From Swiss TV channels and satellite to streaming services and more, find out what’s on in Switzerland with our guide to Swiss TV and radio.
In those early days of expat life in Switzerland, you might not even consider turning on your nearest TV or radio. But don’t be afraid to dive straight into the sometimes confusing world of Swiss media. Not only will this help you brush up on some much-needed language skills, but you’ll also be able to get under the skin of your new Swiss home.
But before you pick up the remote, it’s important to know a few things about Swiss TV and radio. From getting that all-important TV and radio license to discovering the best options for watching your favorite shows from home, there’s a lot to consider. To give you a better idea, our guide to Swiss TV and radio includes information on the following:
- Watching TV in Switzerland
- Do I need a license for my Swiss TV and radio?
- Cable and satellite TV in Switzerland
- Swiss TV channels
- Streaming services in Switzerland
- Getting a VPN in Switzerland
- Listening to Swiss radio
- Useful resources
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Watching TV in Switzerland
New arrivals in Switzerland will be pleasantly surprised at just how much choice they have when it comes to Swiss TV. Thanks to the multi-lingual make-up of the local Swiss population, you’ll find more options when you switch on the box than you would in neighboring countries. This includes German, French, and Italian programming, as well as an ever-growing number of English and other international channels. In fact, there’s never been a better time to switch on that Swiss TV.
There are a number of ways to watch TV in Switzerland. In 2019, the country discontinued its digital terrestrial service due to cost-saving measures. Swiss households now receive their TV channels through cable or satellite connections. This is typically bundled together with other home telecoms services, such as Swiss internet and home phone. Some of the main Swiss telecoms providers include:
Generally speaking, these providers offer the widest range of television channels, making them the best option for expats moving to Switzerland. However, be sure to get the right choice for the needs of you and your family.
Do I need a license for my Swiss TV and radio?
In short, yes. If you’ve recently moved to Switzerland, then there are a few things that you need to know before you switch on your TV or radio. Like many other European countries, Switzerland imposes a license fee for all households. The government uses the proceeds of this license to help fund the country’s public broadcaster, SRG SSR. This includes TV and radio channels, as well as online media products such as streaming services like Play Suisse.
The Swiss TV licensing fee used to be called Billag, after the office that collected the fees. However, after an overhaul of the system in 2019, the license fee is now collected by Serafe. Following this change, the payment of this licensing fee is a legal requirement for all households in Switzerland. This is irrespective of whether you actually own a TV or radio. Serafe also receives data on every household in Switzerland from the local municipality’s records.
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The pricing structure for the license has also been streamlined to ensure that all households pay the same amount. This is collected annually by Serafe. In 2021, the fee was set at 335 CHF for private households, however, a few exemptions to the charge do exist. These include households that receive certain state benefits, households of foreign diplomats, and households that are physically unable to receive TV or radio reception. Importantly, fines for being caught watching or listening without a license are hefty, so it’s important to keep up with your payments.
Cable and satellite TV in Switzerland
Thanks to the accessibility of cable and satellite throughout the country, expats in Switzerland have plenty of options when it comes to watching TV. Generally speaking, a satellite offers the most programming options, including international channels. This is particularly true in more rural or mountainous parts of Switzerland. However, be aware that installing satellite receiving equipment can be expensive. Furthermore, Swiss TV packages are typically quite conclusive, which means that you might not need a satellite to watch what you want.
Unless you’re setting up home high in the Swiss Alps, cable connections are more common in Switzerland. The best and easiest way to get TV channels is through a home telecoms package, alongside home internet and a landline telephone. Signing up for a single provider is a great way to save some money when setting up your new home. The biggest Swiss telecoms providers include:
- SAK Digital
The cost of your TV subscription largely depends on the channel package you choose, as well as other aspects of your contract. Generally speaking, most providers offer a basic channel package that includes the biggest Swiss channels and a handful of others from France, Germany, and elsewhere. However, a lot of programming in Switzerland is dubbed into German, French, or Italian, depending on the channel. However, some providers allow you to switch the audio output to the original version, such as English. While there are no exclusively Romansh-speaking TV channels, Romansh programming is available on other channels.
