How to watch German TV in USA

How to watch German TV in USA
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Missing your favorite German TV shows because you're not in Germany? You're not alone. Due to geographical restrictions, accessing popular German channels like ARD, ZDF, and RTL becomes a significant challenge.

However, there's a simple and effective solution to bypass these barriers i.e., using VPNs. A VPN allows you to change your online location, giving the impression that you're browsing from Germany, thereby unlocking these channels.

In this article, we will tell you how to use a VPN to access German TV effortlessly anywhere. Moreover, we will discuss all the things you need to know about choosing the right VPN, setting it up, and ensuring a secure streaming experience.

How to achieveHow to watch German TV with a VPN

  1. Select a reliable VPN like ExpressVPN with German servers.
  2. Install the VPN on your device and log in to the VPN.
  3. Connect to a server located in Germany.
  4. Once connected, visit the website or app of the German TV channel.
  5. Enjoy streaming German TV shows and channels, now accessible from your location.

Why I can't watch German TV outside Germany?

Watching German TV outside of Germany can be a challenge due to geo-blocking, a digital barrier that restricts access based on geographic location. This practice is commonly employed by TV networks globally, including German broadcasters, to control who can view their content.

The core reason behind this restriction lies in the licensing agreements and broadcasting rights that are inherently country-specific. These agreements legally bind the networks to distribute and show their content only within Germany's borders.

When you attempt to access German TV from another country, your internet connection gives away your location through your IP address. This leads to the automatic blocking of access by the streaming service, in compliance with their licensing agreements.

These measures ensure that broadcasters adhere to the specific cultural and legal broadcasting standards set by each country, which can vary significantly from one nation to another.

This limitation applies to everyone – whether you’re a German resident traveling abroad or just a fan of German television living elsewhere. These broadcasting rights and regulations are in place to adhere to each country's unique cultural and legal broadcasting standards.

Best VPNs for watching German TV in USA

I tried and tested more than 30 VPNs for German TV in the US. Here are the top 3 recommendations from my list:

1. ExpressVPN – Best VPN for streaming German TV




Pros & cons
  • Fast and reliable connections
  • Effective at bypassing geo-restrictions
  • User-friendly interface
  • Higher price point compared to other VPNs

ExpressVPN stands out as the top choice for streaming German TV, offering exceptional speed and reliability. This VPN excels in effortlessly bypassing geo-restrictions, making it ideal for accessing German channels like ARD and ZDF. During my testing,

Location The British Virgin Islands
Number of servers 3000+ servers in 105 countries
Price starting from $6.67/month

I found the connection speed consistently fast, ensuring a smooth streaming experience without buffering. What sets ExpressVPN apart is its strong server presence in Germany, offering multiple locations that are optimized for streaming. Its user-friendly interface is a bonus, making it easy to connect to a German server quickly.

You can get ExpressVPN starting from $6.67/month with a 30 days money back warranty and 24/7 customer support. Though it is bit on pricier side compared to other VPN options, the quality of its features makes it a great VPN choice for German TV streaming.

2. NordVPN – Secure VPN for German TV




Pros & cons
  • Strong security features
  • Good server coverage in Germany
  • Generally good streaming speeds
  • Speed can vary during peak times

NordVPN is a great option for those prioritizing security while streaming German TV. Known for its robust security features, it ensures that your streaming activities remain private and secure.

Location Panama
Number of servers 5810+ servers in 60 countries
Price starting from $3.39/month

When I used NordVPN, its Double VPN feature provided an extra layer of security, which is vital for users concerned about privacy. The VPN also successfully bypasses geographical blocks, providing access to German channels without issues.

NordVPN's server network in Germany is extensive, offering various options to connect. The streaming speed is generally good, though it can occasionally be inconsistent during peak hours.

You can get NordVPN starting from $3.39/month in its 2 year plans accompanied by a 30 days money back guarantee and 24/7 customer support.

3. Surfshark – Affordable VPN for German TV




Pros & cons
  • Very affordable
  • Unlimited device connections
  • Effective at circumventing geo-blocks
  • Speeds not as fast as some higher-priced VPNs

Surfshark is an excellent choice for those looking for an affordable VPN to stream German TV. Despite its lower price, Surfshark delivers impressive performance.

Location The Netherlands
Number of servers 3200+ servers in 100 countries
Price starting from $1.99/month

In my experience, it efficiently bypasses geo-restrictions, providing smooth access to German channels. Its speed is quite satisfactory, ensuring a buffering-free streaming experience.

