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Bypassing NBC’s Olympics West Coast Tape Delay: Some Options

Monday August 8, 2016

Where were you when you found out NBC would be broadcasting the Olympics in the West Coast on a 3-hour tape delay?

COME ON, NBC. (It didn’t help that NBC’s official response sited that most Olympics viewers are women, and women are “less interested in the result and more interested in the journey.” Nice job patronizing your primary viewers there.)

For a day, we tried to make the best of it, but 1) it’s nearly impossible to not know outcomes for three hours in this media climate 2) last night, Dave and I found ourselves yelling NO IT’S 11:30 WHY ARE YOU SHOWING THE BRAZILIAN GYMNASTS WE WANT TO GO TO SLEEP, which is not at all in keeping with the Olympic spirit, and 3) I thought it’d actually be fun if my little girl could watch some gymnastics and swimming. Crazy I know.

I guess we are long gone from a generation of us watching enthralled as Mary Lou Retton dominated in Los Angeles. How do kids even watch the key races and events these days, with everything lumped into the evening broadcast stretching towards midnight?

SO, there are a few work-arounds to the evening NBC primetime broadcast for those of us don’t want to be spoiled on results, or with children, or who like to be asleep before midnight.


NBC Sports Olympics App

You can download the app on Apple, Android, or Roku. You’ll need to use your cable log in to access the coverage.

We are using the app on Roku and it’s a dream come true for an Olympics junky. The menu is easy to navigate, with a button for each sport, including those often not shown in primetime like judo and table tennis. These broadcasts go up live in Rio-time (and you can watch a taped version of the broadcast after it has started, so don’t worry if you miss it). Yesterday, we watched the US gymnastics qualifying round at 5pm, 4 to 8 hours before we got to watch it on the West Coast. Now, there isn’t the same production value as you’d get with an NBC broadcast; no Bob Costas and feel-good interviews for instance. Some broadcasts don’t even have announcers, making you feel like a fly on the wall.

Even when there are announcers, they might be an understated British bunch that doesn’t yell and scream with theatrics when Katie Ledecky opens up a body-length lead over her competitors. You don’t realize how much fun it is to hear the hooting, until it’s a mellow couple announcing that, yes, Ledecky seems to be in the lead. These announcers also don’t relate important background drama, for instance that only Gabby Douglas or Aly Reisman would be able to qualify for the all-around. That is Key Back Story, people!

But! At least you and the kids can actually watch it at a reasonable hour.


NBC Online Streaming

For how organized and easy to navigate the app is, the website leaves much to be desired. You can filter based on sport or athlete, but it’s not clear how many full-length event videos are actually available. It’s confusing to wade through. Also, there’s a ticker at the top that will spoil you on any events you haven’t watched yet.


Have you all figured out any other work arounds? What I’d really like is access to the East Coast live NBC feed, but I have a feeling they make sure you can’t do that.



3 Responses to “Bypassing NBC’s Olympics West Coast Tape Delay: Some Options”

  1. Yeah, I basically stopped watching the Olympics in 2010 when NBC broadcast the Vancouver Olympics (happening in this very time zone) on tape delay. The worst is that they don’t even edit the feed to fix “live” issues/problems or “running late” on popular events, etc. So lame.


    8/8/2016 at 3:04 pm

  2. As an East Coaster, all of this is shocking. And it’s been going on for years?! How can they not at least run it at the same time across the country??


    8/8/2016 at 3:18 pm

  3. It’s the worst. At the time I wrote emails, tweeted, etc. I remember East Coast friends thinking it was no big deal, but then complaining about delayed coverage when NBC did the same thing for London. It doesn’t help that their basic coverage is really bad anyway. I’ve cut the cord so I can’t even use most other options.


    8/8/2016 at 5:12 pm