upc cablecom takes final steps from analogue to digital television

Friday, April 11th, 2014
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ZURICH — 15 years after it was first introduced in Switzerland digital television has clearly established itself. Since its initial introduction it has become so widespread that every household can now benefit from additional channels with improved sound and picture quality at no extra cost. On 3 June 2014 upc cablecom will be updating analogue television for the last time in German-speaking Switzerland and in parts of French-speaking Switzerland and at the same time it will be extending its free digital channel offering. In 2015 upc cablecom is stopping analogue services altogether. Every cable connection now offers more than 65 digital channels, 36 of which are in guaranteed HD quality, and free 2 Mbit/s Internet. upc cablecom is drawing attention to the upcoming switch-over by means of a widespread information campaign and is offering customers comprehensive support.

upc cablecom pioneered the introduction of digital television in Switzerland in 1999. Since then, due to the many advantages (such as sound and picture quality, variety of channels, recording options, electronic TV guide, interactive TV) and the high number of flat-screen TVs in households in Switzerland, it has become widespread throughout Switzerland. These developments have given many Swiss cable network providers the impetus to move on from the parallel provision of analogue TV services. Now upc cablecom is poised to take the final steps towards full digitalization. The analogue offer will be updated one last time on 3 June 2014 and will then concentrate on the 17 most popular channels. At the same time the digital offer, which is free of charge and has no additional costs, will be expanded to more than 65 TV channels.

Cable connection becomes even more attractive

On 3 June 2014 upc cablecom is adding further channels, including the new Swiss entertainment channels 5+ HD (due to be launched this summer) and TV24 HD (available from 7 May) and additional channels in HD, to its freely available offer in German-speaking Switzerland. Three HD channels will be integrated into the basic offer in French-speaking Switzerland, except in the canton of Geneva and the area surrounding Morges. The cable connection offered by upc cablecom now includes more than 65 digital television channels, 36 of which are in HD in German-speaking Switzerland (22 in HD in French-speaking Switzerland), more than 150 radio stations (more than 120 in French-speaking Switzerland) and free 2 Mbit/s Internet as well. Thus the cable connection offers even more value for money – at the same cost of CHF 29.05 per month as previously. Similar offers from other providers are considerably more expensive and always require an additional device (set-top box). The free digital channel offer from upc cablecom can be used in every room without an additional receiver and is accessible via the cable socket. All customers living in the footprint have access to digital TV and radio channels, including guaranteed HD quality. The best and fastest television picture can be enjoyed in all rooms simultaneously and without restrictions. The unencrypted channel offer from upc cablecom is free and can be received by all modern television sets (with an integrated DVB-C receiver) without the need for a set-top box. Customers without a set-top box may need to perform a channel search on 3 June, depending on their TV set. Customers with older TV sets can also receive the complete range of channels with the help of a converter, which can be ordered from upc cablecom. The converter is loaned to customers free of charge (one device per household).

Large-scale information campaign

By means of a comprehensive information campaign to private and business customers, as well as specific customer groups such as private property owners, municipalities, retirement homes and hospitals, upc cablecom is focusing attention on the switch-over due on 3 June using letters, e-mails, brochures, tickers on TV channels and a dedicated website (upc-cablecom.ch/change). Any possible adjustments to the offer in Italian-speaking Switzerland and in the remaining parts of French-speaking Switzerland will also be advertised in good time.

The cable connection is successful and popular – since the abolition of basic encryption in 2012 customer satisfaction with the cable connection has risen by 70 per cent – partly due to its simplicity since, for example, a set-top box or second remote control is not necessary in order to receive the most popular channels in top quality. This is particularly important for more elderly viewers. Also the free converter, which is required to enable older TV sets to receive the basic package, is simple to use.

It is assumed that the majority of customers who are still watching analogue TV are the elderly. In order to make the switch from analogue to digital television as easy as possible for senior citizens, upc cablecom is discussing concrete communication measures together with Pro Senectute Switzerland, via its trade association Swisscable.