Television and Radio in Switzerland

Information on the transmission systems used in Switzerland...

The television standard in use in Switzerland is DVB-T broadcasting system.

Most countries in the world have either switched over, are switching over, or plan to switch over from analogue TV broadcasting to digital TV broadcasting. Before the advent of digital broadcasting, the main three standards were:

  • NTSC: the USA, Canada, Japan
  • PAL: most of Western Europe, Australia, southern Africa
  • SECAM: Eastern Europe and France

Today, the main digital standards are:

  • DVB-T: most of the world, including Europe, southern Africa, Australia and southern Asia
  • ATSC: the USA, Canada, Mexico and South Korea
  • ISDB-T: most of South America
  • DTMB: China

The systems are not compatible, so a television produced for one system will not work on another.

Television

It is possible to access UK-based free-to-air (FTA) programming on the same satellite that broadcasts Sky Digital. Please note, however, that there is no legal way to access encrypted programming on that satellite while in Switzerland or France (such as Sky Digital's premium channels accessible only through a Sky subscription package, or those channels that may only be watched in the UK using a satellite receiver with a free-to-view - FTV - card installed).

Swiss television

The SRG/SSR is the Swiss national public broadcaster. It provides French-language TV channels, as well as Italian, German and Romansch channels.

The Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) handles all questions relating to telecommunications and broadcasting. It has a full list of the licensed television and radio broadcasters operating in Switzerland.

Radio and TV Licence Fees

An annual licence fee is payable to Billag, the collection agency for all television and radio registration fees. The radio licence fee is less than the television fee. Fees must be paid even if the only functioning radio is in the car, and any property with an ADSL or ISDN Internet connection is also eligible to pay the fee.

Control checks can be made any time, and TV or radio users without a licence will be fined.

Registration can be made online, by telephone or in writing. The person must begin to pay fees on the first day of the month after the purchase of reception equipment.

The OFCOM website has a comprehensive explanation in English of where and how to pay the registration licence fee

  • Billag SA (in French, German and Italian)
    At
    : Case postale, CH-1701 Fribourg 
    Tel: +41 (0)844 834 834
    email
  • To subscribe online: Click here (in French) or here (in German)
  • Billag must be told of a change of address. This can be done online: Click here (in French) or here (in German)