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Receive Austrian TV & ORF stream abroad


Austrian television abroadWho hasn't experienced it: You're on vacation in Croatia, Italy or Spain and want to watch the local radio. Austrian television abroad is very important for many people. Even though the ORF is often criticized, it is part of everyday life in Austria and it is a bit strange when you suddenly no longer have the opportunity to watch ZIB or sports while abroad.

In our networked world, there are fortunately enough possibilities to receive ORF (and also other Austrian stations) abroad and worldwide. With one of the following methods, it is even possible to receive Austrian television live in more distant countries such as South America, Asia or Africa. Provided that the time difference doesn't put a spanner in the works.

In this guide, we present the best methods for Austrian television abroad.

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Why Austrian TV is usually not receivable abroad...


At home, we turn on the TV and ORF, Puls 4, ATV or ServusTV is on. It couldn't be more uncomplicated.

However, if you are abroad, there are usually no Austrian stations. One reason for this is that all Austrian stations are primarily transmitted via DVB-T. This means that reception is limited to the national territory of Austria. This means that the reception area is only within the national territory of Austria. On the other hand, the channels are also transmitted via the European ASTRA satellite, but this only covers Europe. In addition, the programs are transmitted via the satellite in encrypted form.

If you are within Europe and still cannot receive the Austria channels, this is because the receiver does not have an ORF smartcard. However, especially in Croatia, some apartments have ORF cards, most of which are probably available via eBay offers got there.

Outside Europe, the situation is most difficult: There is neither DVB-T nor satellite reception. The only option here is reception via the Internet.

Tip: Bypass ORF encryption - The Tarifgigant guide with 2 options

What are the options?

TVThek / Media libraries

The easiest way to watch Austrian TV abroad are the media libraries of the TV channels. In the media libraries, you can not only stream the current program, but also watch past broadcasts.

Notice: In order for the media libraries to work abroad, you need a VPN. We recommend NordVPN. Below we explain how VPNs work.
ORF TVthek

The largest Austrian media libraries at a glance:

However, these media libraries are not available abroad without restrictions. If you access the media library from an IP address from abroad, the provider recognizes the address. This encryption can be bypassed. To access the Mediatheken also from outside Austria you can find here an Instruction with 2 options to Bypass ServusTV encryption. With the other providers, it works in principle exactly as described in the ServusTV instructions.

Live streaming via third-party provider

The best alternative to media libraries are so-called live streaming providers. The best known provider for this is Zattoo.

With Zattoo, there are already many programs that you can watch in the free version. With the paid version, all the well-known channels, such as RTL, ARD, ZDF, ProSieben & more are also added.

Austrian channels are also included.

Notice: You also need a VPN for Zattoo in many vacation countries.


Without Internet it works with simple satellite TV. However, the prerequisite here is that the hotel or apartment in which you are staying has a receiver with ORF smart card. This is the case in many Croatian, Slovenian and Italian accommodations. To be on the safe side, we recommend asking the hotel or apartment before departure.

Set up VPN: The best solution for Austrian TV abroad

Why do I need a VPN?

Television broadcasters have certain licenses that allow them to broadcast a television program in a defined region. The broadcaster may not broadcast television programs worldwide if it does not have the license to do so. Therefore, content from a broadcaster is blocked by means of geoblocking in countries where reception is not desired.

Geoblocking: This checks where the user comes from. If it is detected that the IP address does not belong to the permitted region, the content cannot be displayed.

This is also the reason why an error message appears when you try to access ORF TVThek from the USA, for example.

However, geo-blockers can be bypassed very easily - with a VPN. On the one hand, a VPN is used to establish a completely private connection (a kind of "tunnel") to another server. On the other hand, a virtual private network disguises the origin. When connecting, you can choose yourself which region/country should be simulated.

VPNs: There are a variety of uses for VPNs. In China or Turkey, people use VPNs to access content that is censored by the government. It is almost impossible for the state power - no matter in which country - to block VPNs. There are too many providers and too many different techniques for that. In the West, VPNs are also often used to surf securely and privately.

