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Watch German television abroad

You're not in Germany, Austria or Switzerland right now and want to watch German TV? I'll explain to you exactly how to do that. In any case you need a top VPN service like the one from NordVPN*. I've been using the service for a long time on all my trips abroad.

How to watch German television abroad

I will show you in simple steps how you can watch German TV abroad.

Total Time: 15 minutes

Basic VPN equipment

To make your plan to watch German TV abroad successful, you need a really good VPN. I recommend NordVPN*, I had best experiences with it on my world trip. CyberGhost* is a good alternative. You also need an internet capable device like a computer, laptop, cell phone or tablet to stream.

VPN installation

Now install the VPN service on the device you are traveling with. You can also install it on multiple devices and even use up to 7 at the same time. To install it, download the software or app from the provider. All major operating systems are supported.

VPN server connection

Before you can access the website of a German broadcaster to watch German TV, you need a German IP address abroad. Without this, the broadcaster will recognize you as being abroad and deny you service. This is called geoblocking. Now go to the server list of the VPN service you just installed and connect to a German server.

Open the TV stream

Now go to the server list of the VPN service you just installed and connect. As soon as the server connection to Germany is established, the channel or website will recognize a German IP and the German TV stream should work properly. Have fun watching German TV abroad.

Why a VPN is needed to receive German TV abroad

The answer to why you need a VPN to watch German TV abroad is licensing rights! Broadcasters buy regionally restricted licenses to broadcast movies, series and sports results. In order to be able to comply with the license terms, they provide their service with geo-locks. If the service does not detect a German IP address, you will not be able to access the broadcaster's licensed content. Your picture will remain black or you will receive a notice that the selected content cannot be broadcast in your location.

EU Portability Regulation and German TV abroad

One exception to geoblocking is the EU Portability Regulation, which has been in effect since April 1, 2018. It states that content from paid streaming services may not be subject to geoblocking for your customers within the European Union. The restriction here is the temporary stay in the EU foreign country. The streaming service treats its German subscription customers on temporary trips within the EU as if they were in their country of residence. So if you have subscriptions to Netflix, Sky, DAZN, Prime and the like, you can go on vacation with peace of mind.

Which German TV channels to watch abroad with VPN

Since I travel a lot and am an avid sports fan, it's especially important to me to stream tennis, soccer and Formula 1 in German from anywhere in the world for free. Of course, it's best if I can watch these broadcasts for free and, most importantly, in German. This is mostly possible without any problems, with the use of a VPN like the one from NordVPN*. Below is my personal list of which German TV I stream abroad.

TransmitterProgramLanguageVPN Server
ARDCrime scene, sports show, newsGermanGermany
ZDFWetten, dass..? (entertainment tv show), News, Sports studioGermanGermany
SRFFormula 1, winter sports, soccer (World Cup, European Championship)GermanSwitzerland
ORFFormula 1, winter sports, soccer (World Cup, European Championship)GermanAustria
ServusTVfree Champions League and European LeagueGermanAustria
RTLInternational soccer matches, DSDS (talent show), Bauer sucht Frau (Farmer seeks wife, a romantic reality show)GermanSwitzerland (Zattoo free)
Mola.tvSoccer BundesligaEnglischIndonesia

The best VPN to receive German TV abroad

There are a variety of VPNs on the German market. However, only the best VPNs are able to successfully bypass the broadcasters' geo-blocks. Here's a breakdown of our top picks for streaming German TV abroad:

Basically, all the VPN services mentioned work excellently. NordVPN is definitely the best VPN service, as the overall package is completely convincing. CyberGhost also stands out from the group. Especially when it comes to streaming for you. Only in countries with VPN blocks and censorship is the VPN not the strongest.

FAQ - Frequently asked questions and their answers

Can I watch German TV with a free VPN?

No, that is not possible. The reason is that the free services do not provide enough data volume for a TV stream. Moreover, you will already fail to find a free VPN with servers in Germany.

Is using a VPN to watch German TV abroad legal?

In Germany, using a VPN is legal as long as you don't use it for an illegal act. You should check for yourself what the legal situation is in the country you are in. There are countries like China or Russia that classify VPN technology as illegal.

Is the quality better with VPN than via satellite?

You can't say that, because the quality of the image depends on the data line. If it is too slow (you need at least 5 Mbit/s for HD streaming), the quality of the German TV stream will suffer. If you watch German TV abroad via satellite, the quality depends heavily on the reception signal. I have experienced quality problems during heavy storms, rain, snow and in certain locations.

What are the advantages of a VPN in general?

A VPN service primarily offers you security when surfing the Internet. Especially if you are abroad, you should make sure that your data is sufficiently protected. You never know who else might spy on your data. Be it the ISP, a government agency, a nosy neighbor or even a hacker.

Can I unblock foreign TV with VPN?

YES of course! This works analog to the unblocking of German TV. You look for the VPN server from the country where you want to watch TV and connect to it. Then you go to the corresponding website of the TV station and it should work. I also watch Swiss SRF, Austrian ServusTV or ORF and Mola and Vidio in Indonesia.

By: Michael Miller
Michael is the CEO of VPN Online, one of the fastest-growing media companies in the cyber-security space. VPN Online was started in 2019 after Michael consulted with many Fortune 500 companies and saw the lack of understanding about cybersecurity many of their employees had.