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Find tips on how to watch the Olympics online for free and as they are happening

by Richard Keller, posted Aug 7th 2008 2:19PM

Want to see your Olympic events live? Jump over to the Internet.If there is one problem with the Olympics it's this: it's international. Now, hold off before you begin calling me a fascist, isolationist pig. All I'm saying here is the "globality" of this massive sporting event causes problems for television viewers who wait four years for the games to take place. This is particularly true when the Olympics take place halfway around the globe from the North American continent.

Take this year's event, being held in China. For those of us in the United States (and Canada, we can't forget about you), we are getting the back end of the coverage, since many of the events that will be broadcast on NBC will be pre-recorded from several hours before. Of course, if you are a die-hard Olympic fan, or fan of an individual personality, you can probably tune in during the wee hours of the morning to watch some events being covered by USA Network, MSNBC, or one of their various online outlets. You can also record these on your DVR, but that will destroy the feeling of watching them live. Meanwhile, your friends over in the Asia-Pacific region will mockingly text you and let you know who won the Archery competition before you watch it on TV. And, there's nothing that irks you more than knowing the Archery results ahead of time.

I know, I know, you're feeling dejected about the whole thing. Fret not, though, as there may be a solution thanks to the wonderful world of the Internet. Click ahead to read on.

On their website, Wired magazine has a How-To Wiki on how to watch the Olympics online. Turns out more than just NBC and its sister networks are providing online coverage of the event. For example, YouTube will be providing about three hours of coverage each day (none live) to a number of countries (not ours). CCTVOlympics.com will be supplying 5,000 hours of coverage for mainland China and Macau. BBC Sports and Australia's Yahoo7 will be supplying live stream coverage of the events.

Sounds great for you fans, doesn't it? Well, it would if viewers in the U.S. (and parts of Canada, I'm sure) weren't being blocked from viewing footage of the games on non-NBC sites. Not to worry, as the Wiki provides some ways to get around these location restrictions. One of the items it mentions (not to get too geeky on you) is to use a proxy server located within the country where you want to view the streams. If you don't have a proxy server then there are ways to "trick" the streaming server into thinking you are coming from the U.K. or Australia. Another way they recommend to see want you want live is to jump over to the Peer-to-Peer sites; BitTorrent is one of the sites mentioned for this, as is Stanford's experimental web TV platform called Veetle.

Now, I'm not recommending that you "trick" anything or perform illegal downloads (but, is BitTorrent really illegal anymore). Yet, if you are a die-hard Olympic fan, and you have the bandwidth, what's the harm in trying.

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Watching the Olympics last night on "live" NBC was Brutal with a capital "B" With commercial breaks every 5 minutes, it took 2 hours to watch a few performances of the womens gymnastics... I'm out.

August 11 2008 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Free. Live. Legal.

August 08 2008 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Check out http://beelinetv.com for a list of online TV channels around the planet. From the US it is possible to watch live, I am seeing live coverage on Telesur from Venezuela and some of the Turkish channels.

August 08 2008 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There's a lot of P2P software that will be broadcasting the Olympics. There's also a couple of live streams here:

August 08 2008 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'll be downloading the opening and closing parts of the game, that's it.

August 08 2008 at 12:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Oreo's comment

Trust me you have my blessing :-)

August 08 2008 at 7:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why does he need your blessing?

August 08 2008 at 8:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


You pay the 894 Million Dollars NBC paid for this year's summer olympics via watching their commercials. That's the deal. You watch commercials and get program for that. Is this some kind of new concept for people who read a blog about TV?

If you buy a DVD that's rightfully licensed in let's say Singapore that is sold over there for the equivalent of 8 bucks and then pay the customs fees for that DVD, then you paid a) the company who licensed the DVD to the producer in singapore and b) your country's government via the import taxes and sales tax that is added during import.

If you now get around the basic limitations of IP-range checking via proxies, then you will see commercials from TV stations in other countries which are paid via people from THOSE countries watching those advertisements. If YOU watch them, you watch the commercials but most of the time you won't be able to buy ANYTHING in that country afterwards. SO not going into the whole idea of a country's economy, if the advertisers don't generate revenues from the ads then they most likely will go bankrupt. They pay the TV stations for airing their commercials and the cost for delivering the feed over the internet (which isn't free, you know) lowers the amount they retain from that delivery.

So basically, and please try to understand me here: I am pirating stuff left and right.

But I don't go about and _pretend_ that it's just. I am not delusional.

August 07 2008 at 10:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to StillBash's comment

You contradict your "You won't be able to buy anything in that country" before you even make that statement by noting that you can import things like DVD's across borders. This argument falls further when you take into account the fact that the majority of these ads are from multinational corporations. For instance, I use proxies to watch NBC online, and even though I'm all the way over in Canada, I still find that the ad for Ford is perfectly relevant to me. Regardless, circumventing IP's isn't illegal or unjust, that's like saying that its unjust to go over to a friend's house and sit on their balcony so you can watch an open air concert.

August 09 2008 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is it illegal to download say the opening ceremony even though every where in the world it's going to be shown free on the TV / Cable? Especially if you have cable?

Anyway I'll be watching it off cable!

I found this little gem of a site that has the most comprehesive list of ways to keep track of the olympics...


August 07 2008 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Charles's comment

I like the tips about using proxies to view other websites like BBC, haven't gotten the streaming from NBC up yet, has anyone in Australia gotten streaming information from NBC?

August 08 2008 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh this is so illegal... boy oh boy. I mean I know that downloading all episodes of Battlestar Galactica is illegal, I would never say it isn't and you make it look like just because it's Archery it isn't illegal.


I'm so glad that I am forced to pay 20 bucks a month to pay for the government run tv networks here in germany who supply me with 14 hours of live coverage every day. At least I will be able to watch everything Olympic without ripping Hollywood off.

I mean seriously Keith, you should've added censorship to this post and greedy olympic bosses or that people just outside of Beijing are suffering thirst for their drinking water is keeping Beijing green but just stating that BT is "legal" is... well it's really a joke.

August 07 2008 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to StillBash's comment

It would be nice if they simply telecast the events when they happen, without commercials and commentary instead of chopping it up into prime time viewing and putting in commercials ever 30 seconds.

August 07 2008 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to CRVBOY's comment

I was using this to watch it, maybe it'll help others:

August 08 2008 at 9:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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