How to watch the 2016 Rio Olympics online
The 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.
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.