Talk:Deutscher Fernsehfunk

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Ostfernsehen in West Germany[edit]

ARD/ZDF had a large audience share in the GDR but how widely was DFF viewed in West Germany ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

It was available across the eastern half of the FRG, but was in Secam colour rather than PAL, and the programming was terrible compared to the west. Therefore, you could say it was available to perhaps 20 or 30 million people in the FRG, but watched by a tiny fraction (it wasn't as good as ARD, it wasn't in colour and it wasn't on cable - three reasons to reduce the audience to a tiny interested minority). I think the article makes reference to this. ➨ REDVERS 19:18, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
30 million seems far too much. Due to geography, many major population centres of West Germany were not able to watch it (reverse situation from East Germany). Watching East German telly was most common in West Berlin. Anorak2 10:41, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
"the programming was terrible" Was this just the news/political programming or did it apply to entertainment programming too ? And was this the widespread concensus or just a POV Is there any reason why cable systems in the west did not carry DFF but eastern systems (apparently) did carry ARD and how widespread was cable anyway ? 10:48, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Virtually all programming. I've no idea if this statement has consensus at large but I could find plenty of citations for it if needed; however, things said on a talk page don't need citing - only stuff that goes into the article. Cable systems in the west mainly didn't carry DFF because there was limited demand for it and space was at a premium. Some may have carried it, but I can't find evidence of that (which is not to say they didn't). Eastern systems did not carry ARD services at all. It was over-air traditional RF reception of a neighbouring country's programmes.   REDVERS  SЯEVDEЯ  11:57, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Disagree somewhat. The non-political content of DFF was not universally regarded as "terrible", I think this is POV and can't really be argued. They had feature films (including Hollywood productions and loads of the ever-popular German pre-WW2 movies), self-produced series, imported series (I remember watching Fawlty Towers on East German telly, imagine that) etc. Nowadays the productions of DFF have somewhat of a cult following and are being repeated regularly.
Concerning cable: East German telly was available on West German cable systems in areas where it was available terrestrially, but probably not much beyond. West German telly was available on many East German systems since the 1980s, but not all. Western TV channels were the main point of establilshing private cable systems in the first place, so virtually all of them had it. Availability on "state run" systems varied, some had it but some others didn't. Anorak2 14:32, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Completly anecdotal but from what Ive gathered many people seemed to prefer the Childrens programmes on DFF (if only because there were fewer adverts) ? (talk) 09:29, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

(ri)Anorak2, you're doing a great job picking holes in everything I say on this talk page. You are aware that this is just a talk page and not the article itself? If you have concerns about the article, please fix them (sources are most welcome), but I'd like to request that you stop trying to pick a fight with me on this page over items that aren't in the article and thus are not worth you fighting over. Thanks.   REDVERS  SЯEVDEЯ  19:02, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Huh? I'm not trying to fight with anyone. I just have this page on my watchlist and whenever I see a statement that I know is wrong or exaggerated, I try to correct it or put it into perspective. It didn't occur to me that it's always the same person whom I correct until you pointed it out. :)
My motivation is to stop misconceptions from spreading. As this page is readable worldwide, but the number of people who have memories of East German television is limited, it's important that misrepresentations be corrected. I'm currently too busy to write much in the articles, but a word on a talk page takes less time and there's always a chance someone reads it and takes the time to word it "properly" in the article.
Sorry if this offends you, that's certainly not my intention. But some of the things you say really are wrong. Anorak2 07:54, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Should the article not include a list of popular/well known programmes on DFF ? 08:34, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

It does now. Ein Kessel Buntes was popular in the West (or at least the parts which could get DFF) apparently. But how widespread was ownership of dual standard (PAL/SECAM) televisions (and/or videos) in FRG/BRD (or West Berlin)? (talk)
In the 1980s virtually all colour televisions and VHS machines sold in West Germany were PAL/SECAM. Most major brands made variants of their products for sale in West Germany which included a SECAM decoder. Often the same sets sold in other Western European countries did not. The same is not true for the 1970s, then most colour tvs in West Germany were PAL only. SECAM compatible sets were more widespread close to the border. Anorak2 (talk) 10:14, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Did DFF ever consider going on the Astra 1A satellite to enable West German viewers to receive it ? (talk) 16:20, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
There were transmissions on the Soviet Gorizont a 2011 monitoring times article (Dec 2011 Page 9 [[1]]) shows the caption "DDR-F3" which begs the question was there an attempt at a "third service" for foreign audiences ? (talk) 14:31, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

