Latvijas Televīzija

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Latvijas Televīzija
TypePublic broadcaster
AvailabilityLatvia, online
SloganSkaties tālāk (Look Further)
OwnerGovernment of Latvia
Key people
Ivars Priede (Board Member)
Launch date
6 November 1954; 66 years ago (1954-11-06)
Formerly LTV2
Affiliation(s)Public Broadcasting of Latvia
European Broadcasting Union
Official website

Latvijas Televīzija (Latvian Television, LTV) is the state-owned public service television broadcaster in Latvia. LTV operates two channels, LTV1 in Latvian and LTV7 (previously called LTV2) in Latvian with selected programming in Russian.

The broadcaster has been fully funded by the state budget since 1 January 2021, when, after years of debate, it and radio broadcaster Latvijas Radio exited the advertising market.[1] It is currently led by Ivars Priede, the sole Board Member (previously - by the Chairman of the Board).[2]

LTV is a member of the European Broadcasting Union, having joined on 1 January 1993. From the restoration of independence in 1991 to 31 December 1992, it was a member of the International Radio and Television Organisation (OIRT). LTV hosted the annual Eurovision Song Contest in 2003, as well as the IIHF Men's Ice Hockey Championships in 2006 and the inaugural Eurovision Choir of the Year competition in 2017.

LTV1 broadcasts the Eurovision Song Contest[3] in Latvia each year, and LTV7 also broadcasts many sport events such as the Olympics, various Latvian league and national team games, Minor Hockey League, UEFA European Football Championship games and the FIFA World Cup.


Origins, 1954 to 1993[edit]

The first experimental broadcast of television in Latvia took place on 10 November 1937 at the Latvian Radio Society (Latvian: Latvijas Radio biedrība) during a public viewing in Riga, using an oscilloscope with the screen size of 45x50 cm.[4] There were plans to launch regular broadcasts of "visual radio" by the Latvian Radiophone in the early 1940s, but these were suspended by the occupation of Latvia and World War II.[5]

The first contemporary test broadcasts started on 6 November 1954 from a studio in Soviet Riga in black-and-white, which were seen by the 20 owners of personal television sets. It is the first and oldest national television station in the Baltic countries. Regular broadcasting started on 20 November 1954. At the beginning, LTV didn't have rights to create their own programming except live shows. In 1955, the Riga Television studio in Nometņu iela, Āgenskalns was created to produce its own programming and the first TV tower in Latvia was built.[6]

On 19 March 1958, the first evening news show went on the air. In 1963, it was renamed Panorāma, as it is known to this day. A second TV channel was launched in 1961 and both channels converted to SÉCAM color in 1974. In 1986, both the Riga TV Tower and the LTV television headquarters in Zaķusala were officially completed.

During the Third Latvian National Awakening, the broadcaster became more open to Glasnost-style freedom of expression and criticism of Soviet rule in Latvia, most notably in the form of the Labvakar political talk show (1988–1993). The buildings in Zaķusala were one of the locations defended during The Barricades.[7][8] During the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt troops of the OMON unit seized the LTV building on August 21, suspending broadcasts for two days.[9][5]


Latvian Television building on the island of Zaķusala

On 1 January 1993, Latvian Television and Radio Latvia became members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). On 2 February 1998, LTV along with LNT, Channel 31 (now TV3) and TV Riga (later TV5) converted to PAL color. In 2006, LTV2, the second channel, was rebranded as LTV7.

In 2008, LTV started broadcasting in digital terrestrial TV standard in MPEG2 format, changing to MPEG4 format on 1 August 2009 as the telecommunications company Lattelecom has been chosen to be the official integrator of digital terrestrial TV in Latvia. Analogue distribution of LTV7 finished on 1 March 2010. LTV completely finished broadcasting LTV1 in analogue format on 1 July 2010. Both LTV channels are also available on the Sirius satellite's Nordic beam as part of the Viasat package.

