As a Swede in the diaspora, keeping your native language alive might be hard. It might also be difficult to stay in touch with political, social and cultural news and everything else that’s going on back home.
Now Sveriges Television, or SVT, will make life a bit easier for you, as well as a great deal more fun. Beginning in December, you will be able to watch Swedish TV in real time digitally via broadband. Whoever has Internet access will be able to access SVT World (as it is called), no installation or satellite dish needed. All you need is a set-top box that is connected to a television, so it will really be like watching television. The basic rule is that the programs must be shown at the same time as they are broadcast in Sweden. The aim in planning the schedules is to give SVT World viewers the chance to see all programs, which SVT has the right to broadcast outside of Sweden. When two Swedish-produced programs are shown at the same time on SVT1 and SVT2 only one of them can be shown on SVT World. The program not shown on the first occasion will be shown on SVT World at the time of the repeat. There is also a limited possibility to delay the showing of programs for two days from broadcast in Sweden, to enable the broadcasting of programs which would otherwise not be shown on SVT World. SVT World broadcasts around the clock.
“We’ve been sending Swedish TV in real time via satellite in Europe and North Africa since 1997 and in Asia, Africa and Australia since 2005,” says Riffa Hänninen, Head of SVT World during a visit to New York. “The reason it has taken us so long with North America is that few use satellites here; we simply had to go cable so we had to find the best way to do so.”
SVT World is completely self-supporting when it comes to services outside of Sweden, another reason it has taken some time to bring Swedish television in real time to the U.S.
“Our channel has been around for 21 years,” Hänninen continues. “It began as an enterprise aimed specifically at Finland, and Finland is still very much the foundation that makes reaching out to other continents possible.”
The cost to watch Swedish TV this way will be $19.50 per month, for a yearlong subscription. Shorter subscriptions will be somewhat more expensive.
“But hey,” says Hänninen, “in New York you can barely get breakfast for less than $20!”
She adds that she hopes the channel is up and going in the U.S and Canada in time for the popular julkalendern (a children’s television show starting every year on the first of December, and ending on Christmas Eve), and if not, then in time for the equally important Nobel Prize Celebrations, which takes place on December 10. SVT World shows mainly Swedish productions from channels SVT1 and SVT2. The selection is complemented with programs from the theme channels SVT24 and Kunskapskanalen, when both SVT1 and SVT2 show foreign productions, which cannot be shown outside of Sweden for copyright reasons. SVT World’s service ConNova TVX AB is responsible for handling all subscriptions and technical support concerning reception.
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