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How to Watch Television in Switzerland?

Swiss Television

Discover the 3 things to know:

  1. Which means to use to watch television in Switzerland

  2. How to watch Swiss TV outside (abroad and on mobile)

  3. How to watch Swiss TV outside (abroad and on mobile)

Explore all the ways to watch television in Switzerland, from home, on your mobile, or while abroad. Get information on the best Swiss TV channels in German, French, and Italian languages and find answers to all your doubts about Swiss radio and television through this guide from internet-offer.ch.

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All the ways to watch Swiss Television

To watch television while in Switzerland, you can use various devices for free or at a cost, depending on the entertainment experience you're looking for. Like in any country, the development of television broadcasts has been entrusted to the state since the 1950s. With the evolution of technology, the number of TV broadcasters and transmission methods has progressed from analog technology to digital terrestrial transmission (a transition that started in 2006 and ended in January 2008), only to abandon this technology in 2019 due to its low adoption by Swiss households.


Today, you can watch Swiss television via cable, IPTV, and satellite. There are also online platforms that offer the opportunity to watch On-Demand television by giving users access to some recorded programs.

Watching television via Cable

Starting from June 3, 2019, SRG SSR, the state company managing Swiss radio and television broadcasts, provides access to a list of television channels in all Swiss languages through cable transmission. The cost is set at CHF 365 per year, allowing you to receive state radio and TV at your residence.

Watching television via Internet

A new technology is increasingly popular in Switzerland, thanks to investments from major TV operators like UPC Cablecom, Swisscom, Sunrise, and Salt: many Swiss people watch television using their internet subscription, which allows access to discounted offers using internet protocol, offering a Swiss TV subscription at affordable prices. Usually, opting to watch television via the internet may include additional TV features such as the replay TV function or the skip-ad feature to skip advertisements.

 

If you are looking for a new internet and TV subscription, you can compare the best offers for free on internet-offer.ch.

Watching television On-Demand

Another way to watch television is to use Swiss streaming platforms that allow direct access to your TV screen or mobile applications suitable for every smartphone or tablet. In this case, you cannot watch live programs on Swiss television, but you can access hundreds of movies and TV series for binge-watching.

 

If you want to watch unlimited On-Demand television, you can check out the compared offers on our comparator. Try it now, it's free!

Watching television via Satellite

A final technology to watch television in Switzerland is satellite. In this case, you will need to request and install the specific smart card issued to residents in Switzerland or Swiss citizens residing abroad. The satellite transmission of Swiss television utilizes the Hot Bird 13 East satellite.

How to Watch Swiss TV Abroad?

If a Swiss citizen relocates abroad permanently and wants to continue watching Swiss television, they can use the smart card to receive satellite TV channels. Alternatively, since the summer of 2020, they can access Play Suisse, the new streaming platform managed by SRG SSR, providing access to live programs and recordings of Swiss television worldwide. To access it, one needs to have the SGR Login, which is issued to residents in Switzerland who pay the annual radio-television fee.


For European citizens wanting access to the entire Swiss television lineup, they may need to purchase an additional IPTV or satellite Pay TV subscription offering these channels. In the case of TV subscriptions offered by some Swiss OTT operators like Zattoo, Teleboy, or yallo, a VPN is required to continue using the service or to make the initial purchase. These platforms detect the user's connection location, limiting functionality or blocking account access if outside Swiss borders.

How to Watch Swiss TV on Mobile?

If you're a TV enthusiast and don't want to miss a second of your favorite shows and TV programs, you'll need access to a TV platform that provides a mobile APP. Once the app is downloaded, you must have activated your account, and from that moment on, you can watch Swiss television live even outside your home.

 

Our recommendation is to ensure you have enough gigabytes on your mobile plan to watch all the TV you want wherever you are. If you wish, you can find a new, affordable unlimited mobile subscription on our comparator.

Swiss TV Channels: What Channels are Available?

If you're wondering which channels are available in Switzerland, know that the list is much longer than you might imagine. In Switzerland, you can access a TV channel lineup with more than 300 public and private television stations. Moreover, being a multilingual country, you can have a broad choice in each of the four languages of the Swiss Confederation, with some channels directly managed by SRG SSR to provide access to content in each language.