Beyond the basic channel packages, you’ll find an ever-growing number of international programming in Switzerland. This includes plenty of English channels that you might not expect, such as PBS and the Smithsonian Channel (both US), and E4 and ITV2 (both UK). With some providers, you can also upgrade to access even more international programming, from Korean to Albanian channels. Additionally, some packages include subscriptions to streaming platforms such as Netflix.
Swiss TV channels
Ready to dive right into Swiss TV? Then switch on the television and you’ll find plenty of channels to choose from, depending on your chosen TV package. Channels are typically in German, French, or Italian, although a growing number provide English-speaking programming. However, remember that certain providers allow you to switch audio output, should you want a break from subtitles when watching your favorite shows.
The most prominent broadcaster in Switzerland is SRG SSR (Schweizerische Radio- und Fernsehgesellschaft/ Société suisse de radiodiffusion et télévision/ Società svizzera di radiotelevisione). SRG SSR is not a single company, but a parent association of four regional public broadcasters; one for each of Switzerland’s official languages. As the Swiss public broadcasting association, the SRG SSR is funded partially through Swiss TV license fees. The association operates a number of national and regional TV and radio stations through its regional bodies, including the following:
- SRF1: this German-language channel from SRF (Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen) is Switzerland’s most-watched, offering a wide range of programs. You’ll find US imports and youth-oriented programming on the sister channel, SRF Zwei.
- RTS Un: the most-watched French-speaking channel from RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse), with youth programming found on RTS Deux.
- RSI La 1: the most-prominent Italian-speaking channel from RSI (Radiotelevisione Svizzera) offers a mix of entertainment and lifestyle programming. Other Italian-speaking channels include RSI La 2.
In addition to these, there are a number of other channels available in Switzerland. These include Swiss channels as well as some of the most popular TV channels from Germany, France, and Italy. This includes Germany’s ZDF, France’s TF1 Suisse, and Italy’s Rai 1. Furthermore, despite its size, Switzerland has a strong history of regional programming. That said, the availability of these local channels will typically depend on where you live in the country.
Streaming services in Switzerland
These days, you’ll find some of the best movies and series on streaming services. Thankfully for expats relocating to Switzerland, some of the most popular streaming platforms are available in the country. These include:
- Netflix– the US streaming giant is one of the global heavy-hitters and available in Switzerland. Monthly membership gives you access to its original programs and movies, as well as popular shows from around the world.
- Amazon Prime Video– this membership-based service is available in over 200 countries and territories. Many shows are in English, but subtitles are available in other languages – including German, French, and Italian – if you want to practice your language skills.
- Disney+– the latest addition to the international streaming market offers a whole host of movies and TV shows from Disney’s back-catalog, including The SimpsonsandStar Wars. Global availability is currently limited to certain countries, but luckily, Switzerland is one of them.
Getting a VPN in Switzerland
Across the world, an increasing number of expats are using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to ensure their privacy and security online. As well as helping you browse with more anonymity, these VPNs can also help to unblock online content. This allows you to access your favorite sites from home and elsewhere, including some streaming platforms. Some of the VPNs available in Switzerland include:
Listening to Swiss radio
Prefer to listen to your entertainment? Then you’ll want to find out about your radio options in Switzerland. Thankfully, there are plenty of Swiss radio stations for you to tune into, including national and regional ones. These come in a number of languages, too. Alongside those in German, Italian, French, and Romansh, you’ll also find some English-language offerings on your dial.
Swiss radio stations are available through both digital and analog reception. They can be accessed through radios, smartphones, and most digital TV services. The various Swiss public broadcasters each provide a number of radio stations in their local languages. This includes Radio RTR, a Romansh-language station from the Romansh public broadcaster RTR (Radiotelevisiun Svizra Rumantscha).
Commercial radio stations are available at both regional and local levels in Switzerland. These cater to a wider range of tastes, from news and debate to classic rock and all-day sports news and discussion. If you’re looking for English-speaking radio, however, your best bet is to listen online. Stations including those from theBBC are available online and enable you to listen to news and current affairs from around the world.
