How to watch the 2016 Rio Olympics online

Nick Broughall 1 August 2016 NEWS

Olympic-gamesThe 2016 Olympic Games will bring the world’s best athletes to Rio in August. Here’s how to watch the Olympics in Australia.

After four years of gruelling training schedules, exhaustive strategy planning and immeasurable self-sacrifice, the world’s best athletes are again preparing to throw down against each other for the honour of winning Gold at the Olympic Games. The 2016 Olympics will take place from 5-21 August in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, which is set to make some awkward watching hours for Australian sports fans.

Thanks to improvements in streaming TV technology though, the options for watching the games on your own terms have never been better. In previous years, sports fans would have had to stay up all night to watch the games live on free-to air TV channels. For the 2016 games, there is a robust catch up TV service to make watching the Rio Olympics on your own terms possible.

2016 Olympics: When is it?

The games of the XXXI Olympiad will kick off on 5 August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio is 13 hours behind the Australian east coast capitals, 12.5 hours behind Adelaide and 11 hours behind Perth. That means that events that are scheduled to happen later in the day at Rio will be shown in the morning Australian time, making it reasonably manageable to watch live for sports like swimming and the Rugby 7s.

2016 Olympics: Free to air / Subscription TV options

While streaming options have improved dramatically since the 2012 London games, the broadcast focus for the 2016 games still remains: Channel 7 has the broadcast rights, and plans to make the most of them. The Games will be broadcast across the 7 primary channel, as well as the 7TWO and 7mate sub-channels, offering over 900 hours of Olympic coverage beamed to your TV set during the games.

What’s more, during the competition 7 will be using its HD channel 70 to broadcast a high definition version of the main broadcast channel in all 5 capital cities around the country. So for the first time, Australians living in capital cities will be able to watch major Olympics events in HD on their television sets.

Interestingly, this is the first Olympics in a while that hasn’t seen the free-to-air broadcast rights holder partner with Foxtel to offer a more complete Olympics coverage. 7 has decided to go it alone for the 2016 games, leveraging its multiple TV channels for broadcast options, and pairing it with a premium 7 Olympics app for iOS and Android and a dedicated Olympics website for streaming the Games.

Watch Olympic Games

2016 Olympics: Live Stream

The cornerstone of 7’s decision to not partner with Foxtel for its 2016 Olympics coverage is its new dedicated Olympics on 7 app. Available for both iOS and Android, the app expands on the 900 hours of free-to-air broadcast coverage to offer complete Olympics saturation, with over 3,000 hours of sports on offer to stream in high definition.

The app promises up to 36 dedicated channels of sports coverage, including a 24/7 Olympics news channel. As well as being broadcast live, everything will be available to watch on demand in HD, making it a significant advancement on previous Olympic games coverage.

The catch for sports fans is that the app will cost users a one-off $19.95 fee to unlock all the content during the Olympics. Telstra mobile customers are the exception, thanks to a partnership between the telco and 7, which sees that subscription fee covered by the telco.

Be wary though - while Telstra is offering free access to the content of the app, all data streamed during the games will count against your monthly data allowance, regardless of your mobile service provider. So as always, it’s probably best to use Wi-Fi to watch the games wherever possible.

In addition to the app, Channel 7 has launched a dedicated website for the Rio games, which will show the same content being broadcast across the three free to air channels, as well as additional live bonus sports events streams, hundreds of hours of highlights and medal tallies.

2016 Olympics: Alternative streams

Channel 7 has the exclusive broadcast rights in Australia and is the simplest access point to all things Olympics this year. However, other countries have different broadcast partners, and through the use of a VPN, you may be able to access the coverage from broadcasters like NBC in the US or the BBC in the UK. That said, there is a chance international broadcasters will follow Netflix's strategy to block VPN access to their coverage, so be prepared for that to happen.

Picture: Paolo Bona /

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25 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MichaelAugust 8, 2016

    I’m in Krui, South Sumatra, & I have spent the last 2hrs on my laptop trying to find out if I can watch the Olympic games on my lap-top, and I just ssem to be going in circles!! I dont need live broadcast, I just want to see events that Australians are competing, or have competed in. Every time I end up on the channel 7 page, I just get a blank page..we are in 2016, surely I can watch it on my laptop, yes?? Please help, very frustrating!!

    • finder Customer Care
      BrodieAugust 15, 2016Staff

      Hi Michael,

      Unfortunately, the Olympics on 7 website is only available in Australia. I would recommend checking out your local options or using a VPN to change your browsing location to Australia.

      Check out our guide to VPNs for more info on spoofing your location.


  2. Default Gravatar
    MikeAugust 7, 2016

    How can i watch the Aussies in action while overseas?

    • finder Customer Care
      BrodieAugust 15, 2016Staff

      Hi Mike,

      Unfortunately Olympics on 7 is only available in Australia. However, you may be able to access the Olympics on 7 by changing your browsing location using a VPN. Check out our guide to VPN Software for more information.


  3. Default Gravatar
    KevinAugust 6, 2016

    I’m an Australian on holidays in Croatia. Is there a method (payment ok) to watch live Olympics on my ipad.
    I have downloaded the Ch 7 app but I am blocked because I not in an approved country

    • finder Customer Care
      BrodieAugust 15, 2016Staff

      Hi Kevin,

      You may be able to stream the Channel 7 app by using a VPN to change your browsing location. Check out our guide to VPN software for more information.


  4. Default Gravatar
    AnitaAugust 6, 2016

    Will the seven app work overseas. We are on holiday during the Olympics.

  5. Default Gravatar
    ChrisAugust 4, 2016

    Can you view the premium content via the website on a laptop instead of downloading an app to a smartphone?

    • finder Customer Care
      BrodieAugust 5, 2016Staff

      Hi Chris,

      The official Olympics on 7 website will be streaming the same premium content available through the app.


    • Default Gravatar
      VAAugust 8, 2016

      This is what I get if I click on the link provided to watch on my pc.

      Download the Olympics on 7 App

      Experience all the action of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with the Olympics on 7 app.

      For a better desktop experience, install the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

    • finder Customer Care
      BrodieAugust 15, 2016Staff

      Hi VA Raja,

      Sounds like you need to update your Adobe Flash Player software. Follow this link to check if you’ve got the latest version of Flash installed.


    • Default Gravatar
      August 5, 2016

      Brodie, thanks. Will premium access via website be locked to a particular computer or accessed via password on any computer once paid for?

  6. Default Gravatar
    AndrewAugust 4, 2016


    From the app, Can I watch events that I missed ?
    Will I still able to watch the Olympic events through the apps after Olympics over?


    • finder Customer Care
      BrodieAugust 5, 2016Staff

      Hi Andrew,

      Yes. The app is a live-streaming service and a catch-up service.


  7. Default Gravatar
    chez11August 3, 2016

    I have not been able to find where I can watch the equestrian events in channel7 program lists. Can you tell me when and where the equestrian will be shown please?

  8. Default Gravatar
    stevenAugust 3, 2016

    Does the app work on windows?

    • finder Customer Care
      BrodieAugust 5, 2016Staff

      Hi there,

      No word yet on whether it will work on Windows Phone, but you can stream from the dedicated website.


    • Default Gravatar
      maryAugust 6, 2016

      but a windows tablet wont allow the site to display the full website as its identified the device a mobile.

  9. Default Gravatar
    WazzaAugust 3, 2016

    Will full coverage be online or where?
    Who do we pay

  10. Default Gravatar
    JacobAugust 3, 2016

    Where will FULL REPLAYS be available? Preferably without the title giving the result away? Will 7 have this or just “highlights”? People gotta work!

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