Watch SBS On Demand outside Australia

If you’re trying to watch SBS On Demand outside Australia, the streaming service won’t work. You’ll come across an error saying, “most of our content is only available to stream within Australia due to publishing rights.”

This error is coming up because SBS On Demand is an Australian streaming service for Australians only.

This can be frustrating, especially if you’re an Australian away on holiday and you want to catch up on your favourite content, but the good news is, there’s a very easy way to get around this error. All you need to do is get an Australian IP address.

This article will explain how to watch SBS On Demand outside Australia by showing you the easiest way to get an Australian IP address.

How to watch SBS On Demand outside Australia: Guide

Total Time: 2 minutes

  1. Create a new account with ExpressVPN or NordVPN

    Watch SBS On Demand outside Australia

    Register for an account with ExpressVPN or NordVPN. If you want the very best, these VPNs have been setting the standard in the industry for years. They’re the best VPNs on the market for reliably streaming content.

    ExpressVPN and NordVPN are renowned for their reliable and fast connections, which is crucial for streaming high-quality content without buffering or interruptions. You can get 3 months of an ExpressVPN subscription for free here. And similarly, you can get 3 months of a NordVPN subscription for free here.

    If you don’t like the looks of ExpressVPN or NordVPN, and opt for a different VPN, the process will be very similar, simply continue following the steps below.

  2. Download and install the new VPN app

    Watch SBS On Demand outside Australia

    Once you’ve signed up for a VPN you can install it on nearly any device.

    ExpressVPN and NordVPN are available on Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Kindle, Amazon Fire Stick/TV, Chromecast, Nintendo Switch, Android TV and more.

  3. Open your VPN and connect to an Australian server

    Watch SBS On Demand outside Australia

    When you open the app, you’ll need to log in with the credentials you created. Once logged in, select a server located in Australia. This will give you an Australian IP address. Essentially making it look like you’re connecting to the internet from within the country.

    This step is crucial as SBS On Demand checks your IP address to determine your location. And to watch the streaming service outside Australia, you need to have an Australian IP address.

  4. Connect to SBS On Demand/or create an account if you don’t have one

    Watch SBS On Demand outside Australia

    Navigate to the SBS On Demand website or app. If you already have an account, log in with your credentials.

    If not, you’ll need to sign up for a new account.

  5. Watch SBS On Demand outside Australia

    Watch SBS On Demand outside Australia

    Once you’re connected to an Australian server on your VPN and logged into SBS On Demand, you will have access to all its content, just as if you were in Australia.

Why doesn’t SBS On Demand work outside Australia?

SBS On Demand doesn’t work outside Australia due to geo-restrictions imposed by the service. These restrictions are in place to comply with licensing and copyright agreements SBS has with content providers.

Essentially, SBS On Demand has the rights to broadcast certain shows, movies, and live events within Australia, but not beyond its borders. To enforce these restrictions, SBS On Demand uses technology to detect and block access requests from IP addresses located outside Australia.

This means that viewers trying to access the service from other countries will be unable to stream its content without using a VPN or similar service to appear as if they are accessing from within Australia.

How does SBS On Demand block my connection outside Australia?

SBS On Demand blocks connections from outside Australia primarily through a process called geo-blocking. Here’s how it works:

  1. IP Address Detection: Every device connected to the internet has an IP address, which includes information about the geographic location of the device. When you try to access SBS On Demand, the service checks your IP address to determine your location.
  2. Geo-Location Technology: SBS On Demand uses geo-location technology to identify the country associated with your IP address. If the technology determines that you are outside Australia, SBS On Demand will block your access because its content licensing agreements are typically restricted to domestic viewership.
  3. Content Licensing Restrictions: These restrictions are in place due to agreements between SBS and content providers, which limit the broadcasting and streaming of certain content to within Australian borders. To comply with these agreements and avoid legal issues, SBS On Demand must prevent viewers from accessing its content from other countries.

How can I get around SBS On Demand’s blocks?

