Last Thursday I attended to a presentation of an interesting young swiss company called SwissTV. The main subject: a new offer of VOD (Video on Demand) for Switzerland.
After work, you are in the mood for a good Film@home evening. No social life for once and just a cool, chill-out evening in front of a good movie. Everything is perfect a part the fact that you still need to find that DVD of movie you want to watch. You might have loads of time to go by the Video club around the corner, or you might be just like most of people: hoping the automatic distributor will work as the video club will be already closed… Well, modern life is evolving fast and the way we spend our time too. I do not know for you, but I have been dreaming for the past 5 years to be able to go to the video club on time…never made it . So most of the time, what were my options for a good movie: iTune store or illegal streaming… Here in Switzerland, the options are not so many and the existing ones are quite poor in a way.
For iTunes, welcome to the swiss exception. In deed, Apple iTunes store was build with a simple rule: one country, one language. Simple when you are living in the USA or in France. But what about Switzerland with its 4 official languages + english thanks to many foreigners? Well, it is a mess. Apple took german as main language, so good luck to find your way if you are looking for a film in french or english. Not appropriated. Moreover, iTunes presents dozens of thousands of movies, TV series and documentaries. How can we choose? You can either spend hours looking for the perfect video or of course you can count on their sophisticated algorythm to choose for you. How? Well, it is a clever equation between people’s ratings, number of views, probable some rationale linked to what you already watched. Welcome to Genius. But the system has a limit. This way of “advising” brings us to an extreme cultural situation: today 90% of views are made on less than 5% of the content. The more you watch something, the more you watch it!. So we need to diversify media libraries and not centralize the content.
Of course there are a couple of local VOD like DVDFly.ch but you better not be a MAC user, not compatible and prices are not competitive. You can also get their box, more classical and the offer is not exactly clear. Only 2,000 films in VOD and of course more than 20,000 DVDs that you can get by the post. Forget it,
too long. You can also use your X-Box with HD Zune but too expensive. So of course then you get into illegal streaming. It is cheap but you get the quality you deserve: poor. As we say: “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”.
So, that is why I was motivated to discover an alternative to all of these. SwissTV is a young company born in 2009 thanks to the aim of a small group of friends sharing the passion for Cinema. Their mission: to propose the best choice in terms of VOD in Switzerland. As a Swiss company, they propose quality, freedom, choice and reliability. All wrapped in a cutting-edge design.
This is how I discovered the SwissTV box. No subscriptions, the freedom to choose what you want, when you want. A true 1080p HD quality for a fair price (cheaper than most of competitors). They have launched their box in november 2010 and they have already almost 3,000 clients totally convinced by the offer. You can find all the details on their website: http://www.swisstv.ch.
As we can imagine, the world of movies is a tuff one and the nice guys from SwissTV needed to enter this world made of the powerfuls “Majors” like Universal, Warner and so on… Today they have gathered around 4,000 films and they hope they will grow the catalog. No worries, you can find all the big blockbusters like Harry Potter or Pirates of the Caribbean. But you can also find real “pearls” of the world cinema like 1951″ Streetcar named Desire” with Marlon Brando, Chaplin 1936 “Modern Times” or Truffauts 1980 “The Last Metro”.
I was hoping to see a first catalog of Swiss movies or even other short-films, alternative labels… but it seems it is a lot of work to get them in terms of copyrights and contracts. But the SwissTV team said they are working on it. They also have an interesting choice of Documentaries issued by the BBC and for TVSeries, we still need to wait a little bit.
- HDMI output
- Video RCA (CVBS)
- Dual RCA for analog stereo output
- Scarf output
- 12V-2A Power input
- Ethernet 10/100 Base TX-RJ-45
- WIFI IEEE 802.11 b/g/n connection
- Digital Audio output (SPDIF)
- USB Connector
- Master Switch on/off
As we can see, SwissTV is the only box in Switzerland with WIFI connection. The box helps to manage your films, accounts and credits. You can either load your credit account via your preferred credit card or thanks to SwissTV cards available on their website.
As SwissTV is a swiss company one point is important to note: Design. As you can see the Box itself or event the Remote control is very design oriented in a “Less is more” philosophy. Only 12 buttons for a multimedia remote control… just great. If you need to have this object in your living room, you may be looking for something nice.
Some interesting features:
- pre-download films during the day and watch it in the evening.
- receive email alerts on new films availability
- use of smooth-streaming (film quality adapted to your bandwidth – no buffering).
To discover all prices and conditions, I let you check the company website.
Last but not least, SwissTV is organizing a online contest on their facebook fan page. It is a movie quizz.
Find all the answers and be a monthly champion. You can win a trip for 2 to Hollywood. This is the big prize but you have loads of other interesting prices, from SwissTV cards to home-cinema sets. Check it here: SwissTV online quizz.
So is it a swiss (r)evolution ? So far so good.