Users can access individual program content as videos and live streams on the Internet via a media library. The term “media library” also denotes institutions that offer media, such as libraries. In common parlance, however, “Mediathek” stands for the online programs offered by German television stations.
- A media library is an online portal in which television broadcasters make individual program content available as a live stream or video.
- Users can access the contents of a media library with an existing internet connection via the internet browser on their PC or via apps on a mobile device.
- The media libraries are preinstalled on most smart TVs.
- Many television broadcasters have their own media library. The offer of the individual media libraries is often limited for licensing reasons.
Media library as a supplement to the television offer
Short for DML by abbreviationfinder, the media libraries of the individual television stations mainly provide videos and live streams. Thanks to the live broadcast, users can follow current programs via PC or mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, even without a television. If you missed a program, you can watch it conveniently as video-on-demand at a later point in time. Some media libraries make these videos available permanently, others only for a limited period of time. Media libraries do not compete with the TV offerings of the individual broadcasters, but complement them. Nowadays, almost every broadcaster has its own media library that can be accessed online.
Access to the media libraries
Users access the content of the media libraries via the Internet browser on their PC. If you want to access programs on your smartphone or tablet, you can do so using various apps that the stations make available for download. Owners of a smart TV can comfortably select the media libraries for the individual channels from the couch. Access to the media libraries via Amazon Fire TV or Entertain TV is also possible with an existing internet connection.
Media libraries of the public broadcasters
Almost every public television broadcaster has its own media library. The two major broadcasters, ARD and ZDF, in particular, provide a lot of program content online, sometimes even on the respective broadcast day. The smaller public broadcasters usually only offer a small selection of programs. While the public broadcasters were the pioneers of the media libraries, the private broadcasters only recognized this trend later. In the meantime, however, many private television companies such as RTL and ProSieben also run media libraries or alternatively post individual programs or program excerpts on their website. However, these offers are sometimes chargeable.
ARD media library
The ARD media library includes the TV programs from ARD, Tagesschau 24 and KiKA. Programs from third party programs such as MDR, NDR, WDR and RBB can also be accessed there. Some of the regional television companies also have their own media library. The availability of the individual programs differs greatly. While viewers can only access some content for a few days, other programs can be viewed for several months or indefinitely. The ARD media library also has a live stream both on the web and in the app. All functions of the ARD media library are free of charge. In addition, many videos can be downloaded from the media library so that the videos can also be accessed without the Internet.
In addition to the ZDF programs, content from the ZDFneo and ZDFinfo subsidiaries is also available free of charge in the ZDF media library. As with ARD, the availability of the individual programs varies between a few days and several months. There is also a live stream that includes the offerings from ZDF, ZDFneo, ARTE, Phoenix, ZDFinfo and 3Sat. In addition, a large part of the media library can be downloaded and thus viewed offline.
Limited offers and availability
The media libraries often do not provide their entire program, but only certain programs for retrieval. This is due to licensing reasons. Even the broadcaster’s own film production does not guarantee that the film will also be available in the media library, as the actors or musicians have the rights of use. The broadcasters are also not allowed to broadcast films and series from abroad online. In addition, the interstate broadcasting agreement regulates the availability of the broadcasts. For example, ARD is only allowed to make contemporary and cultural-historical content available in the media library for an unlimited period of time. All other program content has a time limit.