Television Services

Your new apartment or house may already be wired with cable or a satellite receiver. In some cases, cable television fees are included with your apartment’s facility management fee. If not, call your local cable company and they will let you know if your building is wired. Cable TV companies in FrankfurtRhineMain offer a number of non-German services, including CNN, BBC World Service, French TV5 and Al Jazeera.

To receive satellite television, you must buy and install your own satellite receiver. They are available at many retail outlets and will allow you to receive all of the major German cable channels, plus numerous other foreign stations. If you get reception from the Astra and Hotbird satellites, you can receive the following “free” English-language news and information stations: CNN, Eurosport, Sky News and BBC World.

Remember that regardless of which programs you want to watch, all homes are charged the Rundfunkbeitrag, a license fee – the charge is the same for everyone and is € 17.50 a month. The money is used to run the high-quality public TV and radio channels in Germany. You will not need to own a TV to be charged the fee – having a PC connected to the Internet suffices. For the details, please visit: https://www.rundfunkbeitrag.de/welcome/englisch/index_ger.html

 

If your home is wired for cable, you can also get foreign-language programming through Hessen’s cable provider unitymedia. There are no less than 14 language packages, covering a total of 80 TV channels; the language packages do not, however, include English, but do feature French and Turkish for example. Prices start as low as € 2.99 a month.

All the major streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video and iTunes are available in Germany … and in most cases in the original languages. You might find that the selection of films is not the same as in your home country, which has to do with geo-blocking by different providers. The EU is moving to relax this restriction within member countries in 2018. To circumvent this, some users set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) through a provider such as expressvpn.com, which essentially convinces the streaming service that you are located in the same country as is it.

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