What makes Surfshark stand out is its unlimited device support, allowing you to use the VPN on as many devices as you like simultaneously. While it might not be as fast as ExpressVPN, its cost-to-performance ratio makes it a great budget-friendly option.

You can get Surfshark starting from $1.99/month with 4 months free in its 2 yearly plan accompanied with a 30 day money back guarantee and 24/7 customer support.

How to watch German TV abroad

Watching German TV abroad can be a straightforward process when using a VPN. Here's a detailed guide to help you through the process:

1. Choose the right VPN

The first step is to select a VPN that has servers in Germany and is known for reliable streaming capabilities. A provider like ExpressVPN is a great choice for its speed, security, and ability to bypass geo-restrictions.

express vpn banner

2. Install the VPN software

After choosing a VPN, download and install its software on your device. Most VPNs offer easy installation and are compatible with a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.

sign in page for expressvpn

3. Connect to a German server

Launch the VPN application and log in. Look for a server list and select a server located in Germany. Connecting to a German server is crucial as it will assign you a German IP address, making it appear as though you are browsing from Germany.

connecting to a german server on expressvpn

4. Access German TV platforms

With your VPN connected to a German server, navigate to the website or app of the German TV channel you wish to watch. This could be a live TV service or a catch-up/on-demand service. Examples include ARD Mediathek, ZDF, RTL Now, and ProSieben.

access german tv using expressvpn

5. Troubleshooting

If you encounter issues like slow streaming or if the content is still blocked, try switching to a different German server in your VPN app. Sometimes certain servers can be more crowded or might not work as well for streaming.

Is there a free VPN to watch German TV?

While there are free VPN services available that can potentially be used to watch German TV, such as Atlas VPN, and Windscribe, it's important to understand the limitations and drawbacks of relying on these free options.

Free VPNs typically come with data caps and limited bandwidth, which can significantly hinder the streaming experience, especially for data-intensive activities like watching TV shows and movies.

Moreover, free VPNs offer fewer server options, and these servers are often overloaded, resulting in slower and less reliable connections. This is particularly problematic when trying to access content that requires a server in a specific country, like Germany for German TV.

The security aspect is also a concern with free VPNs, as they may not offer the same level of protection as paid services and could potentially log user data. Also, the overall quality of streaming can be compromised with free VPNs due to these limitations. You might experience frequent buffering, lower video quality, or even inability to consistently bypass geo-restrictions.

Considering these factors, while free VPNs are an option, they are generally not recommended for a seamless and secure streaming experience. Paid VPN services tend to offer more reliable connections, better speeds, enhanced security, and a wider range of server locations, making them a more suitable choice for streaming German TV abroad.

German TV channels you can watch with a VPN

Following are some popular German TV channels you can find with the VPN:

  • ARD (Das Erste)
  • ZDF
  • RTL
  • ProSieben
  • SAT.1
  • Kabel Eins
  • VOX
  • NDR Fernsehen
  • WDR Fernsehen
  • 3sat

Following are some popular apps on which you can watch all time famous German shows

Streaming app Popular German shows
Netflix Dark, Babylon Berlin, How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast), Biohackers, Dogs of Berlin
Amazon Prime Video You Are Wanted, Beat, Deutschland 83/86/89
ZDF Mediathek Ku'damm 56/59, Die Brücke, Heute Show
ARD Mediathek Tatort, Sturm der Liebe, Weissensee
RTL Now Alarm für Cobra 11, Der Lehrer, Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten
Sky Go Das Boot, Babylon Berlin (also available on Netflix), 4 Blocks
Joyn Jerks, Slavik - Auf Staats Nacken, Frau Jordan stellt gleich
Disney+ Die Eiskönigin, The Mandalorian (German dubbed versions)
Maxdome Pastewka, Der letzte Bulle, Schillerstraße


Accessing German TV from abroad using a VPN is a really simple process if you know exactly what and how to use it.

As someone who appreciates the richness of global media, I particularly like the service quality and streaming speed offered by ExpressVPN. The other two choices i.e., NordVPN and Surfshark are also great if you are looking for some alternatives.

So, whether it's for nostalgia, language learning, or simply a love for German TV shows, the world of German television is just a VPN connection away. Let's embrace this digital age of borderless content access and enjoy the richness of global media.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, you can watch German TV in the USA by using a reliable VPN service like ExpressVPN. A VPN allows you to connect to a server in Germany, giving you access to German TV channels by bypassing geographical restrictions.