So you live in Germany, and you’d like to view English language television at home? Well, first of all you can forget the ordinary terrestrial channels – there are none which broadcast exclusively in English. None of the Television channels have any English-language programming worth a mention either.
This leaves you with three options: cable, satellite or Internet TV.
Satellite television – satellite provides the greatest number of English-language television channels – literally hundreds. Most satellite dish owners in Germany choose to tune into the Astra 2 satellite. This provides the full range of British channels including all the BBC, ITV, and SKY channels. A 45 to 90cm diameter dish will be able to receive most channels – exact size is dependent on where abouts in Germany you are located. The disadvantage of satellite over cable is that a dish is a hassle to install. It also requires a south-facing balcony or roof-space. Even with such a south-facing space your landlord may not approve of a dish installation. Also the initial set-up costs can be higher than cable, i.e. a few hundred Euro. Having said all that, if you’re an avid watcher of British TV then a satellite dish is definitely for you and it won’t break the bank. For people living near Munich see: Satellite television.
See also: Free UK satellite TV in Germany
Cable television – the number of English-language television channels on cable is currently limited to around 10 to 20 dependent on the region of Germany (as of April 2006). This channels usually include Sky News, BBC Prime, NASN (North American Sports Network), and about ten others. Although the range of channels is smaller than via satellite, the advantage is that installation is easier – you simply have to plug the receiver box into your wall socket. The start-up costs are also lower – a digital receiver and initial subscription are less than satellite dish. Also, a cable TV connection usually comes with integrated high-speed internet which is an economic alternative to DSL internet via Deutsche Telekom.
Internet TV – by connecting a computer or a set-top box to your TV you can watch Internet-delivered shows. Then with the use of an international proxy service like Witopia.net or StrongVPN you can access geo-locked services like BBC iPlayer and Netflix from Germany. For this reason if you are using a set-top box it needs to support VPN technology, which for instance Boxee Box does.