How to watch the Olympics without cable

London Olympic rings

NBCOlympics.com will stream 3,500 hours of live coverage from London, but only to viewers that can authenticate themselves as pay TV subscribers of one of 97 pay TV service providers. In addition, users must subscribe to a bundle that contains both CNBC and MSNBC. Most people should meet that requirement, but subscribers of analog basic cable, as well as cord cutters, have to look elsewhere.

Some viewers might be tempted to start searching for unlicensed streams – but chances are, many of those will be shut down minutes after they pop up. Luckily, there are plenty of legal ways to watch the Olympics, be it on your TV or on your iPad.

NBCOlympic.com’s one-time pass: Users who do have a pay TV subscription, but simply can’t find their credentials in time before the competition of their choice starts are getting a break from NBC in the form of a one-time pass. Selecting this option will give you access to a total of four hours of live streaming, after which you’ll have to authenticate. Just beware, this ain’t roll-over minutes: Your pass will expire at noon if you request it at 8 a.m., regardless of whether you keep watching or not. The one-time pass is available both on NBCOlympics.com as well as through NBC’s Olympics apps.

Want to learn more about watching sports, and other TV programming, without paying for cable? Then check out our e-book Cut the Cord: All You Need to Know to Drop Cable.

Free over-the-air TV: Want to watch the Olympics on TV, but don’t have cable? No worries, most the major competitions are going to be broadcasted by NBC, which can be watched for free, in HD, with a simple antenna. The broadcaster will show a total of 272.5 hours hours of footage from the games, with coverage beginning on weekdays at 10a.m. PT / ET, and on weekends at 5a.m. PT / ET. Check NBCOlympic.com for a more detailed schedule.

But wait, that’s not all: Spanish-language broadcaster will also offer 173 hours of coverage of the Olympic games, and can be received for free over the air as well. Check NBCOlympic.com for a more detailed schedule.

To learn how to access over-the-air programming with a simple rabbit-ear antenna, check out this video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJ8nenWEIcE]

Don’t have a TV in your office or want to watch Olympics programming on the go? There are several ways to do this without relying on NBC’s authenticated streams as well:

Aereo: Viewers in New York can subscribe to Aereo to watch NBC on their iPad or PC. A subscription costs $12 a month after a free trial, but sign up is limited. For more on Aereo, check out our previous coverage.

Slingbox: You can also stream live broadcast TV to your office PC or mobile device with a Slingbox, but this solution isn’t exactly cheap: The Slingbox Pro HD, which is the only model currently on sale that works with an antenna, sells for around $240.

A TV tuner: Much cheaper than a Slingbox is to simply get a USB TV tuner for your PC. That way, you’ll be able to watch the Olympics on your laptop where ever you are, and some devices, like the Mac-only EyeTV, even make it possible to leave your computer at home and stream directly to your iPad or iPhone. Check out a demo of the EyeTV One tuner below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCp4zBwGUsg]

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