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This month Wotsat looks at free TV from Germany, and how to get it
BR Alpha: one of many regional TV stations
Toolkit What you need to receive German free TV n Free-to-air DVB digital satellite receiver n 60cm dish with universal LNB aimed at Astra 1 (19.2°E)
Once upon a time Germany and the UK shared the handful of Ku-band satellites over Europe but, with the advent of digital, we left Europe’s largest collection of free-to-air channels to its own devices on the Astra 1 group at 19.2°E. Since then, they’ve started branching out, and today there are more than 120 free German digital satellite TV channels, and that’s not counting the many local variations, and the versions for Austria and Switzerland. German TV is mostly free, and although there are two pay-TV services – Premiere and Arena – they command a much smaller percentage of the audience than Sky in the UK. The reasons for this go way back to the start of analogue satellite TV in the late 1980s, and German reunification at the same time. There are more than 20 public-funded TV channels and many radio channels, so it’s no surprise that Germany has the third-highest annual TV licence fee in Europe (£163 a year compared with £139.50). There’s also a lower fee for computers and handheld devices that can receive TV or radio – no free iPlayer for them. The public-funded TV channels also get a small income from advertising during prime time.
The closest thing we have to Arte is BBC Four 2 What Satellite & Digital TV
Quiz TV is as plentiful on German TV as ours
ARD and ZDF tend to produce their own TV shows, while there are also several successful commercial channels – RTL, Sat.1, ProSieben, Kabel 1 and VOX. There’s a familiar mix of lifestyle, chat and US imports on these channels, and there are numerous shopping channels. Adult chat-line services of dubious quality have also proliferated in recent years. But there are some gems of multichannel TV, both public and commercially funded: Arte and ZDF Theaterkanal are cultural gems with no equal on British TV, Eurosport is free (along with two other sports channels), as is the German version of Comedy Central and several pop music channels.
Hi-def laggards HD has been slow to arrive in Germany. Only one channel, Anixe HD, shows classic films and TV series in HD, but ARD and ZDF have promised to launch HD channels in 2010. ProSieben launched a test channel in 2005, but declared it too costly to continue in 2007. Premiere was the first subscription HD service in Europe in 2006 with three channels, but now has just one channel. German channels have made use of the DVB EPG standard from the beginning, and most transmit a full seven-day schedule over the air.
Next on Euro Spotlight
Tatort is Germany’s favourite cop show
Fünf der besten Five of German TV’s most popular shows
Das Erste Long-running crime series which takes turns to be produced by ARD’s different regional partners
Das Erste Germany’s longest-running soap, set in Munich and originally based on Coronation Street
ZDF The UK might remember this as ‘90s game show You Bet!, but Wetten, dass…? has been running for 27 years
Deutschland sucht den Superstar
RTL The daddy of the worldwide Idol franchise was invented in 2002 and shows no sign of going away. Ironically, ‘Idol’ is owned by another show in Germany
ZDF ZDF’s long-running cop series is now in its 30th year, celebrated by a tie-in with British counterpart The Bill
n Free TV from France
Das Vierte is Germany’s 4th national channel
Screen grabs are great for seeing people pull silly faces
Euro spotlight All channels available on Astra 1. See Channel Check page 58 for frequencies * = Also available on other satellites. See Channel Check page 58 • = Also available in HD. See HD Channel Check page 70