Maps would be nice[edit]

"despite placing high-power transmitters in border areas, the GDR could not penetrate the whole of West Germany" Did ARD also deliberatly place high-power transmitters along the border or was the widespread reception of their television services in the GDR purely as a result of "unintentional overspill" ? How about a map of "the two Germanies" indicating transmitter locations and how far into each territory reliable cross border reception was possible ? 15:07, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Someone did a map recently: I would like to insert it but I don't know the syntax for embedding images from other wikipedias. Anyone? Anorak2 07:48, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
[2] [3] Here is a very rough map produced by Deutches Fernshenfunk showing the locations of some border transmitters and their coverage of West Germany. (talk) 20:25, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Programme listings[edit]

Did newspapers or listings magazines in either East or West Germany ever include programme schedules from "the other side" ? (talk) 09:58, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

East German newspapers never (or at least not before 1989/90) printed ARD/ZDF schedules. And the circulation/availability of western newspapers (and listings magazines) in the east was extremely restricted. In theory Western newspapers could publish DFF schedules but most didnt either for idealogical reasons or because the DFF signal was patchy/non existent in their main circulation areas or because the believed their readership weren't sufficiently interested. (talk) 22:04, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Conspicuous Aerials/Antennas[edit]

Surely in order to receive Western television in the GDR (other than in places very close to the border) one needed a rather large rooftop antenna pointing West. Were people not worried (particularly in the 50's/60's) about the Stasi seeing them (or was it a case of everyone having one) ? Did the Stasi ever try confiscating aerials or restricting the sale of high-gain types ? 08:34, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes there was a campaign in the early 60s where antennas pointed to the west were destroyed by brigades of the FDJ (state youth organisation), see Ochsenkopf TV Tower. I think I'll add the link to this page. Anorak2 13:01, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Came across a 1980's video link hereshowing some pretty elaborate recieving antennas !!!! (talk) 13:50, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Cool thank you. Anorak2 (talk) 18:50, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
RE:"Blitz contra Natosender". How easy was it in practice for the FDJ or Stasi to identify aerials/antennas pointed at the West ? While there were areas where the difference was obvious Such as the Ochsenkopf service area where ARD was on VHF Band 1 and DFF1 on Band 3 or in (mostly far Eastern) regions where the ARD signal was weak and needed a large and/or high aerial to receive it in many places the ARD and DFF signals would have been on the same waveband (e.g. Berlin DFF1 Ch E5 ARD Ch E7) and be coming from aproximately the same direction (given that both Western and Eastern networks situated high power transmitters along the border). Thus an aerial pointing towards Berlin or the border could in many cases be for ARD/ZDF or DFF/F-DDR or even both ! (talk) 20:49, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Use of SECAM colour[edit]

It is often stated that the use of SECAM colour in most Eastern bloc countries (including the GDR) was to discourage people from viewing Western programmes (which being in PAL would have appeared in Black and White on a SECAM set) even though colour TV's were scarce (and presumably expensive). However various Wikipedia articles mention that many people had converters or adapted TV sets to enable them to view the Western broadcasts in colour. How were these obtained given that one would assume that (state owned/controlled) shops in the East wouldnt have sold them and smuggling from the west was practically impossible ?

