Swiss TV channels: Language learning times 3

Swiss TV channels: Language learning times 3

by Sandra Köktaş

Updated March 9, 2023

Watching Swiss TV channels is a great way to immerse yourself in any (or all) of the four official Swiss languages — German, French, Italian and Romansch. And it comes with a bonus. This learning opportunity doesn’t require you to sit at your desk. You can watch the news with your morning coffee or cozy up on the couch for a movie night. 

Maybe following an entire Swiss television program seems a bit intimidating if you’re a beginner. Not to worry — you can still look into Swiss TV channels in English to immerse yourself in Switzerland’s culture. With streaming services that allow you to personalize your viewing experience, you can go at your own pace. For example, you might want to follow a bit of Swiss news before diving into a full-length movie.

Learn languages at your pace

Swiss TV channels in English

Have you just started your language learning journey? No worries. You can still watch TV in Switzerland. While there are no specific Swiss TV channels broadcasting Swiss programs in English, you have a few options to access English TV channels from home.

English TV channels on cable

Swiss cable companies are required to carry certain channels. Among these is the European news channel Euronews, which is available in English. You may have access to plenty of other English-language channels, as well, depending on the provider and package you choose.

English TV channels via Sky Digital satellite

Even though you’re in Switzerland, you can access free-to-air British programming broadcast via the Sky Digital satellite. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include encrypted programming, even if you sign up for it. Keep an eye out for English TV channels when you choose your Swiss provider.

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. You’ll surely find enough to keep you entertained, whether you’re into news, music or movies. The list of Swiss TV channels in English typically includes:

  • CBeebies
  • BBC World News
  • CNN International
  • CNBC
  • Sky News
  • Bloomberg TV
  • Film4
  • 5USA
  • MTV

Learn languages at your pace

Swiss news channels

Swiss TV channels feature a ton of options in three of Switzerland’s four official languages: German, French and Italian. You’ll even find some channels offering programming in Romansch. If you want to practice your language skills by watching the news, select a news channel in your preferred language and give it a try.

SRF info (German)

This German-language news channel is owned by the public broadcasting group SRG SSR. Popular daily news programs are SRF Tagesschau, 10vor10 and Schweiz aktuell.

TeleZüri (German)

Not a news channel as such, the local station for the city of Zürich (one of our favorite cities in Switzerland) is now available throughout the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland. No other commercial channel in Switzerland gets so many views for its nightly newscast.

RTS Un (French)

The first Swiss French-language public television channel is part of the SRG SSR. The focus of the general schedule is primarily news and local programming. 

Teleticino (Italian)

This commercial channel airs news for the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland.

RSI La 1 (Italian)

Part of the SRG SSR, this Italian-language public television channel runs a general schedule featuring a fair number of news programs.

In addition to the Swiss channels, public and commercial channels from the neighboring countries (namely Germany, France and Italy) are widely available. Some even have localized advertising adapted to the Swiss market.

Swiss TV channels you can watch online

Do you want to watch your favorite news program on the go? With one of the many available streaming services, you can watch Swiss TV channels anytime and anywhere. 

One of the most popular providers of on-demandTV and video is Zattoo. If you subscribe from Switzerland or Germany, you can use the basic package for free.

Swiss content in German, Italian and French is also accessible through Play Suisse, the streaming service of the public broadcasting group SRG SSR. And, of course, you can sign up for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

Television fees in Switzerland

Every household in Switzerland must pay a radio and television fee, collected by Serafe. This fee contributes to public service in the field of electronic media and helps fund public channels. Remember that you must pay this fee even if you don’t own a radio or television — not doing so can result in hefty fines.

Learn a language with Swiss TV channels

Watching Swiss TV is a great way to improve your listening-comprehension skills in the language you’relearning. In Switzerland, this could be German, French or Italian. There are many TV channels broadcasting in one of these languages — some public, some commercial. 

Swiss TV channels are available via cable or satellite and often bundled together with internet and home-phone services. Streaming services allow for an even more personalized viewing experience. And for those expats in Switzerland missing their favorite shows from home, there are plenty of TV channels in English.

Learn languages at your pace

Sandra Köktaş

Sandra lives in Istanbul, together with her kids, cat and dog. As a historian she thrives exploring this ancient city with her two- and four-legged loved ones. Together, they also love to go on adventures through all of Turkey and its neighboring countries. If she’s not on the road, Sandra is busy putting her experiences into writing as a freelance copywriter for the travel industry and everything related to language, culture and family. Her particular interest lies in providing information on animal welfare with her website.


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