|Almost time to go for the TV Olympic gold|
|Written by Andy McCallister|
|Tuesday, 17 July 2012 10:05|
With the Olympics just a week away, now is the time to begin planning and organization for watching all of your favorite events.
And when I say “all,” this time I really mean it. Limber up your remote control button-punching fingers and delete the old episodes of Survivor off those DVRs, because this time, it’s serious.
For the first time ever, or so we’re told, we won’t have to just make do with the paltry 272.5 hours of broad-brush Olympic coverage offered to us on our local NBC network affiliates from the opening ceremonies July 27 to the finale on Aug. 12.
Neither will cable and satellite subscribers have to settle for the 250-plus hours on the NBC Sports Network (you know, the channel formerly known as “Versus” that carries all of the Tour De France and some of the IndyCar races), or the 150 hours on MSNBC, 73 hours on CNBC or 56 hours on Bravo.
All of that is well and good, but serious fans of specific sports or events will be able to go one step beyond all of that this year and watch any, yes ANY, specific event live online at nbcolympics.com.
NBC says it will make available 3,500 hours of live and on-demand coverage of everything on their website.
Prospective online viewers will need to be a subscriber to a cable or satellite service that carries CNBC and MSNBC to access the live streams on nbcolympics.com, but that takes a lot of folks into account.
Gather up the account information from your TV provider and your last bill, go to nbcolympics.com, and register. We’re told that once the registration procedure is complete and you sign in, you’ll be good to go for the duration of the Games.
Whether or not the viewing experience itself will rival that of the “linear” TV networks remains to be seen, and depends to a great extent on the hardware you use to access it and how robust your broadband connection is.
The content itself can be viewed, of course, on your laptop or desktop computer with an up-to-date browser, but there are also mobile apps available which will stream it onto your tablet or smart phone. If you have a set-top box with a browser that supports Flash, that will be the hot ticket for in-home enjoyment of the on-line service.
Once those hurdles are cleared, NBC advises us that we’ll be able to access dedicated video feeds from specific events — like each different apparatus in the gymnastics arena, any track and field event (say for example, just the shot put or just the triple jump) right down to a specific table tennis or wrestling match, bicycle race or equestrian competition.
If the on-line thing just isn’t your bag, you certainly won’t be out in the cold. Depending on your cable or satellite package, you will have around 1,600 total hours of live and delayed Olympic programming on the NBC Universal networks as described above.
On plain old NBC (Channels 5 and/or 6 for us in the Crete area), the Olympics are going to be nearly wall-to-wall every day. Due to the six-hour time difference between here and London (we’re six hours behind), live events will be taking place between 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. our time. The network honchos will pick and choose amongst the smorgasbord (a tentative schedule is posted at nbcolympics.com), but it appears we’ll get plenty of swimming, gymnastics, beach volleyball and track and field live.
Weekdays will begin on NBC with the Today Show, originating from London of course, from 6-9 a.m. Olympic coverage then ensues until 4 p.m. After a break for a one-hour block of local programming followed by national and local news, Bob Costas will take us through taped packages of the day’s events during prime time from 7-11.
After another local news break, there will be a one-hour late night show starting at 11:35. After that, the four-hour prime time block from earlier that night repeats, taking us to 4:30 a.m. or so the next day.
On weekends, we’ll get live event coverage from early in the morning through mid-afternoon. It looks like the only breaks in the Olympic action will consist of half-hour news blocks in the early and late evenings, with five-hour prime time shows starting at 6 p.m.
And that’s just on NBC.
On the NBC Sports Network (check those channel guides, now), we’ll get all the soccer, basketball, volleyball, shooting, archery, equestrian (why don’t the horses get medals?) and field hockey we can stand, including the USA-France match in women’s soccer that will be played on July 25 (two days before the opening ceremonies themselves).
MSNBC will suspend its usual menu of daytime news and political analysis during the Games (from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. our time each weekday and from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends) to show us lots of soccer along with a variety of other team sports.
As has been the case in the past, CNBC will be the place to go if you want to watch both men’s and women’s boxing, while Bravo is the home of tennis from July 28-Aug. 3.
Depending on your programming package, you may also be able to receive two more separate channels that are solely dedicated to wall-to-wall coverage of soccer and basketball.
In addition, Telemundo, the Spanish-language network operated by NBC Universal, will display 173 hours of programming during the Games.
Go for the gold.