Blog Post

Online 2010 Olympics Coverage to Have an Authentication Hurdle

Watching the 2010 Winter Games online could be an Olympic feat in and of itself, as NBC (s GE) 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 (s TWX), Viacom (s VIA) and Comcast (s CMCSA) 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

32 Responses to “Online 2010 Olympics Coverage to Have an Authentication Hurdle”

  1. I am impressed that this is not getting more coverage. What a horrible move on NBC’s part. They really dropped the ball on this one. How is keeping people off who don’t have cable going to make them any money? Do they think people are going to go purchase cable just to watch the Olympics? Why wouldn’t they stream live video online 24/7 and put advertisements in? Then your reaching viewers with cable AND without cable. I don’t want to watch the Olympics if I have to make such an effort to do so. How many casual viewers are they losing like myself? Who is making decisions for NBC these days????

  2. Wouldn’t it have been so much simpler (and profitable too!) to allow people to use paypal and pay for viewing online? I can’t believe that NBC is so short sighted to think that only people with premium cable packages are entitled to watch the real olympics.

    I NEVER want cable TV. But I’d be more than happy to pay something reasonable to watch part of the olympics online. In fact, I’m kind or planning all my future television watching online.

    Soon enough dish & cable feeds will be a thing of the past. Ever heard of the internet age? Wake up!

    You (NBC) really know how to piss people off!

  3. NBC Sucks

    Wow, NBC you continue to dig yourself further into your own grave of irrelevance.

    First you make Hulu block access from specific electronic devices, then you screw up your late-night lineup, and now block on-line Olympic coverage–not to mention poor over-the-air HD quality (macroblocking galore).

    It will be an interesting media landscape sans NBC in a few years unless they get with the program.

  4. HockeyGorl

    I agree that this is utter BULLSHIT. Not only was I unaware of this partnership but when I contacted my internet provider, Time Warner Cable, it took me 5 transfers and 2 hours until someone could explain to me WHY I was unable to watch the Olympics via NBC.

    And SHAME on NBC. What sense does it make for them to require you to have a basic cable package that probably includes the stations you can watch the live coverage on in order to be able to watch it on your computer?? Um….wouldn’t i just then watch it on my TV??!

    Screw you NBC. You got rid of Conan, that was bad enough and now you’re just being a giant unpatriotic douche. Good day.

  5. Joyce Simkin

    Nice to know that I’m not the only one having authentication problems with my Comcast account. This is ridiculous. With the technology that’s available today networks (especially ones like NBC which I could get for free if I didn’t have cable) should stream live coverage of their programs without this authentication business.

  6. Well, even if you do subscribe to an affiliated cable plan, the authentication process apparently still doesn’t work. I have comcast cable, and when I log in at the appropriate junction, it tells me I am not a cable subscriber (even though I am and logged into successfully). Originally, I thought it was a comcast problem, but my buddy who has Time Warner cable has the exact same problem.

    So way to go, NBC tech wizards.

  7. No biggy… if NBC doesn’t want me to watch online that’s their prerogative; however I just exercised mine, and they’re no longer in my remote control. That’s fair.

  8. NBC (Nothing But Crap) can kiss my lily-white @$$. Between this and the O’Brien/Leno bovine scatology, NBC lost another viewer. I will NEVER watch anything on NBC, ever again.

    People who cannot afford cable/pay tv are being discriminated against. And like David said, NBC is a broadcast station, not a cable station; the revenue they make off of the commercials is MORE than enough to pay for live coverage – except that would take away from the hundreds of thousands (if not just plain millions) of dollar$ that the execs get as bonuses for making crappy decisions like this.

    Why reward them?

    I’m done with you, NBC. Good bye, good riddance.

  9. Umm… yeah that’s freaking crap. NBC is a broadcast station last I checked. So I’m supposed to subscribe to a paid television provider to stream stuff online when I’m not at home!? I’d rather pay them directly for the ability to stream it than this have stupid crap. SCREW YOU NBC!!

  10. Yes I just ran into this myself. We subscribe to a cable service but for internet only not tv and now this year, we won’t be able to watch any of the replay or live footage. I am SO upset and bummed about this. I want to do something about it but short of writing angry emails to NBC and our cable provider, I dont know what else to do. And yeah, now the olympics which I was so looking forward to, has left a bad taste in my mouth.

  11. I can’t believe this. I don’t have regular access to TVs at college, so watching online is my only hope… or at least it was. I can’t download the video player that NBC requires to watch streams, and they don’t even give an option to NOT “upgrade.” And I have no idea what any of the information is for our tv at home, and quite frankly I’m not going to fill out their rediculous forms.
    NBC’s Olympic coverage = FAIL

  12. Yep I just tried to watch the Olympics and got stopped in my tracks. I do have one of the partnerships but I dont have a premo package to get to watch the olympics! I don’t even want to watch the Olympics now really I don’t!

    thanksNOT NBC

  13. michael Goldsholl

    Bullshit. Bullshit Bullshit
    Idiots Idiots Idiots

    I am holding 30 buck on my visa card and they wont’ take it ?

    They are idiots. Otherwise if fox did the olypics i could pay per view

    have a tv? NEVER

  14. <

    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)

  15. 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.