How can I watch it on my computer?
By Charles Miller
This morning I received an urgent email from an Atención reader: “The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi start in a few minutes. How can I watch it on my computer?” Obviously, by the time this column goes to press it will be way too late for anyone to tune in to watch what was a very impressive show from Sochi, however; the response I emailed to this reader might be still helpful to anyone wanting to watch the XXXI Olympics from Rio de Janiero in 2016.
The place to start your quest to find a site on which you can watch the Olympics, or for that matter any other event, is to go to a search engine such as Google. You will need to know a “key word” and in this case the word is “streaming.” I entered a search for “Sochi Olympics streaming” (without the quotes) and almost instantly was presented 200 million hits.
Following some of the links on the Google search results page I learned that in the United States that NBC (the National Broadcasting Company) owns the television rights to this year’s Olympics. NBC has jumped on the livestreaming bandwagon and live video stream is available on their web site NBCOlympics.com. Viewers are required to have a cable or satellite service with Comcast. Subscription login information is verified and gain access, but even unverified users still get a 30-minute sample.
Depending on your scruples, if you know someone in the states who has a Comcast cable-TV username and password and is willing to share, you could try using their account. This is a violation of NBC’s terms of service and probably the rules of the cable company too, but that does not seem to stop some people from doing this anyway.
Both the BBC and the CBC plan to make a lot of live Olympic television coverage available for viewing on their web sites. Both the British and Canadian Broadcasting Corporations make streaming video available on the web without requiring viewers to prove they have local cable television service. A possible snag here is that if you are not one of Her Majesty’s taxpayers, the video stream may be blocked unless you use a VPN to mask your IP address. Broadcasters in many other countries offer live streams online, look for them in the Google search results.
Sochi, Russia is located ten hours ahead of the Central Mexico time zone so you probably do not want to watch events live anyway. For this reason the television networks owning the broadcast rights to the Olympics are broadcasting almost everything on a delayed basis. If you are going to be watching on this delayed basis anyway, then you should try logging onto the International Olympic Committee’s official video site at www.youtube.com/user/olympic. Even if the IOC does not post the video you want to see, it is very likely that other contributors will upload videos to YouTube. These may not be available for long as unauthorized uploads can be taken down at the request of the copyright owners.
Strict rules and broadcast deals are supposed to limit alternatives for watching the Sochi Olympics. On one level, it’s understandable that NBC would seek to control their broadcasts, after all they paid US$4.3 billion for the exclusive broadcast rights for the USA and they need to maximize return on that investment and be able to continue providing such coverage in the future. On the other hand, earlier this month the FOX network made its live stream of the NFL Super Bowl available on their web site for free. Their apparent logic is that whether viewers are watching the game for free via television broadcast or via internet streaming, viewers are still seeing the same ads. The latter seems to me to be a more 21st-century approach to television broadcasting.
Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044-415-101-8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.