Romanian TVs don’t seem to just work these days, you have to subscribe to a service to unscramble them. (This can be done either with your phone provider or through a satellite service like Focus Sat). However, none of these options require a TV to work, you have a password to log in and watch them on your device. (In fact, I am not sure you can even see most of them on a TV unless you cast them from your device or something).
$$$ Focus sat.
If you want to take your Romanian language tv with you to Europe and have one bill for as many shows as possible, Focus Sat might be a sound choice. The cheaper version has 54 channels, including BBC Earth, National Geographic, a few international news channels, MTV
On the Romanian side, with Acasa, ProTV, and TVR channels, you get most of the best live programming. There is also access to Antena Play, even with the cheap version.
The more expensive full version seems to have everything I ever watched on the Digi service apart from Digi Sports and NCN (the Cluj news network). That premium version includes over 100 channels, playback, and HBO and Cinemax. The interface is in Romanian.
Designed for Romanians who travel, they advertise that it works in the EU. (We will have to test it next time we travel and update this).
$$$$ Antena Play.
Antena play has interesting Romanian content, and other shows and films aimed at a Romanian audience. Some of them are in English but do not expect English subtitles for the Romanian and third-country shows.
I might subscribe for the interesting films that showed at mainstream multiplexes. Then again, Antena play is included with Focus Sat.
The interface is in Romanian.
Milionari de Weekend, Pupa Mă, oameni de treabă.
Aimed at a Romanian audience, programs will not be subtitled in English, but in Romanian. Many classic Romanian shows from 1990 to today, the kinds that have easy dialogue for learners to follow, as well as a few filled with slang that might be a little more difficult.
You can also find international shows that the Romanian audience enjoys (although I am not sure if there are travel restrictions on these).
Great shows in simple Romanian for learning the language.
$$ HBO Max
Primary language – English.
What first attracted me to HBO is that there are a lot of modern Romanian films had HBO in the credits. These include arthouse films and documentaries that you might have seen at the Transylvania film festival. Almost everything on HBO is subtitled in English.
Not a lot for younger audiences, but there are a few shows and films.
I can confirm that the subscription travels to other EU countries, but it was not available in the UK.
Wild Romania, Chuck Norris vs Communism, Colectiv, Apocalypse on Wheels, This weekend with John Oliver, Friends, Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory, Harry Potter, Scooby Doo, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman.
$$$ Digi tv
There are a lot of sports channels, most of which seem to show soccer most of the time, but you can also do morning workouts (gimnastica de dimineață) with DigiSport 3. And a selection of news channels from CNN to NCN, the local Cluj news that is often subtitled (which is a way to start learning the language by matching sound to writing).
The documentary channels seem to be Romanian, but most of the documentaries are merely subtitled so ideal if you want to practice your English. Even with the basic subscription, there are free movie channels including a Bollywood channel and two channels with classic Romanian films. (You can theoretically get an HBO add-on, but if you try to the salespeople will talk you out of it).
Children’s channels are dubbed, and most of the shows on them are pretty boring. (Sorry, not just my opinion, but Disney Channel has the dumbest superhero show ever made, and Nickelodeon is flooded with amateurish cartoons that look like they were made in Adobe Animate or CrazyTalk). Boomerang, the best children’s channel on it, often doesn’t work on computers. But if you have a TV, it is worth tuning into.
Relatively difficult to sign up for.
A lot of live TV. A few foreign language channels in French, Spanish, Hungarian, and English…
Old lists will not include this. Netflix is now available in Romania as a regular streaming service. Includes shows from around the world of varying quality.
Stranger Things, Wednesday, Mircea Bravo
$ Sky Showtime
They have genres, including a Tom Cruise genre. Perhaps the cheapest. Get it for a month to watch Gladiator. (Many Romanians list Gladiator as one of their favorite movies, or even their favorite). You can also find a lot of remakes of old classic films that me want to see the originals instead. (I like the old Star Trek, before it was trendy. Oops, an opinion). While I do not see any Romanian films, this is the Romanian version, so I’m pretty sure they at least have Romanian subtitles on almost everything.
Gladiator, Bourne Ultimatum, Pulp Fiction, Minions Rise of Gru, Turbo
$$$ Disney Plus.
Romanian, Hungarian, Portuguese, Korean, Dutch, French, Turkish, and more
First, the big disadvantage. If you want to see any Romanian programming, I couldn’t find any. But many films have audio tracks in Romanian and most other world languages.
In addition to the classic Disney animations, there is programming for all ages. In fact, when you sign up you can choose different ratings. I left mine at the default (14), just to save time, and got an email suggesting I set it to 18 to find more content. Wow, I am old enough to remember when Disney was under fire for buying Miramax. Then I set it down to 12, and there is still so much quality content that I will never have time to watch it all. (Yes, and a few terrible films too, but let’s not mention those).
However, the show with Baby Yoda is boring. (Maybe they cut out the best episodes, but the one I saw was like, ten seconds of cute Baby Yoda, lots of unrealistic silly blowing stuff up).
Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic, Marvel, and more.
$$$ Tiff Unlimited
Not all the movies in the Tiff are included. Last time I checked, there were only a handful of films aimed at younger viewers. Seeing that many of the programs here were produced by HBO encouraged me to try the less expensive HBO Max instead. But TIFF was cheaper than some international brands with similar content, and there were movies in every European language, with a rotating slew of award-winning content.
Only available in Romania, so it probably won’t travel with you.
Global niche brands
There are more that we have tested and that work, but those do not have a Romanian interface or do not produce content aimed at a Romanian audience. We have another article covering which Global streaming brands are available in Romania. (A few that we tried were not).