Accessing SBS On Demand from outside Australia, despite its geo-blocks, can be achieved in a few ways, but using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is widely regarded as the easiest and most effective method. Here’s a brief overview of the options available:

  1. VPN (Virtual Private Network):
    • A VPN is a service that encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a server in a location of your choice—in this case, Australia. This process masks your real IP address with one from Australia, making it appear as if you are accessing the internet from within the country.
    • VPNs are user-friendly, with many services offering easy-to-use apps for various devices, including computers, smartphones, and streaming devices like Firestick.
    • The main advantage of using a VPN is the combination of privacy, security, and the ability to bypass geo-restrictions with minimal effort.
  2. Smart DNS:
    • A Smart DNS service works by rerouting the DNS queries sent from your device through a server in a different location. This can effectively bypass geo-restrictions for certain types of content, including streaming services.
    • While Smart DNS can be faster than a VPN because it doesn’t encrypt data, it doesn’t offer the same level of security and privacy.
  3. Proxy Servers:
    • Similar to a VPN, a proxy server routes your internet traffic through an intermediary server. However, proxies do not encrypt your traffic, which makes them less secure.
    • They can be used to bypass geo-restrictions, but their performance and reliability for streaming services can be inconsistent.

Among these options, a VPN stands out as the easiest and most secure method to bypass SBS On Demand’s geo-blocks. It not only allows you to appear as if you are in Australia but also protects your internet connection with strong encryption, ensuring your online activities remain private.

Will any VPN work with SBS On Demand?

Not all VPNs can effectively bypass the geo-blocks of SBS On Demand due to its stringent measures against VPN use.

Choosing a VPN with a strong track record for streaming can make a difference. The key lies in selecting a VPN that offers servers in Australia, regularly updates its server IPs to avoid detection, and provides fast and reliable connections suitable for streaming.

High-quality VPNs like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, are known for their ability to access geo-restricted content, including SBS On Demand, by blending speed, security, and a robust server network.

The VPN services we recommend for SBS On Demand

1. ExpressVPN

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • Physical servers in 104 countries
  • Brilliant for unblocking streaming services
  • Very high-speed Lightway protocol
  • Available on almost any device
  • Very secure
  • Pricey
  • Only 8 simultaneous devices
  • No addons
ExpressVPN

Streaming: ExpressVPN stands out for its exceptional speed and reliability, featuring a wide array of servers in Australia specifically optimized for streaming. This ensures users can enjoy SBS On Demand content without facing geo-restriction barriers, offering an uninterrupted viewing experience with minimal buffering.

Servers: ExpressVPN shines with its strategically placed servers in multiple cities across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, ensuring users can always find a high-speed server close to them for seamless SBS On Demand streaming, regardless of their global location.

Privacy: ExpressVPN’s privacy measures include passing independent audits by cybersecurity firms like Cure53 and F-Secure, ensuring a strong level of security and no significant weaknesses in its macOS, Linux, and Windows apps. More details can be found in the audit reports available online.

Price: ExpressVPN offers three payment plans: a 1-month option at $12.95/month, a 6-month option at $9.99/month, and a 12-month option at $6.67/month. Payment methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other systems, accommodating a wide range of users.

Speeds: ExpressVPN maintains high download speeds with minimal drop-off, ensuring efficient performance. Tests showed a slight decrease in upload speeds, but download speeds remained fast across various server locations, including the US, UK, and Vietnam.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

  • Affordable pricing
  • Effective streaming access
  • Diverse server types
  • Solid speeds
  • Useful add-ons
  • Strong security
  • Limited server locations
  • No virtual servers
NordVPN

Streaming: NordVPN is known for its extensive server network across Australia and employs sophisticated obfuscation technology, making it particularly adept at bypassing VPN blocks. Its strong security features further ensure that users can stream SBS On Demand content securely and privately from any location.

