NBC’s Olympics Streaming Failure is Pirate Bay’s Gain

NBC's Olympics Streaming Failure is Pirate Bay's GainThe Pirate Bay has changed its front page banner to reflect itself as a proud source of video content related to the 2012 Olympic Games held in London, England. This change would be laughable if it wasn’t for the wild attention being drawn to ongoing issues with NBC and its streaming of the Olympic games online.

To start, I’m going to state that I do not personally advocate piracy in any form. As an AT&T U-Verse subscriber and fan of the Olympics, I was hoping that I might be able to take advantage of the same excellent live streaming coverage I enjoyed four years ago during the games in Beijing. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for me. NBC’s Olympics streaming site is broken, and it’s a problem that many people across the Web have made quite clear is keeping them from watching their favorite athletes compete.

When I hit that big Click Here and Get Ready button on the NBC Olympics Live Extra page, it sends me to a blank white screen and then back to the home screen, never to get access to the Olympic streams despite being subscribed to all the required channels. This is frustrating, and it means that if I want to watch more than 10-second clips in news feeds, I have to either proxy my way into the BBC feed or pirate the coverage. This is a moral choice I should never have to make, and one that major torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay are more than happy to take advantage of.

Frankly, it’s high time that we stopped living in a world where cable is the platform on which video media is predominantly based and start moving towards one connected to that giant sea of information most of us use for everything already, anyway.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the decision to interrupt a memorial to the victims of a terrorist attack to bring us an interview during the opening ceremonies. Really, NBC? No wonder so many people in my generation are giving up televisions altogether. Perhaps it’s time I called my cable company and had them take this box out and replace it with a Roku player.

Having problems yourself? One of the trending topics on Twitter since the games began is #NBCFail. Feel free to share your experience below, and offer up any legal alternatives that you have come across.

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Chris

    It’s ridiculous that big companies feel they have the tight to charge their customer’s for things that people have been enjoying for years.

    In the UK I can watch it any time I please but I don’t really care for it.

    The Olympics is for EVERYONE, not just for subscribers to a service for which they have to pay for – even when it doesn’t work.

  • http://twitter.com/KB3VFE Matthew Burke

    The coverage has been really sub-par. I don’t have access to a television 90% of the time, and the small fraction of time I’m in front of a cable connection, they aren’t showing the events I care about.

    If they would stream the events online, I would be more than glad to sit through however many commercials they wanted to throw at me.

  • Mishu

    I really can’t believe that in 2012, an event this big isn’t being broadcast on the internet. Does NBC think we still live in the 20th century? Networks are going to get a rude awakening. Sooner, rather than later, hopefully.

    • zkank

      Follow the money.
      This strategy is from the same slime pit from which BREIN, MPAA, RIAA, and every other ilk acronym was born.

      “Let them eat cake” attitude; Suppress the peons’ access while technology marches on.
      PB really is fighting a cause for advancement!

    • zkank

      Follow the money.
      This strategy is from the same slime pit from which BREIN, MPAA, RIAA, and every other ilk acronym was born.

      “Let them eat cake” attitude; Suppress the peons’ access while technology marches on.
      PB really is fighting a cause for advancement!

  • Brent

    It’s about forcing you to watch the commercials and mindless banter of the talking heads instead of the actual competitions.

    • George

      If you are outside the UK, get behind a VPN and go to BBC’s iplayer. or got to BBCNews, Worked for me when I was in the US.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588990131 Harrison Kroeker

    It’s only a matter of time before Google/YouTube just steps in and starts broadcasting it themselves. I agree that the fact that the right to provide coverage is licensed to a single broadcaster for an entire continent (Canada is afflicted by this bullshit broadcasting too) is outright laughable.

    • http://twitter.com/jameszwier James Zwier

      YouTube has the best Olympic coverage but it’s only available in poor countries of Asia and Africa. If only Laos had faster internet, then I could live stream 1080p live coverage on 11 channels, or watch all the archived events.

  • straybeat

    I just clicked on your link and it works okay for me. Maybe I just hit on its one up-time feed?

  • http://ironiclee.blogspot.com/ Jentylee

    Actually, in reply to Mishu, I tweeted (with appropriate hashtags for NBC, trending topics, etc.): “It’s ok, NBC, I’m watching the Olympics streaming live on Youtube.”

  • http://ironiclee.blogspot.com/ Jentylee

    Chris; you asked for input. Lifehacker has a fix and it’s fully legal. See their link on the NBCfail stream on twitter or their website lifehacker.com

  • http://twitter.com/globalholidays David Brice

    In contrast here in the UK, the BBC are streaming every single event on their website. Fantastic coverage.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Topperfalkon Topperfalkon

      They did a better job than I expected them to be totally honest.

  • Harold Gardner

    The issue is how to solve the money problem. NBC is awful, but they have deep pockets and spent a ton of cash to acquire the rights to the Olympics. The issue is not a technology problem; obviously, a ton of folks can stream live video feeds over the web. Any decent porn purveyor could help them out with that. Any effort toward web TV by NBC today seems to be cannibalizing their broadcast cash cow. I understand NBC’s choice to be short sighted, but the economics have to get resolved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregalderco Greg Alder

    As an Aussie watching the Sydney Olympics in LA, I found the NBC coverage laughable. Unfortunately, because they wanted to broadcast events in US prime time, they had time to script commentary. It became clear that there wasn’t a US athlete who hadn’t had a near-death experience or overcome personal tragedy. I began to wonder if tragedy weren’t a prerequisite for US selection.

  • koolaidyeti

    This sh!t is really dumb and is the reason why I want companies like Google, Netflix, Youtube, and others to take over. I know that they will be doing the same thing once their time has come, but seriously… it’s 2012 and regular TV is becoming increasing less important. Maybe we can just get rid of major networks and cable companies? They really don’t provide much value anymore other than showing how incompetent they are in a digital age.

    • flooby

      you do realize that youtube is part of google right, so what you said was google, netflix, google.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marc.eppley Marc Eppley

    This is infuriatingly bush, and a few minutes of live chat with Time Warner Cable’s ‘Sonny’ (Nawab) pushed my headball right into critical mass. It’s still not clear if ongoing attempts to cool the core will be able to keep the containment facility from blowing apart.

  • Rose

    I want to keep watching the Olympics, but with the delay due to primetime coverage, the fetishization of Phelps in EVERY SPORT EVER, the disregard for anyone but Americans (and including some Americans like Gabby who’re discredited for their achievements), I get very, VERY angry.

  • devilkat

    The NBC coverage is laughable , you would think the US is the only country competing in the games and swimming is the only event.

  • devilkat

    The NBC coverage is laughable , you would think the US is the only country competing in the games and swimming is the only event.

  • Andrew me

    Trying to prevent people from watching the games online has actually caused many many many people to start using torrent software, encouraging more people to realsie how easy it is to download tv content. This has just caused more piracy, and when the games are finished more piracy of other tv programs. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Topperfalkon Topperfalkon

    I still don’t understand why BBC Worldwide wasn’t given broadcasting rights. At least they know how to cover the technical side of things.

  • Daniel Cook

    Also NBC website is complete crap. If you go the Basketball section and try to watch a “full replay” of a U.S. game, the link loads the wrong game (entirely different teams playing) I have contacted them several times with no response and obviously no fix. So I either don’t watch the game or find alternate means to watch…