How much is the radio and television licence fee? As of 1 January 2021 a private household in Switzerland pays 335 francs a year for radio and television. Collective households such as retirement and care homes, residential homes, penal institutions, boarding schools and centres for asylum seekers pay 670 francs.How can I watch Swiss TV? ›
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How much is the radio and television licence fee? As of 1 January 2021 a private household in Switzerland pays 335 francs a year for radio and television. Collective households such as retirement and care homes, residential homes, penal institutions, boarding schools and centres for asylum seekers pay 670 francs.Are there any English TV channels in Switzerland? ›
English TV channels included in packages
The four main providers are Salt, Sunrise, Swisscom and UPC. Check their websites for an up-to-date list of Swiss TV channels in English. You'll surely find enough to keep you entertained, whether you're into news, music or movies.
The Best Way to View Swiss TV From Abroad
To achieve this, you need a quality VPN provider, such as NordVPN. NordVPN's service is perhaps the best around. It offers servers not only in Switzerland, but all over the world, with fast internet connection speeds and native apps for most all of your devices.
The moneyland.ch video-streaming comparison includes subscriptions which are actively offered to Swiss consumers. These include: Amazon, Apple TV plus, Canal +, DAZN, Diney+, Netflix, Netzkino, Paramount Plus, Sky Sport, Swisscom Blue Max, Swisscom Blue Sport.Does Switzerland have Amazon Prime? ›
We ship international versions of Amazon Kindle, Amazon Echo, and Amazon Fire devices. Please be aware, that we currently do not offer a tailored Prime program for our customers in Switzerland.Does HBO work in Switzerland? ›
Log in to the HBO Max with your HBO Now credentials and enjoy streaming HBO Max in Switzerland without any issues.Is Paramount plus available in Switzerland? ›
As of December 1, 2022, residents of Switzerland can subscribe to the Paramount Plus streaming service. The stand-alone plan costs 12 francs per month, and includes German dubbing as an option (when available).How much is daily food in Switzerland? ›
While meal prices in Switzerland can vary, the average cost of food in Switzerland is Sfr57 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Switzerland should cost around Sfr23 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner.
We are serving you as the collection agency for Switzerland's radio and television fee. Welcome to Serafe.How many people watch TV in Switzerland? ›
In 2022, around 4 million Swiss electronic media users watched television daily, making it the most used medium among consumers in this context.How can I watch NBC in Switzerland? ›
Here's how to watch NBC online from anywhere with a VPN:
We recommend NordVPN. Download the VPN software, making sure to get the right version for your device's operating system. Connect to one of your VPN's American servers, this will give you the US IP address you need to bypass NBC's geographic restrictions.
Swiss TV channels
Channels are typically in German, French, or Italian, although a growing number provide English-speaking programming.
Some services also include news networks not based in the US, such as BBC World News. DirecTV Stream, fuboTV, and Sling TV, for instance, all offer international channels, though you will need to pay extra for some of them.Can you use American TV in Europe? ›
Unfortunately, US TV streaming channels block access to internet users outside the country. So if you're outside of the US for your vacations and still want to access your favorite shows you need to deploy technology to keep the entertainment flowing. To get around those restrictions, we recommend using a VPN.How can I watch foreign TV in USA? ›
As stated, ExpressVPN is the most reliable choice for streaming. With servers in 160 locations, there's pretty much no TV channel that this VPN can't help you access. Its servers come with excellent performance across the board, thanks to the 10 Gbps infrastructure and its Lightway protocol.
A Roku device will work in any location, however, channels may not be available on your device in that location, based on each channel provider's discretion.Is Hulu available in Switzerland? ›
Hulu is an exclusive American streaming service that's available in the United States only. Due to some distribution contracts and licensing restrictions, Hulu is only accessible from the US for now.How much is Amazon Prime Switzerland? ›
The 2022 video streaming survey by moneyland.ch shows that just 15% of residents use Amazon Prime Video, while 58% are Netflix users. 2. How much does Prime Video from Amazon cost? Prime Video costs 9.99 Swiss francs per month for subscribers in Switzerland.
