Germans sure love their communications industry. Being one of the most financially stable nations in the whole world, they are known for the quality of their TV shows and the wide array of channels available for subscription or viewing, whether it is cable, satellite, or even online streaming.
It doesn’t matter if you want to enjoy a good sitcom, a heart-breaking drama, or a thrilling action movie; there are plenty of options to choose. The same goes for TV programming: you can pick a talent program, a talk show, sporting events, or just the most relevant news of the day in one of the dozens of channels and signals available in Germany.
A rich country, no matter how you slice it
Also, the Germans are known for their contributions in producing and putting together excellent radio content. Radio broadcasting is still very popular in the country, as people still spend considerable time in their cars or at their homes listening to the hottest stations of the moment and, also, the most interesting pieces of news that the day provides.
One of the most popular consortiums is ARD. It has almost 70 years up and running and is near the top of the preferred options for Germans, not only those that reside in the country, but also expats spread around the world.
Overcoming accessibility issues
The people currently located in the country will have no issues accessing the online streaming signal (called Das Erste, or “The First”) or the radio broadcasting that ARD provides these days: they just have to open the website and look for the content they want to reproduce, and it will open immediately.
However, how about German expats living abroad? Because of geoblocking measures, they won’t have easy access to the ARD offerings as easily as people residing within the German borders. Fortunately, there are solutions that can be applied to overcome the issue.
The geoblocking takes place because the system recognizes the connection request as a non-German one based on the IP address of the user. The solution would involve hiding the non-German IP number and obtain a German one, and that can be taken care of by a reliable VPN service.
In the present article, we will review the VPN accessibility features, those that allow users to spoof their locations to watch ARD outside Germany. VPN technology, in addition, can offer enhanced privacy, security, and anonymity in the process.
Watching ARD outside Germany: is it possible?
Entering ARD site and opening the streaming signal while being in Germany can be done with no issues. Now, if you are not currently in the country and want to stream content within the network, you will most likely see a message saying that the program or video is not available for your nation.
That is because geoblocking measures come into play. The content is not made to be reproduced outside of Germany. However, there is a sizable German community living abroad, and they want to watch ARD too!
The geoblocking is activated when the system recognizes the connection request as a foreign one, and it achieves that by identifying the user’s IP address. However, if you manage to manipulate your location to choose a different IP, you may watch ARD from abroad.
VPN: the master key
The best way to change your IP address is via a VPN app or client. Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are nothing more than online encryption measures that can hide the user’s IP address, as well as traffic, browsing history, and other connection details.
VPN technology uses distinct protocols with varying efficiency (nowadays, the OpenVPN, SSTP, and L2TP/IPSec are the best, while PPTP has lost steam) to reroute the user’s IP number and generated online content to send it all to remote servers that the VPN company administrates.
There are several benefits of implementing a VPN brand to your online experience. First, it offers privacy, because you will become almost invisible to hackers, governmental agencies, law enforcement organizations, ad-creators, online shopping stores, and even your Internet Service Provider (ISP.) Second, it provides anonymity because your IP address won’t be leaked out there, giving you the advantage of browsing without being recognized. Third, it offers security, as the user is less prone to hacking attacks, crypto mining, and even viruses and malware.
The reason behind VPN’s popularity
However, the reason why VPN apps are so popular in the streaming world is that they serve as excellent unblocking tools to access international services (like ARD!) that would be blocked under normal circumstances.
Say you are currently located in Canada, but you want to watch a show on a digital channel within the ARD consortium. If you open the site without a VPN, you will get rebuffed because the system will see your Canadian IP number. However, if you hire the services of a quality VPN provider with servers in Germany, you will be able to enter and stream without restrictions.
How to watch ARD outside Germany with a VPN
- Choose a quality VPN provider with servers in Germany.
- Go to the VPN website.
- Register with the VPN brand, providing your email address, name, and billing information.
- Download and install the VPN app on the device you will use for ARD streaming.
- Launch the application.
- Log in with the credentials (username and password) you created in the sign-up process.
- Connect to a German VPN server to acquire a borrowed German IP address.
- Go to the ARD website and open the channel you desire.
Best VPN to watch ARD from abroad
Among the vast VPN industry, TorGuard is one of the favorite brands because of its focus on the user’s security and the broad server network it has to offer. The company manages over 3,000 servers in 55 nations, including Germany, so watching ARD won’t be a problem, no matter where you are. TorGuard also has availability to connect five devices at the same time, multi-protocol support, and a great customer service with a live chat feature.
German television options are abundant
Germany is a rich country, not only in financial resources, but also in history, culture, arts, and film. The quality of its TV services is the result of years of preparation, experiences, talent-shaping, and that mystical, intangible element that a fascinating background; as Germany certainly has, can provide.
Among the publicly-owned television and broadcasting services and consortiums, ZDF and ARD are arguably the most widely recognized not only in Germany but in Europe. They even have worldwide reach, if you take into account the thousands of Germans working abroad that love their TV and broadcasting services.
Besides the two mentioned channels and services, there are other popular ones like Sky Deutschland or Pro Sieben. The best thing about watching German television via online streaming inside the country is taking advantage of the top-notch Internet speeds to open and reproduce the content.
Best German channels and services
- Pro Sieben
- Magine TV
- Kino TV
ARD: upper-echelon public-owned content
ARD, which stands for Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, translated to “Consortium of public broadcasters in Germany” in English is a communications consortium located in Germany. It offers both radio broadcasting and a TV signal. It is 68 years old, having been founded in 1950 in the post-War setting to serve as a voice to the newly-minted decentralized West Germany.
Now, 68 years later, ARD is the second biggest public broadcaster in the whole planet, with a budget of nearly €7 billion and more than 22,000 employees. The mentioned budget comes from the pockets of most households, companies and public institutions.
The ARD consortium offers the possibility to access multiple channels for every taste: some of them are Das Erste, Arte, 3sat, EinsPlus, Einsfestival, tagesschau24, KiKa, Phoenix, and Bayerischer. Germans are in love with their talent shows, news broadcasting, TV series, and, especially, the sports programming, with the ever-exciting Bundesliga, the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League, and the Olympic Games among the most popular choices.
ARD radio broadcasts
- Deutschlandfunk (DLF)
- Deutschlandfunk Kultur
- Archivradio, an ARD internet radio station
- Das Erste
- BR Fernsehen from Bayerischer Rundfunk (sub-regional opt-outs: Altbayern und Schwaben (South), Franken (North))
- MDR Fernsehen from Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (opt-outs: state programmes for Saxony, Sachsen-Anhalt, Thuringia)
- NDR Fernsehen from Norddeutscher Rundfunk (opt-outs: state programmes for Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and rb.tv from Radio Bremen)
- RBB Fernsehen from Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (opt-outs: separate state programmes)
- SWR Fernsehen from Südwestrundfunk – in collaboration with SR Fernsehen (opt-outs: state programmes for Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and SR Fernsehen from Saarländischer Rundfunk)
- WDR Fernsehen from Westdeutscher Rundfunk. (11 local opt-outs within North Rhine-Westphalia)
ARD Digital package
- ARD joint venture channels
- 3sat with ZDF, ORF and SRG: a cultural channel
- KA with ZDF: a children’s channel
- Arte with ZDF and France Télévisions: a Franco-German cultural channel
- Phoenix with ZDF: a news and documentary channel