Ask LH: Do I Need Telstra To Stream The State Of Origin?

Ask LH: Do I Need Telstra To Stream The State Of Origin?

Dear Lifehacker, I want to watch the State of Origin online as I have no TV at work. I am not a Telstra mobile customer so I CANNOT watch it using NRL Footy Pass. How can I watch it online in Australia? Arrrrgh, help me! There is nothing on the internet that clearly describes how to get it. I’d like to watch the games on my laptop, preferably for free. Thanks, Paul

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Dear Paul,

The good news is that you don’t need to be a Telstra mobile or landline customer to access the NRL Footy Pass. While Telstra owns the streaming rights to State Of Origin, its NRL Footy Pass can be purchased without a Telstra ID — all you need is a reliable WiFi connection and something to watch it on. The streaming service is compatible with most Android, iOS, Mac and Windows devices.

The bad news is that the service isn’t free. The NRL Digital Pass app currently costs $2.99 per week, which gets you six live NRL matches (including State of Origin) each week. Alternatively, you can purchase a yearly pass which costs $89.99. Both plans provide the first week for free.

If you’re only interested in State of Origin, you can watch tonight’s match for free, deactivate your account and then sign up again on 13 July — for a total expenditure of $2.99.

You can sign up for the NRL Digital Pass here.


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  • The streaming service is compatible with most Android, iOS, Mac and Windows devices.
    Keep in mind it’s Windows phone – not Tablet/Laptop/Desktops (unless something has recently changed)

    And you are used to be limited to phone-sized display. So even on a 12.9″ iPad Pro, you’re limited to the size of your iphone on that screen thanks to broadcasting agreements.

    Also, because of the streaming rights, you can’t watch on 9Now.

    • Pretty sure it works on Windows laptops too. From the NRL Footy Pass website:

      “Access all premium content with 1 Digital Pass account across multiple devices: iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Tablets and Laptops.”

      However, you apparently can’t connect to your TV via HDMI so big screen viewing is out.

  • Thanks for the heads up on this, Chris.

    I’m currently overseas and tried using the digital pass for game one and it was a nightmare. Do yourself a favour and actually join up.

    The joining is the simple part, but actually finding a link on the NRL Digital Pass site to actually open up was nigh impossible. Each link kept sending me to the Telstra page, hen on to the login then back to the Digital Pass site again.

    The only way I found to get to the link to open up the video was by a google search.. You would think they would make it a little easier to find.

    After logging in I found that the video must be run in a window – No full screen on a laptop and the signal is deliberately degraded – almost to the point of the ball not being easily visible . Like you said, trying to plug the laptop into monitor with an HDMI cable simply killed the video and threw up an error. That’s a bit of a problem if your desktop PC is connected to the monitor with an HDMI cable.

    Luckily the game one was delayed, it gave us time to run down to a local restaurant and pay the owner to call up the local cable network so we could watch the game.

    In a nutshell, you are better off just not listening to the news for a while and waiting for the game to be uploaded to youtube or somewhere like that. The NRL Digital (analog quality) Pass is a frustrating thing to get working, and total waste of time and energy and a massive disappointment all round.

    Here’s to a tight, quality game worthy of a State OF Origin tonight… Whoever is the victor..

  • Interesting. I subscribed last year and cancelled very quickly. It looks like they are doing everything they can to prevent you playing it on an external screen.
    The website, FAQs and support are really misleading. There’s contradictory information and iconography, and they say you can watch content on a desktop – replays and highlights, not live games.
    Then there is this:
    Live streams are restricted to max screen size of 7” diagonally. This is as per Telstra digital rights agreement with NRL.

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