Televisions must have PAL system to work in Singapore. However this is different to the UK/European PAL system. TV sets from the USA, Canada and Japan (NSTC) will not work, and neither will those from France and Eastern Europe (SECAM). A multi-system TV will work in Singapore as it should include PAL.
TV License: A TV license is required to run a TV or any other equipment capable of receiving a TV signal. Typically, a property’s owner will pay for and manage these licenses; therefore, many renters never deal with the issue at all. Nevertheless, the TV license is valid for a year, from 1 January to 31 December; new applications made for a TV license within those dates will be charged pro rata. Application may be made online via the Media Development Authority (MDA) or in person at any post office. The license is per property and is therefore valid for all televisions that you own.
There are several free-to-air channels in Singapore, all wholly owned by Mediacorp, the biggest media company in Singapore. Mediacorp enjoys a monopoly on the local television scene, and all free channels are its subsidiaries. Below is a short description of these channels.
Channel 5: Channel 5 is main the English channel, offering news, TV-sitcoms (both local and overseas), variety programs, movies and documentaries.
Channel 8: Broadcasted entirely in Chinese, it is the most watched and popular channel among the mainly Chinese Singapore population.
Channel NewsAsia: Channel NewsAsia is a dedicated English news channel primarily focusing on Asia. It is broadcasted non-stop, 24 hrs a day. It frequently invites top management in various fields for interviews and offers frequent new magazine programs and documentaries.
Suria: Mainly broadcasts Malay language programs.
Vasantham: Tamil program channel, catering specifically to the Indian community in Singapore. It regularly features Bollywood shows and Indian art and entertainment programs.
Okto: Okto is an English channel that encompasses vastly different age groups. In the morning, it features children’s programs, including cartoons. At night, it usually changes target audience by broadcasting a series of documentaries. Occasionally, it will show a local film in support of local artistic talent.
Satellite TV is not permitted in Singapore so cable TV is the only option for those seeking a wider choice of international programming. Many expatriates choose hook up cable television services to access more programming. While digital cable TV is available from Starhub and Singtel, Starhub is undoubtedly the popular choice because of its more extensive offerings and packages. Hardware required to use services is sometimes complimentary, depending on the subscription plan, but are more often rented on a monthly basis. Setting up cable TV is relatively fast, and should not take more than three days; however, busy set-up periods sometimes mean contacting the customer service centers can be more difficult. Prices start from a minimum of $20+, depending on the number of channel subscribed to.
Starhub: Starbhub is the most popular choice in digital cable television, offering hundreds of channels in a number of languages. Packages are personalized, and clients select plans including channel groups focused on sport, children’s programming, movies, entertainment and style, foreign programming, etc. Starhub also offers digital recording machines that allow viewers to record shows for later viewing.
To set up services, visit http://www.starhub.com or call 1633.
SingTel: SingTel is a more recent entrant to the cable TV scene, SingTel offers IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) in select packages of television programming, and whole series are purchased season by season.
To set up services, visit http://www.singtel.com or call 1 800 555 6000.