The Olympics are starting today; a massive sports event with over 200 individual countries in attendance. These games will be watched by the whole world, and that may include people like you. If you have an Android TV but don’t know where to start, definitely take a look at this guide. I have looked at all the solutions and picked a few of them. Unfortunately, this will not be the year Olympics and cordcutting merge, but you can definitely still follow along from your TV.
Note this article is looking at this from a US point-of-view. If you’re not in the US, your mileage may vary. NBC has exclusive broadcast rights, and there’s a lot of rules about what the press is allowed to publish.
NBC Sports (Requires cable subscription)
There is a phone app for cable subscribers to follow along. It works fine on phones. You can subscribe to notifications, watch all the highlights and navigate through the sports you want. If you log in through your cable provider you can access live streams and full game replays. If you start it on your phone, you can also cast content to your TV. If you don’t have a subscription, you can still watch the short highlight clips.
You can sideload it to your TV and use a mouse to navigate. It works, but it’s not a great experience at all.
Playstation Vue (Subscription required)
The Playstation Vue app doesn’t seem to work too well on Android TV, without a leanback banner or DPAD support, but you can install it to your TV through the web Play Store. You need to have an account, so it won’t work for most people, but you will be able to watch NBC.
This applies to other subscription OTT services like Sling TV. A full guide of these services can be read on Reddit.
Google has partnered with media organizations to get highlights published on YouTube. It will help everyone get access to the biggest events of the games, and several content creators will be live streaming their experience through YouTube’s mobile live streaming feature. It’s not the same as seeing full games, but this may satisfy users.
Kodi, the all-in-one media app, has several different ways to get access to these streams. Some require a cable provider and some don’t. Kodi is free to download and it’s open source. To view content, users can install add-ons with different programs and live streams. These add-ons have varying levels of legality. The official repository should not be an issue, but if you visit alternate repositories, keep this in mind when installing.
NBC Sports Live Extra (Cable subscription required)
This is the “official” NBC Sports add-on for Kodi. You can install it from the provided repository. If you have a cable subscription you can watch a lot of content. Without it, you can still watch some highlights. This may work for you, as navigation fits with a DPAD better than the NBC Sports mobile app, but this may not have enough content for you.
This Kodi add-on has a variety of web streams that are curated for reliability and quality. If you go into the Sports category, you can find an NBC Sports stream. When I try it, it’s playing soccer matches. It’s not clear if this stream actually works because since the Olympics haven’t started yet I don’t know. Perhaps it’s a bunch of links for England, where NBC doesn’t have broadcast rights to the Olympics. You can check out how to set it up here if you want to see for yourself.
US TV Now
This service did seem to work. It is meant for soldiers who are overseas but still want to be able to watch US programming. It’s effectively an online cable service designed for military personnel. You can sign up for free and get a few basic channels (ABC, NBC, PBS), where NBC is the channel broadcasting the Olympics. There are premium tiers that have more channels but aren’t required. There doesn’t seem to be a requirement of proof of being in the military, but keep in mind it’s intended audience.
With an account, you can follow this guide to adding this add-on to your device on Kodi. It’s fairly slow, but it does work as expected. NBC isn’t broadcasting the Olympics 24/7, but you can see their full schedule for more details. One thing to note is this is an East Coast broadcast, so you may need to adjust your times to make sure you’re following along correctly.
Another interesting thing is that NBC will often not stream events live. They pick the best events to play first then other events like rowing during some of the later slots, pre-recorded. Just a reminder for anyone who was going to make stupid bets.
This won’t be the perfect Olympics for cord-cutters, but it won’t be hard to see the biggest news from the games and see the most incredible events. If you can watch it live, that’ll be great too. I don’t currently have cable where I’m at, but I hope to watch as much of the Olympics as possible.