Today, September 8, Comhem shuts down analogue TV broadcasts in 1.6 million Swedish households.
How does it affect you and how do you switch to digital broadcasts? We spoke with Fredrik Hallstan, Head of B2B and Fixed Communications at Tele2, to get some clarity on what this actually means.
Why is this happening?
Analog broadcasts are a technology that is outdated today that lacks the capacity we need for television broadcasts. Here we get at most up to 720×576 resolution, that is, not even full hd, and in addition, the analog network takes up a whole seven times more space than digital broadcasts. By switching off the analogue network, there is capacity for more space for broadband, so that we can surf faster and more.
Note that the range in the digital range differs slightly from the analogue, which means that you lose a number of channels and get some others in exchange. For example, TV10 and TV12 are not included in the basic digital offer, so if you want to watch these channels, you have to pay extra.
Do I need to do anything?
Despite the fact that the shutdown of analogue networks has been going on for a long time and digital broadcasts have been around for a long time, it is still an estimated half a million of Comhem’s customers who watch analogue broadcasts. You know you’re one of them if a strip has appeared in the upper part of your TV that informs about this.
You can also double-check if you are taking part in the digital offer by switching to channel 777 on your TV, which can only be accessed via the digital broadcasts.
What do I need to do?
If you now discover that you are one of those who need to switch to digital broadcasts, it is most likely just a few clicks away. What you need to do is switch the source from analog to digital signals, probably it is not more difficult than doing the same procedure as when switching between watching TV and DVD.
How to do this differs from TV to TV, so if you are unsure, you can always read the user manual or contact your TV manufacturer.
After you have switched to digital broadcasts, you may also need to do a channel search and possibly enter the network ID for your particular city to receive local broadcasts. These figures are also available Comhem’s website here. (pdf)
Most TVs that are 10 years old or younger support digital broadcasts, but Comhem estimates that about 1-2 percent of their customers have a TV that does not support this technology. You can solve this by connecting a digital box, which can either be bought via Comhem or another retailer, to your TV. If your antenna cable has a few decades on its neck, this may also need to be replaced with a newer model.
If this feels awkward to do yourself, Comhem has also enlisted the help of the company Hemfixare, which makes home visits.
Alternatives to digital broadcasts
Another alternative is to completely ignore linear TV and instead switch to streaming material via the internet. Streaming services offer an increasing range in addition to the linear TV broadcasts, which can also be watched at any time without regard to any schedule.
Many modern TVs come equipped with a smart operating system where you can download apps from the streaming services directly. If your TV does not have it, or if you think the interface is clumsy, you can just as easily buy a media player that offers these features. The biggest on the market today are Chromecast and Apple TV.
In this context, it can be mentioned that everyone who lives in a Comhem household can use it Comhem Play free of charge. Through the service, you can watch most of your TV channels on a computer, tablet or mobile phone throughout the EU. Unfortunately, TV4 and Sjuan are not included due to the conflict between Comhem and Telia.