Servers: NordVPN impresses with over 190 servers in Australia alone, providing a wide range of options for users to connect and bypass SBS On Demand’s geo-restrictions effectively, ensuring a reliable and secure streaming experience from anywhere in the world.

Privacy: NordVPN’s secure connection and no-logs policy have been verified via three independent audits, including one by Deloitte. The audits have confirmed NordVPN’s adherence to its no-logs policy, ensuring user privacy.

Price: NordVPN offers three pricing plans: Complete, Plus, and Standard. The 2-year plan for the Standard package is priced at $3.19/month, the 1-year plan at $4.99/month, and the monthly plan at $12.99/month. It accepts major credit cards and various payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table showing the speeds tested for NordVPN. From our tests in New Zealand, NordVPN displayed very good speeds, although slightly behind ExpressVPN, but significantly faster than many other VPNs on the market.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73

Read our full NordVPN review.

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3. PureVPN

A mid-range VPN that balances performance and price

  • Affordable
  • Unblocks major streaming services
  • Use on up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Streamlined user interface
  • No log audit verified by KPMG
  • Several free add-ons
  • Buffering on BBC iPlayer at peak times
  • Past concerns with “no log” policy
PureVPN

Streaming: PureVPN focuses on enhancing the streaming experience, offering features like dedicated streaming modes and a substantial selection of Australian servers. These capabilities help it navigate around VPN blocks, ensuring users have consistent access to SBS On Demand.

Servers: PureVPN stands out with its specialized streaming mode and servers in Australian cities like Sydney and Melbourne, tailored to offer optimized performance for SBS On Demand, ensuring viewers can enjoy their favorite shows in HD without interruptions.

Privacy: PureVPN has faced criticism in the past for its privacy policies. However, it has recently undergone a no-log audit verified by KPMG in the past 12 months, aiming to reassure users about its commitment to privacy.

Price: PureVPN offers three payment options: a 1-month plan at $10.95/month, a 1-year plan at $3.74/month, and a 2-year plan at $1.96/month. PureVPN accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and a variety of other digital payment options.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance you can expect when using PureVPN. The VPN has shown variable download speeds across different streaming servers, with some experiencing significant drop-offs during peak times.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN189.44139.82
PureVPN UK Server24.3198.99
PureVPN US Server49.83106.52

Read our full PureVPN review.

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4. Private Internet Access

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • Extra features like ad blocker and email protection
  • Verified no-log policy
  • Compatible with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu
  • High use of virtual servers
  • Not as fast as top-tier VPNs
  • Lacks proprietary protocol options
PIA

Streaming: Private Internet Access, with its significant number of servers in Australia, excels at providing access to geo-restricted content while maintaining high levels of encryption. This balance of accessibility and security makes it a reliable choice for accessing SBS On Demand from abroad.

Servers: PIA offers a vast network with thousands of servers globally, including a significant presence in Australia, which allows for easy switching between servers to maintain consistent access to SBS On Demand without encountering blocks.

Privacy: PIA’s app is open-source, inviting third-party scrutiny and verification. It has also passed an independent no-log policy audit conducted by Deloitte, affirming its commitment to privacy.

Price: PIA offers three subscription options: 1-month at $11.95/month, 1-year at $3.33/month (upfront cost $39.95), and 3-year at $2.03/month (upfront fee $79). Payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and Amazon payments.

Speeds: Speed tests for PIA showed significant drops in download speeds across various servers. While using WireGuard protocol, speeds were faster than OpenVPN but still slower compared to top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN.

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off (New Zealand)930516
PIA US server238.527.17300.658.65
PIA UK server2453.77315.787.23
PIA Vietnam server4456.554898.24

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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5. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Robust security and privacy
  • 24/7 responsive chat support
  • Extensive server network in 100 countries
  • Has trouble with services like Hulu
  • Lacks a unique proprietary protocol
  • App can be overwhelming
  • Not the fastest among competitors
Surfshark

Streaming: Surfshark sets itself apart with its offer of unlimited simultaneous connections and advanced techniques to avoid detection by streaming services. This makes it an excellent option for households looking to access SBS On Demand on multiple devices without encountering geo-blocks.

