In Latvia there are two national TV stations and several privately owned TV stations several of whom are a part of international media companies. The language of these channels is Latvian and foreign movies and TV series are dubbed in Latvian. In addition, a large number of other channels are available through cable and satellite TV providers. These usually are in the original language with the option to select Latvian subtitles.
The state operates two digital TV channels:
The biggest digital private Latvian TV channels are:
Each of these channels offers a mix of news and entertainment content, including self-produced and foreign TV shows and movies.
The only "classic" cable company that operates in Latvia is Baltcom that offers TV channel packs with or without decoder. The various sets of TV channels (e.g., movies, sports, international news) cost between 5 EUR and 20 EUR per month depending on the number and type of channels. The company offers to sell a decoder (approx. 84 EUR one-time payment) that enables the client to view digital and HD channels.
A good alternative to cable TV is Internet TV that is offered by most Internet providers (see this guide's section on Internet). Internet TV costs as little as 5 EUR per month and can be booked either separately or together with your phone and/or internet connection.
The largest satellite TV service provider is Viasat that offers a wide section of TV channels only available for its users, including several movie and sports channels. Viasat offers several sets of channels that cost between 10 EUR and 35 EUR per month. A decoder is usually included in the monthly price. Viasat services can be either ordered online or bought in most tech stores across Latvia.
In Latvia it is fairly popular to buy a satellite dish and install it yourself as this makes it possible to watch thousands of (uncoded) international TV channels without any monthly costs.
In the past decade Latvia has consistently been among the world's top 10 countries by Internet speed. Especially in the big cities optical internet lines are available and mean easily available, cheap and fast Internet connections. For example, a 100 Mbit/s connection typically costs around 15 EUR a month, a 400 Mbit/s connection is available for as little as 30 EUR a month.
The speed and price of the Internet connection depends on the infrastructure available at your address. Commonly the price of a router is included in the contract, however you can choose to buy your own.
The majority of providers offer service packages that, in addition to an internet connection, also include a phone line and interactive TV. Shop around for the best offers.
Once you have applied for an internet connection with the provider of your choice, they will offer you several possible dates for installation. Typically, you will receive a time slot of 3-4 hours during which the technician will stop by within one to two weeks from the date of application.
With the advent of free WiFi in most cafes and restaurants (see next section) internet cafes have lost their popularity and only a few remain from what was once a widely available service.
Some central cafes in Riga:
An hour of internet costs approximately 0.50 EUR.
Free wireless internet is available in almost every cafe and restaurant; keep your eye out for "Free WiFi" signs. In many cafes WiFi networks are password protected, inquire with the staff.
In addition, Lattelecom offers a service of over 4000 WiFi access points all over Latvia. The majority of these networks are free of charge and an up-to-date map can be found on the Lattelecom website or by calling 177.
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