After technical issues and delays (See Swisscom's Delay a Bad Sign for IPTV?
, Swisscom has met their strategic goal (See Swisscom Fixnet to Launch Bluewin TV in 2006
) and has announced the availability of Bluewin TV, their new IPTV service, starting November 1st.
The Swiss are avid television viewers. According to a recent poll (source: Telecontrol 2006), the Swiss spend an average of 3.5 hours a day in front of the TV, with viewers in the Italian-speaking and French-speaking parts of Switzerland scoring slightly higher than viewers in German-speaking Switzerland (Italian 4 hours, French 3.8 hours, German 3.4 hours). Bluewin TV offers a diverse range of services combined with a set of intelligent tools. These include an electronic programme guide with details of current and upcoming programmes, a live pause function, and easy-to-use programming functions for programmes or serials via remote control, mobile phone or the Internet.
Bluewin TV's basic package covers over 100 regional, national and international television channels and more than 70 radio channels. Customers will also be able to choose from a range of exclusive sporting events:
- Four games in each round of the Swiss National Ice Hockey League A as well as all play-off games
- Two matches in each round of the Axpo Super League
- All UEFA Champions League games per match day as well as all Bundesliga games in each round can be purchased individually (CHF 1 per event) or by subscribing to the Teleclub Sport supplementary package
The video-on-demand store contains over 500 films available at the touch of button 24 hours a day (starting from CHF 3.50 per film and CHF 2.50 for documentation).
The monthly fee for the basic offering, Bluewin TV Plus, is CHF 29. This includes a wide range of content (TV and radio programmes) and a selectable language package (German, French or Italian). The Bluewin TV set-top box provides customers with over 100 hours' recording capacity. The monthly TV Magazine provides information on programme content. Additional language packages can be ordered at a cost of CHF 5.50 per package. As an option, customers can choose from up to 30 Teleclub channels. Bluewin TV offers French-speaking customers the option of CANAL+ LE BOUQUET. This features five channels with films, sports programmes and serials. Bluewin TV is installed by a specialist at the customer's home for a charge of CHF 95. Households with two television sets require a second Bluewin TV set-top box. This costs CHF 10 a month. For the Teleclub Basic package from Bluewin TV the customer pays CHF 29.90 instead of CHF 39.90 via cable.
To receive Bluewin TV, customers need a broadband Internet connection (an ADSL 150 subscription is sufficient). Content is broadcast to conventional TV sets in the customary quality via the Bluewin set-top box which is connected to an ADSL or VDSL modem. VDSL technology supports higher bandwidths than ADSL and hence the simultaneous transmission of two TV channels (streams) over a single access line. Two streams are needed to record a programme via Bluewin TV while watching another. Customers in areas which do not yet provide VDSL access can have only one TV channel transmitted at a time, and pay CHF 26 instead of CHF 29 for the basic package.
While Swisscom is upgrading its access network so that it can continue to offer good-quality multimedia services also in the future, technical constraints remain. The effective bandwidth depends on the length of the access line in question. As a result, Bluewin TV is not available over every phone line. Bluewin TV currently covers around 75% (or 2.3 million) of Swiss households. Some 65% (or 2 million) of households have access to VDSL technology. Continuous upgrading of the networks with VDSL technology will increase coverage and bandwidth in Switzerland. Customers can check online via the Internet whether or not Bluewin TV is available over their phone line.