France 2 is the largest French public television network. It is part of the France Télévisions group, along with France 3, France 5, Réseau France Outre-mer, and the digital-only France 4. France Télévisions also participates in ARTE, EuroNews, several cable/satellite thematic channels, and Mediamétrie.
France 2 was called Antenne 2 (Aerial 2) until September 7, 1992. In the 1970s, as part of ORTF, it was simply called La Deuxième Chaîne (The Second Channel).
The channel began broadcasting in 1963 using the 625-lines standard (but not yet in color), in preparation for the end of the older, black and white only, 819-line TV standard.
On October 1, 1967 at 14:15 CET, the network switched from black and white to color using SECAM. Antenne 2 was the first color channel in France; it was several years before TF1 was colorized and changed to the 625-line TV standard. Later, the system evolved, and allowed France 2 to broadcast some programs in stereo using the NICAM system (compatible with SECAM).
Since April 7, 2008, at 03:20 CEST, all the programs of France 2 are broadcast in France in 16:9 Widescreen format over the analog SECAM air frequencies and the French DVB-T multiplex frequencies (known as Television Numerique Terrestre). The format changeover has been announced for France 5 but will occur later. Private satellite broadcasters will continue to broadcast a 4:3 format until France 2 feeds a HD signal (announced during summer 2008) to the satellite operators.