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RÚV (television channel)

Type Broadcast television channel
Country  Iceland

National; also partially distributed over the Internet

and on Thor 5
Owner RÚV, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service
Key people
Magnús Geir Þórðarson, CEO
Launch date
30 September 1966
Former names
Sjónvarpið (1966–2011)
Official website

RÚV (named Sjónvarpið (English: 'The TV') before 31 March 2011) is the television channel of RÚV, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, launched in 1966. The channel broadcasts primarily news, sports, cultural programs, children's material, American, British & Nordic films and entertainment programming. Among its highest-rated programs are the comedy sketch show Spaugstofan (now revoked and moved to Stöð 2) and Fréttir (News).


  • History 1
    • Test cards 1.1
  • High Definition 2
  • Programming aired on RÚV 3
    • Foreign shows 3.1
      • TV series 3.1.1
      • Children 3.1.2
    • Icelandic programming 3.2
      • Current 3.2.1
      • Canceled 3.2.2
    • Others 3.3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Sjónvarpið's original iconic logo, designed by Gísli B. Björnsson in 1965-1966, was incorporated into the 2011 redesign.

The network made its first transmission on 30 September 1966. To begin with, transmissions only took place on Wednesdays and Fridays, only gradually expanding to the rest of the week through the years. Until 1983, no television was broadcast in July. Having lost its monopoly and sharing the market with Stöð 2 a year before, Sjónvapið ended the era of television-free Thursdays on 1 October 1987, resulting in the first full week of television in Iceland.

Test colour transmission commenced in 1973 and started full-time in 1976. From September 1981 onwards, the channel greatly benefited from Iceland's connection to the rest of the world via satellite. Starting on March 1, 1982, Icelandic television viewers were able to watch daily reports from abroad on their evening newscast. Live broadcasts from the rest of Europe, such as the Eurovision Song Contest, commenced for the first time in May 1986. RÚV's teletext service, Textavarp, was inaugurated on the 25th anniversary of Icelandic television in 1991.

As late as 2000, television only aired for 9 hours each day, starting at 4.35pm and ending at 1.35am. The number of hours of television aired per week has advanced since then, with transmissions currently starting at 8am on Saturdays and Sundays. During the week, however, television transmissions starts at 3pm and ends at 1:30am. During downtime, the station carries its daily schedule and a news ticker, complete with audio from Rás 2 (Channel 2).

Test cards

Early Sjónvarpið test card. The words Ríkisútvarpið Sjónvarp would occasionally appear in the top and bottom black segments respectively.

From the inauragration of Sjónvarpið in 1966 until as late as 1982, an electronically generated, heavily modified version of the Philips PM5540 monochrome test card was utilized after closedown.[1] In the early 1970s, the Philips PM5544 test card was introduced for colour transmissions and gradually replaced the previous monochrome test card, with the time and date included in the PM5544 test card from 1995-2000 and again from 2002-2006. In 2009, the Philips PM5644 widescreen test card was introduced to replace its PM5544 forerunner. In 2011 the testcard was discontinued.

High Definition

In 2012 two new 1080i play-out systems were installed.[2]

On 27 March 2013 RÚV signed an agreement with Vodafone Iceland to install and run two new digital HD channels starting in 2014 that will transmit both over the air on UHF in 720p and via IPTV systems of Síminn and Vodafone Iceland. Analog TV transmission on VHF will end before end of the year 2014.[3][4]

Programming aired on RÚV

Foreign shows

TV series


Icelandic programming


  • Áramótaskaupið (English: The New Year's Comedy), an annual New Year's Eve comedy special with an audience of up to 90% of viewers
  • Fréttir (English: News), the main news program at 7 p.m.
  • Gettu betur (English: Guess Again), a quiz show
  • Kastljós (English: Spotlight), a news/talk program
  • Tíufréttir (English: News at 10), the late evening news at 10 p.m.
  • Út og suður (English: There and Back), interviews with people around Iceland
  • Stundin okkar (English: Our hour), Iceland's longest running children's show. Started in 1966.


  • Á baðkari til Betlehem (English: On A Bathtub To Bethlehem), the first televised advent calendar produced in Iceland[5] and is a part of Jóladagatal Sjónvarpsins, an ongoing series of televised Advent calendars. Shown in December 1990 and reran in 1995 and 2004.
  • Á tali hjá Hemma Gunn (English: Talking with Hemmi Gunn), a Saturday night talk show. Running from the 1980s to early '90's.
  • Nýjasta tækni og vísindi (English: Latest Technology and Science). From late 1960s to 2001.
  • Spaugstofan (English: The Comedy Room), a weekly comedy show.
  • Stiklur Ómar Ragnarsson travels around the country showing Iceland's landscape and nature along with interviews with interesting people. Late 1970s to early 1980s.


See also


  1. ^ Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  2. ^ Farbwahl GbR. "ATG Broadcast Completes High-Definition Expansion for RUV, Iceland". Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Tvær stafrænar háskerpurásir verða hjá RÚV". RÚV. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Vetrardagskrá Ríkissjónvarpsins".  
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