German TV has come into its own in the recent past. There are three options to receive the kind of rich programming you desire, with the ability to tailor your reception to your specific needs.
With German television, you can find broadcasts that stimulate the senses, broaden the outlook on life, and heighten your feeling of being a real part of the world scene. From your favorite shows to interesting takes on our society from those in the know, you can experience whatever cross-section of the world that you like.
National Public Television Broadcaster
ARD (Das Erste) produces popular programs such as the Tagesschau, a news broadcast. This is so popular, especially at 8, that a consensus among Germans is to never call someone at home between 8 and 8:15 in the evening, since it would interrupt their watching of this program.
ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) is the second largest broadcaster providing a program similar to that of the ARD.
Die Dritten (or The Third Networks) produce a number of programs that are popular with the German population. On these stations you can view documentaries, regional news and old movies. NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk), RBB (Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg), MDR (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk), SWR (Südwestrundfunk), and WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) are some of the German Third Television Networks.
Private (Commercial) Television Broadcaster
RTL Television, Germany’s largest private broadcaster, provides programming via antenna in larger population areas, and cable and satellite. Many US series are shown as well as news magazines, entertainment, comedy and sports (Formula 1, anyone? ;-).
Sat.1 is the second largest privately held, commercial broadcaster airing magazine programs, entertainment shows, talk shows and sport. They also have comedies shown regularly.
Some other stations include Pro 7 (a good movie channel, love it!), RTL II (movies, chit-chat, Big Brother), Kabel 1 (good ‘ol movies :-) and VOX (entertainment, movies).
EuroSport is the station for sports viewing, although they usually do not broadcast live events. For this you’ll need to switch to one of the larger TV channels mentioned above.
Two news stations are vital if you want to keep up-to-date on what’s going on in the world — n-tv and N24.
How To Receive German TV
Receipt of German television waves comes in three ways. Reception is via an antenna, through cable or by satellite. This is, of course, standard in virtually all parts of the world. But your concern could be in what language you can receive broadcasts.
In Germany, you won’t find many programs provided in the English language unless you are receiving via cable or satellite. If traveling and staying at the better hotels, you won’t have a problem getting one or the other.
If you do only have antenna reception where you are staying, you will still get anywhere from five to twenty-five channels but exclusively in the German language. If watching German TV is important to you on your vacation, you may have to select where you stay with care.
On cable television, you’ll find over 300+ channels. Of course, it does depend on exactly where you are located. You will be able to receive programs such as NBC Super Channel, CNN, BBC World and MTV in English, as well as several European channels.
With digital pay TV, on cable and satellite, you can find Premiere World which provides a large number of channels and packages that provide up to fourteen English language broadcasts.
When traveling, you would do best with satellite TV. With this you’ll receive a large number of high-quality broadcasts and numerous in English. You’ll find the hotels catering to tourists most often have satellite.
By the way, DW-TV — also known as Deutsche Welle, especially in radio — is the infamous German Television Broadcaster which is very popular in foreign countries. DW-TV educates the world about everything related to Germany — in high fidelity — and this in three languages: German, English and Spanish (spoken by natives).
German TV is going to assist you in keeping up with what is going on in the world. Even if you are on an extended trip through Germany, you will want to stay connected with German television.
Enjoy your travels while you stay informed. Let me know how it worked out for you! :-)