Streaming the 2012 Olympics Live

Watching the Olympics on TV was always a frustrating experience for me. Along with the frequent commercial interruptions, I had to sit through hours of weightlifting and shot-putting to see synchronized swimming. (I know, you were sitting through the synchronized swimming to see the shot-put.) But that problem has been solved for the 2012 London Olympics. NBC has created a website and an app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices that will show live coverage of every sport and match from start to finish.

By going to or downloading the NBC Olympics Extra App from iTunes or the Google Play Android app store, fans will be able to choose a sport and watch live events as they are happening. If you miss the live coverage, you can watch a replay of the entire event. This is particularly good news for those of us on the West Coast, where many sports are played in the middle of the night our time.

Once the games begin, there will be over 3500 hours of live coverage. All 32 sports and 302 events will be streamed live, including long-form events like gymnastics and swimming.

Sports that have multiple events happening simultaneously—such as gymnastics or track and field—will have several live feeds to choose from. This means you will able to see teams from all over the world compete and not be limited to only those events featuring American athletes.

If you want access to all the live feeds, medal counts, athlete interviews, and more, you must be a cable, telco, or satellite subscriber, and your channel lineup must include CNBC and MSNBC. Those who do not subscribe will have limited access to the streaming content. You will also need to register on the NBC Olympics website and the NBC Olympics Live Extra app by choosing your provider from the list and using your login to the provider's website. If you have never logged in to your provider's website, see if you can register on their site or call your provider to learn how to get a login for your account.

The website and apps will have a schedule of live streaming events as well as what will be televised on NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, and NBC Sports. By choosing your favorite sports, you can customize the app to make it easier to find what you want to watch.

There are a couple of ways to watch the live streams on your TV. If your computer is equipped with an HDMI port, use it to connect directly to your TV. Alternatively, many TVs have a PC connection for computers with a VGA port. If your computer has a dual-mode DisplayPort, you can use a passive adaptor to convert that port to HDMI using an adapter with a cable that has DVI on one side and HDMI on the other. If you use a connection other than HDMI, you may need a mini-jack-out-to-line-in (the red and white RCA connectors) audio cable along with the video connection.

The other way to view the live stream on your TV is sending the video from an iPad or iPhone to an Apple TV via AirPlay. You will need an iPhone 4 or 4s (running iOS5), an iPad 2 or 3, or a 2011 or newer Mac that is running the new Mountain Lion operating system. Be sure AirPlay is turned on in all devices. To display the video, enable mirroring on your iPad or iPhone.

While the opening ceremonies don't occur until Friday, July 27, the Olympics have already started with soccer, badminton, and other team sports. I have been watching the soccer tournaments both online and on the app. Yesterday, NBC's live feed was interrupted frequently. A placeholder was displayed with the NBC London Olympics logo reading "coverage will resume." When the feed moved to the game, there were no more problems. Thursday's games played smoothly as well. The website feed defaults to 360p, so you'll need to click on the settings icon to choose up to 1080p.

Let the games begin!

deckeda's picture

"The other way to view the live stream on your TV is sending the video from an iPad or iPhone to an Apple TV via AirPlay."

File that one under "too good to be true." The feature makes sense, so NBC doesn't actually permit it.