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Watching Broadcast Television

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Recently the bottom Swisscom TV bracket tripled in price from 5 CHF per month to 15 CHF per month. This is a huge leap in cost per month. At first I spent a few minutes to see if I could abort the Swisscom TV part of the contract but I couldn’t so I adapted.

## Dormant ‘Receiver’

For months the Swisscom TV “receiver” was sitting in a drawer doing nothing but because of the huge hike in price I put it back into service and I feel that the experience has been improved since I last played with it. For a start the increase in price includes the option to watch programs up to 30 hours after they have aired and I think this feature is key.

One of the problem with Swisscom TV was that you needed to be nocturnal, and watch things live. Now that they have deferred playback included within the cheaper tier this is better.

There is a consequence for Swisscom and Netflix after this. I cancelled the spare phone Sim and I suspended the E-sim for the Apple Watch. Swisscom made my TV price go up by 10 CHF so I cut 15 CHF from what I was spending before. The result is that Swisscom is losing 5 CHF per month as a result, and I was already considering swapping provider.

I have ended or suspended my Netflix contract for two reasons. The first is that I’m not watching anything on Netflix at the moment. The second reason is that they hiked the price up by 1 CHF for their cheapest contract. 1 CHF is nothing, but that’s 12 CHF per year extra, when I watch one or two programs per day, when I find things I want to watch, and nothing for weeks.

## Different to YouTube, Netflix and Others

It’s interesting to watch broadcast TV once again. The content, and the feel, are different. As a result of the shift back to Swisscom TV I find myself watching the BBC and Channel Four once again. I have watched new Top Gear episodes, Grand Design and one or two documentaries about the RNLI one day, and local GPs the next.

## Better Organised

Swisscom TV is better now. It gives you the option of saying “I want to have French language programs, and all English channels are bunched together. You no longer need to go through hundreds of German channels before getting to the channels you can understand. English and French are no longer second class citizens.

## Better Apps

Another change is the app environment. YouTube, Netflix and other channels are much better than they used to be. The experience is closer to what you would expect from the Apple TV, Firestick and other devices. You have the option of dedicated apps, or “live tv”. The Swisscom receiver now replaces the Apple TV with ease, and it doesn’t cost anything.

## Easier Decisions

One of the advantages of “live TV” as they call it, or broadcast TV as I call it, is that you have the choice of twenty channels, some in French, and some in English. If you choose the BBC then you have no adverts to deal with. The result is that you’re limited in choice, but if you watch at the right time of day then you will have high quality content, rather than what I call “user generated crap”.

### The YouTube Illusion of Choice

Recently, when looking for stuff to watch on YouTube I have become more and more frustrated. My frustration comes from having 8-12 videos shown to me, and if I refresh two or three times I still see exactly the same content. Usually if I refresh it’s because I don’t like what I see. YouTube might be a video on demand platform but more, and more, it forces us to watch what it wants us to watch, rather than what we want to browse.

I have watched junk so many times, because the algorithms wanted me to watch that junk. With broadcast TV I watch what a broadcaster chooses, but broadcasters need to provide quality content.

## 30 Hr Replay

The advantage of the 30hr replay is that I have often browsed content on broadcast television and thought “I don’t want to stay up that late to watch this” or “I would have watched this if I had seen it earlier”. With 30hr replay you can see something you wanted to watch, and watch it, within 30 hours.

## And Finally

Most French content is avaiable via DVB, free to air, and English content is also free to view, via a satellite receiver. I’m paying 15 CHF per month from July onwards for content that would be accessible to get, for free, if I had the right to place a DVB-S or DVB-T receiver.

For fun I should see what I could setup on a balcony for less than 180 CHF per year.

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