TV3 (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈte ˈβe ˈtɾɛs]) is the primary television channel of Catalan public broadcaster Televisió de Catalunya, a subsidiary of the CCMA. TV3 broadcasts programmes only in Catalan, with an optional dual track in the original language for some foreign-language series and movies, although Spanish is not dubbed or subtitled (for example during news broadcasts). TV3 is also a founding member of FORTA, the Federation of Autonomic Radio and Television Organizations of Spain. It is funded by the regional autonomous government, the Generalitat de Catalunya, through the CCMA.
TV3 started its trial broadcasts on 10 September 1983 (a day before the National Day of Catalonia), but its regular broadcasts started a few months later, on 16 January 1984. TV3 was the first television channel to broadcast only in Catalan. In 1985, TV3 expanded its coverage to Andorra, Northern Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community, also Catalan-speaking lands. One year later, TV3 inaugurated its new headquarters in Sant Joan Despí, near Barcelona.
Since 1987, TV3 has broadcast a second audio channel on almost all foreign-language series and movies with the original program audio, first using the Zweikanalton system and currently using NICAM. Local series and movies are usually broadcast in NICAM stereo, although sometimes an audio narration track for blind and visually impaired viewers is provided instead. In other occasions, an Aranese language track is provided.
In 1988, TV3 started a decentralization process, first broadcasting programmes in the Aranese dialect of Occitan for the Val d'Aran and, one year later, opening branch offices in Tarragona, Girona and Lleida and creating the Telenoticies Comarques, a regional news program broadcast simultaneously in four different editions, one for each of the four Catalan provinces.
In 1995, Televisió de Catalunya launched TVCi, a satellite channel which broadcast a selection of programs from TV3, El 33, 3/24 and Esports 3 through the Astra and Hispasat satellites (named TV3cat from June 2009). The channel ceased to broadcast via satellite on 1 May 2012, but it continues to broadcast on Cable TV throughout Spain, especially in the Balearic Islands (via DVB-T) and on the internet.
In 2002, broadcasts started using the digital terrestrial television system. TV3 gradually migrated its programmes to the 16:9 screen format, and since 2010 all output has been broadcast in widescreen. A trial high-definition television channel was launched on April 23, 2007, making it the first station in Spain to use the format, and the first major station to use 16:9.
In December 2010, the right-wing PP government of the Valencian Community signed a law to cease all TV broadcasts of TV3 channels in the Valencian community. Five years later, in 2016, the new Valencian socialist government presided by Ximo Puig, signed a reciprocity agreement with the Generalitat de Catalunya, according to which TV3 would be broadcast again in the Valencian community while Valencian's new TV channel would be broadcast in Catalonia.