Television in Mexico

Television is a popular form of entertainment in Mexico, with mass entertainment playing an important role in creating a national, unified culture.[2]

El chavo
A statue of El Chavo (portrayed by comedian Chespirito), lead character of the eponymous 1980 sitcom. Reruns of El Chavo have remained popular in syndication across Mexico and the Americas.[1]

Network television

Mexico has four national commercial television networks reaching 75% or more of the population. Two are owned by Televisa, the Las Estrellas and Canal 5 networks, while TV Azteca owns the Azteca 7 and Azteca Uno networks.

There are also several other commercial networks with less than 75% national reach. Chief among these are Televisa's NU9VE, which in some areas shares time with regional programming, and Multimedios Televisión, which broadcasts mostly in northeastern Mexico.

Noncommercially, Canal Once operated by the Instituto Politécnico Nacional is the oldest educational television service in Latin America. The Sistema Público de Radiodifusión del Estado Mexicano (SPR) operates a network of digital retransmitters which offer multiple public television stations, including Canal 22, teveunam, Ingenio TV and its own Una Voz con Todos. As SPR's national transmitter network complements that of Canal Once, almost all of its stations also retransmit that network.

Television genres


In Mexico, telenovelas usually involve a romantic couple that encounters many problems throughout the show's run, a villain and usually ends with a wedding. One common ending archetype, consists of a wedding, and with the villain dying, going to jail, becoming permanently injured or disabled, or losing his/her mind.


Television in Mexico first began on August 19, 1946 in Mexico City when Guillermo González Camarena transmitted the first television signal in Latin America from the bathroom of his home. On September 7, 1946 at 8:30 PM (CST) Mexico’s and Latin America’s first experimental television station was established and was given the XE1GC callsign. This experimental station broadcast an artistic program and interviews on Saturdays for two years.[3]

Mexico’s first commercial station, XHTV channel 4 in Mexico City, signed on August 31, 1950, making Mexico the first Spanish-speaking country to introduce television. It started transmitting regular programs on the following day. The first program to be broadcast was President Miguel Alemán Valdés IV Informe de Gobierno.[4] Within a year, XEW-TV channel 2, owned by the Azcárraga family, was formed. Mexico's first color television transmission was carried out by the third television station in the capital, González Camarena's XHGC Canal 5. In 1955, all three stations formed an alliance, Telesistema Mexicano (TSM), the predecessor to Televisa. In 1959, XEIPN-TV channel 11 signed on, the base of today's Canal Once network and the first educational television station in Latin America.

Broadcast expansion

With the exception of the short-lived but popular Televisión Independiente de México (1968–72), which TSM absorbed in 1973 to form Televisa, the latter saw no major commercial competition until 1993. Instead, the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s were marked by a large expansion in state-owned television. This took flight in 1972 when the government, through financier SOMEX, expropriated XHDF-TV in Mexico City and used it to form the base of a Canal 13 national network with repeaters across the country. At the same time, a project known as Televisión Rural de México (later Televisión de la República Mexicana) sought to bring culture and information to rural Mexican audiences. In the 1980s, XHTRM-TV channel 22, the first UHF television station in the Valle de México, came to air bringing TRM programming to the nation's capital. In 1985, TRM was dismantled, and with the sign-on of XHIMT-TV channel 7 in Mexico City, the TRM repeaters were linked to that station, which became the flagship of the Red Nacional 7 of Imevisión. In 1993, Imevisión's privatization gave birth to Televisión Azteca.

This time period also saw the development of the first television networks run by state governments, including TVMÁS in Veracruz and TeleMichoacán. 25 of Mexico's 32 federal entities currently boast state networks.

Cable television

The first cable system started to operate in the early 1960s in Monterrey, as a CATV service (an antenna at the top of the Loma Larga, which could get TV signals from Laredo, Texas and the Rio Grande Valley). Most of the other major cities didn't develop cable systems until the late 1980s, due to government censorship. By 1989, the industry had had a major impulse with the founding of Multivisión—a MMDS system who started to develop its own channels in Spanish—and the later development of companies such as Cablemás and Megacable.

Over the past few years, many US networks have started to develop content for the Latin American market, such as CNN en Español, MTV, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and others. The country also has a DTH service called SKY (Televisa & News Corp. owned). Recently DirecTV merged with Sky. The dominant company nowadays is Megacable and Grupo HEVI.

Digital television

Kate del Castillo at the 2012 Imagen Awards
Kate del Castillo, known for her lead role in the telenovela Muchachitas for Televisa, in 2012. Subsequently, del Castillo has worked in several American TV series and had supporting roles in Hollywood feature films and in Ingobernable, a Mexican political drama web television series that premiered on Netflix on 24 March 2017

Televisa made experimental HDTV broadcasts in the early 1990s, in collaboration with Japan's NHK.

