The days when regular TV programming came via the cable box or satellite are largely over. Today, it’s much more convenient to watch via the Internet. The fact that many households now have a smart TV means that watching TV over the Internet, also known as online television, has become much easier than it was just a few years ago. But what options are there at all? Can I use existing contracts or subscriptions to watch the regular TV program as well? We’ve put together all the information you need to know.
Online telesvision – watch TV over the Internet
Thanks to Netflix and the like, the regular TV program has almost become a minor matter. It’s not always possible to follow a predefined program, and you’re not nearly as spontaneous and flexible as you are with the popular streaming services. Nevertheless, there are still enough people who watch the normal TV program every day and have not done so for a long time via the cable or satellite connection at home.
The Internet has its fingers in the pie here, too, and it’s now not at all difficult to watch normal TV programming over the Internet, too. The only thing you need is a smart TV and a stable Internet connection. Then you’re almost ready to go. You don’t have a smart TV yet? Then check out our article on how to turn your older TV into a smart TV.
What else do you need? Well, this is where it gets a bit more complicated, because there are many different ways to enjoy online television. We have compiled a list of different options for you, most of which are quite inexpensive and most of which are also directly available. Many Internet providers, such as Telekom or Vodafone, now offer combination packages that are no longer that expensive. Of course, existing customers have an advantage here.
Attention, you also have to distinguish between what is real online television and what is streaming. Almost all broadcasters now offer their own app, which can be used to stream the program live. However, if an app combines different channels in one interface, then this is called real online television! Of course, you also have the option of using DVDs and Blu-rays instead.
Advantages of online television
- High number of channels (also international options)
- Affordable packages
- Television on various devices such as laptop or tablet
- Additional cabling or equipment usually not necessary
- Record broadcasts easily and watch them later
What is IPTV?
You often still come across the term IPTV. But what exactly does that actually mean? Simply put, this abbreviation describes the transmission of television programs via the Internet connection. The abbreviation stands for Internet Protocol Television, but the term is not always used consistently.
But while the transmission methods DVB-S via satellite or DVB-T via terrestrial antennas, you can be sure that IPTV always happens via the Internet connection.
There are also black sheeps here and not every IPTV connection is legal. You should rely on official sites here and of course we only recommend safe IPTV providers!
Complete packages offered by Vodafone, Telekom and Co.
Complete packages are the offerings of various Internet providers, such as Telekom or Vodafone, that additionally offer online TV. Sometimes it is already included in the package, but with others you have to add the option separately for a small extra charge. Note: Higher qualities like HD or UHD can be more expensive than the normal SD quality. A special receiver or streaming box is also required for the services from Telekom and Co, but these are provided on loan by the respective providers.
MagentaTV by Telekom
Telekom probably offers the biggest and most comprehensive package with MagentaTV. Not only are there different rates, but also packages with separate streaming services like Netflix or Disney+. If you are already a customer here and look closely, you can save quite a bit of money and avoid the additional costs for a separate Netflix account, for example. Already existing accounts can be linked quite easily.
Even though there are officially only partnerships with Netflix, Disney+ and RTL+, Magenta TV also brings together other services like Prime Video, Sky or DAZN in one interface, so you do not necessarily have to rely on additional apps.
In addition to online television and free access to selected streaming services, there are other benefits included in the package price. These include the Telekom media library, where you can find many series and movies, an online storage of up to 50 hours, or the option to watch on different devices in parallel. This means that you can entertain the whole family without everyone being forced to watch the same thing on the same device.
MagentaTV is of course cheaper if you are already a Telekom customer. However, an existing contract is not mandatory to use MagentaTV. Rates as a non-customer start at 12.00 euros and for existing customers with Internet and fixed network, the cheapest option is 39.99 euros. Mobile customers also get an advantage here and can add MagentaTV to their contract.
GigaTV by Vodafone
As a competitor of Telekom, Vodafone also offers a corresponding package for its customers to enjoy online TV. GigaTV offers a large variety of channels for a small extra charge with an existing customer account. GigaTV can also be used via the Net Box without an existing Vodafone account.
Vodafone also offers various packages and also has a partnership with Netflix. In addition, you have up to 95 different channels, more than half of which are broadcast in HD. In addition, you have access to various media libraries with movies and series that can be accessed at any time. Other options, such as additional channels, can also be booked, but at a higher price. There are also various offers for mobile customers.
Compared to Telekom, Vodafone also offers an option with Apple TV 4K. This gives access to Apple TV+ and other Apple products, although some of them require an additional subscription.
The Internet and network provider 1&1 also offers an online TV option, but it is much slimmed down. HD-TV also offers a wide range of channels, many of which are broadcast in HD. HD-TV can be used via the free app or via a TV stick or TV box. 1&1 also offers international options, so you can receive popular channels from countries like Poland, Italy, or Turkey.
