How To Watch The 2016 Rio Olympics In Australia Online And For Free

The 31st Summer Olympiad kicks off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in just a few days’ time. If you plan to catch all the big events during this historic three-week event, your telly isn’t going to cut it — especially when you’re at work. Here’s everything you need to know about watching the Olympics in Australia for free.

What Time Is The Rio Olympics On?

The Rio Olympics will hold its opening ceremony on the evening of 5 August, which works out to 7am (AEST) on August 6 in Australia. 17 days of sports coverage will then follow, with the Games rounding up on 21 August. (8am AEST on 22 August in Australia.)

Note that Rio is 13 hours behind Australia’s east coast capitals, 12.5 hours behind Adelaide and 11 hours behind Perth. You need to ensure you’re looking at a relevant Aussie timetable when organising your Olympics recordings and live viewings.

When it comes to scheduling events, your best bet is to stick with local sites that don’t use syndication, such as SBS and ABC Sports. Alternatively, you can set ‘Rio Reminders’ using Channel 7’s Olympic Games calendar application. The official Olympics app (see below) will also have rolling results and schedules relevant to Australia.

How to watch the Rio Olympics on free to air TV

In Australia, Channel 7 owns the broadcast rights for the 2016 Olympics. In addition to the main channel, you’ll also be able to catch plenty of Olympics coverage on 7TWO and 7mate.

For the first time in Australia, you’ll be able to watch events in glorious HD via channel 70. To receive this, you’ll need access to a HD TV with an MPEG-4 encoder and be situated in a capital city. (Sorry rural sports fans.)

If you just want to see the highlights, Channel 7 will be running a nightly recap show at 7pm (AEST) on its main channel.

Subscribe to Lifehacker’s free weekly newsletter to receive our best troubleshooting advice, life hacks and tech tips in your inbox each week.

How to stream the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on your computer

Again, Channel 7 is your best bet if you’re planning to stream the Olympics to a laptop, mobile or other connected devices. The broadcaster has launched a dedicated web app for streaming the Olympic Games.

How to stream the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to phones and tablets

For mobiles and tablets, you’re going to want the dedicated Olympics on 7 app which is available for iOS and Android devices. (You can download it here and here, respectively.)

The Olympics on 7 app is free and comes with 900 hours of Seven, 7TWO and 7mate Live simulcasts plus another 300 hours of additional Live sport. Serious sports fans can upgrade to the “premium” version of the app for $19.99. This provides access to more than 3000 hours of HD coverage spread across 36 channels, plus a Live News channel, catch up and replay options, medal tallies, photos and athlete profiles. That’s a lot of Olympics!

If you’re a Telstra Mobile customer, it’s possible to download the premium Olympics on 7 app for free. Our friends at OzBargain have the details.

Annoyingly, the app is not currently supported by Airplay or Chromecast, although 4th-gen AppleTV owners should be able to stream directly to their televisions. As Channel 7 owns all broadcasting rights, hooking up your device to a TV or monitor via HDMI shouldn’t be a problem, although we obviously haven’t had a chance to test this.

On a final note, unless you have a ridiculously generous data allowance, you’re going to want to do this over WiFi. We don’t want to know what a monthly bill for 900 hours of HD video streaming looks like.

How to watch the Olympics over a VPN

If you’d prefer to bypass Channel 7’s coverage for some reason, it’s possible to watch geo-blocked sports channels in other country by signing up to a VPN service provider. VanishedVPN’s newly launched “Sports VPN” is a pretty good bet — it provides reliable streams to the Olympic Games from established broadcasters with all geoblocks removed via extensive testing. You can find more information here.

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can also try you luck with various other VPN providers. Here’s a list of our top five VPNs for 2016. Bear in mind that some of these might be blocked by the sports channels you’re trying to access.

How to watch the 2016 Olympics in Virtual Reality

If you have a Samsung Gear VR headset, you’ll be able to watch portions of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in virtual reality. Thanks to a partnership with Samsung, the Seven Network is beaming 100 hours of live and on demand VR content to compatible Samsung Galaxy phones as well as 360-degree videos. Confirmed VR footage includes the opening and closing ceremonies, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, boxing and men’s basketball.

To get this, you’ll need the aforementioned Samsung products, plus the 7Rio VR 2016 app. Here are the app’s key features, as explained by Channel 7:

  • Experience Virtual Reality and 360° video of up to 100 hours of live events from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on selected compatible devices
  • Relive daily highlights of amazing moments in VR and 360° video
  • Choose between multiple camera angles on live streams of selected sports
  • Share highlights on your social media channels
  • Watch 360° video without the need for goggles

Read Next: Plan Your Rio Olympics With This Complete Viewing Schedule

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games kicks off tomorrow. Naturally, many of the Olympic sports you want to watch live will be airing when you’re at work. Preparation is key here. We have put together the full schedule of the 2016 Rio Olympics that will be broadcasted on Channel 7 and methods you can use to sneakily stream the events at work. We’ve also included specific broadcast times for the sporting events Australia loves most.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


21 responses to “How To Watch The 2016 Rio Olympics In Australia Online And For Free”