Hey Lifehacker, I'm a complete sports nut currently living with crappy television reception that can't be fixed. How can I watch State of Origin matches at home for free without a TV set up to receive free-to-air broadcasts? Thanks, Marooned
Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
The short answer is; you can't (at least not in a way that's free, legal and live.) As you'd expect, Nine has locked up the rights to State of Origin because of the huge ratings it attracts. This year's first game was the most watched television program of 2014 thus far, with more than four million people tuning in to watch the match live. You can expect tomorrow's ratings to be even higher.
Naturally, the network doesn't want to dilute its advertising cash cow via free streaming platforms. In other words, if you want to get State of Origin streamed live to your phone or tablet, you're going to have to pay for the privilege.
Your best bet is Telstra's NRL Digital Pass app. This gives you access to six live NRL matches per week, including State of Origin. The app costs $1.99 per week, or $89.95 for a full year. It's compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones, Android tablets, PC and MAC laptop devices.
You can currently get a free two-week trial of the service when you sign up to either the yearly or weekly plan. If you're only really interested in Origin, go for the weekly pass: you can opt out after the second game and then purchase another week during round three (which is scheduled for 9 July.) With the free trial activated, watching both games will set you back a grand total of $1.99, which isn't too shabby. On the downside, the app apparently disables HDMI outputs while streaming content, which means you can't hook the tablet up to your TV. Tch.
On a final note, don't discount your local pub — while the drinks might be overpriced, the crowd atmosphere and big screen TV should more than make up for it. If any footy fans have additional suggestions, let Marooned know in the comments section below.
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