From: (Wolfgang Schwanke)
Newsgroups: soc.culture.german
Subject: Re: TV networks in Germany
Date: 2 Jun 1994 20:04:11 GMT

ARD - Network of the 11 regional public stations that make up the ARD
      consortium. ARD as such (the channel and the consortium) has
      existed since 1954, the forerunner NWDR-TV started in 1952.
      Reception: air, cable, satellite

ZDF - Second national public channel, started in 1963
      Reception: air, cable, satellite

The "3rd" channels - Each of the 11 ARD stations produce a regional TV
                     channels for their area (in some cases neighbouring
                     stations cooperating, thus giving only 8 "3rds").
                     The 3rd channels started operating in the late 60s,
                     in eastern Germany in 1991.
                     Reception: air, some cable & satellite

The above make the scenario for West Germany through the 60s and 70s.
It is only with the advent of satellite and cable technology in the early
80s that commercial TV has become legal. The public stations are in the
game too though.

SAT1 - First German commercial station, previously named PKS.
       Started some time in the first half of the 1980s.
       Reception: cable, satellite, in many areas air

RTL -  Commercial station originally broadcasting from Luxembourg
       for German speaking audience, but now officially based in
       Germany. Biggest competitor of SAT1, founded approx. at the
       same time. Radio Luxembourg produces similar channels aiming
       at Dutch and French speaking audiences.
       Reception: cable, satellite, in many areas air

3SAT - Produced in cooperation by public stations of Switzerland, Austria
       and Germany (ZDF). Mainly cultural content, exists since approx. 
       Reception: cable, satellite

Kabelkanal - Commercial light entertainment channel (feature films, series),
             since approx. late 80s.
             Reception: cable only

Pro7 - Similar to Kabelkanal
       Reception: cable, satellite, in some places air

n-tv - Commercial news-only channel a la CNN, fairly new
       Reception: cable, satellite, in some places air

VOX  - Commercial news and light entertainment, fairly new, bankrupt
       Reception: cable, satellite, in some places air

DSF  - Sports only channel, fairly new
       Reception: cable, satellite

RTL2 - Second RTL channel with similar content, fairly new
       Reception: cable, satellite

Viva - German copy of MTV, new
       Reception: cable, satellite

Arte - Franco-German coproduced bilingual cultural channel, since late 80s
       Reception: cable, satellite

Then there are a couple of small local commercial stations.
All other TV channels received in Germany are either of pan-European
nature (MTV Europe, Eurosport ...) or foreign ones. (see below) *)

Cheers :)



So much for the situation in 1994. In the meantime we've had some
more commercial stations added:

VIVA II - A more mellow/boring music channel as opposed to VIVA,
          which is much more teen/charts/dance oriented.

VH-1 Deutschland - Similar to VIVA II

Super RTL - Another RTL channel, containting mostly reruns of reruns
            of former RTL programmes.

tm3 - Women TV

Deutsche Welle TV - A governement sponsored channel by the shortwave
                    station Deutsche Welle, aimed strictly at viewers

Digital TV: Since mid-1996, digital TV in the DVB standard has started,
            with different packets launching during the year and can
            be received through satellite or cable
            Most of them will be pay-TV. Digital TV requires a separate
            box for reception.

*) pan-European channels: The usual satellite channels aimed at all of
                          Europe: MTV Europe, EuroSport, NBC Super Channel,
                          BBC World, TV5, CNN International, etc.

Channels of neighbouring countries: Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands,
                                    Denmark can be received in near-border
                                    areas. Luxemburg is a major player
                                    with RTL anyway.
                                    France, Czechoslovakia and Poland can
                                    also be received, but because of
                                    differing broadcast standards only
                                    with some technical difficulties.