ARD, or as we call it in Germany, The First Channel, is available online at www.ardmediathek.de, but you can also download the app to your phone, iPad or Smart TV. You no longer have to squint at programs on the phone, but simply watch the news, game shows or movies on your television set.
There’s more content on the website, but that also means more Geo-blocked programming, so don’t get your hopes up when you see soccer on the landing page. The app has less content, and seems mostly ‘pre-screened’ for availability. What you see listed is mostly what you get. The available programs far outweigh the restricted ones on the app version, and unlike streaming something on Hulu or Netflix, stored content in the ARD Mediathek plays without commercial interruptions.
If you do want to enjoy a few ads to see what’ new back home, you can watch current programming in their live stream. Slightly annoying: when you select a program that is Geo-blocked on the app, sometimes it just throws you out, back to your app screen on your television instead of just giving a warning.