Watching the 2010 Winter Games online could be an Olympic feat in and of itself, as NBC plans to require viewers to prove that they subscribe to a pay TV service before they can watch any of the live streaming coverage over broadband. Additionally, live coverage […]

Watching the 2010 Winter Games online could be an Olympic feat in and of itself, as NBC plans to require viewers to prove that they subscribe to a pay TV service before they can watch any of the live streaming coverage over broadband. Additionally, live coverage will only be granted if that subscriber’s cable, satellite or telecom TV service provider agrees to a deal with NBC (Cablevision subscribers were blocked from last year’s coverage because it didn’t have one).

According to The Sports Business Journal, which broke the story, those that don’t subscribe to a pay TV service will be able to watch some archived video, but no live streams. The details of exactly how a viewer would prove they’re a subscriber are still being worked out, but could involve their IP address when at home and getting them to fill out a more complicated form if they want to watch while at work.

Proving that you subscribe to a cable or satellite service in order to access premium content video is shaping up to be the big trend of 2009; Time Warner, Viacom and Comcast are already working on their own authentication systems. As for NBC, the network was particularly stingy with its online coverage of last summer’s games in Beijing, time-delaying the most popular events so they’d run after appearing on oldteevee.

We get that it’s not cheap for NBC to carry the Olympics, and it’s not like we think everything has to be free all the time. But this isn’t the Super Bowl. The Olympics are supposed to be special, a opportunity for the country to unite and rally behind our best athletes as we face the world in competition. Putting up barriers is hardly in keeping with the spirit of the games. If the Canadians can run every single moment of next year’s games live online, why can’t we?

Related content on NewTeeVee:

Get Ready for Some Olympic-Sized Authentication Frustration

Where to Watch the 2010 Winter Olympics Online

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  1. HmmConvenient Daily Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    MSO Authentication taking off…

    As if we needed more validation that the MSOs are asserting their power in the industry, NewTeeVee reports that NBCU will be tightening their authentication methods for the 2010 Olympics. This is not……

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  3. X Marks the Spot! » Blog Archive » 04-15-2009 Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    [...] NBC plans to require users to pay a subscription fee for online access to the 2010 Winter Olympics. NBC will also once again only offer coverage to users whose cable, satellite or telecom TV service agree to a deal with NBC, which Cablevision did not do during the 2008 Summer Games, effectively shutting out Cablevision customers who wanted to stream the games online. [...]

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  5. This is just utter crap. I’ve never missed the Winter games. I gave up my pay TV cause they are rip off artists. Piss off NBC I’ll go watch the games at the pub or someone out there will make recordings available.

  6. <

    p>This is ridiculous. Everyone should have the opportunity to watch the Olympic Games live from wherever they are. As was stated, the Olympics are special. This isn’t just another sporting event, it’s a representation of a nation competing against the rest of the world. That being said, feel free to come visit us and (link removed)

    1. the link above by “Sean” is a scam I clicked it and was redirected to online survey site – beware of phishing

      1. Thanks for catching this!

  7. NBC Skimps on Online Olympics Coverage — Again Thursday, January 14, 2010

    [...] The big difference between the 2010 Winter Games and the 2008 Summer Games is that this year, NBC plans to tie online access to its coverage of the events to an authentication scheme that will determine whether or not users have a cable subscription. So live, streaming video at NBCOlympics.com will only be available to those that have paid for cable access. [...]

  8. Your Guide to the Vancouver Olympics Online – GigaOM Friday, February 12, 2010

    [...] this a huge video event. You need to prove that you’re a cable, satellite or IPTV subscriber to watch any live video, and the selection of streams lacks all the big events: figure skating, alpine skiing, freestyle [...]

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    [...] — a practice that NBC will crack down on during the 2010 Winter Games. In 2010, NBC would restrict my access to that content because I hadn’t paid its cable partners for content that will be shown on CNBC or [...]

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