Free German TV CHANNEL
1-2-3.tv 3Sat 3A TV 6 Live TV 9 Live A1 Erotik Ab 18 Absolutsexy TV Alles furs handy Amore TV Anixe HD• Arte Astro TV Bayerisches Fersehen Beate Uhse Sexy Sat Bibel TV Blitzkontakt TV Bloomberg TV* BR Alpha Comedy Central Das Erste* Das Vierte Deluxe Music Der Schmuckkanal Deutsches Anleger Fersehen Deutsches Gesundheits Fersehen DHD24 DMAX Dr Dish TV Deutsches Sports Fernsehen Deutsches Welle TV* Eins Extra* Eins Festival* Eins Plus* Equi 8 TV Erotik 24 Erotik-Sat TV Eso TV Eurosport Franken Sat Friends TV Gebrauchtwagen TV Giga TV Gluck TV Gratis Hot TV Heisse Nummer HR Fernsehen HSE 24 Imusic 1 Jamba! TV Juwelo TV K3 Kulturkanal* Kabel Eins Kamasutra TV KI.KA Kuren & Wellness Kurven-Reich Liebeskanal Liebestraum TV LokalSat
Shopping Entertainment Shopping Shopping Quizzes & games Adult shopping Sex chat ads Sex chat ads Ringtone ads Sex chat ads Classic TV & film Arts Fortune telling Regional Adult shopping Religion Sex chat ads Finance Regional Comedy Entertainment Entertainment Music Jewellery shopping Finance Health Classified ads Entertainment Technology Sports News Current affairs Culture Consumer info Sports Dating Sex chat ads Fortune telling Sports Regional Sex chat ads Car shopping Technology Shopping Sex chat ads Sex chat ads Regional Shopping Pop music Ringtones Jewellery shopping Culture Entertainment Sex chat ads Children’s Travel shopping Sex chat ads Sex chat ads Sex chat ads Regional
Mallorca TV MDR Fernsehen Mein TV Shop MTV Deutschland Mannerwelt TV Munchen TV N24 n-tv NDR Fernsehen Nick Deutschland ONTV Phoenix* Piep Show Pro Sieben QVC Radio Bremen TV RBB RF Oberbayern Reiseschnappchen TV Rhein-Neckar Fernsehen RheinMain TV RTL 2 RTL RTL Shop Sat Erotiktreff Sat.1* Sender Neu Jerusalem* SexyGirls Sonnenklar TV Spirit on TV Sportdigital.TV SR Fernsehen Super RTL SWR Fernsehen Tabu 24 TechniTipp TV Tele 5 Telesunde Tier TV Traumkontakt TV Tru TV Gusto TV Mittelrhein TV Shop Uschi TV Uschi’s Schwestern Venus Club TV Viva VivaGina Vox Voyages WDR Fernsehen WW TV XXHome XXX Kanal TV Yavido Clips ZDF* ZDF Dokukanal ZDF Infokanal ZDF Theaterkanal
Travel shopping Regional Shopping Pop music Sex chat ads Regional News News Regional Children’s Regional News Sex chat ads Entertainment Shopping Regional Regional Regional Travel shopping Regional Regional Entertainment Entertainment Shopping Sex chat ads Entertainment Religion Sex chat ads Travel Religion Sports Regional Entertainment Regional Sex chat ads TechniSat info Entertainment Sex chat ads Pets shopping Dating Yoof-tainment Food Regional Shopping Sex chat ads Sex chat ads Sex chat ads Pop music Sex chat ads Entertainment Travel shopping Regional Regional DIY Sex chat ads Urban Music Entertainment Documentaries Current affairs Performing arts
28.2°E Co-located with Eutelsat’s Eurobird 1 at 28.5°E, the Astra 2 group is almost exclusively used for broadcasting to the UK and is the home of both Sky and Freesat n Operator: SES-Astra, www.ses-astra.com
Satellites n Astra 2A
Launched: Baikonur, August 30 1998 Launch mass: 3635kg Manufacturer: Hughes Transponders: 28 Ku-band EIRP: 51dBW Beams: North Europe (pictured), South Europe n Astra 2B
Launched: Kourou, September 14 2000 Launch mass: 3315kg Manufacturer: Astrium Transponders: 28 Ku-band EIRP: 51 dBW Beams: North Europe (pictured), South Europe n Astra 2C
Launched: Baikonur, June 16 2001 Launch mass: 3643kg Manufacturer: Boeing Satellite Systems Transponders: 28 Ku-band EIRP: 51 dBW Beams: North Europe (pictured), South Europe n Astra 2D
Launched: Kourou, December 19 2000 Launch mass: 1420kg Manufacturer: Hughes Transponders: 16 Ku-band EIRP: 51dBW Beams: UK spot
Go to www.ses-astra.com for all the footprint maps Big Brother is even bigger in Germany
Dating TV, German style. Can you resist? What Satellite & Digital TV 3