#FridayHacks: How to Watch the 2016 Olympics Without a DSTv or Cable Subscription

Despite advances in streaming technology over the years, watching the Olympics on anything but a TV with a cable subscription is still a hassle. Read on as we show you how to get your Olympics fix without resorting to signing up for a cable plan.

By Cisco Eng. Shingie Lev Muringi 

With Zimbabwe currently under the shadow of a serious cash crisis, not all of us can afford to pay our monthly DSTv accounts. However, the rise of various Internet technologies should be a relief to all of us since there are many other broadcasting modes of watching TV content without forking out money on a monthly basis. Mentioned in this article are a few ideas to help you catch the Olympics action live as it happens in Brazil using the Internet.      

Can’t watch the Olympics in Your Country? Use StrongVPN!


You’re just trying to watch the Olympics and they’ve locked you out because you’re not living in the right country or you didn’t pay the right company. It’s ridiculous, but luckily you can get around the restrictions with StrongVPN, one of the only VPN providers that you can use to watch Netflix — and unlock any other website you want.

They’ve also got unlimited bandwidth, clients for any device, blazing-fast connections, great security, and a low monthly price. But who cares about that? You’re just trying to watch the Olympics, and this is the way to do it. Of course, they also have a money-back guarantee if it doesn’t work for you.

Download StrongVPN to Unblock Content Today

How Olympics Coverage Is Controlled In The U.S. and Abroad

So why is watching the Olympics such a challenge? Because wherever you are in the world, somebody usually has the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics in your region, and how flexible that arrangement might be is highly dependent on both agreements with the individual companies the rights-holding network deals with and the Olympic organization.

In the U.S., NBC paid a huge sum of money to hold the exclusive domestic broadcast rights for the Olympics (over 4 billion dollars to maintain those broadcast rights through the 2020 games). As a result, they have total control over how the Olympics are shown in the United States. (Readers in other countries who wish to watch Olympic coverage through local cable or broadcast should refer to this helpful list of the 2016 Olympic broadcasters around the world.)

Historically, this has been a huge pain for people who wanted to watch the coverage via streaming services, since any streaming options used by NBC were either only partial coverage, delayed by hours from the actual event, or both. This year, however, the NBC broadcast and streaming will be in sync for the first time in history. But wait! You’re not in the free and clear. Despite NBC finally getting their streaming game up to 21st century standards, you still only get access to the live streams (in a web browser or via the NBC streaming apps) if you have subscriber credentials from a cable or satellite provider.

If you do have a cable or satellite subscription (or you can borrow login credentials from a sympathetic friend or relative) you can watch real-time Olympic coverage on NBCOlympics.com, the official NBC Sports streaming app for your Android, iOS, or Windows phone device, or by downloading the NBC Sports app on your Apple TV, Android TV, or Roku box. Realistically speaking, however, you’re probably here because you’re one of the millions of cord cutters who found the one thing they actually want to watch live.

So what are you supposed to do if you want to watch the Olympics without signing up for a cable plan? Let’s take a look at your options for getting your Olympics fix for free.

Note: The original 2016 version of this article claimed you could stream the Olympics for free from NBC’s web site, which is in fact not true. We’ve updated this article to include the only cheap cable-free options available this year. We’re sorry for the misinformation.

Another Option: Tune Back In With a Digital Antenna

If you’ve been living off a steady diet of Netflix and other streaming services, there’s a good chance that you’ve totally tuned out of the real time broadcast television market altogether. Now, however, is a great time to tune back in as you’ll be able to get HD quality Olympic coverage for free thanks to your local NBC affiliate’s over-the-air-broadcasts.

What do you need? All you need is your television, a good television antenna, and a little patience to adjust the antenna for optimum reception.

In fact, if you live in an old house or apartment that has an old fashioned aerial antenna strapped to the chimney (or the like), you’re in a great position to pick up a distance HDTV channels with next to no effort as you’ve already got a quality antenna on site.

While you won’t get every single minute of the Olympic coverage this way (because some is broadcast from NBC sister cable stations, like USA), you will get the opening and closing ceremonies as well as all the major events over the course of the month the Olympics is underway.

The battle for relevance continues…follow Shingie Levison Muringi our Technology Research Specialist and Sub Editor on Twitter @ShingieMuringi1, Email [email protected] or direct Cell: 0775 380 652 for all the latest trending technological issues in and outside Zimbabwe.


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