How to Watch the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics on TV and Online
This week finally marks the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics, which kick off in PyeongChang, South Korea on Friday, February 9 with a massive opening ceremony that will feature musical performances and a parade of roughly 2,500 athletes from around the world.
The event serves as the official start of this year’s Winter Games (though some figure skating and skiing events will actually take place a day earlier), paving the way for two weeks of competitions as the world’s greatest athletes face off in search of gold medals for sports like bobsledding, curling, ice hockey, snowboarding, and more.
As is often the case with Olympic Games held on the other side of the planet, the time difference between South Korea and the U.S. (PyeongChang is 14 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time) will make it difficult for many Americans to watch this year’s opening ceremony and subsequent sporting events on TV and online as they happen. That means many events will be aired on host network NBC on a major tape delay, while some brave fans will also be able to livestream certain competitions on various platforms as they’re happening, even if it means staying up all night.
Here are all of the ways you can watch the 2018 Winter Olympics on television or online.
The opening ceremony is likely to be one of the most-watched TV events of the year, with the same event at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia drawing nearly 32 million viewers on NBC. (However, due to time differences and changing TV viewing habits, viewership has declined for the event at recent Olympics.) This year’s ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. in South Korea on Friday, which will be 6 a.m. ET. While NBC will air the event on tape delay at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, the network will also make the opening ceremony available to stream live online (a first) at NBCOlympics.com, starting at 6 a.m. ET that morning.
The livestream will also be available with the NBC Sports app, which can be downloaded for streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV. Both the app and the website NBCOlympics.com require that viewers enter authentication to prove they have a cable, satellite, or live streaming subscription that includes NBC.
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Comcast’s NBCUniversal has paid billions of dollars to secure the media rights for the Olympics through 2032, and the network is reportedly set to collect roughly $900 million in advertising revenue over the course of these 2018 Winter Games. NBC will air more than 2,400 hours of live coverage of competitions and other events at this year’s Olympics on its primary broadcast channel as well as the various NBCUniversal sister networks such as the cable channels NBCSN, CNBC, the USA Network, and The Olympic Channel.
Additionally, and as with the opening ceremony, all of NBC’s primetime broadcasts and every Olympic event will be available to stream live and on-demand on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app with user authentication. There is also a separate NBC Sports VR app that will stream over 50 hours of live virtual reality coverage from the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Other Streaming Options
For cordcutters, there are several paid live-TV streaming services that offer subscription packages with NBC and its affiliate channels, including Sling TV’s Sling Blue package, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, Sony’s PlayStation Vue, FuboTV, and CenturyLink Stream. A subscription to one of those services (or even a free trial) will also allow you to log in to NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.
As it did for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, NBC will once again go all out with its social media presence for this year’s Winter Games. Two years ago, the Rio Olympics spurred more than 1.5 million Facebook interactions from over 277 million different users, while 187 million tweets about those games were viewed on Twitter over 75 billion times. This year, NBC will be streaming video from PyeongChang on both of those social media services as well as Google’s YouTube.
Meanwhile, NBC has said it will work with BuzzFeed to develop short video coverage and other content from the Olympics to be distributed via Snapchat. In fact, the social messaging service announced this week that NBC will use Snapchat’s new live streaming video feature, called Live, to stream two- to six-minute video segments from the Winter Olympics. (NBC is an investor in Snapchat parent Snap Inc.)