One would imagine that even for electronics enthusiasts a DIY convertor would have been difficult to produce given the difficulty in obtaining components (and books explaining the workings of PAL)

So how did they do it ? 15:31, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Actually state-owned shops in East Germany did sell dual standard PAL/SECAM sets starting about mid-1970s, both domestic as well as (very rarely) Western produced ones.
East Germans could also legally buy dual standard sets from the West through Intershops or through a dedicated mail order service, provided they had Western currency. Finally they could receive them as presents from western relatives. No need to smuggle.
DIY conversion of SECAM-only sets may have existed, obtaining the hardware was of course an obstacle but certainly doable if you had the currency. I know about DIY satellite reception who had similar obstacles.
I'm not aware of "outboard" PAL->SECAM converters from pre-1990. There are some from after 1990 targeted at owners of SECAM-only sets after all the transmitters in East Germany had been converted to PAL.
You can safely assume that in the late 1980s single standards SECAM sets were rare in East Germany, because almost anyone who owned a colour set at all would have made sure it could receive PAL.
The remark about discouraging people from watching Western programmes is perfectly valid, but only for a specific period (50s/60s). In later years western reception was increasingly tolerated, as the domestic production of PAL/SECAM TV sets demonstrates. The state-operated cable TV systems which started to emerge in the 80s even carried Western programmes in many places. (The ones built by private initiatives did anyway).
Incidentally, black&white sets sold at approx 2,000 Marks (East) as late as 1989, domestic colour sets approx 6,000 Marks. An imported Sony colour set I once saw was 8,000 Marks.
Hope this answers your question. Anorak2 12:49, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Very interesting but how many days average wages did it take to buy a colour TV ? 08:38, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Average wage was around 1,000 Marks per month. The minimum wage was something like 400 marks, anything above ca. 1,500 marks would be considered "high salary". The minimum old age pension was 315 marks. 15:16, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
According to this [4] German Wikipedia article a 58 cm SECAM only set retailed for 3500 Marks while a PAL/SECAM version cost 4100 (East) Marks (c 1975-83). Could one really have "safely assume that in the late 1980s single standards SECAM sets were rare in East Germany" ? Given that a dual standard set cost more why would have a resident of an area where western TV was unavailable have bothered paying extra for one ? (talk) 19:27, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
The areas where absolutely no West German television was available were small. Dresden was the only major city. In most parts of East Germany it was available, and in those areas a SECAM only set made little sense. If you got Western television, you wanted to make sure it was in colour. Anorak2 (talk) 14:39, 26 June 2010 (UTC)


On 15 December 1990, the ARD's Das Erste channel took over the frequencies of DFF1 Did ARD retain all the former DFF transmitters ? given that ARD was already widely available in most of East(ern) Germany surely this created a lot of unnecessary duplication ? (talk) 19:10, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Initially all transmitters, and of course duplication did occur. But you also have to keep in mind that in many parts of East Germany reception of ARD was only possible with ridiculously large and complicated aerial setups and marginal reception quality. The takeover of East German transmitters eased these difficulties a lot.
Duplication is sometimes desirable as different transmitters serve different regional versions of ARD, so it remains that way in many places until today. In Berlin where I am, the former East German transmitter was handed to a new commercial stations after a few months, so duplication has ceased.
Nowadays many transmitters are going digital, so it's less of an issue. Anorak2 (talk) 14:57, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

What happened in 1977 ?[edit]

Some other sources give 1977 as the date when PAL-capable receiviers officially came on the market in the GDR. The same year that the authorities gave up attempting to jam RIAS. Was there any significant political event in that year which prompted a softening of policy regarding reception of Western broadcasts ? (talk) 13:16, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

It may have been the GDR's ratification of the Helsinki accords ? (talk) 22:16, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Origin of recieving equipment[edit]

By the end of 1958, there were over 300,000 television sets in the GDR Roughly what proportion of radio and TV sets were manufactured in the GDR (or other Eastern bloc countries) and how much was imported from the West before and after 1961 ? (talk) 15:04, 17 July 2009 (UTC)


The West version was discontinued by the ARD upon reunification; however, stations in the former GDR continued to play clips from the East's Sandman every night, and RBB still continues the practice.

KIKA also still have it. Not sure if its the "West" or "East" version though ? (talk) 17:09, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

You're right: the Eastern version ("Produktion: DFF / DEFA-Puppentrickstudio") is running on KIKA under the title "Unser Sandmännchen". As stated in the article, RBB's third program still runs the eastern version (under the same title) every day at 17:55. Xenon54 / talk / 17:55, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Technical oddities[edit]

In its very early days DFF made some test transmissions using the D/K standard before reverting (around 1957) to System B/G but still (initially) using some oddball frequencies # .

