Television in Malaysia

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Malaysian television broadcasting was introduced on 28 December 1963. Color television was introduced on 28 December 1978. Full-time color transmissions of grand launched until officially inaugurated on New Year's Day 1982. There are currently 8 national free-to-air terrestrial television stations in Malaysia and 2 national pay subscription television stations in Malaysia.


Out of eight television channels, four of them are available in Sabah and Sarawak, and the other four are available only in Peninsular Malaysia.

Transmissions in Malaysia were black-and-white until 28 December 1978. First stereo audio broadcasting was introduced in 1985 by TV3.

Five out of eight channels does not have 24-hour schedule. 24-hour television was introduced in Malaysia between 13 to 16 May 1989 on TV1. The first 24-hour broadcasting in Malaysia was introduced in 1997 by TV3, but was discontinued later due to energy saving plam (see below).. Since April 2006, TV2 broadcast round-the-clock followed by TV1, which began broadcasting 24 hours in August 2012 after having short-lived round-the-clock broadcast previously.

Energy saving plan

Old Television

On 1 January 1998, the fuel price in Malaysia reached RM1.50/litre, along with the 1997 Asian financial crisis. As a result, Prime Minister of Malaysia's Father Mahathir Mohamad introduced the energy saving plan, which reduces each station's broadcasting hours.

  • TV1 reduced broadcasting hours to 17 hours from 07:00 until 00:00 MST.
  • TV2 reduced broadcasting hours to 9 hours from 15:00 until 00:00 MST.
  • TV3 cancelled 24-hour broadcasting which was recently introduced and broadcasts for 18 hours from 06:00 until 00:00 MST. On 1 January 2000, the broadcasting has reduced to 12-hours from 12:00 until 00:00 MST.
  • MetroVision Channel 8 reduced broadcasting hours to 8-hours from 16:00 until 00:00 MST.
  • NTV7 it was officially television broadcasting launched on 7 April 1998 with a 6 hour broadcasts from 18:00 until 00:00 MST.
  • Channel 9 it was officially startup television broadcast launched on 1 September 2003 until closedown television broadcast on 3 February 2005 as first original transmission hours to 12-hours from 12:00 until 00:00 MST.

New Television

On 1 January 2012, the opening and closing ceremony in conjunction with 2011 Southeast Asian Games it was officially inaugurated ceremony by the Prime Minister of Malaysia's Father Najib Razak.

  • TV1 opened 24 hour broadcasting on 21 July 2012.
  • TV2 opened 24 hour broadcasting on 1 January 2006.
  • TV3 opened 24 hour broadcasting on 1 January 2010.
  • NTV7 reduced broadcasting hours to 15 hours from 09:00 until 00:00 MST on 1 January 2012.
  • 8TV reduced broadcasting hours to 17 hours from 07:00 until 00:00 MST on 1 January 2012.
  • TV9 reduced broadcasting hours to 16 hours from 08:00 until 00:00 MST on 1 January 2012.
  • TV Alhijrah added broadcasting hours to 18 hours from 06:00 until 00:00 MST on 1 January 2012.

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 11 channels; three of them are government public-owned by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) the 2 television channels terrestrial free-to-air TV1 and TV2 while TV Alhijrah are public government-owner by Al Hijrah Media Corporation which TV3, NTV7, 8TV and TV9 are private commercial-owned by Media Prima, Worldview Broadcasting Channel are private commercial-owned by Worldview Broadcasting Channel (Malaysia) Sendirian Berhad.[citation needed] Analogue terrestrial transmissions were scheduled to be switched off in phases as part of the digital switchover, expected to be completed in 2020 as a recommendation from Southeast Asia, however, it had been now scheduled for 2017. The frequency has been moved to avoid signal jamming with television in Thailand.

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 launch of the MEASAT-1 satellite as part of Malaysia's commercialisation of space, Astro commenced broadcasting on 1 June 1996 with an initial offering of 3 radio stations and 22 television channels. Today, Astro has over 160 TV channels and Radio Stations, as well as 25 HD channels. They have also started their IPTV service in 2013.


