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How to Watch the Rio 2016 Olympics Without Cable TV

How to Watch the Rio 2016 Olympics Without Cable TV

 Tons of Olympics coverage is free for all viewers.

A handful of TV channels and streaming options run by NBCUniversal plan on showing a staggering 6,755 hours of programming for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which kick off with the opening ceremonies on Friday, August 5, and end on Sunday, August 21.

Without a traditional pay TV package, though, you could miss out on most of the action. Here are some options for maximizing the number of events you can watch online and on regular old TV, while minimizing how much you have to spend. In many cases, you don’t have to cough up a single penny. And you absolutely won’t have to sign up for a cable TV subscription.


Use an Antenna to Watch NBC
The main Olympics broadcast, which will include the opening and closing ceremonies plus the most popular events will be shown on the NBC network and hosted by a tag team of Bob Costas, Ryan Seacrest, and Al Michaels. (Yes, these broadcasts will feature lots of athlete interviews and those dramatic profiles viewers sometimes complain about. And while much of the action will be shown live, some events will be taped and aired during strategic time slots to maximize viewership.)
A total of 260.5 hours of Olympics programming is scheduled to be broadcast on NBC, with highlights and live events shown between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on most days, as well as primetime coverage starting at 8 p.m. Access to this channel and other major networks is free with an antenna in most of the country, so get one if you don’t already. Most cost under $50, and some are less than $10.
Stream via Sling TV
In addition to the NBC network, various Olympics events will be broadcast on the NBCUniversal pay channels USA, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, and NBCSN. Channels like these are normally included in many basic cable packages. But instead of opting for cable, you could go with the Dish Network-owned streaming service Sling TV. The newly introduced Sling Blue streaming service costs $25 per month and bundles NBCSN (which will alone have 330 hours of Olympics coverage this summer), Bravo, and USA, plus your local NBC station in select markets. CNBC and MSNBC, which are scheduled to air 42 and 72.5 hours of the games, respectively, aren’t normally included with the basic Sling Blue deal, but they’re available to viewers at no extra cost throughout the 2016 Olympics.
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As always, new Sling TV subscribers can check out a free 7-day trial before having to pay for the service. Take note that the Sling Blue package doesn’t include many other traditional cable TV channels like ESPN, Comedy Central, and the Disney Channel. For a streaming package that covers all of the above and more, Sling TV is asking $40 a month—which is about what a cable TV bundle costs.
Stream via PlayStation Vue
PlayStation owners have the option of signing up for a different streaming service through their game console units. It’s called PlayStation Vue, and as with Sling TV, you can try the service out for free for seven days. After that, the Access Slim package costs $30 per month.
For that, you can stream 55+ channels, including all of the main ones with Olympics coverage (Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, NBCSN, USA). The $30 bundle also comes with traditional pay channels like ESPN, Disney, VH1, Cartoon Network, CNN, TNT, TBS, and E!, if you’re interested.
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Additional Streaming
Some 4,500 hours of Olympics coverage will be available for livestreaming via NBCOlympics.com and on the NBC Sports app. But access is limited in the U.S. strictly to “authenticated pay TV subscribers.” Viewers should generally be able to stream via either source for 30 minutes before being cut off and asked to log in with proof of a pay TV account.

The Olympic Summer games are about to start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and plenty of U.S. sports fans are once again flocking to the internet to catch the action live while in the office or away from their TV. This time around, NBC is promising to stream 4500 hours of live programming on its website and apps — but you’ll have to subscribe to pay TV to tune in.
Still, cord cutters and others without access to traditional TV aren’t necessarily out of luck. The advent of new online TV services has resulted in more options than ever to tune in. Here’s our handy guide on how to watch the XXXI Olympics online:

NBC’s website and apps: NBC will stream 4500 hours of programming, including all of the competitions — even the ones that don’t make it to TV. And there will be concurrent streams during competitions where there’s more than one thing going on at the same time — think track and field, or tennis, where up to five courts are being streamed in real-time.

Streams will be available on NBCOlympics.com as well as via the NBC Olympics app, which is available for iPhones and iPads, Android phones and tablets, Windows phone, Roku streaming boxes, sticks and TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV sticks, the new Apple TV via the device’s app store, and Chromecast via the NBC Sports iOS or Android app.
However, viewers will have to sign in with their pay TV account information in order to start watching. Can’t find the username and password your cable company assigned you years ago in time for the action to start? No worries, NBC is giving viewers a one-time 30 minute grace period to watch before the stream requires a login. Also worth noting: This is the first time that U.S. service members overseas will be able to stream the Olympics through the NBC apps by authenticating with their Exchange account.
Telemundo’s website and apps: NBC-owned Telemundo will stream more than 720 hours with Spanish-language commentary through its website as well as its Telemundo Desportes apps on iOS and Android. But just like NBC’s own site and apps, Telemundo also requires viewers to log in with their pay TV credentials.
Sling TV. Don’t have cable? Sling TV to the rescue: The Dish-owned online TV service is streaming much of what’s airing on NBC and its sister networks to its customers — with some caveats: Sling recently started to stream NBC and Fox broadcast TV in select markets as part of its new Sling Blue package. Viewers in Chicago, New York, San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington, DC, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, and Hartford/New Haven can subscribe to Sling Blue for $25 per month, and access NBC, Bravo, NBC Sports Network and USA.
Golf fans who shell out an extra $5 for the “Sports Extra” add-on package get to see another 130 hours of Olympic golf coverage. Sling is usually charging Sling Blue subscribers another $5 for access to MSNBC and CNBC, but the service will wave that fee until the conclusion of the games. Sling TV is available on mobile devices, PCs, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox, Chromecast and more.
PlayStation Vue. Sony’s online TV service is another good option for cord cutters that want to stream the Olympics without resubscribing to cable. PlayStation Vue’s base package, dubbed Access, costs $40 a month and includes access to NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, NBCSN, Bravo and USA, which carry many of the game’s main events. $10 more gets viewers access to the Core package, which includes the Golf Channel. PlayStation Vue is available on — surprise — the PlayStation 3 and 4, as well as Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android and Fire tablets. However, the actual channel line-up varies from location to location, so customers should check the PlayStation Vue website before subscribing.
Tablo. Many of the Olympic’s main events will be available for viewing on NBC’s main broadcast network, with others being aired on Telemundo. Both channels can be received for free with an over-the-air antenna, which opens the door for another streaming solution: Tablo’s DVR allows cord cutters to record and relay broadcast TV, and stream it to connected devices like Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast, or watch it on iOS and Android while on the go. Tablo’s base model retails for $200 and still requires users to bring their own antenna and hard drive, but it’s still an interesting option for consumers who don’t have access to or don’t want to pay for Sling TV or PlayStation Vue.

 

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