The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony will be broadcast Friday, February 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC.
The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics closing ceremony will be broadcast Sunday, February 25 at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC.
When it comes to spectacle and pageantry, there’s nothing quite like the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Games. At the Rio Olympics, we saw fireworks, light shows, and dancing, topped off with elaborate sets and gorgeous costumes.
This year, the South Korean Olympic Committee will be looking to top both Rio and Sochi in its presentation, and by all accounts, it’s shaping up to be quite a show. Will the North and South Korean athletes spark nuclear war by walking under the same banner? Will newly qualified Tongan athlete Pita Taufatofua carry his nation’s flag while shirtless again? One thing’s for certain: the show is sure to be glitzy, expensive, and over-the-top entertaining.
Whether you plan on watching the Korean opening and closing ceremonies for the pageantry or simply to cheer on your favorite athletes, the first question you have to ask yourself is how you’re going to watch.
If you don’t have a cable package, it may seem like you’re out of luck, but don’t worry—there are other ways to watch the ceremonies online. We figured out exactly how to watch the 2018 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, so check out our rankings below to see which option works best for you.
Guide to watching the 2018 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies
Live a Little
A quick note on watching via NBCOlympics.com or the NBC Sports App
One of the most popular ways to watch the Olympics is to use the NBC Sports App or NBCOlympics.com. Both options will feature live coverage of every single event at the 2018 Winter Games, direct from Pyeongchang, South Korea. You can also catch livestreams of NBC’s primetime and daytime coverage, which make both the site and the app great for watching the 2018 Winter opening and closing ceremonies.
There is a catch, though. In order to access Winter Olympics coverage via NBCOlympics.com or the NBC Sports App, you’ll need to log in with credentials from either a cable package or your streaming service of choice. Since you need to sign up for a service of some kind in order to use this method anyway, we didn’t include it in our rankings.
But, don’t worry—we did take the app and site into consideration in our rankings. That’s a big reason why fuboTV is ranked so high, for instance. It’s simply the least expensive way to get access to the opening and closing ceremonies, provided you’re using it just to sign into the NBC Sports App or NBCOlympics.com.
FYI: If you plan to use the NBC Olympic website, keep in mind that it’s primarily designed to be used on a laptop or computer. Otherwise, you can download the NBC Sports App to your mobile devices, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and video playing devices like Amazon Fire TVs, Android TVs, Apple TVs, Chromecasts, and Rokus.
#1 fuboTV: The cheapest way to stream the opening and closing ceremonies
What we like: The low introductory price
Drawbacks: Limited NBC affiliate availability
Who it’s perfect for: Cord-cutters on a budget who live in an area where fuboTV offers NBC
If you’re looking for the cheapest possible way to watch the opening and closing ceremonies for this year’s Winter Games, our gold medalist, fuboTV, may be the best option for you. The cost of the service is extremely low for the first month (it does go up after that), so if you’re looking for a service you can sign up for then cancel as soon as the Winter Olympics are over, it’s a good way to go.
The only major problem is that fuboTV doesn’t offer a lot of NBC local stations, so we definitely recommend using it to log in to the NBC Sports App. If you don’t want to go through the app, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to watch the opening and closing ceremonies live on NBC. You can check fubo’s list of local channel offerings to see if NBC is available in your area before signing up, but for most people, we’d recommend just streaming through the NBC Sports App or NBCOlympics.com.
Normally, fuboTV plans cost $39.99 per month, making the service the same price as Hulu Live and PlayStation Vue. But fuboTV offers an introductory rate of $19.99 per month for the first two months. The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are only two weeks long, so if you plan to cancel your service as soon as the torch is doused, fuboTV is your most cost-efficient option.