Channel Channel Limits (MHz) Vision Carrier (MHz) Main Sound Carrier (MHz)
1 (Pre 1957) 41.00 - 49.00 41.75 48.25 Identical to old OIR Ch I
2 (Pre 1957) 58.50 - 66.50 59.25 65.75 Identical to old OIR Ch III (Overlaps western channels E3 and E4)
3 (Pre 1957) 99.15 - 107.15 99.90 106.40 Overlaps part of Western FM radio broadcast band (East Berlin 1953-57)
4 (Pre 1957) 144.50 - 152.50 145.25 151.75 Overlaps 2m Amateur radio band
1 (1957-1960) 58.00 - 65.00 59.25 64.75 Same video freq as pre 1957 Ch 2 (but 5.5 MHz sound) Overlaps western channels E3 and E4
2 (1957-1960) 144.00 - 151.00 145.25 150.75 Overlaps 2m Amateur radio band
3 (1957-1960) 154.00 - 161.00 155.25 160.75 Overlaps Marine VHF radio band
E5 174.00 - 181.00 175.25 180.75 Identical to western Channel E5
E6 181.00 - 188.00 182.25 187.75 Identical to western Channel E6
E8 195.00 - 202.00 196.25 201.75 Identical to western Channel E8
E11 216.00 - 223.00 217.25 222.75 Identical to western Channel E11

[[5]] From 1960 onwards (West) European standard channels were adopted.

DFF 1 DFF 2 TSS(SR)1 area
Berlin 5 27 11V Berlin region (Incl West Berlin)
Brocken 6H 34H ? West DDR (+ parts of BRD/FRG)
Chemnitz/Karl Marx Stadt/Katzenstein 8H 32 27 Chemnitz area and Extreme South DDR (incl Czechslovak border area)
Cottbus 53 (Orig E4) 23 8 South East DDR (incl Polish border area)
Dequede 12V 31H ?
Helpterberg 37 (Orig E3) 22 ? North East DDR (incl Polish border area)
Inselsberg (island's mountain) 5H 31H ? South West DDR (Incl parts of BRD/FRG)
Marlow 8 24V ? North
Schwerin 11 29 ? North West DDR (Incl parts of BRD/FRG)
Sonneberg Bleßberg 12H 33H ?
Auerbach ? 28 ?
Dresden 10 29 32 South East DDR (incl Czechslovak border area)
Leipzig Zeltz 9V 22 32 Southern DDR
Löbau 27 39 ?
Magdeburg 47? 26? 12
Wittenberg 30? 55? ?
Hohbeck ? ? 35?
Halle ? ? ?
Keula ? ? ?
Mecklenburg ? ? ?
Ronneburg ? ? ?
Saalfeld Remda ? ? ?
Frankfurt (O.) ? ? 6
Suhl ? ? ?
Putbus ? ? ?

Key Westfernsehen stations included:

Berlin Scholzplatz (VHF)/Schäferberg (UHF) 7 33 39 (SFB/N3) 25 22 or 59 ? 9V? 29 41 31
Bungsberg 50 21 47 (NDR) 31 44 ? ? ? ?
Dannenberg/Höhbeck ? 21 ? (N3) ? ? ? ? ? ?
Torfhaus/Harz 10 23 53 (NDR) ? ? ? ? ? ?
Hoher Meißner 7 32 55 (HR) ? ? ? ? ? ?
Kreuzberg (Rhön)/Heidelstein 3 29 49 (HR) 44 ? 21 ? ? ?
Ochsenkopf/Großer Waldstein 4V 23 57 (BRF) 25 ? ? ? ? ?
Kiel 5 ? ? NDR ? ? ? ? ? ?
Hamburg-Moorfleet 9 30 56 NDR ? ? ? ? ? ?
Hannover 8 ? ? NDR ? ? ? ? ? ?
Coburg ? 22 ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Neum¨ unster 28 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Dannenberg/Zernien 43 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Hoher Bogen 55 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Rimberg 57 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Stations from Denmark, Sweden (B/PAL), Czechoslovakia and Poland (D/K/SECAM) were also receivable in parts of the GDR

Not sure how much (if any) of the above info people think should go in the main article ? (talk) 12:30, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