Eiza González en IDM pasarelas
Eiza González. In 2007, she gained popularity for her debut role as "Lola" in the Mexican teen-oriented musical telenovela Lola...Érase una vez. She currently plays Santanico Pandemonium on the television show From Dusk till Dawn: The Series.

However, the digital television transition saw the government devise several switchover plans, none of which stuck. In 2004, the government adopted the same ATSC standard as the United States and sought to end analog television by December 31, 2016. In major markets, particularly in central Mexico and along the US border, digital television stations began to come on air.

A revised plan in 2013 saw a change to switching off television markets separately until a national analog shutoff, set for December 31, 2015. The first market to meet the conditions of 90% digital penetration was Tijuana. After a one-month delay to ensure that digital penetration had crossed the 90% threshold, signals were turned off on May 28. However, Cofetel allowed the Tijuana stations to resume analog broadcasting just a few days later over concerns that the switchover would have a negative impact in the lead up to state elections on July 7; the switchover occurred for good on July 18.[5]

Delays continued due to legal concerns and the telecommunications reform of 2013–14 promulgated by President Enrique Peña Nieto, which required entirely new legislation in the sector and created the new Federal Telecommunications Institute. However, digital switchover got back on track in 2015 when Reynosa/Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo switched off on January 13, the first of ten dates that year on which stations in various regions of the country shut off. By December 31, all high-power stations had shut off, with some 500 low-power stations remaining in service for an additional year due to the financial difficulties encountered by public broadcasters in transitioning and the existence of unprepared repeater stations.

Cable channels

  • Tiin – Airs children's and teens' series and movies.
  • De Pelicula – Mexican cinema from the Golden Era. Available in Mexico, Latin America, United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Telehit – Hit Music Network. Mexico and U.S.
  • TL Novelas – Televisa's most famous soap operas. Pan American, European and Australian Versions.
  • Unicable – Univision and low-cost productions.
  • TVC – Magazine Network. Available in all Mexican States but DF. Produced by major cable-system provider PCTV.
  • Platino – B-Movies.

Further reading

  • Mejía Barquera, Fernando. La industria de la radio y televisión y la política del estado mexicano (1920-1960). Mexico City: Fundación Manuel Buendía 1989.
  • Saragoza, Alex M. "Television." Encyclopedia of Mexico. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997, pp. 1397-1400.
  • Trejo Delarbre, Raúl, ed. Televisa: El quinto poder. Mexico City: Claves Latinoamerianas 1985.

See also


  1. ^ Antunes, Anderson. "Meet El Chavo, The World's Most Famous (And Richest) Orphan". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  2. ^ Howard F. Cline, Mexico: Revolution to Evolution, 1940–1960. New York: Oxford University Press 1963, p. 66-67.
  3. ^ Latin America's first experimental television station ‹See Tfd›(in Spanish) Archived 2013-09-21 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ XHTV first television station in Latin America ‹See Tfd›(in Spanish) Archived 2011-10-06 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Ahora sí, habrá apagón analógico este jueves en Tijuana". Animal Político. 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2013-07-17. (Spanish)

External links

Canal 10 Chiapas

Canal 10 Chiapas (virtual channel 10, call sign XHTTG-TDT) is the state television network of the state of Chiapas, operated by the Sistema Chiapaneco de Radio, Televisión y Cinematografía (Chiapas Radio, Television and Film System). It currently is broadcast on four primary transmitters in the state, though it had as many as 10 main transmitters in the analog era, when Canal 10 Chiapas reached 77.36% of the state's population.

Canal Catorce

Canal Catorce (Channel 14, formerly known as Una Voz con Todos) is a Mexican State-owned television network, operated by the Mexican State Public Broadcasting System (MSPBS). It was launched in 2012 and is distributed via MSPBS's digital terrestrial television network, as well as on all pay television providers. It is based in Mexico City.

Radio y Televisión Querétaro

Radio y Televisión Querétaro (RTQ) is the state radio and television network of the Mexican state of Querétaro, broadcasting on two radio stations and one television station in the state. It is operated by the Sistema Estatal de Comunicación Cultural y Educativa del Gobierno de Querétaro (SECCE), or "State System for Cultural and Educational Communication of the Government of Querétaro".

Radio y Televisión de Guerrero

Radio y Televisión de Guerrero is a statewide public television network and series of radio stations, owned and operated by the agency of the same name of the State of Guerrero.

Radio y Televisión de Hidalgo

Radio y Televisión de Hidalgo is the state television and radio agency of the State of Hidalgo. It operates a radio network consisting of ten stations and a television network with six transmitters.RTH was founded in 1982 and began broadcasting on TV that year, signing on XHPAH channel 3. Its Pachuca radio station came to air in December 1985.

