There are many free-to-air Italian channels available on satellite, most are broadcast via the Eutelsat Hotbird group of satellites at 13.0°East.
Most of RAI’s standard definition channels are unencrypted, unfortunately all HD versions are. Italy also has many free regional channels.
RAI (Radiotelevisione italiana) is Italy’s national public broadcasting company, owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
RAI’s broadcasts are also received in neighbouring countries, including Albania, Croatia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Slovenia, Vatican City, Switzerland, and Tunisia, and elsewhere on cable and satellite.
Half of RAI’s revenues come from broadcast receiving licence fees, the rest from the sale of advertising time.
Rai 1 is the flagship television channel of Rai, Italy’s national public service broadcaster, and the most watched television channel in the country.
It is a general interest channel, mainly focused on shows, movies and public service.
Rai 1 offers the most extensive coverage of events likely to be of interest to Italian nationals. Current programming includes news, sports and recreation. It is also the home of some great film entertainment.
The channel regularly records the largest Italian audience viewing figures, especially when it comes to its football coverage for any matches which involve the Italian national team, known colloquially as the ‘Azzurri’ or the ‘Blues’.
It also draws significant viewer numbers for its drama broadcasts, with festivals such as the Music Festival of San Remo proving particularly popular. News broadcasts throughout the day offer regular updates on current world and national events with the TG1.
This free TV channel also broadcasts a significant number of the most popular flagship programmes from Italian national television. These include the morning programme Unomattina; entertainment with Domenica In, and Linea verde for all lovers of nature and the environment. With the exception of some programmes which are reserved exclusively for Italian viewers.
Rai1 is distributed free of charge via the Hotbird satellite, and it can be received throughout Europe, the Mediterranean region and the Middle East.
In the eighties it was known for its political affiliation to the Italian Socialist Party; in recent years it has shifted its focus toward talk shows, reality television and infotainment.
Rai 2 is the second most popular channel in the Rai group. Like its big brother Rai 1, Rai 2 is publicly owned and has a general focus. The channel describes itself as providing “the best of contemporary television” and it offers a wide range of programming, ranging from culture to informative content. Entertainment is a major part of the Rai 2 schedule, with unconventional entertainment programs that try to catch the latest developments of our times.
Along with entertainment, Rai 2 offers general information, whether that’s in the form of its regular newscast or its information magazine “TG2 Dossier”. It offers regular updates from the Italian political scene via the show TG Parlamento, and also offers a full sporting update on Sundays. Rai 2 also broadcasts major international drama series such as NCIS, Desperate Housewives, Castle and Once Upon a Time. These series are combined with popular reality shows like “The Voice of Italy” or entertainment shows like the adventure game “L’Isola dei famosi” inspired by Robinson Crusoe’s adventures. Other entertainment programs for a general audience include: Al Posto Tuo, Quelli che…, Piazza Grande and Music Farm.
For younger viewers, the channel also broadcasts thematic programs as well as cartoons such as Digimon. Rai 2 is distributed free of charge (with the exception of a few programs that are reserved exclusively for Italian viewers) via the Hotbird satellite, and can be received throughout Europe the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Rai 3 is part of Rai, the Italian government broadcasting agency, which owns other channels, such as Rai 1 and Rai 2 (amongst others). Rai 3 first started transmissions on 15 December 1979. It has always been considered the most left-leaning channel of Italian public television.
Rai 3 is an Italian public broadcasting channel which focuses on cultural television with a regional focus. It belongs to the Italian broadcasting group Rai and describes itself as “a TV channel that engages people”. For example, every day, it presents a unique perspective on the Italian television panorama, and broadcasts investigations on issues around the evolution of Italian civil society. Rai 3 tries to feature programs dealing with every part of everyday life, and constantly offers a varied program schedule.
The channel broadcasts cultural programs about cinema, literature, music and the arts in general. It offers its viewers a wide range of informative documentaries and history programs, and the channel also transmits plenty of entertainment programs, films and television series, along with reality TV shows. The evening programming on Rai 3 is largely made up of television series and popular movies.
Sport is also a key part of the schedule, with broadcasts of recent sporting events and shows that are 100% dedicated to specific sports, as well as a weekly magazine program broadcast every Saturday. Rai 3 also provides regional information with its TGR.
The channel is provided free of charge (with the exception of a few programs that are reserved exclusively for Italian viewers) via the Hotbird satellite, and it can therefore be watched throughout Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, as well as the Middle East. It’s the ideal channel for Italians abroad or any lovers of Italian culture.
