  • Bali TV (local coverage in Bali only)
  • Global TV
  • Indosiar
  • Kompas TV (payment satellite TV)
  • Metro TV
  • MNC TV
  • Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia (RCTI)
  • Surya Citra Televisi (SCTV)
  • Trans 7
  • Trans TV
  • TV One

Metro TV features frequent news broadcasting and foreign programming. Thus, Indonesian viewers have one government station and a good selection of private television stations to view programming on.

Programming on the government channel is dominated by documentaries, music, culture and the news, with no advertising and only a small amount of foreign programming. The private TV channels offer a wide range of local and foreign programming, with LOTS of commercial interruptions.

Some differences between TV in Indonesia and at home:

  • Subtitles on foreign programs can help you to learn Bahasa Indonesia, though be forewarned ... the translations are often incorrect.
  • News broadcasting is in its infancy on the private stations - but the quality is steadily improving.
  • Most commercials are in the Indonesian language.
  • 10 to 20-year-old movies and old series predominate programming, providing nostalgic viewing. There are usually English language films on several channels each evening.
  • Chinese martial arts, Indian films and Latin American soap operas are popular with Indonesian viewers. These foreign films have Indonesian subtitles or have been dubbed in Indonesian or English. Private TV stations also play the very popular Indonesian soap opera programs - Sinetron
  • Government ceremonies and speeches may pre-empt regularly scheduled programming.

News Programming

Both the government and the private television stations broadcast their own news programs; the best of these are Liputan 6 on SCTV and Seputar Indonesia on RCTI, both in Bahasa Indonesia. Metro TV runs news programming on the hour and is considered by many to be Indonesia's CNN. Metro TV has news programming in English and Mandarin, including: After Hours, Metro Xin Wen and Indonesia Now. Their morning news in English is at 7:00 am. All of the private stations have early morning news programs as well. Check the Jakarta Post's TV Today column for current news schedules.

Private TV stations are seen to have more comprehensive local news coverage than the government station with much less censorship of current events. The professional qualities of these news shows are still young; however with competition between multiple stations the quality of reporting, interviewing, and editing is improving steadily.

TV Systems

In Indonesia, television broadcasts utilize the PAL system, 250 volts and 50 cycles. International brands of televisions are available for purchase in Indonesia, Japanese and Korean brands dominate the market. The lag in availability of new models and technologies from the country of origin is only about six months. If you choose to bring your TV from home, and it does not use the PAL system, it will not be able to receive local TV broadcasts.

TV compatibility depends on 1) electricity (here it's 220 V), and 2) television broadcast system (here it's PAL). Video Compact Disc and DVD machines are available for purchase in Indonesia.

Video Compact Discs and Digital Versatile Discs

Many recent box office smashes are available on VCD for around Rp 60-85,000. These are legal copies. The movies are usually released in Indonesia on VCD about 4 months after they are released in the movie theaters in the US. Popular weekly TV series, golden oldies, classics and popular stage shows are also available in VCD format. Illegal copies of VCDs are available for a very cheap price, if you don't wish to rent. The quality of the recording, however, is not very good and with time usage may ruin your VCD machine!

DVD (digital versatile discs) and Blue Ray discs are also available. The hardware is still relatively expensive compared to VCD players and discs are more expensive as well. Picture quality is far supreme to LD or VCD. Most DVD hardware available in Indonesia has been programmed to play all region software. Original recording DVDs cost about Rp 200,000 - 300,000 each.

Despite the government's intentions to stamp out pornography, the programming is also available to the general public at your local DVD rental store. Normally they are not in view and are not brought out unless the customer is requesting them.

Cable TV

Within limited areas in Jakarta, primarily in middle and upper class housing complexes, apartment and commercial complexes cable television is available through First Media, Astro and Indovision. If you're lucky enough to be in an area in which the fibre option and coaxial cable has already been laid, you can subscribe and have access to many major international channels in your home without having to make the expensive purchase of a satellite receiver equipment. The programming is current, features international channels and includes news, music, movies, documentary, cartoon, sports, family entertainment and local channels.

Another advantage of a cable television subscription is that their multimedia cable may be able to provide broadband Internet access in your home. Check with the companies to see what they offer. Foreign programming dominates the cable TV channels in Indonesia, though there are some efforts being made to introduce local content (Indonesian programming) as well.

Cable TV is also available in Surabaya. Two firms offer cable TV and broadband connections in major hotels in Bali.

Our thanks to Indahwati for this spreadsheet of Service Comparisons between Indonesian Cable Companies (pdf 62 KB)

Satellite Pay Television

If you are not residing in an area with access to cable TV services, you can receive international channel broadcasts by installing a satellite dish outside your home or subscribing to Telcomvision. Different packages are offered so channel coverage depends on which package you subscribe to. Most better apartment complexes and housing estates offer satellite pay television (or cable TV) services to their residents.

Direct Broadcast Satellite/Pay Television is offered through Indovision. Indovision sells the decoder, receiver and satellite dish along with installation. The decoder is enabled with a viewing card. The cost of the monthly subscription depends on the number of movie channels you subscribe to in addition to the basic package. Another DTH (Direct to Home) industry players are Indonusa.

Previously, satellite transmission were dependent on the Palapa satellite, which required large 10 feet satellite dishes. You could receive broadcasts from Malaysia, Australia and the Philippines in addition to Indovision programming. Currently, however, Indovision uses the Cakrawarta satellite, which requires a much smaller satellite dish of only 80 cm. You can not, however receive transmissions from neighboring countries via the Cakrawarta satellite.

Additional options for satellite TV, besides Indovision, are: TOP TV, Okevision, Nexmedia, Telkomvision, and Aora TV.

TV Coverage outside Jakarta

While the government television station, TVRI is accessible throughout most of Indonesia, most of the private television stations have limited broadcast areas. This has led to a proliferation of satellite dishes in rural areas - not so that the residents can watch international broadcasts, but so that they can watch Indonesian television programming.

Most multinational firms with camps in remote locations utilize a satellite dish to receive local or international broadcasts, which are then routed to the individual homes or dormitories via cable.

Online TV Guide - www.tvguide.co.id

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

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