Watching the Pyeongchang Olympics opening and closing ceremonies with fuboTV
Total honesty: fuboTV doesn’t have a great track record for reliability. In fact, in our testing, fuboTV tended to glitch, lag, and have other serious issues far more frequently than other services—even when streamed via a high-quality internet connection. It also doesn’t offer many NBC stations (just 15 nationwide), so it’s not ideal as a streaming platform for the Olympics.
The upside, though, is the price. Since it’s so inexpensive, fuboTV is definitely the easiest and cheapest way for most people to watch the opening and closing ceremonies—just make sure you do the actual watching via the NBC Sports App or NBCOlympics.com.
If you do want to watch on fuboTV directly, we strongly recommend checking fuboTV’s list of local channels before signing up. And make sure you take advantage of the service’s 7-day free trial period to make sure it works well with your internet connection.
fuboTV DVR service
Despite all fuboTV’s shortcomings, it actually offers a pretty comprehensive DVR service—for a price. All packages include 30 hours of DVR space, which isn’t much. In fact, it’s the smallest DVR among all the other services. But at least it’s included.
Fortunately, you have the option to upgrade your DVR to 500 hours for $9.99 more per month. With 500 hours worth of storage, you can also record more of the curling, men’s hockey, and figure skating events you want to watch. And it’s a pretty good deal, especially when you consider that Hulu Live’s DVR upgrade gets you 300 fewer hours and costs $5 more per month.
fuboTV device compatibility
fuboTV is compatible with most video streaming devices, so most cord-cutters will be able to use it without any problems. However, like DIRECTV NOW, the service doesn’t currently offer compatibility with video game consoles, so gamers beware.
#2 YouTube TV: Good NBC availability for a decently low price
What we like: Great NBC local channel availability with unlimited DVR space
Drawbacks: Currently available to only 80% of US residents
Who it’s perfect for: Winter Olympics fans near larger cities who want to record their favorite events
YouTube TV wins the silver medal when it comes to watching the opening and closing ceremonies for the South Korean Winter Games. YouTube TV offers NBC livestreams in over 80% of the areas where the service is available, is one of the lower-priced options on our list, and features high-end streaming quality and an unlimited DVR. Score!
YouTube TV pricing
YouTube TV is pretty middle of the road in terms of price. The service costs $35 per month, so it’s less expensive than Hulu Live or PlayStation Vue, but more than fuboTV’s introductory price of $19.99 per month. So if your goal is sign up for the cheapest service in order to access the NBC Sports App or NBCOlympics.com, YouTube TV is a good choice, though perhaps not as good as fuboTV.
Despite this, YouTube TV gets our number-two ranking because it is the best standalone service for watching both the opening and closing ceremonies. And if you’re planning to watch coverage of the Pyeongchang Winter Games after the opening ceremonies, YouTube TV is an inexpensive way to get everything you need—including the Olympic Channel. YouTube includes everything in one package, which we really like since services like DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue make you pay more for access to all the channels you need to watch the Olympics.
Watching the 2018 opening and closing ceremonies with YouTube TV
In order to really appreciate the spectacle of the South Korean opening and closing ceremonies, you want a streaming service that doesn’t pull punches with streaming quality. Luckily, YouTube TV has your back on that account. The service offers one of the best streaming experiences simply because YouTube has been developing its live video infrastructure for quite some time.
We tested out YouTube TV, and we can say you don’t have to worry much about glitches, buffering, and low picture quality. The streaming is smooth, so you’ll be able to keep track of the torch during every hand-off. Plus, you can actually see the puck during hockey match-ups and see every tiny twist and turn during the ski jumping events (if you decide to watch other Olympics coverage besides the opening and closing ceremonies).
Of course, YouTube TV isn’t totally perfect—it’s currently available in only 84 markets nationwide. Those 84 markets cover approximately 80% of the US population, so there’s a good chance you live in an area where YouTube TV is available. But it’s worth checking out YouTube TV’s list of available locations to see if it’s offered where you live.
