How can I watch the Olympics without a tv?
August 4, 2008 7:29 PM   Subscribe

How can I watch the Olympics without a tv (but with broadband internet)?

So I'm really stoked about the Olympics and I'd LOVE to watch as much of it as I can. Problem is, I don't have a tv. I watch a couple of programs regularly by downloading them from tvtorrents but that site won't have anything on the Olympics.

How can I best watch the Olympics? Is there any service I can subscribe (even pay for) or any other way I can be watching the Olympics? I'd prefer not to buy a tv for a number of reasons; getting cable tv would require drilling which my landlords have already said is not alright.

posted by arnicae to Technology (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Random non-technology thought -- Goto a sports bar? Use it as a social event and go hang out with friends?
posted by SirStan at 7:34 PM on August 4, 2008

posted by wile e at 7:43 PM on August 4, 2008

NBC is heavily promoting multiple ways to watch the Olympics, including lots of online options.

Did you even do a tiny bit of searching?
posted by intermod at 7:45 PM on August 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The TVU Player was awesome when I used it, had ESPN amongst others-- seemed a little gray area legally, but they're still running so might well be legit. Been a while since I've used it (1yr+) so the lineup may have strongly diminished.

Alternatively, NBC are meant to have a large online presence this year.

Hardware-wise, you could buy a Slingbox and give it to a friend, not only will that give you access during the olympics, it'll give you access whenever you need, throw your friend some money towards their cable bill and I think everyone would win.
posted by Static Vagabond at 7:46 PM on August 4, 2008

Best answer: In theory, there's a thousand hours or something online at In reality, none of the biggie sports (Gymnastics, Swimming, Diving, Track) have any live or fake-live coverage. You go to the online listing that was given above and it says "The 2008 Olympic track & field competition can be viewed on the networks of NBC Universal, with extensive coverage in Primetime on NBC." They know where the money is.

Some might suggest that finding a UK tv torrent site would be your best bet, since the coverage in English and they are ahead of us time-wise so the videos may be posted and seeded out before the US even gets it on tape-delay. There will also probably be a lot of stuff posted to newsgroups, which might be worth signing up for a month or so.
posted by smackfu at 7:51 PM on August 4, 2008

Response by poster: Did you even do a tiny bit of searching?

They also said that they were going to stream several of the debates and failed miserably. I saw that they intend to do this, I don't believe they are capable of delivering on their promise. They write really pretty ads, though.
posted by arnicae at 7:53 PM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I had a similar desire to watch the Olympics online. You can look at the Chinese site They've partnered with Adobe to offer video on their site. I think they're supposed to stream more hours than NBC, but I'm not sure if people outside of Asia will be able to watch it (although, I'm sure someone out there has figured out how to do it). I can't read Chinese, so I have no idea what the site says.

I think if you have Windows Vista, you can download the video of the entire Olympics online called NBC Olympics on the Go, see this article (TVTonic). I have no idea if this is really true. If you do find a way to watch it, post back here and let us know!
posted by bluefly at 7:44 AM on August 5, 2008

I meant I have no idea if it's the whole Olympics (but many articles have said it is); they'll definitely have some events for download (at least swimming).
posted by bluefly at 7:48 AM on August 5, 2008

I read today that YouTube will be streaming the Olympics in countries where the exclusive broadcasting rights have not been sold. Nigeria, for instance. Maybe there's a way to cloak your IP to make it look like you're in Nigeria. I don't know how this can be done, but some other Mefite must know.
posted by jk252b at 2:12 PM on August 5, 2008

Response by poster: I ordered the Miglia TV Micro Express, which is a USB HDTV tuner for Macs and an antennae- I'll report back with my results, it looks like it might do the trick.
posted by arnicae at 6:41 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

"NBC will bring 2200 hours of Beijing Olympics streaming video to the web, starting today. But Americans will miss some of the best parts. Why? Because NBC, which has exclusive rights to the games in the United States, still makes a whole lot more serving up TV ads than Web ads. So for many of the most-anticipated events (volleyball, gymnastics, swimming, boxing) US-based viewers have to either watch on TV (often on tape-delay) ... or they will have to get sneaky."

How To Watch The Beijing Olympics LIVE On The Web -- Even If NBC Doesn't Want You To

Don't miss the "See also" links at the bottom for more "insider" info.

jk252b, the article I linked above (or maybe one of the related "See also" articles) has more specific instructions about how to do exactly what you said.

Eww, NBC requires Silverlight to view online. Mmmmkay, screw them, commence NBC bypass in 3, 2, 1 ...
posted by intermod at 9:13 PM on August 6, 2008

If watching in real time isn't a necessary requirement, will cap the Olympic broadcasts.
They're free, meaning the download won't be counted towards your downloading ratio (and they're also free of charge).
posted by lioness at 9:11 AM on August 8, 2008

Heh, I just answered the duplicate of this question that got deleted, so I guess I'll post my answer here too: there's live coverage on the BBC Sport website.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:26 PM on August 12, 2008

The BBC coverage is IP-limited to the UK, EOI. You have the choice of the locale-restricted offerings of your country's Olympic broadcaster, or the samizdat P2P streams powered by applications that originate from China.
posted by holgate at 4:37 PM on August 12, 2008

In the US the website's response is "Cannot play media. Sorry, this media is not available in your territory." How can NBC control the Internet?
posted by semmi at 4:40 PM on August 12, 2008

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