What VPN providers are there?

There are various providers in the VPN world. They differ in terms of speed, features and security.

We recommend:

NordVPN Logo Surfshark VPN Austria
NameNordVPNSurfshark VPNPureVPN

- Fast connection
- High data protection
- favorable prices
- many features like double VPN, P2P VPN and Onion VPN
- lightning fast Wireguard protocol

- Extremely favorable
- High data protection
- good server selection
- best two-year award

- fast
- favorable
- Large country selection


- Problems with Netflix USA

- sometimes slow
- only country selectable

- Software overfilled
- Headquarters in Hong Kong

Austrian serverYesYesYes
To the providerTo the providerTo the provider

If you are abroad, you can access Austrian TV content on the Internet at any time if you are connected to one of these providers.

Set up VPN & watch Austrian TV abroad

These steps must be followed to enjoy Austrian TV - wherever you are:

  1. Select VPN provider (see list above)
  2. Register with VPN provider
  3. Download VPN software for selected device (PC, Mac, smartphone)
  4. Open VPN software and connect to an Austria server
  5. Surf to the media library or livestream and stream smoothly
By the way: This method is just as suitable for content from other countries. If you are at home and want to watch the media library of a US broadcaster, for example, you can also use a VPN. However, the corresponding server must be selected here.

Is a VPN legal at all?

Like this contribution from the Standard from 2015 proves that circumventing country blocks with the help of a VPN is not punishable. Using a VPN to surf anonymously and securely cannot be punished either.

However, illegal activities on the Internet are very much punishable - regardless of whether you use a VPN or not. However, it will be much more difficult for the authorities to trace them, since everything runs through several corners and is encrypted with VPNs.

Even abroad, the use of a VPN is not prohibited in almost any country in the world. In China, VPNs were criminalized in 2017, but there has been no conviction yet. It is known that many Western tourists use VPNs to be able to use WhatsApp or Facebook. More info about the legal situation in all countries of the world can be found at here.

Questions about Austrian television abroad

Is it possible to watch the ORF Livestream in Croatia/ abroad in general?

The ORF Livestream cannot be streamed directly in Croatia/abroad for the most part. This is due to the Copyright. ORF does not have the licenses to broadcast the livestream abroad. The ORF and other broadcasters have for their TV program and the livestream legal exclusive licenses agreed with your cooperation partners. These stipulate that only customers in a certain geographical area can use the streaming services.

Therefore, users who are not in this territory cannot stream this content. Even if you are a paying customer in Austria, it doesn't help. Because if your favorite show is licensed in Austria, it can only be streamed in Austria and not in Croatia or anywhere else.

To receive the ORF Livestream abroad, you can pretend to be in Austria. For this you use a VPN tunnel from e.g. NordVPN which redirects your request via Austria. With a VPN you can also watch the ORF Livestream abroad, e.g. if you want to watch the ORF Livestream from Croatia while on vacation.

ORF Livestream in Croatia

ORF Livestream in Croatia: Streaming works with a VPN. No matter if you are in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka or Zadar.

Conclusion: Austrian television abroad is not witchcraft

As you could see in this article, it is very easy to receive Austrian television abroad. No matter if you are on Mallorca, Hvar or Hawaii. With a stable internet connection and a VPN it's possible. Within Europe you might even be lucky with the apartment/hotel and there is an ORF smartcard available. Then a VPN is not necessary at all.

>> View most popular VPN (NordVPN) >>

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Receive Austrian TV abroad?

With a VPN it becomes possible:
Simply select country, connect
and enjoy ORF, ATV & Co.

We recommend NordVPN.
The provider is secure, fast and stores
no user data.

NordVPN Logo

Visit NordVPN

Extremely affordable alternative: Surfshark VPN
Surfshark is also recommended.
The provider does not store logs and
is very fast - ideal for streaming.