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Here are just some common words I found to be useful in trying to find what you want on the below sites, I’ve placed them in alphabetical order to make it easier for you to find whatever word you’re looking for:


Here are just some common words I found to be useful in trying to find what you want on the below sites, I’ve placed them in alphabetical order to make it easier for you to find whatever word you’re looking for:

Deutsche Welle

This is going to be my number one, by far and away, top free recommendation to people trying to learn German.  Go to this site.  It will help you.  It has many, many features specifically designed to help people learn German (it’s the only such broadcaster which does that I’m aware of).  It’s also huge, extremely well-funded and well-designed due to being Germany’s official international broadcast station (very much like the BBC in the U.K.).

They have:

  • German lessons in 4 different flavors: Deutsche Interaktiv which is a large collection of comprehensive German lessons organized as per the CEFR Common Reference LevelsMission Berlin which is an audio-only 26-episode story (includes manuscript, exercises, and solutions for them) that teaches you German as you follow Anna on her adventure to save Germany, Radio D which is a similar sort of thing except a different storyline, and the Audio Trainer which is an audio-only beginners’ program designed to teach basic pronunciation and essential vocabulary.
  • A TV show / soap opera designed specifically for teaching English speakers German called JoJo Sucht Das Glück (“JoJo Seeks Happiness”) .
  • Das Bandtagebuch mit Einshoch 6 – Another TV show specifically for teaching people German that has, most importantly, yes: German subtitles.  The theme is that you sort of follow around this German band, Einshoch 6, backstage and on tour and what-not.  There are 52 episodes with each one being a very manageable 3 1/2 minutes long.  Included are interactive quizzes for each episode, manuscript, and everything is downloadable (video, subtitles, quiz, answers for quiz, manuscript, etc.).  Perfect for beginning and intermediate German learners.
  • If you’ll go to the ‘Learn German’ section’s homepage you’ll frequently find something called ‘Learning German with the News’ where a news story is read slowly aloud (in German) and the verbatim transcript for it is directly below, allowing you to follow along and look up anything you don’t know.

Tagesschau (they have subtitles in German!)

The word “tagesschau” literally means “news” and this program (it’s actually a program, not a whole station) is both the oldest and most watched news program in Germany, being so popular that it has its own dedicated website.  You can read more about it here (wikipedia article).

Also, some of their videos offer German subtitles, so this one immediately gets bumped right to the top of my list, I was veryexcited to find this.  The programs that offer subtitles (as best I can tell, if you find differently tell us in the comments) are:

To activate them, all you have to do is play a video and then click the button labeled “UT” in the bottom right corner of the video player (“UT” stands for “untertitel” which means “subtitle”).


This is the Central German Broadcasting Channel, one of seven regional stations in Germany.  They, too, offer subtitles on some of their videos.  To watch with subtitles go to the Mediathek page and choose from one of the three sections: TIPPS, NEU, or MEISTGECKLICKT.  All three of these offer videos with subtitles but I found that not all of those videos had subtitles, though most did.  The criteria seemed to be that if it was a fictional show, it didn’t have them, but if it was something non-fictional, like a news report or documentary, it did.  Basically, everything except the fictional TV series has subtitles.

The other programs offered on the site (which you can find by going to the menu at the top labeled “Sendungen A-Z”) do not appear to offer subtitles, though you can still watch them via the site.

Das Erste

This is currently the most popular public TV station in Germany and, thankfully, they make a large portion of their content available to watch online including full episodes of their shows.  Regrettably, no subtitles in either German or English are offered but I wasn’t really expecting that (that’s more of a pleasant surprise when you find it rather than something you can usually expect).

Also, their live stream doesn’t seem to be available in the U.S.  I suspect that if you can connect to a proxy inside Germany you could watch it.  Everything else seems to be available no problem.

To watch episodes from their TV shows just go to the menu at the top and select “Sendungen” (“Programs”) and choose from those.


This is Germany’s second largest public TV station and I found it was a little less clear-cut what was available for viewing outside Germany and what wasn’t, it seemed rather random.  It appears that all the news is available but then when it comes to shows it varies from one to another and you just have to try it and find out.  Tons and tons of available videos regardless, though, you’ll never run out.

 RTL Now

This is Germany’s largest private (for-profit) TV station.  Their news videos are all free to watch however everything non-news will not play in the U.S. (even if it’s labeled “Free”).  I do not know if they will play in countries outside Germany, you’re welcome to try if you like.

ARD Ratgeber

“Ratgeber” literally means “advisor” or “counselor” and this particular station caters to general life advice advice such as cooking, home repair, medicine/health, fitness, etc.  It has stories (most in the form of videos) along the lines of “12 Best Tips for Treating a Cold”, “Dangerous Germs in Turkey Meat” (and how to avoid them, of course), “Is It Worth It to Change Mobile Phone Providers?”, etc.  Those are some examples of stuff that was on the front page when I looked at it while writing this.


This is a very popular comedy channel in Germany that is focused entirely on that genre.  It’s a private network so it does run ads but I can view everything I’ve tried from here in the U.S. without a proxy, so that’s nice.  Odds are you can watch this from wherever you are.

No subtitles but it is a nice break from the typical news/politics stuff that dominates this list and it gives you more insight into the culture by showing you what they find funny.  Lots of stand up, talk shows (similar to The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, Conan, etc.), reality TV, fictional comedy shows (e.g. Stromburg, which seems to be something akin to The Office here in the U.S.), etc.


This is the most popular sports program in Germany, lots of videos covering all different sports, all appear to be available internationally.

Börse Aktuell

This is their main financial news network.


This is a regional station covering Northern Germany, one of seven such regional stations.

Sat 1

This is the first privately owned TV broadcaster in Germany, they focus mainly on reality shows, travel shows, telenovelas, and other fictional scripted shows.  Full episodes seem to be restricted to only those in Germany but shorter clips are viewable for me here in the U.S.

YouTube Channels/Users/Videos

Extr@ in German with German Subtitles

This is a TV show specifically made for teaching people languages and I’ve been recommending the (very popular) Spanish version for a while now to my fellow Spanish students.  It’s typically somewhereon YouTube though I’ve noticed it tends to get taken down for copyright violations every now and then, but of course it just gets reuploaded under another user’s account and the game goes on, haha.

The actors speak slowly and clearly and use vocabulary that’s not too advanced.  I’d say it’s intended for beginner and intermediate adult learners, probably high school and college level, so it’s perfect for most of you.  A summary of the plot, from Wikipedia:

“Sam, with only a very basic grasp of the featured language, comes to stay with his penpal, Lola. Sam’s efforts to get to grips with the language provide the central dynamic for the series’ language learning content. The series is particularly suitable for adolescents and young adults who can relate to the contextual setting and implied meanings in the screenplay.”

Book Box in German (18 videos currently)

I love these guys, I’ve been using/recommending them for Spanish for years as well and, thankfully, they do what they do for several different languages including German.  It’s very simple: they make an animated video out of a children’s story that includes a narrator slowly and carefully reading it aloud and subtitles in the language spoken (German in this case).

They’re fun and short, and since they’re using children’s stories the language used (vocabulary and grammar) tends to be very simple which is perfect for someone learning the language (hence why I strongly recommend children’s media as a source of material to learn a language from).

Tác giả bài viết: Dung Lu

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