Servers: Surfshark boasts a robust server network in Australia with multiple locations available, including Adelaide, Brisbane, and Melbourne, ensuring users can bypass geo-blocks while accessing SBS On Demand and enjoy unlimited device connections under one account.

Privacy: Surfshark emphasizes its commitment to privacy with successful DNS leak tests and independent security audits by Cure53, ensuring robust online security and privacy. You can find more about their security audits here.

Price: Surfshark offers a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 12-month option at $3.99/month, and a 24-month option at $2.49/month. It accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance when using Surfshark. From our tests, we observed decent speeds, suitable for general use, but not the fastest compared to some rivals.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)940.55520.24
Surfshark US server775.96.15
Surfshark UK server587.793.79

Read our full Surfshark review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

Will a free VPN work with SBS On Demand?

A free VPN might occasionally work with SBS On Demand, but it’s generally less reliable for several reasons.

Free VPNs often have limited server options, which means fewer Australian servers to choose from, increasing the likelihood of those servers being overcrowded or blocked by SBS due to suspicious activity. Additionally, free VPNs typically have bandwidth limitations and slower speeds, which can affect streaming quality, leading to buffering and lower resolution video.

Furthermore, SBS On Demand, like many streaming services, actively works to block VPNs, and free VPNs may not update their servers as diligently as paid services, making them more susceptible to being blacklisted. For a more consistent and secure experience, a reputable paid VPN service is recommended.

Is watching SBS On Demand outside Australia with a VPN legal?


Using a VPN to watch SBS On Demand outside Australia falls into a legal gray area. While it’s not illegal in most countries to use a VPN for accessing geo-restricted content, it does violate the terms of service of many streaming platforms, including SBS On Demand. These platforms have licensing agreements that restrict content to certain geographical areas, and by using a VPN to bypass these restrictions, you’re going against those terms.

However, the enforcement of these terms varies by service and country, and it’s rare for individual users to face legal action for such violations. Instead, streaming services typically respond by attempting to block VPN IP addresses or temporarily restrict access to their services if they detect VPN use. It’s important to consider the ethical implications and to be aware of the specific laws and regulations regarding VPN use in your country, as well as the terms of service of the streaming platform.

How to watch SBS On Demand outside Australia: FAQs

Q: Can I use any VPN to watch SBS On Demand outside Australia?

Answer: Not all VPNs can bypass the geo-restrictions imposed by SBS On Demand due to its efforts to block VPN access. It’s essential to choose a VPN with Australian servers and a strong track record for streaming, such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark, which regularly update their server IPs and offer fast, reliable connections.

Q: Is it legal to use a VPN to access SBS On Demand from abroad?

Answer: While using a VPN is legal in most countries, accessing SBS On Demand via a VPN does breach its terms of service due to licensing restrictions. However, the platform is more likely to block VPN IPs than take legal action against individual users.

Q: Will using a free VPN work for streaming SBS On Demand?

Answer: Free VPNs may occasionally allow you to access SBS On Demand, but they often have limited Australian servers, bandwidth caps, and slower speeds, leading to a poor streaming experience. Additionally, free VPNs are more easily detected and blocked by streaming services.

Q: How do I choose the best VPN for SBS On Demand?

Answer: Look for a VPN that offers a variety of Australian servers, high-speed connections for streaming, strong privacy features, and a proven ability to overcome geo-blocks. Reading reviews and taking advantage of free trials or money-back guarantees can help you find the best fit for your needs.

Q: Can SBS On Demand detect and block my VPN?

Answer: SBS On Demand, like many streaming services, actively works to detect and block VPNs. However, premium VPNs use advanced techniques to hide VPN traffic and regularly update their server IPs, making them less likely to be detected and blocked. If you encounter issues, switching to a different Australian server can often resolve them.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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