HD TV can be added to the existing contract for 4.99 euros per subscription. The scope is not as large as that of the other providers, which is why the option is more worthwhile for people who do not want to use streaming services of any kind or prefer to take out a separate subscription. Nevertheless, HD-TV from 1&1 offers online storage of up to 200 hours, and the service can also be used on different platforms such as laptop or tablet and on up to three devices simultaneously.
Sky Q – Online TV and more
What used to be known as Premiere has been called Sky for years now and has long been able to convince with various options. Especially sports fans like to use the service to watch the Bundesliga, but Sky also offers other channels with Sky Q, so online television is also available here. This requires a Sky Q IPTV box, which is provided as a rental device when the contract is signed.
As with Telekom’s MagentaTV, various packages are available here, including Netflix and DAZN. Series and movies from HBO or Sky’s own productions are also included in the respective packages. Again, HD and UHD content is charged extra. An additional app can also be downloaded to any smartphone free of charge, so you can use Sky Q on the go.
Sky Q is especially interesting for those who already have a Sky account and want to access the provider’s services anyway. This way, you have everything in one interface and do not have to jump back and forth between apps.
Online television via app
Of course, there are also alternatives that are not tied to a fixed-network provider and therefore do not entail a long contract commitment. In addition, some options are even free of charge, although there are of course restrictions. We’ll show you the most common services that you can use here. Moreover, these alternatives do not require any additional devices, but only the right app.
The provider Waipu.tv offers over 100 live channels, as well as a large media library with movies and series that can be accessed at any time. Again, a distinction is made between SD and HD quality, with the higher resolution being more expensive. Of course, Waipu.tv also offers a recording function, time-shifted TV and a pause function, so that you are less tied to the broadcaster’s program.
Here, too, there are various packages, one of which can even be used in combination with Netflix. In addition, Waipu.tv also offers the option of using the service on different platforms and on multiple devices at the same time. There is also a charge-free option that allows you to watch around 40 channels (including mostly public broadcasters) in SD quality.
A new addition to the portfolio is the waipu.tv 4K stick, which you simply connect to the TV via USB-C and immediately have access to the online television program, waiputhek, YouTube or Netflix. In total, there are over 185 channels available, 100 hours of recording memory and a separate universal remote control. The portfolio currently costs 15.99 euros, although you have to pay extra for Netflix. The stick itself also has to be purchased separately for just under 60 Euros.
Zattoo is another way to enjoy online television that also offers a free membership. You can watch over 100 channels via it, but advertisements are displayed when switching and you can only watch an unlimited amount via the mobile app or the PC. If you want to use the service via the smart TV, the usage time is limited to 30 hours per month.
A paid membership already offers HD channels, simultaneous use on two or four devices, and unlimited use on TV. There are also special niche packages for users who want to watch additional channels with local content, pop concerts, outdoor shows, or series and movies from the UK or Scandinavia. There are also international options here, so that TV stations from Croatia, Poland, or even Italy can be accessed.
With Joyn, you don’t even necessarily need your own account to use the large portfolio. You can enjoy online television and various series and movie content without registering. This can be done directly in the browser or via the free app for smartphone and TV, but only in SD quality.
You can only enjoy all content in HD with a Joyn Plus subscription for 6.99 euros per month. In addition, the selection of movies and series is significantly larger and you can watch them without any commercials. In addition, you can access selected series 7 days before TV broadcast. Joyn Plus offers a total of over 70 live channels and its own media library with countless contents that you can watch on demand.
FAQ – Frequently asked questions about online television
Is online television more affordable?
It all depends on how you use online television. In general, most of the offers we mentioned in the article are not free, although there are options that do not require a subscription or additional fees. However, then you have to expect compromises in the program or in the quality. However, since the selection is quite versatile, you can choose the right one and perhaps save a few euros in combination with Netflix and Co.
However, you should be careful if you want to use online television on your smartphone while on the move. Considerable costs are charged here if you don’t have a flat rate. Streaming videos involves large amounts of data, which can quickly become expensive if you only have a limited data volume.
Do I have to pay a broadcasting fees for online television?
Yes, the broadcasting fee is required as soon as you use a receiver, which can be a TV, a smartphone or a PC. In short, anyone who streams and receives content will have to pay. The current fee in germany of 18.36 euros per month then automatically comes into play. You can only be exempted from the fees if you receive social benefits.
I don’t have a TV connection in my apartment. Can I still watch TV online?
Yes! Online television is a good alternative for exactly such situations, assuming an Internet connection is available. Due to the above mentioned possibilities, it is possible to watch regular TV even without a classic TV connection.
The prices of the providers are non-binding, without guarantee and can change at short notice. However, we try to keep you always up to date.
This post is also available in: Deutsch