Amazon Prime Video is available in countries across the globe. However, like streaming giant Netflix, it offers a different library of content depending on where you're located.Which country uses Amazon Prime the most? ›
The United States has the largest Amazon user base.
There are 148.6 million Amazon Prime members in the U.S. as of 2022, or roughly 74.3% of global Amazon Prime members.
Amazon Prime membership in Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, India, and the United States includes Amazon Video, the instant streaming of selected films and TV programs at no additional cost.Is streaming legal in Switzerland? ›
Both uploading and downloading content such as texts, images or music are acts relevant to copyright. The consent of the rights owner or legal authorisation is always required. Downloading or streaming works for private use is allowed by law. This is also true for downloading from illegal sources.Can I use my HBO account abroad? ›
Yes, HBO Max works just fine outside the U.S. in countries where the HBO service is available. If you want to unblock the streaming service while you're in a country where it's blocked, you'll need an ad-free subscription and a VPN such as ExpressVPN. What's the Best Way to Get HBO Max Outside USA?Can you get Disney plus in Switzerland? ›
Disney+ subscription costs CHF 12.90 a month. Alternatively, save over 15%* with the annual subscription at CHF 129.00 a year and get 12 months for the price of 10. *Savings compared to 12 months of the monthly subscription price (CHF 154.80). What devices are supported?What countries is Yellowstone streaming? ›
- Amazon Prime Video (Canada) (seasons one – four — free with Amazon Prime Video subscription)
- Amazon Prime Video (U.K.) (seasons one – two — purchase only)
- Amazon Prime Video (U.S.) (seasons one – four — purchase only)
- iTunes (U.S. and U.K. — seasons one – four — purchase only)
Can I watch Paramount Plus outside the US? Paramount Plus is only available in select countries including the US and Canada (it won't be coming to moat of Europe until 2022). To watch Paramount Plus outside the US in a country in which it's not available, you'll need to connect to a VPN.Does Paramount Plus not work overseas? ›
Keep in mind that Paramount Plus is only available in a select number of countries, including the United States, the UK, Canada, Australia, Latin America, Nordics, and Ireland. If you're not from such countries, you're going to have to use a streaming VPN for accessing Paramount Plus as well.What is the average breakfast in Switzerland? ›
For a lot of Swiss people who like to eat on the go, a coffee and a gipfeli is the typical breakfast. In Swiss German “gipfeli” means croissant. And the Swiss have their own variations of the croissant in comparison to the French. They used to be quite bready when I first arrived here many years ago.
The price is 1.10 USD. The average price for all countries is 0.77 USD. The database includes 80 countries.Do you have to pay for Serafe? ›
Once a year, every household automatically receives an invoice from Serafe for the radio and television fee for 12 months. Persons with protection status S who live in their own household also have to pay the fee. It is possible to choose to pay the annual fee in quarterly instalments.Is Swiss tax free? ›
The European nation of Switzerland is considered to be an international tax haven due to low tax levels and privacy laws. Switzerland also has a history of favorable tax treaties, stable politics, and a wealth of advisors.Is tax included in Switzerland? ›
If you buy anything in Switzerland, you have to pay value-added tax. It usually amounts to 7.7 per cent of the product price. The rate is lower for goods for everyday use. And some services are exempt from VAT.How many meals a day in Switzerland? ›
And like all social etiquette in Switzerland, the Swiss diet revolves around a fairly rigid schedule. There are five daily meals in Switzerland – Zmorge, Znüni, Zmittag, Zvieri, and Znacht. These set times also determine the types of dishes that Swiss people tend to enjoy.What ethnicity watches the most TV? ›
Whites watch by far the most time-shifted TV—nearly 50 percent more than Asians, the next closest ethnic group—when looking at all TV homes.Where do most Swiss people live? ›
We do not charge for access to our sites or apps - see here for a list of NBC apps. Some video content (long-form full episodes and short-from clips) requires authentication - meaning you have to sign in to your TV service provider.How can I watch BBC in Switzerland? ›
- Get PureVPN for your device on your device.