Channel Name Language Owner Group Type
1 TV1 Malay RTM Free-to-air Terrestrial
2 TV2
4 Astro Ria Astro Astro channels Satellite
5 Astro SuperSport English
6 Astro Asian Entertainment Channel Chinese
7 Astro Wah Lai Toi Cantonese
8 Astro Vaanavil Tamil
9 CNN International News English CNN News
10 Discovery Channel English (Malay subtitle) Discovery Communications Education
11 NBC Asia National Geographic Society
12 ESPN International Sports English ESPN Sports
13 STAR Sports STAR TV
14 HBO International Movies English (Malay subtitle) HBO Movies
15 STAR Movies STAR TV
16 MGM Gold Metro Goldwyn Mayer
17 Cartoon Network & Turner Classic Movies Cartoon Network Animated
18 Animax Asia Japanese,Chinese,Cantonese,English dub (English,Malay,Chinese subtitles) Sony Pictures Entertainment Anime
19 STAR World English STAR TV Entertainment
20 Channel [V] International
21 MTV MTV Networks
22 Phoenix Chinese Channel Chinese Phoenix Satellite Television Jade
23 STAR Movies Cantonese (Malay subtitle) STAR TV

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] However, today Astro[disambiguation needed] contains more than 100 channels including local and international channels and radio channels.

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

On December 2011, prime minister Najib Tun Razak announced that free satellite television from Astro, NJOI available to customer starting February 2012.[3]

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 TV

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] In 2013, ABN Networks launched their Cable TV service together with Fiber Optic Internet as ABNXcess.

Internet Protocol 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.

However, Astro is the first broadcast company in Malaysia that introduce the IPTV services, branded as Astro B.yond IPTV in collaboration with Maxis and Time.

After that, TM launched its IPTV services, currently branded as Hypp.TV in the second quarter of 2009, and now conducts trials with 1,000 selected households in Klang Valley, Penang and Kulim, Kedah.[4]

TM then successfully released their IPTV based on their HSBB Unifi service which only available to Unifi subscriber through nationwide. As a promotional strategy, two of Astro channels which are Astro Supersports HD and Astro Supersports 2 HD both currently can be watch via Hypp.TV.

Mobile TV

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.[5] Yet, Maxis is expected to roll out broadcast mobile TV services based on DVB-H in the near future.[6]

U Mobile also provides broadcast mobile TV to users of selected 3G phones, also based on DVB-H.[7]

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.

Live Streaming

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.

Most-viewed channels

Viewing shares, January–September 2012.[8]

Position Channel Group Share of total viewing (%)
1 TV3 Media Prima 26%
2 TV9 Media Prima 8%
3 TV2 Radio Televisyen Malaysia (government-owned) 7%
4 8TV Media Prima 6%
5 TV1 Radio Televisyen Malaysia 5%
6 NTV7 Media Prima 5%
7 Astro Ria Astro Holdings Sdn Bhd 4%
8 Sun TV Sun TV Network 4%
9 Astro Prima Astro Holdings Sdn Bhd 3%
10 Astro Ceria Astro Holdings Sdn Bhd 2%

See also


  1. ^ "Malaysia to launch digital TV trial program". 2005-10-06. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  2. ^ "Malaysia adopts DVB-T standard for digital broadcast transmissions". ABU. 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  3. ^ "Free satellite TV". The Star. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  4. ^ Goh, T. E. (June 19, 2008). "TM sees IPTV commercial roll-out in 12 months". Business Times. Retrieved June 21, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Maxis 3G in Action – Maxis TV". Retrieved June 21, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Maxis completes DVB-H trial". Mobile World. August 28, 2007. Retrieved June 21, 2008. 
  7. ^ Timbuong, J. (September 20, 2007). "U Mobile is newest cellular service provider". The Star. Retrieved June 21, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Financial & Business Review For The 9-month Period Ended 30 September 2012". Media Prima Berhad. p. 15. Retrieved 23 November 2013.