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February 8, 2018

How to watch the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang

by John_A

Well, it’s that time again. We’re more than ready for some friendly, athletic contests between countries, and the 2018 Winter Olympics are shaping up wonderfully. Perfect scores aside, we’re looking forward to some ice-cold competition, and we’re betting you are too.

Televised Olympics coverage — thanks to the NBCUniversal family of networks in the U.S. — from PyeongChang, South Korea starts February 8 at 8:00 PM ET with figure skating, and continues February 9 with the opening ceremony. You can stream it, record it, and even watch in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos if you’ve got the right gear. Here’s our comprehensive guide to watching the Olympics on any platform.

A note: DVR is your friend! Some coverage will be aired on delay, but in many cases you may need to record events of choice since PyeongChang is 17 hours ahead of us (PST). Below, we’ll cover DVR options for all the various viewing methods. For reference, here’s the full event schedule, courtesy of NBC.

Cable or satellite

Luckily, every major cable and satellite TV provider has the Olympics on tap this February. Here’s how to watch in the United States (check here for international broadcasters). Note: To watch in 4K or HDR, you need a compatible TV. Events available in 4K include the Opening Ceremony, ski jumping, figure skating, and snowboarding.

DirecTV

If you want to watch in 4K and/or 4K HDR, you’ll need a Genie DVR box. Head to channel 106, DirecTV’s channel for 4K Olympics coverage, some of it in immersive Dolby Atmos surround sound. If you’re just looking to watch in regular old HD, head to NBC (local), CNBC (355), NBC Sports Network (220), USA (242), and/or the Olympic Channel (1667). You can watch on mobile devices with the DirecTV App as well. Note that most coverage in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos will only be available on-demand — which is probably the best way to watch in the US since South Korea is 17 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific time — even though Dolby is producing the immersive surround audio live.

Comcast Xfinity

If you’ve got an Xfinity X1 Cloud DVR box, you’ll get access to a wealth (supposedly more than 2,400 hours!) of Olympic coverage, including select programming in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos surround sound support. To do so, just say “Olympics” into your voice remote, or head to On Demand, then Sports, then Olympics Home. X1 includes up to 50 different curated video playlists — Comcast wants to call these “Olympic Channels,” but that’s a bit misleading — with on-demand highlights and replays.

If you want to access Olympic Channels (or if you want to watch anything in 4K or HDR), you’ll need an XG1v3 DVR box. RNG150 boxes don’t have built-in DVR, so they won’t work. See here if you’re confused. If you don’t have an X1 box, you can watch live Olympics coverage — assuming your cable package includes NBC, USA Network, CNBC, NBC Sports Network and/or the Olympic Channel (channel listings vary by location). As with DirecTV, most coverage in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos will only be available on-demand.

If you’re an Xfinity subscriber, you can also download the Xfinity Stream app on a compatible device and watch just as you would on your TV. Careful, though — streaming video obliterates data caps.

Dish Network

Dish Network just announced it, too, will offer NBCUniversal’s 4K HDR coverage of the Olympics. In addition, Dish is offering a dedicated sports hub on channel 147 for easy navigation of all of NBC’s coverage across the five networks we mentioned earlier. Dish also offers a “Sports Bar Mode,” which will allow Hopper 3 owners to watch up to four events simultaneously. You can watch it all via the Dish Anywhere app too. Dish hasn’t mentioned any support for Dolby Atmos sound.

If you don’t use one of the providers listed above, check with your cable or satellite provider for channel listings and other Olympic programming. 

Web browser

As long as you’ve got a capable computer and a pay-TV subscription (it shouldn’t matter which provider you use), you can stream all the events live and on-demand via NBC’s official website (schedule here). If your internet is fast enough, this just might be the best way to do it, and if you’ve got a Chromecast, you can use screen mirroring to watch on a big-screen TV.

If you’re located outside the U.S., you might need to utilize a VPN to get around those pesky restrictions. We’ve got a handy explainer and a list of popular VPNs if you want to go that route. A VPN can also help you “spoof” your location to gain access to broadcasts from Britain or Canada (where the Olympics are broadcast on public TV stations) using a “tunnel” or a “proxy.” For non-techies, this can be a little daunting, but if you don’t mind announcers with funny accents, it could save you some money.

A note: U.S. service members and veterans can log in to watch for free with an Exchange account.

Streaming via NBC Sports

The NBC Sports app — available for a smorgasbord of devices, from TVs to streaming sticks to smartphones and tablets — offers the same live and on-demand coverage as the NBC Olympics website, plus a healthy collection of highlight videos and other miscellaneous content. As you might expect, it requires a pay-TV subscription.

Compatible Devices

Apple iPad
Windows Phone

Apple iPhone
Roku devices

Apple iPod Touch
Amazon Fire TV

Android phones
Android tablets

Apple TV
Google Chromecast

Xbox One
Select smart TVs

Device compatibility details

Streaming services

Not a cable or satellite subscriber? No worries! The cord-cutting revolution is well underway, and there are myriad options to watch without signing scary contracts.

