With advances in technology, there are multiple forms of entertainment available to the general public. One that has upgraded, rather than having gone out of style, is television. People are now able to watch television from anywhere, on multiple platforms, and have an extensive amount of channels, options, and programs available.
If you bring your television over from the United States, then you may need a PAL/NTSC converter. However, purchasing a television in Germany means not having to deal with voltage transformers, so it is up to you.
Your cheapest option is a Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial receiver. With this digital or HD digital DVB-T receiver, you can get about 30 channels; however, all of them will be in German. While this option is cheaper, it also offers you the least diversity in your entertainment.
Cable is more costly than terrestrial television, but the number of channels available to you increases drastically. While most generic cable packages have about 40 channels available, you can add additional packages depending on your watching habits. One option that some cable companies offer is an English Language package, which gives you about 16 channels in English in addition to the regular packages. There are some English language channels in the regular cable packages as well, including CNN, BBC World, and MTV.
Which cable providers are available to you depend on the area in which you live. Cable is often bundled with broadband, if you are looking for an internet provider as well.
Satellite television is more common with the English-speaking crowd in Germany. With satellite television, you have many more options available to you, and more English language channel options. Different satellites have different channel options. The two most popular satellites are the Astra 2 and the Astra 19.2. The Astra 2 satellite has over 140 free English language channels available called Freesat, based in the UK. The Astra 19.2 satellite has Sky Deutschland TV, which has many English language channels, such as ESPN America, National Geographic, TNT, TCM, and many movie channels. However, Sky Deutschland TV is a pay TV package, so you would have to subscribe and get a receiver that can fit the viewing card. Sky Deutschland TV is also available through your cable provider.
UK Sky TV is another option available to you. It is typically only available in the UK; however, many English speaking German residents have found a way around this. You can simply find a hosting agency that will help you set it all up. They will deal with the activation process, as well as customer service, and supply the equipment you need. The hosting agency charges about €200 per year, on top of the Sky subscription costs. It is more expensive, but you have many more good quality English language channels available.
When setting up satellite television in your home, it is best to have the satellite dish installed by a professional, as the equipment and dish have to be installed and aimed precisely in order to receive your channels and to avoid complications. Most satellite packages are not too costly, but setup can cost between €100 and €500. When you choose to have satellite installed, be sure to check with your landlord to make sure you are allowed to have a dish installed or redirected.
With satellite television, there are three different types of receivers. There is digital, digital/HD, and digital/HD with twin tuner and hard drive. The digital/HD with twin tuner and hard drive is similar to a DVR back in the United States. With it you can record shows and fast forward and rewind through shows you are watching.
Virtual Private Network
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a way to connect to the internet using an IP address from the United States so that you have access to websites that are only available in the United States. This is an excellent option for those who cannot live without their Hulu and Netflix. Click the link for more information on how this works.
There are only a few English language radio stations available in Germany. If you are near a US or UK military base then you should have more English language radio stations available to you. These stations include the American Forces Network and the British Forces Broadcasting Service. Both have channels on AM and FM frequencies.
Register Your Television, Computer, and Radio
Germany charges a quarterly fee to have television, radio, and internet available to you. If you have any of these electronics, you have to pay the fee, which is about €54 per quarter. The application to register should be mailed to you after you register at your new address. If not, then applications can be picked up at your local post office or at some banks.
Entertainment can be easily available right inside your own home. How much you are willing to pay determines how much television you get to watch. However, do not forget to go outside once in a while and enjoy the world as well.