(I see you edited the table about a week ago...) This is great information, and would probably be valuable enough to add to the article. But - a source would have to be cited. Where did you find the information? Xenon54 / talk / 20:58, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Cobbled together from various sources I could (spend a lot of time in order to) compile a list but Old (pre 1989) editions of the World Radio TV Handbook would cover most/all of it surely ? (talk) 20:35, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
I suppose it could, but unfortunately only the 2007 version of the book is available on Google Books. A book can be cited, but a hard copy would have to be found somewhere to verify that the information that is supposed to be found in the book is actually there. I could add the interesting list of "oddball" channels though, as that has a source. Xenon54 / talk / 21:29, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

I can vouch that the information for the Berlin transmitters is mostly correct (I happen to know the channel no.s by heart). There is a list of all radio and television stations in Germany called "Wittsmoor-Liste" which could be used to verify the the correctness of the other channels. The current edition is online which is of course of no use for the pre-1989 situation. But I happen to have older editions in print at home which I could use to verify the pre-1989 channels.

Some minor corrections at this stage which I happen to know by heart: RIAS-TV was not a separate station, just a programme produced by RIAS which was transmitted for 1 or 2 hours per day on the West Berlin terrestrial frequency of SAT.1 which was therefore not available during those hours. So you can omit that column. Also DSF was never available terrestrially in Berlin. As far I know that channel didn't even exist in 1989. Channel E9 was never used terrestrially in Berlin anyway.

Another correction: TV5 used to transmit in SECAM/G.

Third correction: The channel serving the Soviet Forces in East Germany (whos name is obscure, I'm not sure if "TSS1" is correct) had its own network of low power transmitters, similar to AFN and SSVC in the West. So maybe it should be omitted from the list of main transmitters. Is it interesting enough to be listed here? If so there should be a separate table. Anorak2 (talk) 10:29, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the info. As far as Im aware a pre-1989 WRTH (Out of print but can often be found in university libraries) should be OK to quote as a source (If not a scan of the BRD and GDR sections would surely be covered by fair use). Now its just a matter of finding one so the tables above can be cleaned up/completed/sourced) And a decision made over what (if anything) to do about the Soviet etc military transmitters. (talk) 22:28, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
[6] Here is a page which could be used as a source for technical data if anyone's German is up to making it out ! (talk) 17:21, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
According to this [7] Dutch language article. The use of Channel E11 by DFF's Schwerin transmitter in 1957 blocked out some Western viewers reception of ARD. (talk) 16:52, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

"Replaced by"[edit]

In the infobox it currently says that DFF was replaced by:

DFF1: expansion of ARD members NDR and SFB; creation of new members ORB and MDR
DFF2: expansion of ZDF

However, there are no sources and I think there's reason to believe those statements are untrue.

We know that DFF1 gave away to Das Erste on December 15, 1990, and that DFF2 then became DFF-Länderkette, which essentially took the role of West Germany's "Dritte" programmes until they started in January 1992. One can guess that the Dritte programmes took over the frequencies formerly used by DFF-Länderkette, but I don't have any sources. In the German article about ZDF it says that ZDF used frequencies reserved for a possible third East German television channel. I'm marking those statements with "citation needed" until this is cleared out. Väsk (talk) 18:22, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Your analysis is perfectly correct: DFF1 transmitters were taken over by ARD in 1990, DFF2 aka "Länderkette" transmitters were taken over by the new "Dritte" channels in 1992, and ZDF created a new chain of transmitters for itself. Unfortunately I don't have a handy source either, but maybe my confirmation is an encouragement for someone to look for it. :) Anorak2 (talk)

citations needed[edit]

Please cite everything when you state facts. Wikipedia is not considered a source of facts without the evidence to support those facts. This needs to rectified so people can find out if this article is not just completely made up! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:32, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

Reports of Jamming in Leipzig[edit]

While attempts to jam Western radio/TV (other than RIAS pre 1977) were rare in East Germany there were localised instances of it in Leipzig during October/November 1989 when the Monday Demonstrations were taking place. Worth mentioning in the article if we can find a citation for it. (talk) 14:03, 25 April 2016 (UTC)