Rai Gulp is an Italian television channel aimed to a children/teenager viewership, and is owned and operated by the state-owned RAI television network.
The Rai Gulp channel was launched on June 1st, 2007. It is owned by the Italian public broadcasting company Rai (Radiotelevisione italiana), and is aimed exclusively at a children and teenage viewership. Most of the programmes it offers are broadcast in the Italian language.
Since the autumn of 2010 the station has altered its target audience focus slightly. Originally it was tailored for the 6-10 years age group, but now targets the 8-14 years demographic with the addition of animated and fiction-oriented shows.
The channel’s programming includes a variety of different genres, from animated series to a youth literature magazine programme and the Sunday film. Many European TV series find their place in the program schedule, including Di-Gata Defenders, Code Lyoko, The Last of the Mohicans, Monster Allergy, Loulou de Montmartre, Acqua in Bocca and a host of others.
Some new series have been broadcast since the creation of the channel, such as Deltora Quest and Capeta. The Sunday night movie has become an iconic feature of Rai Gulp.
The channel broadcast the 2014 Junior Eurovision Song Contest, won by Italy. Also of note was the retransmission of the BRIT Awards 2015, with performances by top artistes.
Rai News 24 is Italy’s first non-stop news and information channel, broadcast on digital terrestrial television in Italy and via satellite around Europe and North America.
Rai News 24 is an Italian public broadcasting service which was founded in 1999. Taking its inspiration from CNN, the American news channel, it belongs to the state-owned broadcasting company Rai (Radiotelevisione italiana) and broadcasts national and international current events and information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Spearheading the programme schedule, the Buogiorno Italia (Good Morning Italy) show begins the day with the latest news, updates, analyses and discussions. In addition to this there are news flashes broadcast every half hour, plus weather reports from MeteoNews and traffic information courtesy of Notizie dal CCISS.
International news with subtitles in Italian is also offered, such as that of the Decoder service, which broadcasts live images of international events.
For an analysis of the press, the Rassegna Stampa (Press Review) programme is divided into two parts. The first deals with national and international newspapers, the second focusses on the regional press.
Rai News 24 is not limited to general news. It also offers specific magazine programmes on the subjects of economics and business. The Economia, for example, tracks the financial markets.
If you don’t have time to follow all the programmes on the schedule, don’t worry. With Giro di Boa (Turning Point), you’ll have a daily summary of what took place during your absence.
Rai News 24 compares favourably with the venerable CNN. With quality programming and professional journalists, it has gained a large share of the audio-visual market. Rai News 24 is accessible via the HOTBIRD satellite.
Rai Scuola is an Italian channel created by Rai that is themed around education and Italian language issues. Rai Scuola is mainly intended to disseminate entertainment and cultural programs targeted at younger viewers. It features a range of shows dedicated to educational subjects, corresponding to the Italian school curriculum, from primary level to secondary. Shows therefore treat a broad spectrum of different topics, including science, foreign languages and mathematics.
Rai Scuola seeks to cover as many learning topics as possible, even including a popular introduction to road safety and traffic. It has also launched a major innovative educational project called “It D” devoted almost wholly to Italian and English learning, in cooperation with the BBC. The Italian Ministry of Education has also participated regularly in the creation of new shows on Rai Scuola.
Since 2012, many new programs have appeared on the channel’s schedule. For example, Nautilus has been an important educational and cultural addition, bringing together a collection of existing programs like CultBook, Art News and Gap. There have been new programs like “Zettel” as well as a philosophy show with Maurizio Ferrari and an economics program called “Lezioni dalla crisi” informing young people about global current affairs.
The educational channel Rai Scuola is available in all European countries, Turkey, North Africa and the Mediterranean basin via the HOTBIRD satellite. Therefore, Italian expatriates can enjoy Italian language entertainment shows every day of the week, 365 days a year.
Rai Sport 1
Rai Sport 1 is a channel that is solely dedicated to the coverage of sport. It offers a 100% coverage of sport, making it extremely popular in Italy where it has a faithful audience but also with a loyal following of foreign viewers who enjoy its content.
Rai Sports 1 covers a wide selection of sports, although football always takes pride of place in its programme scheduling. Live football matches and competitions are broadcast throughout the year by Rai Sport 1. Running in tandem alongside football, the channel also offers coverage of other popular sports, such as basketball, tennis, swimming, rugby and Formula 1 etc.
