How to watch the Olympics without cable

64 Comments 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 (s CMCSK) 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.’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 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 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 for a more detailed schedule.

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

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(s AAPL) or iPhone. Check out a demo of the EyeTV One tuner below:



no help at all, sucks it say free in big letters but the fine print is you have to be a paying customer, not only that you have to subscribe to other channels if you only get basic, in this case spend more money to watch some that should be free


people should remember the olympics are for profit. they are not realy motivated to be fair or altruistic. they are trying to generate as much cash as possible. same goes for NBC. watch what they give you over the air for free and be happy or figure out that you don’t need to be watching tv or streams in summer anyway. turn off your video and quit bitching

Gnarly One

Actually, the title of the article is what brought me here. The article did not live up to it’s title. Simply read the title, then read the article. Deliberately misleading title. Fails my simple human integrity test.


Great Post. Your absolutely right. The Olympics should be streamed for free online. Its the Olympics for goodness sake. But as you mentioned, we do have a solution. Its an Indoor Antenna. I have been using a mohu leaf for over a year now and love it. And now I am watching the Olympics for FREE in HD. To begin you should start by going to Antenna Web to see what channels you can pick up. Over at KilltheCableBill we offer a 10% Coupon Code and provide more instructions on how to do this….Leaf is the number one selling Indoor Antenna on Amazon!

And if you did not notice I am a cord cutter too. My formula is: video streamer + video streaming sites (hulu, netflix, vudu) + indoor antenna (mohu leaf) = big savings.


Why do people often forget to include satellite TV as one of the pay TV forms?

Comments are closed.