Swisscom TV air has become the new mobile TV product from the Swiss incumbent, replacing its previous DVB-H service. Citing a lack of DVB-H compatible devices to make the service a success, the new mobile TV offer will use HSPA/UMTS/Edge instead. The DVB-H network will remain in place for the time being, the operator said.
For CHF9 (€6.29) a month, Swisscom TV air offers 34 live TV channels that can be watched via PCs, laptops or mobile phones using DSL or HSPA/UMTS/Edge streaming. Existing Swisscom TV mobile customers will be automatically transferred to Swisscom TV air.
Sports fans can watch exclusive live sporting events for CHF5 per game. The VOD service from Swisscom TV is also now available on computers in addition to the IPTV service at prices starting from CHF3.50 per movie.
There are also 70 radio stations and numerous video clips available for free via computers. Ten more television channels will be added in May 2010.
Customers need a DSL line or a mobile subscription to use Swisscom TV air. Swisscom TV air works on all standard operating systems and is available on most modern mobile phones. Swisscom customers will receive Swisscom TV air for a fixed price, with data traffic included.
Customers on other mobile networks who have a Swisscom internet connection can also watch TV on their mobiles, but they may be charged for data traffic by their mobile provider.
The 34 available channels are SF1,SF2, SFinfo, Pro Sieben, RTL, Sat 1, Vox, Nickelodeon, ARD Das Erste, ZDF, ORF 1, DMAX, RTL2, Deluxe Music, MTV, Eurosport, N-TV, TSR1, TSR2, TF1, TV5, France 2, France 3, France 5, M6, NRJ 12, Teleclub Sportflash, RSI La 1, RSI La 2, Rai Uno, Italia1, Canale 5, CNN and Bloomberg TV.
The 10 channels to be added in May are France 24, France 4, W9, Gulli, NT1, TV8 Mount Blanc TV, Rai Due, Rete 4, Cielo and Sky News.
At IPTV World Forum, Harmonic announced that Swisscom had selected Harmonic’s ProStream 4000 real-time multi-screen transcoder to power the new service to be delivered in multiple formats for viewing on a wide variety of devices.
It is our take that the move to abandon DVB-H is another sign that broadcasting via a dedicated transmitter network seems to fail to become a viable business proposition (see also our earlier commentary). Swisscom cites as the main reason the lack of suitable mobile devices to receive DVB-H broadcasts.
Another point might be that there seems to be limited appeal for live TV and that consumers rather have on-demand video, which a DVB-H network can’t deliver. The existing cellular network is much better positioned to stream requested videos. Hence the Swisscom decision to switch its mobile TV offering to its HDSPA/UMTS network.
In an interesting move, the operator is also offering its TV service to others. It has opened up the mobile TV offer to all mobile customers.
At the same time, Swisscom also started to offer the VOD service to all DSL customers in the country parallel to its own (closed-shop) IPTV offer. We can expect other operators to follow suit.