Sling TV

Sling TV has long been a popular alternative for those who prefer not to opt for cable or satellite subscriptions. Sling’s Olympic coverage promises to be fairly thorough, though at 600 hours total, you’ll get less than a third of the content Xfinity provides.

Most of Sling’s coverage is tied to Sling Blue, so if you pay for Orange instead, you might be out of luck. Sling Blue subscribers in select markets (details here) can watch the Opening Ceremony live, as well as a smattering of daytime and primetime events. No matter where you live, Sling Blue customers also have access to NBC Sports Network, which features 24/7 coverage throughout the Games.

Select events (mostly curling) will air on CNBC, which Sling subscribers can add to packages for $5 via ‘News Extra;’ same goes for USA Network (mostly hockey), which is included with Sling Blue. As you might already know, you’ll need a computer, set-top box, streamer, smart TV, gaming console, or mobile device for Sling. Here’s a full list of compatible devices.

A Sling Blue subscription will run you $25/month. Sling Orange is cheaper, but it doesn’t offer any of the networks you need for the Olympics. Sling also has cloud-based DVR so you can record what you want to watch and watch it at a reasonable hour.

Compatible Devices

iOS devices
Android devices

Android TV
Roku devices

AirTV Player
Amazon Fire devices

LeEco
ZTE

Xiaomi
Select smart TVs

Apple TV
Google Chromecast

Google Chrome
Windows 10 (app)

Device compatibility details

PlayStation Vue

Vue hasn’t been around as long as Sling — it’s less than three years old — but it’s quickly become a common choice for PlayStation owners and others. Vue utilizes Cloud DVR and allows users five simultaneous streams, so if you’ve got a family of Olympic fans, it can be a solid selection.

Users in select markets can watch NBC live coverage of the Olympics (see here for a list), and no matter which Vue package you’re signed up for, you’ll have full access to CNBC, NBC Sports Network, and USA Network. Elite and Ultra packages also get the Olympic Channel.

Vue pricing depends on location (see Pricing & Channel Packages in our Vue explainer); an Access or Access Slim subscription costs $40 or $30 per month, and Elite (which’ll get you the Olympic Channel) costs $55/$45.

Compatible Devices

PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4

Android devices
Android TV

iOS devices
Apple TV

Android devices
Amazon Fire tablets

Roku devices
Amazon Fire TV

Google Chrome
Safari

Firefox
Microsoft Edge

Device compatibility details

Hulu Live TV

Hulu’s Live TV service, launched in mid-2017, allows users to customize their Olympic viewing experience by setting event preferences, which will dictate the way different events are organized within your Hulu interface. Every relevant channel (including the Olympic Channel!) is included with the one-size-fits-all $40 monthly fee.

Compatible Devices

Apple iPad
Amazon Fire TV devices

Apple iPhone
Roku devices

Mac
PC

Android phones
Android tablets

Apple TV
Google Chromecast

Xbox One
Xbox 360

Device compatibility details (scroll down)

Fubo TV

Fubo TV is a sports-centric newcomer to the streaming wars. Fubo’s list of compatible devices isn’t as vast as the competition, but you can plop down $20 for your first month to get every channel the Olympics are broadcasting on. Make sure to cancel before the month is up if you don’t want your bill to double, though.

Compatible Devices

Apple iPad
Windows Phone

Apple iPhone
Roku devices

Android TV (beta)
Amazon Fire TV (beta)

Android phones
Android tablets

Google Chromecast

Device compatibility details

Youtube TV

As with Hulu and Fubo, Youtube TV — which just debuted in December — offers just one set of channels, which includes all the channels you need for $35/month. It’s got cloud-based DVR, too, so you can record anything you want to watch later. Right now, Youtube TV is available in more than 80 U.S. markets.

Compatible Devices

Apple iPad
Apple TV

Apple iPhone
Roku devices

Android tablets
Android TV

Android phones
Google Chrome

Google Chromecast

Device compatibility details

DirecTV Now

Don’t like regular old DirecTV? Try DirecTV Now! Like Vue, the streaming service offers several different package levels. At the $35 level (“Live A Little”) you’ll get NBC, CNBC, NBC Sports Network, and USA. To get the Olympic Channel, you’ll need to upgrade to the $60 tier (“Go Big”).

Compatible Devices

Apple iPad
Amazon Fire devices

Apple iPhone
Roku devices

Apple iPod Touch
Android phones

Apple TV
Android tablets

Safari
Google Chromecast

Google Chrome
Select smart TVs

Device compatibility details

Over-the-air

Antenna

If you own an HD antenna, you can watch your NBC affiliate’s event coverage for free (assuming you get NBC in your area). Unfortunately, that’s just a small slice of the Olympics; peruse the top row of this chart to see what’s available.

If this is your method of choice, you’ll want an OTA (over-the-air) DVR as well; we recommend the Tablo or TiVo’s Roamio OTA DVR.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best streaming TV service
  • From the Roku Ultra to Amazon Fire TV, these are the best streaming devices
  • Comcast Xfinity: Everything you need to know about cable’s biggest player
  • The best 4K content available right now
  • Why Sling TV is an essential part of a balanced cord-cutting diet


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