tv packages switzerland tips

TV Plans: Key Tips for Choosing the Right Subscription

October 16, 2023 - Ralf Beyeler

How can you make the most of TV plans? Find out in these tips for choosing the right TV subscription.

Many TV watchers in Switzerland could save a lot of money and enjoy a better TV experience. Here, lists the most important tips for choosing a TV package.

1. Use TV time shifting

Many TV plans now include a practical feature called TV time shifting. This function lets you watch TV broadcasts hours or days after they have aired. You do not even need to select the shows you want in advance. Limitation: Depending on which TV package you use you can watch TV shows up to a maximum of 30 hours or 7 days after they air.

In the case of 7-day TV time shifting, you may have to sit through advertising breaks which cannot be skipped, depending on the TV plan you use.

The TV plan comparison from clearly shows which TV plans include time shifting. You can also choose for plans with forced advertisements to be clearly marked as such in comparison results.

You can find more information in the detailed guide to TV time shifting in Switzerland.

2. Check the TV-recording capacity

Many Swiss TV subscriptions include a TV recorder function, but there are big differences between the recording capacity offered. The plans with the most limited recorders let you save just 10 or 20 hours of TV in total. On the other end of the scale are plans which let you record up to 1000 hours of TV shows. Because almost all TV plans use cloud-based TV recorders, you can generally watch your recorded TV shows on your smartphone or tablet using the app that comes with your TV plan.

3. Does it deliver on the sports front?

If you are primarily interested in sports broadcasts, make sure to take that into account when choosing a TV plan.

Subscribers to TV plans from Sunrise and Quickline can now use the Blue pay TV service, but many other TV plans still do not let you access Blue or Mysports.

Blue (formerly Teleclub), a Swisscom brand, and Mysports (from Sunrise UPC) are the two most important pay TV offers in German-speaking Switzerland. Customers can pay to watch individual sports broadcasts on Blue. Mysports is available to customers of cable network operators such as Sunrise and Quickline, and to Swisscom TV plan users.

In French-speaking Switzerland, Canal+ and Mysports are the most relevant services for sports enthusiasts.

If you only want to watch sports broadcasts which are available on free TV channels like SRF, ARD, ZDF and ORF (German) or RTS, TF1, France 2 (French), then it does not make any difference which TV package you use. Blue also has a sports channel that you can watch free of charge.

4. You may not need a decoder

If you have a newer TV set, you should not need a separate decoder because modern TVs can receive digital TV directly. Particularly cable TV service providers like Sunrise (via the former UPC network) and Quickline offer TV plans without the need for a decoder. Swisscom TV and many other TV plans, on the other hand, require a decoder for technical reasons.

Disadvantage: Not all channels can be viewed without a decoder. The high definition (HD) channels of many private broadcasters like RTL, Sat 1 and ProSieben, for example, can only be accessed with a decoder.

Solution: Many cable TV providers offer what is known as a CI+ card. This device lets you access private TV channels like those mentioned above without using a decoder. However, you will still need a decoder in order to use supplemental features like replay functions.

5. Consider Apple TV and Android TV

The Apple TV and Android TV devices are compact, and can be used in conjunction with many different TV services. Many newer television sets come with Android TV built into them.

You can use these devices to watch TV from Zattoo, or Teleboy, enjoy movies and series through the Netflix app, access videos in the media libraries of TV stations, watch videos on Youtube, or see sports broadcasts on Dazn or the Sky app. The TV plan comparison makes it easy to find out which TV plans are compatible with Apple TV and/or Android TV.

6. Use apps to watch TV on the go

Apps for smartphones and tablets let you watch TV while traveling within Switzerland. Many TV plans include this option, as shown in the TV package comparison. Most TV package providers do not let you use the app to watch TV when traveling outside of Switzerland. Important: Only watch TV via app if you have a mobile subscription with a flat fee or when you have access to a network because streaming TV involves large data transactions.

7. Watch TV in high definition

HD TV channels deliver images at a much higher resolution than standard-definition (SD) TV. Almost all TV sets sold in the past ten years are capable of displaying HD video. But many TV channels are still only broadcast in SD. Even some highly popular TV channels like RTL, Sat 1 and ProSieben are only included in their SD versions in some TV plans.

Many modern TV sets are capable of displaying broadcasts in 4k, ultra-high definition (UHD) quality. However, with the exception of a few test channels, no TV channels are available in UHD as of yet. Still, the decoders provided by some telecom service providers already support UHD video. Swisscom airs several movies and football matches in UHD quality every week.

8. Do not get TV plans as part of bundled telecom packages

Most Swiss telecom companies only let you get their TV plans if you also get your Internet plan from them. But there are also stand-alone TV plans which you can subscribe to no matter which Internet service provider you use. You can access these plans through an Internet connection of your choice.

Stand-alone TV plans are often cheaper than those sold as part of bundled telecom packages.

9. Consider offers from smaller TV service providers

TV plans from smaller service providers often deliver very good value for money compared to those offered by large telecom companies. TV plans which are broadcast over the Internet, in particular, are worth a mention. TV plans from Zattoo, or Teleboy, combined with a digital video device like Apple TV, deliver numerous TV channels plus 7-day replay and video recording functionality. Some of these online TV service providers also have free offers for customers who do not need time-shift functions and are content to watch TV as it is broadcast.

10. Avoid long-term contracts

Many TV plans can only be terminated without penalty fees after a minimum term has transpired. For many plans, this minimum term is a lengthy 12 months. If you terminate the contract before the minimum term ends, you pay a hefty penalty fee. Because of this, it is important to pay attention to minimum terms and to choose TV plans with the shortest minimum terms. The minimum terms and the termination notice periods of different TV plans are clearly shown in the TV plan comparison.

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Expert Ralf Beyeler
Ralf Beyeler is the telecom expert at and also covers other areas of personal finance.
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