tv time shifting guide switzerland

A Guide to TV Time Shifting in Switzerland

September 14, 2022 - Ralf Beyeler

Thanks to TV time shifting, you can watch TV shows up to several days after they are broadcast. In this guide, answers the most important questions about TV time shifting in Switzerland.

What is TV time shifting?

TV time shifting lets you go back and watch TV shows which have aired over the past few days. That applies to any show across many different TV channels. The time shifting feature is included in numerous Swiss TV plans. You can normally use time shifting on phones and computers in addition to television sets.

What is changing for TV time shifting in Switzerland in 2022?

Over the course of 2022, a number of changes have been made which affect TV time shifting in Switzerland for the worse. These changes apply to all TV plans across all service providers.

TV plan providers in Switzerland can choose between these two options:

  • TV time shifting with forced advertising breaks: In this model, you cannot use TV time shifting to skip advertising breaks like you were able to in the past. The price tags of plans which use this model will likely remain unchanged.
  • TV time shifting without forced advertising breaks: In this model, you can continue to skip advertising breaks using TV time shifting as you have been able to up until now. But telecom companies who offer this model will now have to pay higher licensing fees.

Why is TV time shifting in Switzerland changing?

The changes are the result of negotiations between telecom companies, Internet-based TV providers, cable TV companies, and television broadcasters. The exact terms and conditions are laid out in the so-called Common Tariff, with the Common Tariff 12 (GT 12) governing TV time-shifting.

The GT 12 regulations were meant to take effect on January 1, 2022, but delays in implementing these measures by TV broadcasters have stalled the process somewhat. The exact time at which the changes will be made is not yet known.

  • TV time shifting in its previous form: TV plan providers can continue to allow users to skip advertising as they have previously. But if they do this, their licensing fees to broadcasters will go up from 2 to 7 francs per customer and month. That is a 250-percent hike.
  • TV time shifting at its previous price: TV plan providers can implement measures which prevent customers from using time shifting to skip advertisements. In this case, they will continue to pay a licensing fee of 2 francs per customer and month.

It is likely that TV plan providers will make changes to their TV subscriptions in order to reflect the new regulations. Customer will have to make a choice: Either pay more and continue to use time shifting the way they always have, or continue paying the same amount and learn to live with forced advertising breaks.

Which TV channels will have forced advertising breaks?

If you opt for a TV plan which uses the forced advertising model, then you cannot skip advertisements on certain TV channels using time shifting. On other channels, you can continue to skip commercial breaks as usual.

These popular German-language channels require either forced advertising or higher licensing fee payments:

  • 3+, 4+, 5+, 6+ and 7+
  • TV24, TV25
  • Acht
  • RTL, RTL2, RTL Up
  • Vox
  • Sat-1
  • Pro-Sieben
  • Kabel Eins

As from 2023, these Swiss regional broadcasters have forced commercial breaks:

  • Tele 1   

  • Tele Bärn

  • Tele Basel

  • Tele Südostschweiz

  • Tele Top

  • Tele M1

  • TVO

Many popular channels do not require forced advertising. These include:

  • SRF 1, SRF 2, SRF Info
  • ARD
  • ZDF
  • ORF
  • 3-Sat
  • Arte

The rule of thumb is: Private broadcasters generally require forced advertising, while public broadcasters typically do not. But each broadcaster is free to choose whether or not to implement forced advertising, so there is always a chance of a broadcaster adopting this model.

What kinds of forced advertising are there?

Forced advertising is advertising which you cannot skip over. Three different forced advertising models are used:

  • Advertisements at the start: Whenever you turn on time-shifted television, you have to wait out a seven-second commercial break before you can watch the show. If you rewind to the beginning of the show, you have to watch another seven seconds of advertising before it begins to play.
  • Advertisements at each pause: Whenever you pause a show, advertisements play automatically until you un-pause it.
  • Advertisements when you skip: When you try to skip a commercial break on a time-shifted TV show, you are forced to wait out up to 130 seconds of advertisements. Once the forced commercial break has finished, you can push a button to continue watching the show.

How can I use TV time-shifting without forced advertising?

Some TV plans have an option which eliminates forced advertising. You can add this option to your plan for an extra fee.