- Create an account and sign in using your credentials.
- Connect to a UK server from the list.
- Once connected, visit BBC iPlayer website or launch the app.
- Sign in to your BBC iPlayer account.
Which Swiss city do people speak English in? People in every Swiss city will speak English. However, they are more likely to speak English in the major cities of Zurich, Basel, Zug, and Geneva where there are more foreigners and multinational companies.Do you speak English in Swiss? ›
English is the most commonly spoken non-national language in Switzerland. It is regularly spoken by 45 percent of the population in Switzerland although it is more prevalent in German parts of the country than French and Italian. It is also more widely spoken in Switzerland's big cities such as Geneva and Zurich.Can you get English TV in Switzerland? ›
English TV channels included in packages
In Switzerland, you can receive TV channels through cable or satellite connections bundled together with internet and home phone plans. The four main providers are Salt, Sunrise, Swisscom and UPC. Check their websites for an up-to-date list of Swiss TV channels in English.
Hulu is not currently available outside the US. If you're in the US, you'll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu.” For this reason, not just any VPN service will do. Most VPN providers cannot bypass Hulu's strict firewall rules.How can I stream international TV? ›
- ExpressVPN. As stated, ExpressVPN is the most reliable choice for streaming. ...
- CyberGhost. CyberGhost is a cheaper solution, but far from an inferior one. ...
- NordVPN. The last choice for watching foreign TV channels is NordVPN.
You can sign up for Prime on an Amazon's stores e.g. on Amazon.de, Amazon.fr or Amazon.it, which will grant you access to our International Prime Video catalogue. However, we do not offer free shipping, or other Prime benefits like Prime Reading, Prime Photos, etc.Does Switzerland have HBO Max? ›
You'll be able to watch HBO Max in Switzerland in a matter of minutes if you follow the instructions below: Download and install PureVPN. Connect to any of its U.S. servers.Can I stream global TV in the US? ›
Global TV isn't available to viewers outside of Canada. If you try and sign up for or use the service abroad, you'll encounter an error due to geo-restrictions. To get around this, use a VPN with servers in Canada to continue watching from abroad.How can I watch European TV in the US? ›
Use a VPN (virtual private network) to "fake" your IP address, so you look like you are in that country and then you can access their TV on the internet. The TV websites look at your IP address, the internet address where you logged in, and can tell what country you are in. The VPN lets you chose where you login.Can you stream Global TV for free? ›
Q: Is the new Global TV App free? A: The Global TV App is free to download on select devices and offers select content at no cost to the user. Unlock additional networks and shows with a cable subscription.
Amazon Prime members are able to stream selected Amazon Originals titles while outside of their home country. Outside of your home country, a reduced selection of Prime Video titles is available to stream. A selection marked "Watch While Abroad" shows the available titles.Can you watch Hulu in Switzerland? ›
Does Hulu work in Switzerland? No, it doesn't but you can watch Hulu in Switzerland with the help of a premium VPN. We recommend ExpressVPN.Can I use my HBO Max account in Europe? ›
Yes, HBO Max works just fine outside the U.S. in countries where the HBO service is available. If you want to unblock the streaming service while you're in a country where it's blocked, you'll need an ad-free subscription and a VPN such as ExpressVPN.Can I travel internationally with HBO Max? ›
To watch HBO Max while abroad, you'll need to connect to a VPN server back home in a supported country (for instance, you could use a US server to get a US IP address). But not all VPNs will work. HBO Max blocks most VPN connections. Comparitech has tested several providers to find out which VPNs work with HBO Max.Which country watches the most Amazon Prime? ›
But there are three countries where the number of users watching Prime Video outnumbers those watching Netflix: Germany, India, and Japan. The success of video in those markets shows up in Amazon's overall sales results.How much is Amazon Prime in Switzerland? ›
Amazon Prime Video is CHF 7.49 (includes 7 day free trial) for the first month and then CHF 9.99/month thereafter.