 

Here is a list of the most popular TV channels in Switzerland:

German Channels of Swiss Television SRF

Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen or SRF, handles public broadcasts in German.

The main German-language channels available in Switzerland are:

  • SRF 1

  • SRF Zwei

  • SRF info

  • 3+

  • Schweiz 5

  • Plus Acht

  • Swiss 1

  • Blue Zoom D

French Channels of Swiss Television RTS

Radio Télévision Suisse or RTS is responsible for public broadcasts in French.

The main French-language channels available in Switzerland are:

  • RTS Un

  • RTS Deux

  • Rouge

  • One TV

  • Blue Zoom F

  • TVM3

Italian Channels of Swiss Television RSI

Radiotelevisione Svizzera di lingua Italiana or RSI is responsible for public broadcasts in Italian.

The main Italian-language channels available in Switzerland are:

  • RSI La 1

  • RSI La 2

Romansh Channels of Swiss Television RTR

Radiotelevisiun Svizra Rumantscha or RTR is the internal structure of SGR SSR that handles public broadcasts in the Romansh language. The Romansh language programs produced by RTR are broadcast on RSI La 2, SRF 1, and SRF info. However, there is also a fully Romansh radio called Radio RTR.

International Channels Broadcasted in Switzerland

All Swiss TV operators are required to broadcast the following international channels from neighboring countries:

  • Italy: Rai 1

  • Germany: ARD, Arte

  • Austria: ORF 1

  • France: France 2, TV5 Monde

  • Europe (generic): Euronews

How to Listen to Radio in Switzerland?

For audio enthusiasts, worry not; Switzerland offers dozens of radio stations in every language, including English, managed by private and public entities. Radio can be enjoyed through analog means or using Digital Radio technology on modern devices installed in cars or directly on smartphones or TVs, provided a TV Box is correctly installed. Available radio stations vary, ranging from regional and local to national, covering diverse topics from news to sports.

 

Beyond traditional radio, don't forget the option to access audio streaming platforms such as Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited, or YouTube Music. These platforms allow you to listen to your favorite songs or podcasts, either for free (with some advertising interruptions) or through paid subscriptions.

 

If you don't have an Amazon Music account yet, you're entitled to a free 3-month trial without obligations. Register by clicking the following button!

FAQ Swiss Television

How much does the Swiss television license cost?

The Swiss television license, also known as the "Billag fee," currently amounts to CHF 365 per year. It is used to finance public broadcasting services, including SSR (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation).

Who manages Swiss TV?

SSR (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation), a public service company, is responsible for managing television in Switzerland. It operates in the country's four language regions: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. The companies under SSR are RSI, RTS, and SGR.

Can I watch Italian/French/German TV programs in Switzerland?

Yes, in Switzerland, you can watch television programs in the three main languages of the country: German, French, and Italian. SSR provides channels in each of these languages to serve the different linguistic regions. Additionally, Swiss TV operators are required to ensure access to some public TV channels from neighboring countries.

Do I need an internet connection to watch Swiss TV?

In most cases, an internet connection is not required to watch traditional Swiss TV broadcast via the airwaves. However, if you use online streaming services like Play Suisse or intend to use an IPTV service, an internet connection will be necessary.

Can I watch Swiss TV from Europe?

The possibility of watching Swiss TV from Europe depends on the type of television service. Traditional TV broadcasts may not be accessible outside Switzerland, but some online streaming services or live programs available on IPTV platforms might be accessible from abroad, possibly with the use of a VPN.

Dig deeper into your research with internet-offer.ch

internet-offer.ch assists you by providing various guides and online tools completely free to help you save on your Swiss subscription. Find useful information by exploring all the guides on internet-offer.ch. Alternatively, head to the subscription comparison section to find the one that suits you best.

Do you find it useful?

Author: Lapo Zarina

First publication: January 2024

Sources: Wikipedia page on television in Switzerland and Wikipedia page on Play Suisse, and cited TV operator websites | Images: Wix

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