End for Swisscom TV 1.0

Why the first Swisscom TV
is going offline.

After eleven years, Swisscom is shutting down Swisscom TV 1.0 at the end of October. The first generation of the IPTV product is now used by less than one per cent of customers. We explain why we are no longer supporting this product and what will change for customers when they switch to the latest Swisscom TV.

Roger Baur, 28 August 2017

When it was launched in autumn 2006, Swisscom TV was ahead of its time. It enabled television broadcasting over the Internet for the first time, originally using Mediaroom software developed by Microsoft. The set-top box required for reception had a built-in hard disk for saving up to 200 hours’ worth of recordings. It already offered live-pause and, in 2012, Replay was added for watching programmes up to 30 hours after the initial broadcast.

Development of Swisscom TV 1.0 and 2.0 subscriber figures.

However, things have changed a lot since. HD for instance: In 2006, HD TV was the exception, today it is the norm. Another development was the huge success of Replay and popular demand from a growing number of customers to watch programmes they had missed a good while back. And finally, the number of channels desired by subscribers rocketed from 100 in 2006 to 800 today.

How the new Swisscom TV came about

That’s a good thing, but it proved too much for the old technology to handle. “Once we’d reworked and replaced the boxes three times in five years, we realised that we could only satisfy new demands with a completely new product,” explains Dirk Wierzbitzki, Head of Products & Marketing and member of the Group Executive Board. “So we started to develop an entirely new Swisscom TV. This development didn’t happen somewhere far removed from our customers, but in Switzerland with our own designers and engineers.”

Guy Papstein is responsible for the award-winning design of the new Swisscom TV.

A product for Switzerland, developed and produced in Switzerland – with the added advantage that developers have been better able to address customer wishes. The list was topped by lower energy consumption, no noisy fan and a much more compact design. “However, it also included functions such as voice search in dialect, accessibility for customers’ with sensory disabilities and a personal on-screen programme guide with the favourite programmes customers had missed over the last seven days,” explains Dirk Wierzbitzki.

From Swisscom TV 1.0 to the new Swisscom TV

And so, at the end of the day, the new Swisscom TV turned out to be a mini revolution, and quite literally so, when you look at the size of the space-saving box. Besides advanced functions such as 7-day Replay, three times faster switchover time and double the picture and sound quality, Swisscom TV 2.0 mainly offered a huge improvement in recording performance. This is because Swisscom TV 2.0 does not save the programmes on the device, but in a central storage facility (cloud), allowing us to cater to countless customer wishes at once: far more recording capacity (up to 2,400 hours), simultaneous recording of any number of programmes and the option of adding programmes to viewer recordings up to 7 days after broadcast and thus reliably saving them at the touch of the button. Doubly secure, because recordings are saved in the case of a device defect.

Easy switching from Swisscom TV to Swisscom TV 2.0: As Dirk Wierzbitzki explains: “No complex installation is involved, just two simple steps: plug in and switch on. Even recordings are transferred automatically.”

Why it is the end for Swisscom TV 1.0

All these features impressed customers. In the past three years, more than 99% switched to the new Swisscom TV. However, the engineers allowed Swisscom TV 1.0 to continue until now. “Now we’ve reached the point where the old systems sometimes no longer work reliably,” explains Dirk Wierzbitzki. “That’s why we decided to shut down Swisscom TV 1.0 on 31 October.” Doing so will also free up capacities permitting the further development and improved reliability of Swisscom TV 2.0. “All our support teams can now focus on the one system and thus identify potential problems earlier and remedy them faster.” And ultimately, capacities are also required for new features. “We are planning a new quantum leap for Swisscom TV before Christmas.” Unwilling to go into details, he reveals: “It is going to be a major improvement for our customers.”