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How to Watch German TV in the US and Abroad

How to Watch German TV in the US & Abroad With a VPN in 2024

Going abroad can be both exciting and stressful, but you can take a little piece of home with you with a bit of know-how. Read on to learn how to watch German TV in the U.S. and abroad with a VPN.

Kit CopsonJackie LeavittJasna Mishevska

Written by Kit Copson (Writer, Briefing Editor)

Reviewed by Jackie Leavitt (Co-Chief Editor)

Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska (Lead Fact-Checking Editor)

Last Updated: 2024-02-13T22:11:46+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Key Takeaways: German TV From Anywhere

  • There are various German TV channels available to watch online, including ProSieben, ZDF, Zattoo and ARD1. However, these are geoblocked, so you’ll need to use a VPN to access them in the U.S. 
  • You can connect to a German server on a VPN to access German TV channels. 
  • ExpressVPN is the most consistent and secure VPN for streaming, but NordVPN and Surfshark are also excellent choices. Windscribe is the best free VPN with servers in Germany. 

If you usually live in Germany but are traveling overseas or you’re looking for some German content to brush up your language skills, look no further. This guide shares all you need to know about how to watch German TV in the U.S. and abroad.

In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to find free, on-demand and live TV content online, but once you travel outside your home country, you might find that your usual streaming platforms aren’t available in the country you’ve traveled to.

This happens because content and streaming services are often restricted to only the countries that have the right to broadcast them. To work around this issue, you can use a reputable VPN service like ExpressVPN or another of our top recommendations. We’ll give you a tutorial on this so you can get to watching German TV online from anywhere today.

How to Watch German TV in the US: Where Can I Find German Content Online?

If you have an account with a streaming service available in Germany, like Netflix (more on this farther down) or Amazon Prime Video, you’ll find that the content library changes when you go abroad. For example, if you go to the U.S., you’ll get the American Netflix and Amazon Prime Video libraries.

To get around this, you can connect to a German server on a VPN to access the content available in Germany. Farther down, we’ll share our tutorial on how to watch German Netflix with a VPN. For now, let’s move on to German TV sites you can stream for free.

How Can I Watch German TV in the USA for Free?

Good news for German speakers everywhere — most German TV channels have sites you can access and stream content on for free, and the table below has all the info. Check out our tutorial later on in the article to find out how to use a VPN to access these.

Since these are free services, many are ad-supported.

Channel:ContentVPN RequiredEnglish SubtitlesNotes
ProSiebenLive TV
Series
Sign up needed for free account
7TV/JoynSeries
Films
Sports
Live TV
Free & premium, some content is strictly in German
ZattooGerman TV
World TV
ARTE
CNN
Comedy Central
Free & premium available in Switzerland & Austria
DMAXSeries
Sports
Survival
N/A
ARD1Live TV
Series
Sports
kids TV
family TV
Films
N/A
ZDFLive TV
Films
Series
Kids TV
Culture
Politics
N/A
RTL+Series
Music
Sports
Crime
Free & premium versions
ARTE in GermanCulture
Documentaries
Music
Connect to a German server to access more local content.

How Does a VPN Help You Unblock German Content Online?

VPNs work by encrypting your online traffic and changing your IP address to keep your data safe and anonymous, whether you’re simply browsing the internet or using a streaming service. In short, it prevents unscrupulous netizens from viewing your online activity. You can learn more about VPNs by checking out our post that explains what a VPN is and what it does.

A VPN helps you stream German TV content and other content from around the world by changing your IP address to one in another country — in this case, Germany.

Having a German IP address makes it appear as though you are in Germany instead of the country you’re actually in. This allows you to get through the geoblocks and into the German streaming site you want to use.

How to Watch German Shows & Movies on Netflix

Netflix is available in most countries worldwide, but its content library changes when you go abroad due to licensing restrictions. Sometimes, it depends on how popular certain content is in different countries.

For example, if you go to the U.S., you’ll see the American Netflix library instead of the German one. Some content will be the same as in Germany, but some will be unavailable in the U.S. This can be frustrating if there’s certain content that’s usually available to you in Germany, but stops being available when you head overseas.

If you’re outside Germany but want to get into the German Netflix library, you can get a VPN and connect to a German server. Then, log in to your Netflix account as normal to peruse the German library.

How to Watch German Channels Online With a VPN

We’ve chosen to center this tutorial around ProSieben, a popular German channel. However, you can access other German TV sites or German content libraries on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video by following the same steps. Just note that if you use a VPN to access Amazon Prime Video Germany, head to Amazon Germany rather than Amazon USA.

