Watch German, Austrian or Swiss television worldwide – via VPN.
E.t is sometimes not that easy to receive German television via the Internet when you are abroad. Because the broadcasters have taken precautions that not everything is available at all times. And it doesn’t matter whether you tune in to ARD, ZDF, RTL or ProSieben; Public broadcasters and private broadcasters are rarely unanimous on this subject. The broadcasters provide certain content with a country block, also known as geoblocking. If the provider determines from your IP address that you are not in Germany, the screen will remain black or you will receive an error message. Here a VPN (virtual privates Nnetwork) help. Conversely, you can bring more German-language offers to your home with a VPN service. You can also receive Austrian TV channels such as Servus TV and ORF as a live stream in Germany or watch Swiss TV via VPN – for example SRF. Because with VPN you can simply obtain a German, Austrian or Swiss IP address, no matter where you are, and unlock the blocked content again.
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Country lock for German live TV
The country block applies both to the providers’ live offers and to their media libraries. You have to know that the broadcasters are not obliged to make their content available everywhere. The so-called EU portability regulation has existed since 2018, which states that streaming must be possible for users of a service anywhere in the EU – but this only applies to pure payment services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video or the paid versions of video-on -Demand platforms such as Zattoo Premium and Joyn +. With the freely available offers from Zattoo and Joyn, the end is already beyond the national border. But even with a premium subscription you are not always fine, because the dose makes the poison. For example, if you stay abroad for a longer period at Zattoo – and the service detects a foreign IP address – Zattoo will switch off reception for you after 90 days. This is not a solution for users who live abroad permanently but still want to receive German television via the Internet.
After connecting to a German VPN server (here via Surfshark), the entire German television program is available to you.
Lever geo-blocking of live TV
So do you have to look into the foreign tube now? Not at all. With the right VPN service, you can easily connect to a German server and then receive all series and films as well as German live TV without any problems. The virtual concealment of the location also prevents the alarm bells from ringing at Zattoo & Co. But not all VPN services are suitable for this task, you should be particularly careful with free VPN providers: They quickly turn out to be real data octopuses. If you want to be on the safe side, it is better to use one of the providers tested by COMPUTER BILD. More on this below.
How to watch German television via VPN
Once you have decided on a VPN service, you can start right away: Select a German server in the VPN and then call up the website of the desired station via your browser. Or you use a platform like Zattoo or Joyn, then you have all the important channels under one roof. But even if you missed something on live TV, you don’t have to worry. With a VPN you can conveniently watch all German media libraries from ARD, ZDF, Arte or RTL. So you can enjoy your home program wherever you are. And let’s be honest: Who hasn’t always wanted to watch “The Dream Ship” under real palm trees?
Free TV in Austria and Switzerland is also possible
But even in this country you benefit from even more German-speaking channels with a VPN. Because with a suitable VPN service, you can activate the live stream and the media libraries of broadcasters such as ORF, SRF or Servus TV. This is especially worthwhile for sports fans, because the stations from neighboring countries broadcast many sporting events such as the Champions League or Formula 1 free of charge on free TV.
ORF Livestream: VPN activates all content
ORF is the first television program of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation and can only be received in German border regions to Austria, all others require a VPN service. To receive ORF throughout Germany or elsewhere abroad, use the VPN service of your choice to connect to an Austrian VPN server. Then start the free live stream on the ORF website or use a special version of Zattoo – with a little trick. Read on to find out how it works.
SRF Livestream: VPN for Swiss television
Switzerland also has a lot to offer fans of sports enthusiasts, as many sports broadcasts can also be seen here live on free TV on SRF. For example, the Swiss stream all the games of the 2021 European Football Championship live and free of charge on SRF; in this country the ball only rolls for games with German participation on ARD and ZDF. If you do not live in the Alpine country, however, you usually have bad cards because Switzerland is not a member of the European Union. Means: The portability regulation does not apply in this case and no content from the SRF live stream can be played in Germany. With a VPN for Swiss television, you can bypass geoblocking very easily: you simply connect to a Swiss VPN server using the appropriate VPN service and activate the live stream in this way. You can see it either in the browser on the SRF website or via Zattoo – the Swiss Confederation has an ingenious package for the latter.
254 TV channels for free at Zattoo Switzerland
However, the free version is restricted in some points compared to the paid subscription. For example, neither the pause function nor the recording are possible, and advertising appears when you switch. If you use the app on Smart TVs or the Fire TV Stick, playback is also limited to 30 hours per month. The paid tariffs Premium and Ultimate do not have these limitations and offer even more channels in HD quality.
The best VPN providers for livestream
But which VPN providers are best suited for streaming German live TV, media libraries and live streams from ORF and SRF? COMPUTER BILD put the most important representatives through their paces in a large VPN comparison test. NordVPN, SurfShark, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost performed particularly well, and they all play to their strengths thanks to the good support provided by the major streaming providers. Because with the providers mentioned, you also unblock geoblocked content from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and HBO Max. The VPN providers throw out good offers from time to time, COMPUTER BILD regularly determines the best VPN deals for you.