Television and radio are both similar and different from the American varieties. When you use radio, television or internet services you must register with GEZ (Gebühreneinzugszentrale). The cost is around 8 euros per month. Anytime you purchase a TV in Germany, you are required to provide the address of the location where it will be used,and the retailer will notify the GEZ. You are required to obtain a license from the GEZ.
Television services are terrestrial, meaning local stations, cable, or satellite.
If English speaking television is what you need, then satellite will probably be your best option. Cable is often already installed in apartment buildings, but you have to obtain your own subscription agreement with the provider and pay the subscription fees. Television and internet may be arranged with cable services.
When renting, you must request permission from the landlord to have satellite TV. Some landlords may not allow a dish to be mounted on the building, and in this case cable will be the next best option. Radio service is offered in terrestrial, through your cable or satellite. Be warned that the majority of English speaking channels will be British, Irish or from other European countries, and not American channels. The same is true of television. Terrestrial TV and radio generally do not have English speaking channels.