The TV licenses do provide funding. There are also private channels that are not funded through the licenses but through subscription (e.g. Canal+ etc.). There are also laws that regulate how much advertising can be done, and when. For example in France on public channels there cannot be any advertisement after 8pm. Imagine that here! Also movies cannot be cut, etc... Those things change a bit (there used to be advertisement up to 8:30pm, and it may come back due to financing issues).
It boils down to culture. We (Europeans) are willing to pay for something we don't always use in return for what we perceive as a bigger return when we use it (e.g. TV license to have a better watching experience; taxes in exchange for unconditional health care; etc.). In North America and especially in the U.S. there seem to be this sense that if you pay for more than what you actually use at a given time someone is stealing from you. So everybody pays (too much, I will say!) for their tailored tiered TV, Internet, etc. and on top of that watches ads! It is like being double or tripled taxed.
I also think that there is no real market competition in telephony and entertainment (ever wondered why when someone prices out the cost of a smart phone for a typical usage over a 2 year contract, all the providers come within a few dollars of each other even though on paper their plans are very different)?
For the record, in Paris (where I don't live---I am US based) my sister gets unlimited 20 MBps Internet; unlimited cable; and wired phone with free calling oversees for $35 a month. Try to get ANY ONE of those in the States for that amount.
Ok, now I miss home... And if I were home, I would miss here too, probably