Written by James Dean
Prague is a wonderful place for going out, but you´re going to want to have quiet evenings at home as well. If a television and a sofa were an integral part of your patriate life and you wish to keep things that way, here are your Czech television options:
There are four terrestrial Czech channels: ČT1, ČT2, Nova and Prima. ČT1 and ČT2 are funded by license fee; the latter two generate revenue through advertising, and are also aired on cable and satellite. A television license (also covering radio) is mandatory in the Czech Republic and costs 120 CZK per month.
Česká Televize´s website can be found at http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/english, and a daily program listing can be found at http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/program/
ČT1 is a multi-purpose channel, showing Czech movies, news, films and family shows. Their sister channel ČT2 shows mostly documentaries and cultural programs, along with a daily news program, ‘Euronews´, broadcast in English. ČT2 also has a weekly film club showing a film in its original language (often English) with Czech subtitles, and the occasional English comedy (Monty Python´s Flying Circus). Outside of this, you will struggle to find anglophilic broadcasts on terrestrial television. Occasionally, older US TV shows (Columbo) will be broadcast in both the Czech-dubbed and original-English versions; you´ll just need a TV with dual language (which most contemporary sets have) to see the English version.
For around 2500 CZK, a digital box can be purchased which will provide you with extra channels, including: ČT24 (a news channel), ČT4 (a sports channel), 24cz (politics), Top (shopping) and Očko (music videos). There is no subscription cost to this service, and you can simply connect the box to the existing aerial. However, English broadcasts will still likely be at a premium.
Most properties in Prague will have access to either cable or satellite television. The main provider of these services is UPC, who supplies both. Their website can be found at http://www.upc.cz. They also supply internet and telephone connections.
The UPC satellite service offers a better selection of channels for English customers, including; Animal Planet, BBC Prime, Cartoon Network, CNN, Discovery, Eurosport, MTV, VH1 and National Geographic. English films are a rarity, and many of those that you do find will be dubbed, and not subtitled. English channels represent a small quota of those on UPC, with the majority being German or Czech.
Fortunately, it is possible to receive UK´s SKY television in the Czech Republic. To receive a full range of channels, a large 2m dish will be required, but the majority of channels can still be received with a standard dish. In addition, you will still need a SKY subscription to obtain a viewing card, for which you require a UK address. If you do not have SKY hardware or a viewing card and a UK address, a complete service can be found at http://www.skydigital.cz. For details about their packages and prices see their website.
For expatriates who are serious about their television, SKY will be the best option. If you wish to have a telephone and internet connection as well, then it may be worth speaking to UPC, or one of the other cable providers. Unless you have a decent grasp of Czech, terrestrial television or digital is unlikely to be worthwhile as entertainment - though it can be very useful as a tool to learn the language.
If your primary interest is films, then there are plenty of DVD rental shops in Prague from which you can get your supply. Expect to pay around 100 CZK for new releases and 50 CZK for older films. To be a member of the store you will need to pay, possibly just a returnable deposit but maybe a small sum to cover the cost of the card too. Nearly all rented English DVD´s will not be dubbed, but will have the option of subtitles, which could be invaluable for improving your Czech language skills. For more details see DVD/Video Rental in Prague.