YouTube TV is also great when it comes to local channels. Fun fact: in most of the US, big network stations aren’t actually owned by the network—they’re owned by affiliates. So to offer those channels, streaming services have to make a deal with particular affiliate stations across the country.
Fortunately, YouTube TV offers 66 NBC stations nationwide (the second-highest of any streaming service), which basically means over 70% of the US can access their local NBC station and watch the South Korean opening and closing ceremonies via YouTube TV.
YouTube TV DVR service
YouTube TV’s DVR is one of the big reasons we rank it number one for watching the Pyeongchang opening and closing ceremonies. The service features an unlimited cloud DVR, meaning if you don’t want your kids staying up super late to watch, you can record the ceremonies and watch the next day without worrying about storage space.
YouTube TV device compatibility
While YouTube TV started out offering compatibility with only Chromecast devices, the service has now expanded to include more devices, with even more planned. However, there are a few key devices missing from the list. For instance, if you’re planning to use an Amazon Fire TV device, an Apple TV, or a Roku, you may want to avoid YouTube TV. Check out the full list of compatible devices below:
#3 Hulu with Live TV: Lots of NBC availability with decent streaming quality
What we like: Great local NBC availability
Drawbacks: Higher price
Who it’s perfect for: Winter Olympics fans who want reliable access to their local NBC station
Hulu with Live TV takes home the bronze medal, thanks to the sheer number of local NBC stations it offers. Hulu Live delivers NBC livestreams in 76 areas nationwide, making it the best service in terms of NBC availability. It’s also not bad in terms of streaming quality, which makes it very reliable for watching the South Korean opening and closing ceremonies. It’s certainly not a perfect service, but for watching the Winter Olympics, you could certainly do a lot worse.
Hulu with Live TV pricing
Hulu with Live TV is definitely on the higher end of the pricing spectrum compared to other streaming services. Packages start at $39.99 per month, though you can upgrade to the No Commercials option for $43.99 per month. But the No Commercials plan cuts commercials only for on-demand content, so you’ll have to suffer through commercial breaks during the opening and closing ceremonies regardless. And since most Olympics coverage won’t be included in Hulu’s on-demand library, we definitely don’t feel like it’s a worthwhile upgrade for most Olympics fans.
Watching the Pyeongchang Olympics opening and closing ceremonies with Hulu Live
As we’ve already mentioned, Hulu with Live TV offers a pretty decent streaming experience. We’ve noticed a little fuzziness around moving objects while watching, which might make it a little harder to watch fast-paced skating, skiing, or hockey events. But thank goodness, there were no serious delays, lagging, or buffering breaks. That’s especially good news if you’re planning on watching the Games after the opening ceremony.
Best of all, Hulu Live features the best NBC local channel availability of any streaming service. That means you have the best chance of getting your local NBC station with a Hulu Live membership. To see if Hulu offers an NBC livestream in your area, check out the service’s ZIP finder.
Hulu with Live TV DVR service
Hulu with Live TV gets you 50 hours of recording space. That’s fine if you’re recording only the opening and closing ceremonies, but if you want to record all the Olympics coverage on TV, you’ll burn through your storage space in less than half a day. Of course, Hulu does offer 200 hours of storage, but it costs an extra $14.99 per month. That’s pretty disappointing considering YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue both offer unlimited DVR space—and they don’t charge extra for it.
Unfortunately, that’s not even the biggest problem with Hulu Live’s DVR. In order to record something, you have to add it to your Favorites list. Theoretically, the DVR should automatically record anything you’ve favorited, except for episodes and programs that are already available in Hulu’s on-demand catalog.
In our experience, though, the DVR was really unreliable. So if you add curling to your Favorites, there’s no guarantee you’ll actually get all the curling events slated to air on CNBC and the USA Network. That’ll certainly make it harder to watch your favorite athletes and events, and honestly, we don’t think it’s worth the frustration.
