Television was introduced in Finland in 1957. Color television started in 1969. Prior to 1986, Yle monopolized the Finnish television. All terrestrial analogue stations stopped broadcasting on 1 September 2007 after introducing digital television; cable providers were allowed to continue analog broadcasting in their networks until 1 March 2008.
Typically, foreign-language content is subtitled, retaining the original language soundtrack. This includes interview responses in news or magazine programmes not given in the main language of that programme. Foreign programming intended for children is, however, usually dubbed into one of the national languages. Regardless of the intended audience or original language, many shows receive a Finnish and/or Swedish title which is used in programme schedules.
Digital terrestrial television was launched on 21 August 2001. The analogue networks continued its broadcasts alongside the digital ones until 1 September 2007, when they were shut down nationwide.
Before the analogue switchoff, the terrestrial network had three multiplexes: MUX A, MUX B and MUX C. MUX A contained the channels of the public broadcaster Yleisradio and MUX B was shared between the two commercial broadcasters: MTV3 and Nelonen. MUX C contained channels of various other broadcasters. After the analogue closedown, a fourth multiplex named MUX E was launched.
In addition the free-to-air broadcasts, two companies are providing encryption cards for pay television: Canal Digital and PlusTV. Canal Digital was the first to launch, originally only offering four Canal+ channels (the Disney Channel was added later on). PlusTV was launched in November 2006, originally only broadcasting MTV3 Max and Subtv Juniori (later on adding Subtv Leffa and Urheilu+kanava). Both packages got more channels with the launch of MUX E in September 2007: SVT Europa and MTV3 Fakta was added to PlusTV and KinoTV was added to Canal Digital, while Discovery Channel, Eurosport, MTV Finland and Nickelodeon were added to both packages.
September 2007 also saw the launch of the SveaTV package in Ostrobothnia which broadcasts channels from Sweden.
The digital channel YLE Extra was closed on 31 December 2007 and was replaced by YLE TV1+, a simulcast of TV1 with subtitles included in the video stream. TV1+ was closed on 4 August 2008 due to its low viewing share.
Analogue cable television were switched off in Finland on 1 March 2008, but digital cable television is widespread all over the country and its infrastructure used for cable internet services.
Finnish major cable operators are DNA, Welho and TTV operating in Turku, Helsinki and Tampere areas. All pay television uses digital broadcasts, DVB-C set-top boxes have been available since 2001. Commercial HDTV broadcasting has also started with only a small amount of programming made in native HD, while most of the feed is upscaled from the SD feed.
Digital satellite television started in Nordic countries, and also in Finland, by Multichoice Nordic pay-TV platform during 1996. The first set-top boxes available were manufactured by Nokia and Pace. After that the service merged with Canal Digital in late 1997. Competing pay television Viasat and Yle's channel TV Finland started digital broadcasts in 1999.
Canal Digital launched some HDTV channels, like Discovery HD, on their digital paytv-package during 2006. Pan-European HDTV-channel Euro1080 HD1 is available also in Finland.
After test period during 2005-2006, commercial mobile pay television service based on the DVB-H standard started simultaneously with the digital switchover in September 2007. Around at the time were Yle, MTV3, Nelonen and The Voice TV, which also broadcast extra feeds and interactive content to mobile users. The DVB-H technology was quietly killed off in the beginning of 2012.
All Yle channels are broadcast free-to-air and so are a few commercial ones including MTV3, Nelonen, Sub, Jim, TV5, FOX and Kutonen. Yle channels are state owned and are funded by a ring fenced so-called "Yle tax".
Most of the channels are the same throughout mainland Finland. In Ostrobothnia and the Åland islands there is an extra multiplex available which provides encrypted channels from Sweden, along with respective local stations, and of course due to overlapping signals, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian and Estonian stations are able to be seen near the border areas and vice versa.