German TV online
For many years, private TV stations such as RTL, VOX or Pro7 could be received in Germany via DVB-T, the digital terrestrial television, without paying anything (apart from the licence fee, which every household in Germany has to pay, even if they do not have a TV). For this purpose, it was enough to buy a suitable antenna and a DVBT player. But since recently this is no longer possible, and with an antenna and a suitable player, you can only receive state channels for free.
Most TV sets manufactured today have an internet connection and therefore more and more people are using internet TV.
Many people connect to the internet via Wifi. However, Wifi is more susceptible to interference than a direct connection via an Internet cable. To ensure a stable transmission on a large TV screen, a LAN cable connection is therefore recommended. However, with sufficient bandwidth, it is also possible to stream the TV signal via Wifi.
Free Internet TV in Germany – Important note: The broadcasting fee (Rundfunkbeitrag) of 17.50 euros per month has to be paid by every household in Germany, regardless of whether they have a radio or TV set. In addition to this, there are of course the costs for the internet (these depend on the package you have).
Why German TV?
We often read in comments and various forums questions about Polish television in Germany. On one hand, we understand the need of our compatriots to watch Polish TV, on the other hand, it is not good for learning German. On the contrary, watching Polish TV means that you don’t listen to the German language and consequently you will never be able to learn it well. Therefore, it is important to have and watch German TV in order to get a good ear for the German language. Even if you don’t understand anything at first, you will find that you pick up more and more vocabulary until you understand everything. As they say, “to want is to be able to”! So, if you want to learn German, we recommend watching TV exclusively in German!
In this article, we will describe how you can watch German channels or programs over the internet and what costs you might incur. But first, we would like to clarify two important terms that are constantly mentioned on the internet.
IPTV in Germany
You have probably heard of the term “IPTV” more than once. It stands for the transmission of television programs (“TV”) using the Internet Protocol (“IP”). In addition to aerial, cable and satellite, the Internet has become another distribution channel for television.
Internet TV providers in Germany include, for example, Telekom, Vodafone and 1&1. These companies offer TV packages in combination with Internet packages (TV packages must be purchased in addition). If you decide on a TV package with one of these providers you will receive a TV set from them, usually you have to buy or rent one.
At Telekom the MagentaTV option starts at around 10 euros. Also at 1&1 Internet TV costs from 10 euros. At Vodafone it’s a bit more expensive – here prices start at around 15 euros.
All of them also offer premium packages for an additional fee, which include more programs and more HD channels, but also some series or other video-on-demand offers.
VoD in Germany
Video on Demand (VoD), is a service that allows people to watch broadcast footage or listen to a broadcast sound recording at a time of their choosing, later than the broadcast time. The broadcast (also “live”) can thus be postponed for the individual viewer and listener. Many German TV stations such as ZDF or ARD make their media rooms available for free. All you have to do is download the app of the station of your choice onto your TV.
German TV for free
As we mentioned in the beginning, if you live in Germany you can receive German TV for free via terrestrial TV. Furthermore, you can watch German TV for free via the internet. ZDF and ARD, the biggest German public TV channels, offer a free live stream:
If you have a SMART TV, i.e. a TV set with an internet connection, you can download the ARD and ZDF apps and browse their online libraries for free. You can find there series, documentaries or news.
You should also not forget about YouTube, where you can find programs of many popular TV stations, such as Galileo with interesting documentaries:
German TV online
If you don’t want to miss out on the private German TV channels such as RTL, VOX or PRO7, you have to be aware of the costs. These depend on the provider you choose.
Zattoo – German TV over the internet for free
One of the most popular internet TV providers in Germany is Zattoo. Zattoo offers a free package, through which you can watch up to 92 channels for free. These include for example arte, Comedy Central, KIKA, phoenix, 3sat, ZDF and others. Unfortunately, there is a limit, which is 30 hours per month.
In addition, Zatto offers a Premium package, which is free for the first 30 days (after that you have to cancel if you don’t want to pay!) and allows you to watch 113 channels, including the popular RTL, Pro7, VOX, Sport1, DMAX, Sat1 and many more. This package costs €9.99 per month. Here you can test Zattoo for one month for free: Zattoo – kostenlos 1 Monat schauen!
Those who decide to buy an annual subscription will pay 99.99 euros for it. Additionally, there is the Ultimate package, for 13.99 euros per month, which has recording features.
Freenet TV – German TV for 5.75 euros per month
Freenet TV is an offer of telecommunications operator mobilcom debitel aimed at people who want to extend the offer of channels available via DVB-T antenna 2 for free, with additional channels, available after subscribing to freenet TV (such as RTL, VOX, DMAX, Eurosport and others – see the above graphic). The monthly fee is 6.99 Euros and the one-time fee is 9.95 Euros for the decoder. On the following website you can order a decoder and subscribe: www.mobilcom-debitel.de.
DAZN – live streaming of sport events
DAZN is a live sports streaming service that allows fans to experience sports the way they want to. Whether live at home, on the road, time-shifted or in hindsight, DAZN offers more than 8,000 live sports broadcasts per year and thus includes the most comprehensive sports offering ever offered by a single provider.
In addition to live coverage of the UEFA Champions League (from 2018/19) and UEFA Europa League (from 2018/19), the offer also includes other top European football leagues such as the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and, from this summer, just 40 minutes after the final whistle, all major Bundesliga and 2 Bundesliga matches.
In addition, DAZN offers broadcasts of other sports events such as NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB, tennis, field hockey, rugby, cricket, boxing and martial arts.
DAZN can be tested for one month for free. After this time period, the monthly fee is €9.99 and you can cancel your subscription at any time. You can test DAZN for free here: DAZN – Jetzt GRATISMONAT starten!
DAZN is available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan and Canada and works on almost all internet devices, including smart TVs from leading manufacturers including Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and Philips, on all Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.
Amazon Prime – series, movies, and free shipping on Amazon!
Amazon offers an Amazon Prime package that, in addition to free shipping, also includes access to thousands of movies and series (but not limited to): Test Amazon Prime for free!
Amazon Prime costs €7.99 per month and includes:
- Unlimited free premium shipping for millions of products on Amazon
- Unlimited access to movies and series (Amazon Prime Video)
- Free e-books
- Free access to 2 million songs through Prime Music
- No shipping costs for Prime items under €29
- Unlimited photo storage on Amazon Cloud Drive
- 30 days free trial, then €7.99 per month
Prime Video is a service similar to Netflix. With Prime Video, Amazon Prime members can watch movies and series from the Prime Video catalog for free. Movies and series can be downloaded to an app (e.g. Android) and watched without having an internet connection. It’s worth testing Amazon’s offering for free: Test Amazon Prime for free!