Sistema Michoacano de Radio y Televisión

The Sistema Michoacano de Radio y Televisión (Michoacán State Radio and Television System or SMRTV) is the public broadcaster of the Mexican state of Michoacán. It includes statewide FM and TV networks, as well as an AM radio station in the state capital of Morelia. SMRTV's programming primarily consists of scientific, cultural and educational content, along with news and sports coverage.

Sistema Quintanarroense de Comunicación Social

The Sistema Quintanarroense de Comunicación Social (SQCS, English: Quintana Roo Social Communication System) is the state broadcaster of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, founded on January 30, 1985. It operates several television and radio stations in the state.


TV UNAM (stylized as tvunam and tv•unam, formerly written teveunam) is an educational television network owned and operated by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City.

Programming on TV UNAM generally consists of educational telecourse programs for UNAM students, plus public affairs, documentary and cultural programming. Some TV UNAM programming can also be seen on the nationwide Edusat service.

Televisión Educativa (Mexico)

Televisión Educativa, known commonly by its network name Edusat, is an educational television network implemented by the General Directorate of Educational Television of the Secretariat of Public Education of Mexico in 1994 with origins dating to 1968. Edusat is a portmanteau of "education" and "satellite".

Televisión Mexiquense

Mexiquense TV is the public television network of the Mexican State of Mexico. It is operated by the Sistema de Radio y Televisión Mexiquense, a state agency which also owns six radio stations. It consists of two high-powered television transmitters covering the valleys of Toluca and Mexico, supplemented by 28 retransmitters.

Televisión Tabasqueña

Televisión Tabasqueña (TVT) is a state-owned public television network serving the Mexican state of Tabasco on three broadcast transmitters. The network is operated by CORAT, the Tabasco Radio and Television Commission, along with La Radio de Tabasco and Mega 94.9. TVT programming primarily consists of cultural and educational content.

TVT's studios are currently located in the Tabasco Convention Center, but will be moved to allow for the center's renovation.


XEIMT-TDT, known as Canal 22, is a television station located in Mexico City. Broadcasting on channel 22, XEIMT is owned by Televisión Metropolitana, S.A. de C.V., and operated by the Secretariat of Culture. It is one of Mexico's principal public television stations, with a format emphasizing cultural programming.

Canal 22 is carried on all Mexican cable systems, on 25 SPR transmitters outside Mexico City, and as an international feed on some cable systems in the United States.


XHBZC-TDT virtual channel 8, known on-air as Canal 8, is an educational and public television station owned and operated by the government of the State of Baja California Sur in La Paz. It is part of IERT, the Instituto Estatal de Radio y Televisión, and produces local programming including news and public affairs shows. It also airs programming from Canal Once.


XHCDM-TDT is a digital-only television station licensed to Mexico City, transmitting on channel 21 from Cerro del Chiquihuite. Branded as Capital 21, it is owned by the Government of Mexico City.

It is one of the newest stations in Mexico City; while the government had worked for years to build a station (which, had it signed on in analog, might have been channel 36, 38 or 42), it received its permit on February 22, 2010, and it signed on in 2012.


TVMÁS HD is the state-owned public broadcaster serving the Mexican state of Veracruz.


Puebla TV (XHPUE-TDT channel 26 in Puebla) is the public television network of the Mexican state of Puebla. Covering a little over 40% of the state (by population), it offers educational, cultural and alternative programming; much is locally generated content intended to address the needs, expectations and lives of Pueblan society.The network has transmitters in Puebla City and Zacatlán.


XHSLS-TDT channel 35 (virtual channel 9) is a television station in San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí which is owned by the state government. It is known as Nueve TV and carries local and national public television programming.


XHST-TDT, known as Tele Yucatán, is a television station on virtual channel 4 in Mérida, Yucatán. It is owned by Sistema Tele Yucatán, S.A. de C.V., a company wholly owned by the government of the State of Yucatán, with a schedule of primarily local programs including news, sports, culture and entertainment.

XHST is one of six state-owned television stations that are commercial concessions.


Tlaxcala Televisión is a public television station operated by the Coordinación de Radio, Cine y Televisión de Tlaxcala (CORACYT) which serves the Mexican state of Tlaxcala. Tlaxcala Televisión's programming primarily consists of cultural and educational content, along with news and sports coverage.

TDT was founded in the early 1980s and traces its roots to the breakup of Televisión Rural de México, which operated a channel 12 in Tlaxcala.In the 1990s, the state television station ceased all local production; this returned in 2000.

In the late 2000s through to 2017, the state network was known as "TDT, La Televisión de Tlaxcala", predating the conversion of the network to digital television, or televisión digital terrestre. All digital stations in Mexico carry the -TDT suffix. The state network renamed to Tlaxcala Televisión in 2017.

Television in North America
Sovereign states
Dependencies and
other territories
Digital television in North America
Satellite TV
Technical issues
Network topology
and switching

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