  1. Sign Up for a Reputable VPN Provider

    If you’re not sure which VPNs are the best for streaming, check out our recommendations farther down. Go to the VPN’s website and sign up for a plan. ExpressVPN’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, as is this case with many quality VPNs.

    get expressvpn
  2. Download the VPN’s App

    When you’ve signed up for a plan, follow the prompts to download and install the VPN’s app. If you aren’t prompted to download the app, locate the “download” tab on the website.

    download expressvpn
  3. Connect to a German Server

    Open up the VPN’s app on your device and connect to a server in Germany. This will give you a German IP address.

    expressvpn open germany
  4. Stream the German TV Channel

    Open ProSieben or the German TV channel you want to watch and start streaming. You may be prompted to register for a free account.

    prosieben watch

The 3 Best VPNs for Watching German TV

Your options are pretty broad when it comes to choosing a decent VPN for streaming German TV so, if you don’t want to spend ages trying to figure out which ones are best, here are our top three recommendations. All of these providers have German servers — make sure this is also the case if you go for a service that isn’t listed here.

1. ExpressVPN

expressvpn german servers
ExpressVPN is the best provider for accessing German streaming services. 

Pros:

  • Unblocks streaming services
  • Very fast streaming
  • Excellent security

Cons:

  • Expensive

We recommend ExpressVPN for unblocking German TV sites efficiently and consistently. ExpressVPN is an overall excellent provider, which is why it’s our top overall VPN recommendation and most secure VPN recommendation. It’s also really easy for beginners to get to grips with thanks to its straightforward desktop and mobile apps.

ExpressVPN is definitely one of the more expensive providers, and its plan selection isn’t very broad; otherwise, we think you just can’t fault this powerhouse VPN. Find out more in our ExpressVPN review and, if you’re undecided, you can experience ExpressVPN risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. NordVPN

nordvpn german servers
NordVPN’s speeds make it a solid choice for streaming your favorite German TV shows. 

Pros:

  • Excellent speeds
  • Affordable plans
  • Easy desktop app 

Cons:

  • Awkward mobile app 

For those planning to watch German TV abroad, it’s always a good idea to go with a provider that has great speeds because buffering can be a real downer. NordVPN’s speeds are at the top of the pack, thanks to its unbeatable global performance and overall consistency. It’s also very affordable and its desktop app is a pleasure to use.

Nevertheless, NordVPN’s mobile app experience leaves a bit to be desired, as you can easily find yourself totally lost on the world map if you’re no good at geography. Check out our NordVPN review for the full details, and take advantage of the service’s 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re unsure.

3. Surfshark

surfshark german servers
Surfshark is an inexpensive provider with a wide variety of features.

Pros:

  • German server selection
  • Inexpensive plans
  • Unlimited device connections

Cons:

  • High U.S. latency

If you’re looking for a generous and pocket-friendly German TV VPN, Surfshark is a solid contender among its peers. Though it comes at a low price (and with a 30-day money-back guarantee), it’s feature-packed, has decent speeds and offers unlimited simultaneous connections, which means you can use it on as many devices as you want. Our Surfshark review shares more about its features.

Surfshark also has multiple German servers, which is useful if you want to try various servers. On the downside, its latency in the U.S. is often fairly high, so if you plan to game while connected to U.S. servers, you might want to go for another option. Otherwise, Surfshark is another great choice for streaming German TV movies and series.

Surfshark Starter
  • Unlimited GB bandwidth, Unlimited devices, Secure VPN, Ad blocker, Cookie pop-up blocker. Plans renew: $231.75 for one year, $417.15 for two years
  • Unlimited GB
  • Unlimited
  • Yes
Surfshark One
  • Everything in Starter, plus Antivirus protection, Identity protection, Email Breach and Credit Card Alerts, Online Alias Plans renew: $239.25 for one year, $430.65 for two years.
  • Unlimited GB
  • Unlimited
Surfshark One+
  • Everything in One, plus Data removal Plans renew: $269.25 for one year, $404.65 for two years
  • Unlimited GB
  • Unlimited

Can I Use a Free VPN to Watch German TV Online?

If you want to access German TV channel sites with a free VPN, Windscribe is the best option (and our second best free VPN recommendation), because it’s a secure service with free German servers. That said, it does come with limitations — you can only get up to 15GB of free data per month. TunnelBear also has a free German server, but its data limit is just 2GB per month.

We’d advise anyone looking for a free VPN to unblock German TV to be very careful about which one they pick. Only a handful of providers (you can read about these in our best free VPN recommendations) are secure and worth your time. Some are best avoided altogether for security and privacy reasons.

Final Thoughts

German television channels are very easy to access from anywhere in the world as long as you have a decent virtual private network (VPN) on your device. VPNs are also great for traveling as they keep your data private while you’re using public WiFi networks (for example, in hotels or airports), so it’s well worth getting one, especially if you’re a regular jetsetter.

What are your favorite German TV channels? Do you plan to start streaming German TV with a VPN? If so, let us know which VPN you’ve chosen and what your experience has been like in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

FAQ: How to Watch German TV From Abroad

  • You can watch content from German TV channels on the channels’ websites. If you’re outside Germany, you can connect to a German server on a VPN to access them.

  • You can connect to a German server on a VPN and start streaming German TV channel content as normal on the channel’s website.

  • Many German channels have sites with free content, including ProSieben, Zattoo, ARD1 and ZDF.

  • Yes, you can watch ZDF outside Germany by connecting to a German server on a VPN. You can watch some content for free without a VPN, however.

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