Of course, if you don’t plan to record any of the Pyeongchang events, the whole DVR issue isn’t really relevant. And it’s worth noting that the service is still in beta testing, so if you’re looking for a streaming option you can use once the Games are over, there’s a chance the drawbacks we’ve mentioned will be fixed eventually.
Hulu with Live TV device compatibility
Hulu Live is available on all the most popular video players, so there’s a good chance you can stream it on something you already own. Hulu is also the only streaming service that’s compatible with the Nintendo Switch console, so Nintendo fans should definitely consider it as a top choice.
#4 DIRECTV NOW: Solid NBC options but lacking some important features
What we like: A decent number of local NBC stations
Drawbacks: No DVR—at least, not in time for the Pyeongchang opening ceremony
Who it’s perfect for: Casual Winter Olympics fans who don’t mind watching the opening and closing ceremonies live
DIRECTV NOW narrowly misses our medals podium and lands in fourth place. While the service certainly offers more local NBC stations than our third-place finisher, PlayStation Vue, it misses the mark in terms of streaming quality and features. In fact, DIRECTV NOW doesn’t even offer a cloud DVR currently.
But if you’re not worried about missing events at unusual hours, DIRECTV NOW is a decent option that won’t cost as much as Hulu Live or PlayStation Vue.
DIRECTV NOW pricing
To get opening and closing ceremonies coverage, you don’t have to worry about getting a super expensive package. NBC is available on DIRECTV NOW’s most basic package, Live a Little. This plan costs just $35 per month, making the service one of the lower-priced options on our list.
Fun fact: DIRECTV NOW also tends to be the best-priced streaming service for fans of premium channels. And yes, we know the South Korean winter games aren’t going to be broadcast on any premium channels. But if you’re a Game of Thrones fan looking for a service you can keep after the Korean games, we thought you ought to know DIRECTV NOW is probably the best option for your household. You’re welcome.
Watching the Korean opening and closing ceremonies with DIRECTV NOW
Last we checked, DIRECTV NOW offered 44 NBC stations across the country. That’s certainly more than PlayStation Vue offers, which means you have a better chance of being able to watch the opening and closing ceremonies on DIRECTV NOW than you do on PlayStation Vue.
DIRECTV NOW’s streaming quality is also pretty decent, particularly if you have a good internet connection. On a slow cable connection, though, the service gets less reliable, with a greater tendency to cut out, lag, and constantly buffer.
That being said, if you know you have a good internet connection and don’t mind the lack of DVR, DIRECTV NOW could easily be a number-two or even a number-one choice for your household. And just to make sure, there’s certainly no harm in taking advantage of the service’s 7-day free trial period.
DIRECTV NOW DVR service
There’s not a lot to say about DIRECTV NOW’s DVR service simply because it doesn’t exist yet. DIRECTV NOW has been beta testing a DVR service for a few months now, but we’re unlikely to see it roll out before the 2018 Olympics opening ceremony takes place. For most Olympics fans, though, that’s not a problem, as you can watch the opening and closing ceremonies (as well as most of the events) on demand via the NBC Sports App.
DIRECTV NOW device compatibility
Most cord-cutters are able to use DIRECTV NOW, as it’s compatible with the most widely used devices. You won’t be able to stream DIRECTV NOW on any of your gaming consoles, though. So if you’re a gamer looking to stream TV without buying a new device, you may want to try one of the other services on our list.
#5 PlayStation Vue: Great streaming quality with some local NBC offerings
What we like: Smooth streaming with plenty of DVR space
Drawbacks: Middle-of-the-road NBC local channel availability
Who it’s perfect for: Olympics fans who want super-smooth streaming and reliability
Last but certainly not least is PlayStation Vue. The service doesn’t have quite as many local NBC channels as Hulu Live, and it isn’t quite as cost-efficient as YouTube TV. But it makes up for those things with its exceptional streaming quality and unlimited DVR space. That makes a big difference if you want to see every flashy detail during the South Korean cultural celebration segment of the opening ceremony or if busy weekend plans keep you away from your TV during the closing ceremony.
