If you want to watch all of the Olympic games this year, you’re gonna need a lot of screens, and a lot of time off. The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea and NBC is livestreaming just about every event. From February 7-25, the network will broadcast 1,800 hours of live coverage (much of it online only), which includes 15 major winter sports and 102 medals countries are vying to win.
Figure skating, curling, the skeleton… they’re all online this year, and likely airing in the middle of the night due to the time difference between South Korea and the U.S.
But if you don’t have cable, it’s difficult to know how to watch everything. But we’re here to help. We’ll run you through all the ways to watch (with as many free routes as possible), and we’ve included a schedule of events and some ways you can more easily follow the Olympics without feeling overwhelmed.
How to Stream the Olympics Online in 3 Steps
There is only one way to watch the Winter Olympics in the United States, and that’s through NBC, and unlike the Super Bowl, they aren’t giving it away for free. Below is our step-by-step guide to signing up. Basically, you’re going to need a device that’s compatible with an NBC app (or website), sign up for its Live TV service, and then log in to watch. Unless you have a cable subscription, of course.
NBCOlympics.com will give you 30 minutes in their first session and 5 extra minutes of streaming per day before. It’s not much, but if none of these other options work for you, at least it’s something.
Step 1: Pick a Device That Works with the NBC Sports App
What devices, TV boxes, or devices do you have to watch the Olympics? Your preferred method of watching will be key to deciding which streaming service to use, and how you watch the game.
The NBC Sports app is available on Android phones/tablets and iPhone/iPad for starters. If you want to log in on a mobile device, but watch from a TV, the $60 Chromecast Ultra is probably best since it will work with high-resolution 4K TVs as well (if you have one, or plan to buy one in the next few years). The standard $35 Chromecast works fine on standard HDTVs. Chromecast plugs into your TV and lets you stream from websites or apps directly to it. It works nicely and with a variety of video apps.
If you want to watch directly from a TV, we recommend a buying a Roku. The $64 Roku Streaming Stick+ is probably your best bet, since will work on 4K TVs as well, should you own or buy one in the future. Roku has most every app you’ll need for the Olympics and beyond, with the best selection of apps around.
The NBC Sports app is also available on Amazon Fire TV devices, Apple TV, the Windows 10 store for PCs, some Samsung smart TVs, and Xbox One. PS4 owners, you’re kind of out of luck. You can subscribe to PlayStation Vue for live coverage, but the NBC app isn’t available, which means you’ll miss out on some coverage.
Step 2: Pick a Live TV Service and Use Its Free Trial
To access the NBC Sports app or NBCOlympics website, you need a TV subscription. Any cable subscription will work, but cordcutters will need to subscribe to one of the newer internet-based live TV services. Since NBC is airing Winter Olympic events everywhere it can, you’ll want a provider that is available on your device of choice (see: Step 1 above) and offers these channels: NBC, CNBC, USA, the Olympic Channel, and NBC Sports Network. They all come with a free 5-7 day trial, so theoretically you could watch using one for the first week, then switch to a second trial the second week—assuming you’re hell bent on not paying a dime.
Sling TV ($40) has the most affordable package that includes these channels, and is on a ton of devices. The $25 Sling TV Blue plan will give you NBC, NBC Sports Network, and USA. Add the $10 Sports Extra package to get the Olympic Channel and the $5 News Extra package for CNBC.
PlayStation Vue’s $45 Core plan also includes all five channels, has a robust device list, and is the way to go if you use a PS4. DirecTV Now’s $35 “Live a Little” plan has every channel except the vital Olympic Channel. To get that, you’ll need the expensive $60 “Go Big” plan.
Which Olympic Sports Does Each Channel Have?
NBC has 176 hours of coverage: Opening Ceremony (Feb. 9), Medal Ceremonies, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Short Track, Ski
Jumping, Snowboarding, Luge, Alpine Skiing, Speed Skating, Biathlon,
Cross-Country, Nordic Combined, Skeleton, Bobsled, and Figure Skating
Gala, Closing Ceremony (Feb. 25)
NBC Sports Network has 369 hours of coverage: Curling (Mixed Doubles, Men, Women), Alpine Skiing, Luge, Cross-Country Skiing,
Short Track, Ski Jumping, Snowboarding, Speed Skating, Biathlon,
Figure Skating: Olympic Ice, Hockey (Men, Women), Nordic Combined,
Skeleton, Bobsled, and Figure Skating Gala
USA Network has 40.5 hours of hockey: Hockey (Men, Women)
CNBC has 46 hours of curling: Curling (Mixed Doubles, Women)
The Olympics Channel has 24/7 News Coverage: Victory Ceremonials, Olympic Channel News, and Winter Olympic Daily News
For more scheduling see below or check out NBC’s Full TV Schedule.
Step 3: Use that Provider to Log in to NBCOlympics.com or the NBC Sports App
Once you’ve picked a Live TV service provider, use that service to log onto NBCOlympics.com or the NBC Sports app (see Step 1). Those sites will let you stream all available events live and on demand.
If you only want to watch what NBC or its sister channels broadcast on TV, just use the Live TV app itself. It may have some on-demand videos as well.
How to Follow Your Favorite Olympic Sport
The NBC Sports Scores app will have “comprehensive real-time results across all 15 sports, up-to-date medal standings, video highlights, athlete bios, viewing guide info, and more,” according to an NBC press release. It’s available on iPhone/iPad and Android phones/tablets.
If you’d like to follow a particular sport, there are a couple ways to do it. NBC has released a full schedule of times for each event, so you can figure out which days you’ll need to tune in. The only problem is the times on the chart are when the events will happen in Korea. But the Live Stream Schedule will give you a day-by-day look at what’s coming up in U.S. time zones, and can be filtered by sport. And if you only care about what’s on TV, there are also TV listings for each of the five channels NBC is broadcasting Winter Olympics content on.
How to Watch in VR
Finally, if you want to pretend to take to the slopes yourself, NBC is airing about 50 hours of events in virtual reality, available on Google Cardboard, Oculus/Gear VR, Google Daydream, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. A full schedule and instructions for how to watch on each type of headset are available on the NBCOlympics site.
Enjoy the games!
More From the Winter Games
-Inside NBC’s social media strategy for the Winter Olympics
-How snowboarders defy physics when they pull a quad-cork 1800
-Learn about twizzles and other ice dancing moves
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