Das Erste
(Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen)
HeadquartersMunich, Germany

Das Erste ("The First"), rarely also called Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen ("First German Television"), is the principal publicly owned television channel in Germany. It is a joint production of Germany's regional public broadcasters acting through, and coordinated by the ARD consortium.


Studio of the news programme Tagesschau
The Maus, the popular children's series

The channel's first experimental broadcasts started on 27 November 1950 as the TV channel of the then NWDR, which later split to become NDR and WDR in 1956. The regular NWDR television service started on 25 December 1952. Nationwide transmission began on 1 November 1954 within the ARD framework. After the joining of other broadcasters, the channel became Deutsches Fernsehen (German Television). It was West Germany's only television channel prior to the establishment of ZDF in 1963.

The new channel consisted of jointly-produced shows such as Tagesschau as well as broadcasts produced individually by ARD member stations. The programs were coordinated by the Programmdirektion based in Munich. Besides several entertaining shows, ARD went political in 1957 when it launched its first political TV magazine, Panorama. Germany's first political TV show adopted the slogan "What is being talked about and what should be talked about" and pictured all aspects of postwar West German society--including conflict-laden topics, scandals, and other taboo topics, such as former Nazis who then held high positions in the political and legal systems.

ARD nevertheless produced a provisional second TV channel from 1 June 1961 until ZDF started its transmissions on 1 April 1963. Colour television was introduced on 25 August 1967.

The channel's name Deutsches Fernsehen ("German Television") was changed to Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen ("First German Television") on 30 September 1984. Also around 1984, a new corporate design was introduced. The previous logo, with stylized waves, was replaced by a new logo showing a stylized number "1" which is still in use today. Since 1997, the channel has usually been branded as Das Erste, but the long name Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen is still used for official purposes (e.g. the introduction to the main editions of its news programme Tagesschau, which has been on air since 26 December 1952). Informally, it is still also known as ARD among viewers.

In addition to its SD broadcast, a 720p50 HD version of the channel, Das Erste HD, is also broadcast. Broadcast of Das Erste HD began in February 2010 with the coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics.[2] Das Erste HD is available via satellite (DVB-S2 on Astra 19.2°E) and cable (Kabel Deutschland in Germany, Cablecom in Swtzerland).

Member broadcasting organizations

All nine of Germany's regional public-broadcasting organizations contribute to the output of Das Erste and broadcast its programming in a common schedule.

Time assigned

Each regional member of ARD contributes programming to the channel's schedule in proportion to the population of the area it serves. The current (February 2006) time allocations as percentage shares of total broadcast hours are:[citation needed]

Broadcasting Organisation % of total
Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) 15.25
Hessischer Rundfunk (HR) 7.35
Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) 11.45
Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) 17.45
Radio Bremen (RB) 1.00
Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) 7.00
Saarländischer Rundfunk (SR) 1.30
Südwestrundfunk (SWR) 17.95
Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) 21.25


Before 1990, Das Erste was distributed only in the old Federal Republic. Given at the basic network channels ARD mainly transmitters were used - in contrast to the ZDF and third programs, help to spread almost exclusively transmitters the Federal Post Office have been used, a consequence of the first Radio appeal. On 15 December 1990 was the first of the chain of transmission of the first program of the German Television, which was distributed via transmission facilities of Deutsche Post of the GDR. The DDR-transmitters were little later taken over by the German Federal Post and merged organizationally with the West German transmitters the federal post. The transmitters of the Bundespost were spun in 1995 by Deutsche Telekom for this, and this in turn by T-Systems.

Between 2002 and 2008 the transmission facilities in Germany were successively converted from analog PAL standard to the new digital standard DVB-T.


Former programmes

See also


  1. ^ "ARD und ZDF so schlecht, Vox so stark wie nie" (in German). Medienmagazin DWDL.de. 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2010-05-21.
  2. ^ "HDTV im Ersten". daserste.de. Retrieved 2 March 2010.