How to Watch the Olympics Online Without Cable

By | July 31, 2012

How to Watch the Olympics Online Without Cable

NBC did a bad, bad thing. The broadcaster has exclusive rights to the Olympics, and has put most of the Games behind a paywall that you can’t penetrate unless you subscribe to a separate cable or satellite connection.

This isn’t for lack of bandwidth. In New York City, for instance, NBC actually has a digital subchannel, 4-2, which it could have used for the Games. It used to have an additional subchannel, 4-4, giving another option. On the Web, it could have offered the games on with advertisements. It could even have charged a standalone subscription fee for the Olympics.

But NBC Universal is now owned by Comcast, and the company has an interest in promoting cable subscriptions for a wealth of reasons: not only does it own cable lines itself, but it owns a slew of cable-only channels that get funding from subscription fees.

Let’s also note that NBC’s coverage, so far, has been often time-delayed and frequently awful, with truly inane commentary and a focus on U.S. TV personalities over the Games themselves. If coverage of the 2008 Games is any guide, expect 2012 coverage to focus on certain camera-ready sports and “Team USA” to the exclusion of other storylines over the next two weeks. Hey, did you know those beach volleyball chicks wear bikinis?

There’s an escape. The BBC has been doing much better coverage, with live streams of dozens of sports and no Bob Costas. Americans are technically blocked from viewing video on the BBC’s website. But there are free ways to get around that, for Macs and PCs. …

British expats around the world use AnchorFree’s free Windows program ExpatShield ( to watch U.K. TV abroad. Download and install it from

This is important: ExpatShield is not security software. It’s ad-supported. It will try to install an annoying toolbar in your browser; make sure to opt out of that while you’re installing the app. When you’re browsing with ExpatShield, it will put an awkward ad banner on the top of every browser page. You should also continue to run your anti-malware suite (you have one, right?)

To activate ExpatShield, click on the shield icon in your task bar and choose “Connect/ON.” That’s it. Now head to for all the Olympic action. …

The Mac solution is slower and uses Tor:

There is no ExpatShield for the Mac, so it’s time to Tor. Tor (The Onion Router) is a complex piece of software designed to let you act totally anonymously on the Internet, spawning new identities at will and denying all tracking and advertisements. Using it to watch British TV is just the tip of the iceberg, Here’s how to set up Tor on your Mac to watch the Olympics.

If you don’t have Firefox and Adobe Flash installed, install them first. For Firefox, go to Then launch Firefox and go to Once you have Adobe Flash installed in Firefox, it’s time to install Tor.

  • Go to and click “Download Tor.” A file called TorBrowser-en_US will appear in your Downloads folder. Move it to your Applications folder and launch it.
  • Open that app. It will open the Tor browser, a version of Firefox. But that’s not what you want … yet. In your Dock, there will be an icon of a green onion. Click on it to bring the Vidalia Control Panel to the front.
  • Click Settings, then Advanced, then “Edit current torrc”
  • Copy these two lines: ExitNodes {GB} and StrictNodes 1. And paste them into the top of the “Editing torrc” window. With the two lines highlighted, choose “Apply selection only” and then hit OK.
  • Now head over to the Tor browser. Pick Tools, Add-Ons, Plugins, and enable Flash.
  • Back in the browser, click the blue “S” next to the URL display in the toolbar. Choose Options, Embeddings, and turn all the checkboxes off. Then click OK.
  • Quit the browser and Vidalia separately, and then restart them by double clicking on the original icon.

    Congratulations – you’re in the UK! Go to for the Olympic action.

via How to Watch the Olympics Online Without Cable | News & Opinion |

One of the biggest complaints viewers have had with NBC’s coverage is the delay. The network holds off broadcasting the day’s main events until late in the evening, well into prime time, sometimes delaying showing an event that’s been over for hours. In today’s world of real-time news services, this doesn’t fly—when everyone’s tweeting about the winners, you leave yourself wide open for spoilers.

Also, NBC overlaps events and frequently cuts away from key games, spreading the action out over blocks of several hours. If you’re capturing everything on your HD DVR, you’ll need to have enough room to save up to 12 hours of coverage just to make sure you catch all the events you want. Run out of room on your DVR, and you’re out of luck.

That’s why P2P apps and third-party streaming tools can be your best bet for backdoor access to unedited blocks of Olympics footage. Additionally, content is likely to be available as soon as the event is over, with no additional delays. Try these web workarounds for full access to the Olympics.

BitTorrent: Miss the opening ceremonies? All the epic snowboard pipe runs? The gold-medal round of women’s curling? Try downloading torrents of popular Olympic events. All of the major public and private trackers have HD rips in multiple languages—most with the commercials and breaks edited out. Some are raw feeds with no audio commentary or studio cutaways. Need a quick primer on using BitTorrent? Read our How-To Wiki entry on the subject. This free web-video-streaming site is being used by hundreds of viewers to watch live events. There are usually several live streams available during the hours of competition (and replays later at night) in’s Sports listings. The quality varies—sometimes it’s just somebody on site streaming from a phone—and often the audio will be in a language you can’t understand. But if you gotta see your hockey, you gotta see your hockey.

Sopcast: This free P2P internet TV player from China requires a download, and is Windows-only. But it offers a wide lineup of channels broadcasting sports events from other countries. Sopcast has earned a huge following among soccer fans, so you’ll probably have to dig through several futbol matches before you find a channel showing the Olympics.

via HowToWired

What!? This is a dastardly monopoly of something that is a world-wide human event. This is Internet censorship for profit! Because NBC’s privacy statement says they may try to sell me sweepstakes offers or something, I won’t sign up with them or pay them a red cent.  If you don’t want to install anything, hop over to Justin.Tv  ( ).  On some channels you will get live HD from the Olympics with comments from around the world as well.


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