Sunday, November 6, 2011

TV in Oman

TV Schedules:

About TV in Oman
Most households use satellite TV in Oman. When buying and setting up a new TV in Oman, it is often necessary to also buy a satellite dish and receiver. The dish should cost around 50 OMR and the installation should cost a maximum of 10 OMR labor charge. Most people pay a one-time fee around 10 OMR to receive basic satellite service.

You can find a basic 32" flat TV from a known brand for around 150-175 OMR. The Ruwi area in Muscat is home to many electronic stores where you can negotiate for TV, dish, receiver, installation and delivery. LuLu's hypermarket also sells TVs, but often does not provide the dish or installation. Most sales clerks in retail stores speak English well. A popular service is NileSat. To receive premiere channels such as Hindi movie channels (Bollywood), there is a monthly surcharge.

Oman has three government run TV stations; however, the programming generally doesn't meet the expectations of the people and many seek other Gulf produced shows on other satellite broadcast channels such as MBC for their entertainment.

The MBC group of channels ( might be the most viewed channels on satellite in the Sultanate: MBC 1 (Arabic); MBC 3 (Cartoons), MBC Max (English movies), MBC Action (English movies and shows).  Many British and U.S. series such as CSI run on MBC (maybe a season or two behind).

Egyptian movie channels are also popular as Egyptian film industry has had a rich history and notoriety since before the 1950's. Both the Hollywood  movies "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "Pretty Women" were based on Egyptian films. International news stations such as BBC, CNN and French news channel are also available via satellite. Music stations consist of Najoom 1 2 3, MTV, VH1 and Wanash.

      During the holy month of Ramadan, special programming is produced on many Gulf networks. Many residents shift their sleeping schedules during Ramadan and are awake until quite early into the morning when some of these shows are broadcast.

A leading show called 'Tash ma Tash' comes out of Saudi. The programme just finished its 18th year of Ramadan specials. Each episode lasts about an hour and focuses on different aspects of Saudi social issues and culture but a wide-ranging audience can relate to the characters and emotions brought forth in the story line. The show is what I would consider "cutting edge", but meant to be a comedy. Reportedly, the cast of the show is under constant death threats by some elements in the Saudi society.

Last Ramadan, there was an episode referring to the "past" vs "present" mutawah (religious police). The clip shows mutawah "of the past" walking down a village road greeting everyone, asking about their families, etc., then, shows a present day clip of mutawah sporting long beards in a SUV patrolling the streets. They kidnap a teenager with long hair and force him to the barber shop to be clipped.

Later on in the show, the mutawah stop any car with a man and woman inside together and demand their IDs to make sure they are married or related. Toward the end of Ramadan,  an episode aired about the excruciating heat in the region and the protagonist fried eggs by the sun and then hid in the freezer for some relief from heat.

Another Ramadan show broadcast on MBC is Tariq wa Hayoona طارق وهيونة. Tariq is a famous Kuwaiti entertainer on TV and in theater. Hayoona often acts in Tariq's productions. Tariq wa Hayoona is a game show where callers look for items in rooms of a studio house and win prizes and money. Contestants call in from all over the Gulf region. Tariq and Hayoona often "help" the contestants find the hidden items. The pair are quite energetic, and each show begins and ends with a singing number. Although they sometimes joke as if a married couple on the show for entertainment purposes, they are married to other people.

A third Ramadan series was a game show featuring Abdullah Abdulkhair عبدالله بالخير. Abdulkhair is a singer/entertainer based in the Emirates. It's rumored he loves the colour red and lives in a house decorated in almost exclusively red. He has a short monologue at the beginning segment of the show where he portrays a different character or theme each night. The following is his "take" on Gaddafi.

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