Watching German TV in
the US and Canada
Streaming TV on Your TV Set
Also see our review of NEXTV.
German-language television in North America has gone down a very bumpy road – and has even driven off a few cliffs. Past efforts to bring German television to viewers in the US and Canada were plagued by bad programming, bad decisions, poor planning, poor marketing, and several bankruptcies.
The dawn of direct-broadcast satellite TV was supposed to bring in a new era of foreign-language TV to North America, but that hasn’t worked out very well for German so far. The former satellite TV broadcasters ChannelD and GERMAN TV are now history. While the DISH Network satellite service still provides a German package with five channels (DW-TV, EuroNews, ProSieben, and two other German channels), many viewers complain about too much repetition, old versions of series, ancient films, and a general lack of selection.
Spanish, Italian, French, Asian languages, and others seem to be easier to find on cable or satellite TV than German. IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) was seen by some as a solution to the problem, but IPTV service providers like OverseasTV also went bust. However, as more and more US households got high-speed internet access via DSL and cable, in 2008 NEXTV stepped up to provide German and other foreign-language IPTV that can be viewed on a normal TV set, a computer or a mobile device.
NEXTV is a joint venture between EURO World Network and Canada’s Ethnic Channels Group (ECG). NEXTV America is now headquartered in the southern California town of Murrieta (Riverside County). Established in 2008, NEXTV offers a selection of multicultural channels broadcasting in a variety of languages. Subscribers must have a high-speed internet connection (minimum 1.5 megabits per second) and NEXTV’s TV box (or Roku). Since January 2012, NEXTV has also offered its service in Australia and New Zealand.
Besides German, NEXTV offers programming in Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Greek, Hebrew, Filipino and Vietnamese. Using IPTV (Internet Protocol TV), NEXTV serves North American subscribers in the US and Canada. NEXTV beams its TV programming into your home via DSL or cable high-speed internet and a converter box connected to your TV set. (They also offer mobile options for the iPad, iPhone and your computer.) Watching NEXTV on a TV set is just like watching over-the-air, satellite, or cable TV. The new HD picture quality (using HDMI) is good, but not quite as good as normal HDTV. The audio is normal stereo quality. (See my full Review of NEXTV for more.)
May 2015 Update
I recently took a new look at NEXTV America’s website. Unfortunately, despite a new design, it is still rather inadequate. NEXTV America fails to list all of its German programming and some links don’t work. But you will find a phone number for your country that you can call for more information.
NEXTV’s “German Package” currently includes about 20 channels in German, including private and public broadcasters (40+ if you include time-shifted broadcasts for US time zones). For the full German Package I pay about $28 a month, including all taxes and fees. Most of those channels are exclusive to NEXTV in North America (or other IPTV services) and not available in Dish Network’s German Package via satellite. The NEXTV German channel lineup that I now have is very good. You’ll have to call NEXTV for the details. Also see our review of NEXTV for more information.
Another source of German TV for expats: GermanTVcompany.com
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