Will My TV Work In Europe? (A Comprehensive Guide)

You’ve come to the perfect site whether you’re relocating to Europe, studying abroad, or simply curious if your existing TV will operate throughout the continent.

Can I use my TV in Europe?

You may use your TV in Europe if you have an adapter or converter that converts the 240-volt (European) power supply to the 120-volt power supply in your country (US). Apps on your TV may then be used to watch streaming content on your device. An HDMI video format converter is required to convert the format to NTSC if you plan on using cable.

When evaluating whether or not the TV you are using will function in Europe, two factors must be taken into account: First, there’s the electrical system, and then there’s the signal transmission. Even if an adapter/converter can readily overcome the electrical variances, a difference in the transmission of the signal might occasionally leave your American TV in Europe worthless.

Any TV adapter or converter should do the trick if you own a smart TV and don’t care about obtaining local broadcasts. You may use the TV’s applications to connect to the internet and access Steam.

As a result, not all smart TV applications may be available to you, depending on the region in which you reside (Using a virtual private network (VPN) might provide a solution in this situation.). If you have a US-based smart TV, be aware that certain of its capabilities may be hard-coded to work exclusively in the US.

If you want to watch TV through cable, satellite, or over-the-air with an antenna, you’ll have to have an HDMI video format converter to change the format to NTSC.

Read on to learn more.

Differences in current flow

The electrical systems in Europe and the United States are very different. The form of the plug and the voltage are the two factors that determine whether or not a plug is safe to use.

The plug’s shape

Plugs in Europe have two prongs that are rounded, but plugs in the United States have two prongs which are flat.

An adapter/”adapter” converter’s portion takes care of this. The converter does nothing more than change the shape of your US plug to fit the European socket.

Now that we have a working outlet for our television, the only issue left to address is voltage.


Voltage, in the simplest terms, is what causes electric charges to move.

A 240-volt appliance is more common in Europe than in the United States.

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Plugging a 120-volt appliance into a 240-volt outlet will almost certainly cause permanent damage to the device.

The adapter/”converter” converter’s section takes care of this. Using a voltage converter when traveling in Europe, you may convert the 240-volt electricity to 120-volts.


To guarantee that your TV gets the right voltage when plugged into a European socket, just purchase an adapter/converter.

Keep in mind that because you’re using this for a television, you should not purchase any adapter/converter you see at the store. It is possible that you will end up with one that is unable to manage the power output of your TV if you want to save money.

If you’re looking for a device that can manage greater watts, you’ll need something more durable.

You may fix this conversion issue at a reasonable price by using the following adapter/converter, which can handle up to 500W of power.

Step-Up and Step-Down Voltage Transformer by VZolution (check the price on Amazon).

Customers that use it for this specific reason have nothing but praise for it.

Differences in the transmission of a signal

We must first discuss frequencies in order to discuss TV signal transmissions.


AC, or Alternating Current, is the primary kind of power in the United States and Europe.

In contrast to direct current (DC), which only travels in one direction, alternating current (AC) is an electric current that occasionally changes direction.

Cycles (also known as frequency) are used to measure current. Every time a current goes in one direction before reversing, it completes one cycle. When talking about frequency, we often refer to it as “Hertz” (Hz).

The average North American power frequency is 60 hertz (Hz), which translates to 60 cycles per second for the current.

European countries use a frequency of roughly 50 hertz (Hz).

Due to the fact that contemporary power supplies are capable of handling this power frequency discrepancy, modern appliances don’t need to worry about it.

TVs are an exception to the rule.

Your TV’s issue is not related to circuitry at all, but rather to the way signals are transmitted.

Plugging a current American TV into a 50Hz power source will not harm the TV’s circuitry if the voltage is right, but the image quality will suffer and it will be difficult to view.

Signal formats

When televisions were first introduced, standards (or signal formats) were established to govern the transmission of data from the broadcast studio to the house (your TV).

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NTSC, PAL, and SECAM were the last three standards that were developed and are still in use today.

As a result, your television was designed to function with one of these three international standards.

While in Europe, PAL or SECAM are the formats of choice, in the United States, NTSC is the standard.

Austria Bulgaria
Belgium Croatia
Cyprus Czech Republic
Denmark Estonia
Finland France
Germany Greece
Ireland Hungary
Italy Latvia
Poland Lithuania
Portugal Luxemburg
Romania Slovenia

There are a lot of distinctions between these formats, but for our needs, we only need to know one thing: the refresh rate of each.

When it comes to creating the sense of motion, the refresh rate is all about how often a picture on a screen changes.

60Hz (30 frames per second) is the standard for NTSC in the United States, whereas 50Hz is the standard for SECAM and PAL in Europe (25 full frames per second).

This variation in how frames are delivered by broadcasters, conveyed over streaming or cable, and finally shown on your TV screen, might be the difference between your TV operating, or not working.

You may be asking yourself, “Why does this even matter if these are ancient analog TV standards and the majority of TVs today are digital?”.

This is an excellent topic, and I won’t waste time discussing it, but the terrible truth is that current frame rates are based on these obsolete analog video codecs, even though most video is now digital. As a result, it is unfortunate that they must be identified and located.

HDMI video converters are a potential answer to the refresh rate issue given by the previous analog standards.


In Europe, PAL (or SECAM) video signals are converted to NTSC (or PAL-to-NTSC) signals via HDMI video converters at 50Hz. Your American TV will be able to be seen (not blurry or fuzzy) at the right frequency if this is installed.

Make sure you don’t skimp on quality by purchasing a cheap video converter if you plan on going this way. Because of the poor quality, you’ll end yourself going out and purchasing a better model.

If you’re looking for an HDMI converter, I suggest the OREI XD-1290 (check the pricing on Amazon).

It delivers a high-quality PAL to NTSC conversion.


There are certain American TVs that just won’t operate in Europe, no matter what you do, even if you use an HDMI video format converter.

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That’s because many American televisions are only capable of receiving NTSC broadcasts. In other words, even if you purchase the excellent converter I mentioned above, your television will still not operate. While most European televisions are required to support both European and American programs, this does not apply to most American televisions.

In order to verify this, you’ll need to go to the TV owner’s handbook.

Other Factors to Consider

Most European nations have a TV licensing fee.

In certain countries, like France, you’ll have to pay an annual subscription for broadcast television even if your TV doesn’t have any channels.

Between €50 to €350 a year is the average annual fee.

Another expense of having a television in Europe…

Is it possible to use my American television set in Germany?

A converter or adapter is required to use your TV in Germany, but it will work well if you have one (US). If you have a TV, you can then stream content. A PAL (Germany) to NTSC HDMI video format converter is required if you want to use cable (US).

See my recommended HDMI video format converter and step-down converter in action by scrolling up. There is a good chance that you may encounter problems if you don’t complete your homework on these

The last words.

People traveling from the United States to Europe should not carry their televisions with them.

For starters, the cost of delivery is frequently prohibitive. As a result, you’re probably better off leaving your television at home.

Even if shipping prices aren’t prohibitive, you may want to consider purchasing an adapter/converter and an HDMI video format converter.

In addition, you may be required to pay a TV licence charge in the European nation you choose to live in.

More power to you if you’re still determined to bring your television with you. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Let me know how you got your American TV to function in Europe and how do you do to get it to operate.

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