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How to Watch the 2018 Winter Olympics on Your Apple Devices in the U.S.
By Josh Centers
The Winter Olympics have arrived once again, this time in Pyeongchang, South Korea. We can look forward to watching the first Nigerian bobsled team compete for a medal and maybe inspire a sequel to the 1993 movie “Cool Runnings,” about the Jamaican bobsled team. We can also look forward to watching more of the Olympics live, since the much-reviled tape delay is largely going away (some events will still be tape-delayed so NBC can show them in prime time).
So how do you go about tuning in on your Apple devices? In the United States, NBCUniversal owns the broadcast rights, so on traditional TV, look to NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA, and the Olympic Channel to get your fix. But there will be more than 2400 hours of coverage, with a 14-hour time delay, so alternative methods of watching the games are more important than ever.
Unfortunately, you’ll need a subscription to a participating cable, satellite, or telco provider to take advantage of the NBC Olympics Web site and apps. It continues to astonish us that NBC doesn’t sell an NBC Sports Gold pass to the Olympics, as they do with various specific sports.
The good news is that there is now a long list of streaming TV services that are affordable, require no lengthy commitment, will authenticate the NBC Sports apps, and offer an Apple TV app. Sign up with one of them and you can both test the service for a month and use your credentials to enable live streaming in the NBC Sports apps. That’s a fine deal for less than $40 for a month.
In the list below, I note each service’s monthly price (which may vary slightly by region), which support Apple’s single sign-on feature and which we’ve reviewed:
The choice of service is up to you — the differences mostly come down to pricing and interface, and if you’re using it just to authenticate the NBC Sports apps, interface doesn’t matter much. I’ve been partial to PlayStation Vue in the past.
If you don’t want to pay for TV at all, you’re not totally out of luck. Snapchat will be live-streaming key moments, but that means using Snapchat, which has an interface best described as “brutal.” There’s also the dead-simple official Olympics app, though it doesn’t seem to offer any video. And finally, you could download the Team USA App, which offers information about U.S. athletes and even includes a minigame for the sports sensation that’s sweeping the nation, curling. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Have you run across other alternatives for watching the Olympics? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll update this article as appropriate.
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