German TV Options for North Americans

Watching German-Language Television in the US and Canada

When I wrote about the loss of most of NEXTV’s German channels in November 2015, I promised to review the quality and channel lineup of the German TV Company. You’ll find that review below – but I also cover some other options for watching German-language television from North America.

German TV Company

A screen shot of the German TV Company website. They offer both online and set-top box TV viewing.

Since my blog post in late 2015 there have been some new developments: (1) NEXTV has now restored some of its lost German channels, but the number of channels available is still far less than before the 2015 cuts. (2) German TV Company is a worthy replacement, and has even added a few more channels to what was already the largest German-language channel lineup I know of. (3) A new online service, Deutsches Fernsehen (“German television”), is now available, and it offers a wide range of channels in German for computer/mobile device viewing – currently for free! (4) In a later post I’ll also discuss the VPN (Virtual Private Network) option that some people like to use for foreign streamed TV viewing.

NEXTV | German TV Company | Deutsches Fernsehen

NEXTV Update
This Toronto-based video streaming service again is offering the two German public TV broadcasters ARD (Das Erste) and ZDF in real time. NEXTV now also carries some regional “third-channel” broadcasters (HR, NDR, SWR, WDR) and a few local TV stations (Düsseldorf, München, Zurich), but far fewer than before. The truth is that NEXTV is still a pale shadow of its former self, now offering only 30 TV channels (many being small local cable channels) in German, with fewer choices than before the autumn 2015 cuts. It no longer offers time-shifted versions of ARD and ZDF, and can’t compete with the recorded broadcast options of its competitors. For some reason the ProSieben Sat.1 Welt channel on NEXTV is not only distorted (squeezed horizontally) but also in poor-quality SD. Most of the other channels are in HD. Using a low-cost Roku receiver hooked up to your TV, it’s a lot like watching real German television on a normal TV screen at home in Germany. Continue reading