|"No one asked us... Away with the TV Tax Dictators"|
Technically, this not a tax but a mandatory license fee (a distinction without a difference), and it's how public broadcasting (ARD, ZDF, RBB, Deutschlandradio, etc.) is funded. To add insult to injury, the public networks also receive revenue from advertising, although advertising can only appear in 5 or 10 minute blocks, and only before or after a program.
Germany also has commercial TV (VOX, RTL, Kabel 1, etc.) where advertising is as bad or even worse than in the U.S. Most of the American shows that are broadcast in Germany are found on these stations. For example, you can watch Married With Children, The Prince of Bel-Air, or CSI Miami. These shows aren't my cup of tea, but they are available and not supported by the TV tax.