Every programme is headed by sports journalists or commentators who are renowned Italian experts in each discipline. Whether it is showing football, basketball, tennis, athletics or other sports Rai Sport 1 offers dynamic coverage of all major sporting events aimed at a wide spectrum of sports fans. As far as possible, all major sporting competitions and events are broadcast live with detailed commentary by journalists who are experts in their field or well-known former athletes.
Rai Sport 1 broadcasts exclusively in Italian and is available 7 days out of 7. Its use of HOTBIRD satellites makes it accessible in all European countries, as well as in Asia Minor, North Africa and the Mediterranean basin.
Rai Sport 2
Rai Sport 2 complements the sports programmes of its sister channel, the Rai Sport 1.
It broadcasts throughout the year live from major international competitions, national events and sometimes local matches. Among the many sporting events that you can see on Rai Sport 2 include championship rugby from Italy.
Rai Sport 2 also gives pride of place to cycling broadcasting almost the entire Tour de France or the Classic of San Sebastian. Thanks to its extremely rich programming in terms of competitions and disciplines, Rai Sport 2 is undoubtedly one of the most complete and thorough Italian channels in terms of spectator sports.
The channel also features a range of dedicated in depth sport analysis programmes where expert journalists and sports commentators examine and analyse the sports news of the day in detail.
You can watch this Italian sports channel via the Hotbird satellites from all European countries, Asia Minor, North Africa and throughout the Mediterranean.
Rai Storia mostly specializes in history and cultural programming and broadcasts and programmes associated with these themes.
It features an interesting and varied mix of examinations by journalists and historians that trace and examine the history of contemporary Italy.
There are also analytical programmes which address current issues that concern the world on subjects as varied as the progress of the humanity of Homo Sapiens to Napoleon, the stories of women travelers or the remaining traces of the Great War 100 years later. It will also take you on a journey to discover the landscapes and charming places of our neighbouring transalpine areas through the many magazine programmes, like Viaggio in Italia (Italian journey) or evoke the great moments and the legendary riders of the cycling race with nell’Italia viaggio di Giro (Tour in Italian Giro ).
Rai Storia is also keen on cinema and culture and offers encounters with legendary artists like Frank Sinatra or famous figures of a variety of Italian music . In the area of cinema , it has a dedicated programme called Binario Cinema which presents a selection of films about the life of historical figures who have had an undeniable impact on the world’s progress and developments.
Automoto TV is, as its name suggests, a satellite channel entirely centered on the world of cars, motorcycles, and everything about them.
The channel offers a range of programs and magazine shows for automotive enthusiasts of all ages from all around the world.
The programming is based on a slice format, with live daily “Auto News” and “Moto News” segments presenting information on cars and motorbikes with flair and authority. Automoto TV viewers can keep abreast of all the technological developments in this fast-paced sector, while watching previews of forthcoming models before their official launch, and enjoy reviews of new machines released by major manufacturers as soon as they become available.
A wide range of cars and motorcycles are put through extensive tests by a panel of experts, in formal trials and freestyle sessions, with information from the manufacturer relayed to the viewer in real time. The channel also presents coverage of car and motorbike racing, with footage of both current events and historical classics across all formats. Programming also includes documentaries and features on the history of the auto world, including iconic models from renowned manufacturers past and present. Whatever your interest in the world of cars and motorcycles, Automoto TV has a wide variety of programs that will both entertain and inform.
Camera dei deputati
Founded in 1996, the Italian Camera dei deputati channel broadcasts television debates from the Chamber of Deputies live from the transalpine Montecitorio palace in Rome.
A true tool of democracy, the parliamentary channel presents a fascinating and varied mix of live coverage of parliamentary sessions and debates on topics as diverse as justice, finance, social or cultural matters crucial to the future of the country. As a viewer of this channel, you will have an instant and accurate overview of the substantive issues which agitate modern Italy. You can also observe the committee work on current relevant social and political topics such as same sex civil unions or the way television can be at the service of the citizens.
The channel also broadcasts major events involving the members or uses the Montecitorio palace to frame a series of lectures and films; on the changing role of women, for example, or perhaps on the four hundred years of the trial of Galileo. Camera dei deputati also breaks new ground in transmission by giving the floor to experts and historians as they examine the operation of the legislative process or trace the origins of the bicameral system in Italy with its two Parliamentary sections; the Chamber of Deputies, and the Senate of the Republic.
The images of the Camera dei deputati are also used extensively by major TV channels of the peninsula to illustrate their own news programmes and evening papers.