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Summary:

Don’t expect to watch the 2010 Winter Olympics live online — unless you like cross-country skiing. NBC Sports has released its coverage schedule for the Vancouver games, and once again, it has made the decision to keep marquee events from being shown live online. Despite touting […]

Don’t expect to watch the 2010 Winter Olympics live online — unless you like cross-country skiing. NBC Sports has released its coverage schedule for the Vancouver games, and once again, it has made the decision to keep marquee events from being shown live online. Despite touting more than 835 hours of live video from the Winter Games, less than half of that will be actually be streamed live online.

As usual, the company is saving premiere events — figure skating and alpine skiing — for broadcast on NBC network, along with freestyle skiing, speed skating, snowboarding, and short track. Meanwhile, the various cable nets, including USA, CNBC and MSNBC, will have extensive live coverage of sports like ice hockey, the biathlon, and curling. But none of that will be live online; instead, the remaining 400 hours of live coverage on NBCOlympics.com will consist primarily of events like bobsledding, cross-country skiing, the luge and snowboarding.

The situation is similar to what happened during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, when NBC touted more than 2,200 hours of live Olympic coverage on NBCOlympics.com and a total of 3,000 hours of on-demand video. In that case, the remaining 800 hours were events that were scheduled for live broadcast on NBC and the company’s cable networks. (Unfortunately, NBC didn’t take our suggestion to get rid of tape delays for online video.)

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.

So between the lack of live events online and the authentication scheme, you can expect that a number of users will seek alternative ways of finding Olympics video, just as they did in 2008.

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  1. Absolute terrible idea, but NBC is full of them.

    Brandon
    Just South of North
    http://justson.blogspot.com

  2. I believe CTV.ca has promised to cover every event live on the web. Not sure if it will only be available to Canadians.

    http://www.ctvolympics.ca/news-centre/newsid=26147.html#olympic+website+revolutionizes+games+coverage

  3. Links for January 15th « Don’t Cross The Streams Friday, January 15, 2010

    [...] Don’t plan on watching the winter Olympics on NBC’s website. At least the events you want to watch. [...]

  4. The US may have the worst Olympics coverage of any modernized country. Not only are the events butchered for prime-time and biased towards certain countries (mostly the US), they purposely delay events so Bob the genius Costas can frame the narrative so that he looks like he knows something.

    I don’t usualy call for Govt intervention in sports except for safety issues, but the Olympics should be required to be shown live, or don’t bother bidding for it. The coverage will probably stink again this year. Go to the Vancouver site:

    http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-schedule-results/

    …compare this with the NBC schedules and see how they match up.

    You can’t figure out what NBC is showing or if it is live, and if it doesn’t say live, assume it’s canned.

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

    [...] 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 skiing, speed skating, snowboarding and short track. [...]

  6. Where To Watch The 2010 Winter Olympics Online Friday, February 12, 2010

    [...] if you don’t already pay for some kind of TV service. NBC also once again decided to show some key competitions on TV only, where its family of broadcast and cable channels will air 435 hours of live programming. Check [...]

  7. NBC has the lamest and worst Olympic coverage. It has way too many commercials. But what’s worse are those stupid lame ass human interest stories of the athletes. Who cares! BORING.
    They always seem to edit them against some sappy film score (like Forest Gump or Rudy) with soft dissolves.
    Just show the damn sporting events and let the athletes actions speak for them. No wonder that network loses money.
    Absolutly should be LIVE, in case they don’t know Vancouver shares same time zone with Pacific USA.

  8. The United States is the DUMBEST country in the world, and the Olympic coverage is reason #2,873 why the U.S. sucks and why Americans are stupid. Whenever foreigners say they love America, I cringe.

    1. yeah, we suck so bad – thats why we’re kicking everyones ass in the olympics.

  9. NBC is lame bob c sucks and always has the worst coverage ever but typical for nbc i just refuse to watch anything on nbc. an refuse to watch anything that involes costas.

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