ZTV.se started as a daily afternoon show in TV3 and TV4 in February 1991. The channel got its name as it was a simulcast version of the radio station Z Radio. There was also a Z magazine available for some time.
In May 1992 became a channel on its own in Swedish cable networks. The intention was to create a Swedish version of MTV. The channel featured many shows produced in Sweden. Although they were low budget, many of them received cult status and many of the presenters went on to become host programmes on the major networks.
As the years went on, ZTV moved from Stockholm to London and started broadcasting American imports. ZTV started broadcasting 24 hours a day in 2000. In 2002, a Norwegian version of ZTV launched, ZTV Norway.
September 2004 marked a significant change in style for the channel. Instead of being a youth channel, ZTV would now target men. As a result, most of the in-house ZTV shows were cancelled and replaced by Champions League football and wrestling.
In May 2006, Viasat started a new channel called TV6. This channel took over most the programming from ZTV, as well as its frequencies in the cable networks. This meant that ZTV would only broadcast music videos and lost most of its distribution.