Virtually all Tunisian households have access to television and about half are equipped with satellite dishes. Most television broadcasts are in Arabic with daily news programs broadcast in French and English. There are three TV stations, two of which are privately owned and one is owned by the state and together they provide 5 channels as follows:
Le Television Tunisienne -
It broadcasts on Channel 7 and Channel 21
A list of programs in French can be found at: http://www.tunisie7.tn
There are two foreign television companies which provide a subscription service for international broadcasts including American and English language programs.
Hannibal TV -http://www.hannibaltv.com.tn
Nessma TV –
This private TV company is based in Tunis and in Paris. It is part of the Tunisian media company Karoui and Karoui which also runs interactive and SMS channels. It broadcasts in French and a list of programs can be found at: http://www.nessma.tv
The most popular satellite TV stations are broadcast via the NILESAT satellite. Most stations are exclusively Arabic but a few show American shows and series in English with Arabic subtitles.
This station can be received in Tunisia without any problem but it is not well-used as it plays mainly Italian and Eastern European channels and Pay-per-View.
These satellites provide good quality signals with dishes of 120cm in diameter. It can be received from the north coast down to Sfax but Djerba and the Sahara region would need a larger dish to counter the poor receiving quality.
Astra 1M digital satellite has been available since 2009 and a smaller 60cm dish is sufficient throughout most of the country.
This is largely unknown in Tunisia apart from in hotels which usually offer a limited selection of non-Arabic channels for tourists. They are distributed through the internal hotel cable system.
Other TV stations which are watched in Tunisia include MBC which is available through NILESAT.
It consists of MBC 2 which provides movies in English -
MBC 4 which includes news, American series such as Oprah and entertainment magazine-type programs in English -
MBC Action provides action sports programs and American drama series in English –
The DREAMBOX and tunisiasat
One of the most popular developments in Tunisia at the moment is that of the dreambox. The dreambox is german made line of sat decoders which normally are very expensive for the normal Tunisian. However those smart morally grey manufacturers in China have ripped off the units on a grand scale especially the DM 500 which you can see pictured below.
However the fake ones still carry out the central objective which is to "card share" which is totally illegal (just in case you think I am endorsing this) since its essentially one person buying a subscription and then using the internet sharing the details of their card with the network of boxes connected.
This service is available at almost all sat shops in Tunisia and normally you will be asked for 150 or so dinars for a years subscription. For this you will pretty much get all channels on any platform that uses the same hardware as the dream-box which is all arabic channels, all french channels on hotbird etc etc
Dreambox/Card-sharing user numbers are not available but if I said to you the Tunisiasat forum was the most popular website in Tunisia you should get the gist.
Getting Sky in Tunisia and English speaking channels
If you want to have the sky packages you will need to bring a box and subscription from the UK now this is not a guarantee but in the North of the country I have been told that if you have 2-3m diameter dish you should be able to get SKY TV.
For those in apartments with normal dishes and no option a subscription to canal + should give you the movies in English (change the audio track) however the best option if you can do it is to subscribe to the polish channels since they have BBC channels and everything which also send out the english audio (again change the audio channel) both of these options are via Hotbird.
On the Nilesat you have a variety of English channels with arabic subtitles such as much of MBC. If you can you may also go for the best option which is a Obit Showtime subscription which has loads of English language channels news channels, and movies. For sports you cannot beat Al Jazeera for football (any match in the world worth watching is on) and OSN for the rugby/cricket/golf since its essentiall Sky Sports with a different logo…..you even get the same commentators!!