PlayStation Vue pricing
PlayStation Vue packages start at $39.99 per month, so it’s certainly not the cheapest option on our list. The upside, though, is that the $39.99-per-month price tag gets you all the channels you need to watch Olympic coverage (NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, and the USA Network). And considering how smooth and user-friendly the PlayStation Vue streaming experience is, we think the price is worth it.
Watching the opening and closing ceremonies with PlayStation Vue
As we’ve already said, PlayStation Vue offers a very smooth streaming experience. There’s hardly any lag when you change channels, and in our testing, PlayStation Vue has the best track record for delivering reliable livestreams across multiple types of internet connections.
The downside to PlayStation Vue is its NBC local channel availability. At last count, PlayStation Vue offered 26 NBC stations nationwide. While that’s certainly not the poorest showing, it’s still only about 1/3 of what’s available with Hulu Live. We’d strongly recommend visiting the PlayStation Vue website, entering your ZIP code, and double-checking that NBC is available in your area before you sign up.
PlayStation Vue DVR service
Overall, we really like PlayStation Vue’s DVR service. It offers unlimited storage space, so you have the flexibility to record every single alpine skiing, ski jumping, and speed skating event you want. And if there’s anything we like, it’s gorging ourselves on other people’s athletic achievement.
But there is a catch—all recorded content is automatically deleted after 28 days. To put that in perspective, even if you watched nothing but Olympic coverage 24/7 for a month and a half, you still wouldn’t be able to get through just the ice hockey and curling matches before they expired from your DVR.
Of course, if you’re like most fans and just want to get your fill of the Korean opening and closing ceremonies plus a few of your favorite key events, PlayStation Vue’s DVR should work just fine for you.
PlayStation Vue device compatibility
First off, you should know you do not need a PlayStation console to watch PlayStation Vue.
PlayStation Vue is actually available on quite a few devices (think Roku, Apple TV, etc.). Of course, if you are a gamer, you should keep in mind that PlayStation devices are the only consoles compatible with the service.
Other legal options for watching the 2018 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies
On the off chance that none of the streaming services listed above offer NBC in your area (or you simply don’t want to pay a monthly fee for your TV), you can watch the opening and closing ceremonies for the Winter Games using a digital antenna.
Digital antennas these days are better looking and more reliable than the rabbit ears of yesteryear. But like the old-school antennas, they allow you to pick up locally broadcast channels, like NBC, for free.
Of course, there are some downsides. You won’t be able to record anything—at least not without paying for an additional service like Tablo. That’s a major drawback considering that some of the most popular Winter Olympics events are going to be broadcast during NBC’s daytime coverage, when most people are at work.
If you’re considering getting an antenna to watch the Pyeongchang Games, it’s also important to do your research and get the right antenna for your needs. While we like the Mohu Leaf 50 for most households, we strongly recommend checking out our antenna buying guide to see which option will work best for you.
NBC Sports VR App
According to NBC, the NBC Sports VR App will also be providing virtual reality coverage of select events from the winter games, including the opening and closing ceremonies. So if you’ve always wanted to see what it’d be like to snag a front row seat to all the fanfare of the ceremonies, this option may be what you’ve been waiting for.
Like the regular NBC Sports App and NBCOlympics.com, the winter games VR coverage will be available live from South Korea, so you can catch the gold medal men’s hockey match as it happens. Also, the NBC Sports VR App does require a cable or streaming service login in order to watch, so you may still want to consider signing up for fuboTV or another inexpensive streaming service to access the 50 hours of VR content that will be available throughout the South Korean games.
Citius, Altius, Fortius!
We’re constantly striving to provide the best streaming recommendations so you can get what you need faster, enjoy higher quality service, and make stronger financial decisions about your entertainment. If you still have any questions, feel free to comment or reach out to us via email. Until then…USA! USA!