Hungarian TV turns 70 this year

Hungarian TV turns 70 this year

Iconic Széchenyi Hill transmission tower celebrates 65th anniversary.

Seventy years ago, Magyar Posta (Hungarian Post) began broadcasting television trials in Hungary, with regular broadcasts starting in 1957. The transmission tower on Széchenyi Hill, a landmark of the Budapest skyline, has been in operation for 65 years.

The pioneering steps in Hungarian television were taken in the 1950s by the experts at Magyar Posta. The decision to start television broadcasting was taken in 1953, and test broadcasts began on 20 January 1954. In 1955, the Television Department of Hungarian Radio was set up to coordinate television experiments, and on 1 May 1957, Labour Day, regular broadcasts began with coverage of the festive parade.

To mark the 65th anniversary of the Országos Mikrohullámú Központ (OMK) (National Microwave Centre), Antenna Hungária unveiled a commemorative plaque in the building of the transmission tower on Széchenyi Hill. The 11-storey building, officially named Antenna Hungária OMK, was not only a dominant element of the Budapest skyline, but also featured in the main title of a popular Hungarian TV series, ‘Neighbours’. As a backbone transmitter, it transmits analogue radio and digital television channels over the terrestrial airwaves, and its 17-metre antenna and 192-metre tower make it the second tallest building in Budapest – the tallest building in the capital is the 203-metre chimney of the North Buda Thermal Power Plant.
A major change in Hungarian television came in 1989, the year in which daily broadcasting was introduced, replacing the Monday break. It was also the year in which the Hungarian Broadcasting Company, the forerunner of today’s Antenna Hungária Zrt., was founded. Since 1992, Duna Television has also been available via satellite. Analogue broadcasting was discontinued in 2013, and since then Antenna Hungária has been providing digital terrestrial broadcasting.

The most important anniversaries of television broadcasting in Hungary:

  • On 16 December 1953, the first television programme was broadcast in Hungary.
  • On 2 January 1954, Hungarian television began its trial broadcasts.
  • On 23 February 1957, Hungarian television began its test broadcasts.
  • On 1 May 1957, regular television broadcasting began.
  • On 22 February 1958, the transmission tower on Széchenyi Hill (National Microwave Centre, in Hungarian: OMK) was inaugurated.
  • In 1987, the AM-Micro system was introduced to provide foreign language broadcasts for tourists from western countries.
  • Since 1989, there has been a television programme on every day of the week.
  • The Hungarian Broadcasting Corporation was spun off from the Hungarian Post in 1989 and is now known as Antenna Hungária.
  • In 1992, Duna Television began broadcasting via satellite, targeting Hungarians living across the border, while also being available in Paris and Berlin, for example.