Receive Austrian TV & ORF stream abroad
Who 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...
- What are the options?
- Set up VPN: The best solution for Austrian TV abroad
- Questions about Austrian television abroad
- Conclusion: Austrian television abroad is not witchcraft
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.
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.
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.
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.
What VPN providers are there?
There are various providers in the VPN world. They differ in terms of speed, features and security.
- NordVPN (our tip! - 30 days money back guarantee)
- Surfshark VPN (very cheap, unlimited number of devices, also for Netflix!)
- Fast connection
- Extremely favorable
- sometimes slow
- Software overfilled
|To the provider||To the provider||To 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:
- Select VPN provider (see list above)
- Register with VPN provider
- Download VPN software for selected device (PC, Mac, smartphone)
- Open VPN software and connect to an Austria server
- Surf to the media library or livestream and stream smoothly
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?
For the most part, you cannot stream the ORF Livestream directly in Croatia/abroad. 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.
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.
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