These no-forced-advertising options are currently offered by Swiss TV plan providers:

  • Swisscom: Replay Comfort option for 6.90 francs per month
  • Sunrise: Skip Ads option for 7.90 francs per month
  • Yallo: TV Comfort option for 7.95 francs per month

What does TV time shifting cost?

Many Swiss TV plans include time shifting. Prices for these TV plans start at around 10 francs per month. Bu there are big differences between individual plans. Aside from time shifting, more expensive TV plans tend to have higher TV recording capacities and premium TV channels.

Packages which bundle home Internet plans with TV plans also often include TV time shifting.

Because TV service providers have to pay much higher licensing fees to broadcasters if they do not implement forced advertising, some of them now only offer time shifting as an optional, paid feature. Init7, for example, charges 11 francs for month extra for time shifting. Most likely, other service providers will also begin offering TV time shifting as an optional extra, instead of including it in TV plans by default.  

What is TV time shifting good for?

The big advantage of time shifting is that you can find and replay shows from numerous channels up to several days after they are aired. You can find all shows across all channels in one place, with no need to go hunting across multiple platforms. Another advantage is that you can normally watch time-shifted TV on phones or computers in addition to TV sets.

What is the disadvantage of TV time shifting?

Up until now, the only possible disadvantage of TV time shifting in Switzerland was the fact that replays are limited to shows which were broadcast within the past seven days.

Now, time shifting in Switzerland is becoming much less customer-friendly. You will either have to endure advertising breaks, or pay inflated prices for regular TV time shifting.

Which service providers offer TV time shifting?

Time shifting is included in many TV plans. Practically all Swiss telecom and cable TV companies have it. The best-known service providers are Swisscom, Sunrise, UPC, Quickline, and Salt. But there are many more smaller service providers, some of which only operate locally in specific regions.

Internet-based TV services like Zattoo, and Teleboy also offer TV time shifting.

But time shifting is not included in all TV plans. Cheap subscriptions, in particular, often do not include this feature.

How far back in time can I shift to?

Normally, you can watch any TV show which was broadcast in the last seven days. A few TV plans only let you watch shows which aired in the past 30 hours, instead of seven days.

The Swiss TV plan on lets you filter offers based on whether they offer 30-hour or seven-day time shifting.

Shows which aired more than seven days before – or 30 hours before for plans with that limit – can no longer be watched using time shifting. But many service providers let you record shows as long as they are available through time shifting. If you have a plan or option which gives you seven-day TV time shifting, you can replay shows which aired within the past seven days, and record them using the TV recording function. Once they are recorded, you can watch them any time you like – including long after the time shifting period expires.

Which channels can I watch using time shifting?

Most TV plans let you use time shifting with all available channels. In many cases, only pay TV and premium channels cannot be watched using time shifting.

Time shifting is normally available for the most popular TV channels in Switzerland, including SRF, and German channels ARD, ZDF, RTL, Vox, Sat 1, and Pro Sieben, among others.  

Can I skip commercials?

Yes. Time shifting lets you quickly fast-forward through the advertising breaks which TV broadcasters are known for.

But the new changes to time shifting in Switzerland mean that, depending on your TV plan, you may not be able to skip commercial breaks when watching certain channels.

Can I use time shifting for free?

No. TV time shifting comes with either a paid TV plan, an option, or a bundled Internet and TV package. There are no options for free time shifting in Switzerland.

Are there alternatives to TV time shifting?

Many shows can be watched on demand over the Internet – either in broadcasters’ own media libraries, or on streaming platforms like Youtube.

Depending on what you use TV for, video-on-demand streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime can also be an alternative to time shifting.

How do the changes to Swiss TV time shifting rules affect consumers?

According to telecom expert Ralf Beyeler, “TV time shifting in Switzerland was very customer-friendly for many years. Unfortunately, that is changing. But the final changes are not as bad as I expected them to be. TV viewers can decide for themselves whether or not they want to stop watching channels which force them to watch advertisements. For many channels – including those from Swiss public broadcasters – nothing is changing at all. The same movies are often broadcast on multiple channels simultaneously. That gives you a way to avoid forced advertising breaks without paying extra. If TV watchers collectively behave in a smart way when it comes to watching TV, then broadcasters which implement disproportionate price increases or forced advertising will shoot themselves in the foot.”

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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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