LTV changed its aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9 in 2013.[10] A full switch to HDTV broadcasts, currently planned for 2021 or 2022,[11] has not so far been implemented due to financial constraints,[12][13] although selected programming such as live broadcast of a staging of The Nutcracker by the Latvian National Opera on LTV1 in 2012[14] and the matches of the IIHF World Championships on LTV7 since 2018, has been shown in HD.[15]

Until 2021, the broadcaster was funded by grant-in-aid from the Latvian government (around 60%), with the remainder coming from television commercials. Although moving LTV to licence fee funding was long been debated, this was often opposed by the government, with media analysts believing that the real reason for this is that the government is reluctant to lose the control of LTV that state-funding gives it.[citation needed]

Public Broadcasting of Latvia (since 2013)[edit]

Since 2013 LTV has come under the umbrella of Public Broadcasting of Latvia along with Radio Latvia, as part of the unification process of both public broadcasters. LTV and Radio Latvia now share one news portal,, and an online streaming service (, with content from both broadcasters.

In 2017 LTV launched the online channel Visiem LTV (also styled VISIEMLTV.LV) for foreign viewers, mostly targeted for the Latvian diaspora. The programming is a mix of LTV1 and LTV7 broadcasts that are not restricted by copyright laws and are available globally.[16]

After years of debate, in June 2018 the Saeima unanimously voted to amend legislation allowing the public broadcaster to exit the advertising market and be fully funded by the state budget.[17] In 2020 the necessary funding was earmarked by the Government of Latvia, with Latvijas Televīzija and Latvijas Radio exiting the ad market effective January 1, 2021.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Public media exits the advertising market". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. 2 January 2021. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Kontakti un rekvizīti / LTV.LV". Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  3. ^ Bakker, Sietse (1 December 2002). "Renars Kaupers and Marie N hosts 2003 show". Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Šodien televīzijai Latvijā 80 gadu. Latvija bija viena no pirmajām pasaules valstīm, kas raidīja savu TV signālu" [Television in Latvia turns 80 this year. Latvia was one of the first countries to broadcast its own TV signal]. Sandra Veinberga | Blogs (in Latvian). 10 November 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  5. ^ a b "televīzija Latvijā" [Television in Latvia]. Latvian National Encyclopedia (in Latvian). Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  6. ^ "Vēsture un Fakti / LTV.LV" [History and Facts | LTV]. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  7. ^ Zaltāns, Kaspars (8 March 2016). "Latvia's Barricades of Freedom – What Do They Mean 25 Years On?". Deep Baltic. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  8. ^ "The girl who passed around tea on the Barricades in 1991". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. 16 January 2021. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  9. ^ Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999: Report Submitted to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives and Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate by the Department of State in Accordance with Sections 116(d) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as Amended. 2. U.S. Government Printing Office. 2003. p. 1642. ISBN 9780160606700.
  10. ^ LTV1 maina attēla malu attiecību uz 16:9. ltvpanorama on YouTube.
  11. ^ "Salipinātā sistēma, dārgā lībiešu sēta un sniega pika vēlās ilgi… "LA" nedēļas apskats". (in Latvian). 7 January 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  12. ^ "LTV pārejai uz augstas izšķirtspējas apraidi nepieciešami aptuveni astoņi miljoni eiro (Switching to high-definition broadcasts for LTV requires approx. 8 million Euro)". Diena (in Latvian). 2 August 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Apstiprina LTV un LR 2017. gada pārskatus". (in Latvian). 2 August 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Baleta "Riekstkodis" translācija – pirmā LTV tiešraide augstas izšķirtspējas kvalitātē (First-ever LTV live broadcast in HD – ballet "The Nutcracker")". (in Latvian). 17 December 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Lattelecom and Latvian Television gain exclusive six-year broadcast rights in Latvia to the IIIHF Ice Hockey World Championship |". 16 May 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  16. ^ "VISIEMLTV.LV – jauns interneta televīzijas kanāls latviešiem ārzemēs".
  17. ^ "No ads on public media starting 2021, parliament says". 20 June 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2021.

External links[edit]