This is the Internet age, is it not?
July 27, 2012 8:38 PM   Subscribe

How can I watch the Olympics online if I don't have a cable subscription?

I'm totally willing to pay for access to online content and streaming but NBC doesn't seem to offer that option for some insane reason. I'm also willing to pay for an overseas feed and have an EU credit card I can use. I do not, for various reasons, want to do this illegally, i.e. by pirating. I am willing to bend the law a bit by getting an overseas feed though. I am mostly interested in the more obscure sports that tend to get little coverage on network TV.

Any suggestions appreciated!
posted by fshgrl to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (23 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
One can purchase a vpn service (eg, the vypervpn service from giganews) which terminates in London, making it appear to other networks that this is your physical, rather than virtual location.
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:53 PM on July 27, 2012

Two ways:

* The opening ceremony was shown on the main NBC channel, available to almost everyone in the United States in high definition for free via over-the-air. If you live in or near a city you can probably get it with a $15 indoor antenna. While much of NBC's Olympics coverage will appear on its cable channels such as MSNBC and Bravo, much of the most popular events (women's gymnastics, swimming, track and field) will appear on the main broadcast channel.

* If you have Internet from a cable company but don't subscribe to its TV service, see if your provider appears at Watch TV Everywhere.
posted by ylee at 9:03 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Plenty of good suggestions in this Deadspin post (hint: check the comments)
posted by acidic at 9:13 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you can figure out a way to make the internets think you are in Canada, is streaming their coverage live, as well as serving up highlights.
posted by cgg at 9:30 PM on July 27, 2012

To watch free over the air in US, I think you also need a $50 digital box, as the linked cnet article is from before the digital conversion.
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:37 PM on July 27, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks all. I need to stay legal on this computer but it's so frustrating that I'm sitting here, credit card in hand and there's no obvious answer.
posted by fshgrl at 10:25 PM on July 27, 2012

It's a long shot, but unblock-us might work. (They work great for me trying to convince the internets I'm in the US, never tried the other way around.) They say they support on the web (, so this *might* get you access to the olympics coverage. They have a free trial, so it might be worth it to just see if it works or not.
posted by cgg at 11:06 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pardon me if there's something obviously wrong, but of course, YouTube. I saw the Opening ceremony live on the official channel last night, and the calender at the YT channel seems to list events feed at their official scheduled time i.e. LIVE coverage.
posted by Gyan at 11:52 PM on July 27, 2012

There are some illegal streams out there on pretty non-sketchy websites, but I am afraid I'll get banned if I post them. Try asking the lovely people on Tumblr. I fully intended to watch NBC's livestream of the women's soccer games at my office and it wasn't working, so I resorted to a non-authorized stream of it. My office is pretty strict and I think the site was fine. I am Tivoing the games at home because I get all of NBC's cable channels... I just couldn't wait to watch. U.S. women's national soccer team -- woot!
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:14 AM on July 28, 2012

Use a VPN that has a UK server and then watch BBC Live. VyperVPN is one that was mentioned upthread. We're having success with Whatsonthebox at our house. Good luck!
posted by nrobertson at 12:24 AM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you have internet or phone service at home? Can you add cable for a month, then cancel? That will give you a log-in code.

Do any of your friends have cable? Would they let you borrow their codes for a month, so you can watch online?

FWIW a VPN feed is working perfectly. The BBC coverage is a nice change of pace.
posted by barnone at 12:30 AM on July 28, 2012

Gyan - I believe the Youtube Olympic channel only works in Africa and Asia, as mentioned in this recent related thread.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 12:37 AM on July 28, 2012

related AskMe
posted by XMLicious at 1:25 AM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

To watch free over the air in US, I think you also need a $50 digital box, as the linked cnet article is from before the digital conversion.

The digital conversion is irrelevant unless fshgrl has a very old TV. Any TV sold the past decade or so is going to have a digital tuner.
posted by ylee at 3:23 AM on July 28, 2012

Get a $10 a month account at with a VPN service and then VPN into a London endpoint. Then you can watch the BBC live streams. Linked VPN service is the one I am using to watch the Olympics.
posted by COD at 6:39 AM on July 28, 2012

I found a friend who has cable and got them to give me their online login info.
posted by cmoj at 8:25 AM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

See my related question here. I also asked around on facebook and a lot of friends in the US are VPN'ing it to watch the IOC's live streams via (which I don't have to VPN into since I'm already outside the states). Being able to select which event you want to watch live is pretty great.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:09 AM on July 28, 2012

I've been having luck with (mentioned upthread) allowing me to connect from S. America, damn that buffering though.
posted by defcom1 at 12:19 PM on July 28, 2012

Yes, just get with a friend that has cable, get the codes and you are good to go.
posted by Rocket26 at 8:55 PM on July 28, 2012

Really? I have cable (Time Warner) and I can't figure out how to stream it. (The tv is downstairs; me and baby are upstairs with an iPad. I will watch commercials or pay. God, does NBC think it's 1984?)
posted by kestrel251 at 9:18 PM on July 28, 2012

RE: cable, you have to not only have a cable subscription but one that has extended channels. I tried plugging in a valid cable subscription log in and it was confirmed but I received a message saying my subscription didn't qualify. Incredibly aggravating.
posted by cali at 10:41 AM on July 29, 2012

tunlr seems to work for iPlayer access but no live streams
posted by Z303 at 5:09 AM on July 30, 2012

Is anyone else having a problem with the tunneled iplayer crashing their mac? I can't seem to make it work in Safari or Firefox. It plays for about 10 seconds and then the colors go all crazy and I get the beachball of death ):
posted by latkes at 8:36 PM on July 30, 2012

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