The 2016 Rio Olympics are off to an exciting start, and if you’re reading this guide for how to watch the Olympics online without cable, chances are you’re as excited as I am to watch all the action. The Olympics is the pinnacle of athleticism and physical performance, with the best athletes in the world, representing the majority of countries in the world, gathering in Brazil to compete for glory. It’s an intense, exhilarating and exciting few weeks, and you won’t want to miss it. If you’d like to learn how to watch Olympics online without cable, we’ll show you how in the streaming guide below.
The 2016 Olympics will take place from August 3rd through August 21st, with the Opening Ceremony on August 5th. This year, it’s hosted by Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a beautiful albeit politically troubled city. For viewers at home, this year presents the most live Olympics coverage ever, with TV networks here in the US airing an incredible 2,084 hours of Olympics programming. If watched back-to-back, it would take 87 days to watch all that coverage!
So, clearly, you’re not going to be physically able to watch every second of the action, but that doesn’t mean you can’t watch your favorite events live. Even if you don’t have cable, there’s no need to worry – it’s now quite easy to watch the Olympics online, without needing a cable TV subscription. The options below present the best ways to watch the Olympics live stream from home:
5 Simple Steps to Watch Olympics Online with Sling TV in 2016
No doubt about it, if you’re looking for an all-in-one service to watch the Olympics online without cable, Sling TV is the best choice. Why? Because Sling TV offers EVERY SINGLE MAJOR CHANNEL that will cover the 2016 Rio Olympics in English.
The coverage will be spread out over many channels – NBC (in select markets), NBCSN, Bravo, USA, MSNBC, and more. Luckily, Sling TV offers ALL of these channels, either as part of their basic package or as part of an add-on. Check the Olympics TV schedule below for details on what events are set to air on which channels.
If you’re not familiar with how Sling TV works, here’s a brief rundown: sign up today (and try the free trial while you’re at it) and you can immediately begin watching LIVE TV, news, movies and more from a variety of devices. Packages start at just $20 a month, with no long term contract and no hidden fees.
With Sling, you can watch t0 the Olympics online on Apple TV, Roku, Xbox One, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, smart TVs, mobile devices, computers, and more. Basically, most devices that can stream video can stream Sling TV! Our Sling TV review has the full list.
So, what about the Olympics live stream? How specifically do you use Sling TV to watch The Olympics without cable? Here’s how:
1. Sign up for Sling Blue
The Sling Blue package includes most of the channels that you’ll need to watch all the Olympics 2016 coverage you can handle. Sling Blue is $25 a month, and offers an impressive 40+ channels. There is a free 7-day trial available.
As far as Olympics coverage goes, Sling Blue offers: NBCSN, NBC (in select areas, including Chicago, Dallas, Hartford, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, D.C.), USA, and Bravo. Combined, these channels will offer an incredible 795.5 hours of live Olympics coverage, ranging from tennis to swimming to gymnastics and beyond. These main four networks will offer plenty of coverage for most folks, but if you want to watch the Olympics online with even more viewing options, you can add on additional channels.
*Note: NBC is only available live in select markets, all other channels are available nationwide.
2. Add on the World News Extra Package
Update: Sling TV has announced they will be adding CNBC and MSNBC to the Sling Blue package for no additional cost during the Olympics!
To further expand your viewing options, Sling TV is now offering CNBC and MSNBC in its basic Sling Blue package at no extra cost during the Olympics. This is a big deal because those channels are normally part of the World News Extra that you add on to your subscription for an extra $5 a month. These two networks that will cover 120.5 hours of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
3. Add on the Sports Extra Package
If you’re a golf fan, the next step would be to add the Sports Extra package for an extra $5 a month. That will add Golf Channel, which adds 115 hours of Olympics Golf coverage. Not to mention, you also get SEC Network, ESPNEWS, beIN Sports, and much more to quench your thirst for live sports coverage.
4. Consider the Special Deals
Before you sign up, there are several great deals that you can take advantage of. Right now, these are the top sign-up bonus deals that Sling TV is offering to help you watch the Olympics online:
- A FREE 7-day trial with no strings attached (cancel anytime!)
- A FREE Roku 2 when you prepay for 3 months of Sling TV
- $60 off an Apple TV when you prepay for 3 months of Sling TV
If you plan to keep the service long-term, the free/discounted device deals offer the best value. But if you’re not sure yet, go with the free trial. If you time it right, you’ll be able to access Olympics live streaming free for a week, while testing out the service for yourself!
5. Enjoy the Olympics!
To sum up, for $35 a month you’ll enjoy a total of 60+ channels, including 7 channels that offer a combined 1,031 hours of live Olympics coverage. If you’re not a golf fan, you could drop that price even further to just $30 a month for 50+ channels. You’ll be able to watch the Olympics online from the comfort of your couch, on the bus on your smartphone, laying in bed on your laptop, or wherever else you want! And, depending on which deal you choose, you may score a free or heavily discounted streaming device, as well!
PlayStation Vue Offers Another Way to Access Olympics Live Stream
While we believe Sling TV to be the best overall option, there is a similar service known as PlayStation Vue that provides an alternative. Vue offers many of the same channels that Sling TV does, including NBC, NBCSN, MSNBC and more. As far as Olympics coverage goes, the two services are about the same.
Where the details differ is in the price (Vue starts at $30 for the basic package) and in the ability to watch on-the-go. Unfortunately, PlayStation Vue does not allow mobile viewing. While the service does work on iOS and Android devices, it ONLY works at home. So, if you plan to watch on-the-go, Vue may not the best choice. However, Vue does offer one great benefit–you can use the credentials to authenticate the NBC Sports Live Extra app.
Additionally, PlayStation Vue is not compatible with as many devices as Sling. To watch the Olympics online via PlayStation Vue, you’ll need to have a PS3/PS4, Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or iOS/Android device. Plus, they don’t offer any generous sign-up bonuses, although they do have a free trial which can be used to watch Olympics live streaming free for a week. Learn more in our review of PlayStation Vue.
Use An Antenna to Watch The Olympics Without Cable for Free
Incredibly, you can actually watch a good amount of 2016 Olympics coverage online for free, by using an OTA antenna. These devices allow you to pick up over-the-air networks like NBC for free, without needing cable TV. You can also pick up Telemundo, which will be covering some Olympics events in Spanish.
All you’ll need is a good TV antenna – check our guide on how to choose the best antenna to learn more. Depending on your schedule, you may also want to use a DVR to record events and watch them later. Our OTA DVR comparison guide will show you the best options for that. In general, we recommend the Tablo, as it will allow you to record and watch events on-the-go.
Now, keep in mind that this will only give you access to NBC, so it’s not a complete viewing option. With that being said, it’s free, and will provide a good amount of live coverage – so what’s not to love?
Watch The Olympics Online From Outside the USA
All the above options apply only to US residents. If you don’t live in the United States, you won’t be able to use these options. However, there are still various legal ways that you can watch Olympics live stream if you live elsewhere. Click here to learn more.
What Channel is the Olympics?
The 2016 Olympics tv rights are owned by NBC. That means that you can watch a lot of the Olympics on your local NBC affiliate. But for a better experience, you’ll at least want NBCSN. Other channels featuring live Olympic coverage include USA, Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC, and the Gold Channel.
2016 Olympics TV Schedule
*Nearly every event can be watched using Sling TV – click here to start your free trial and watch the Olympics online!
Since there is SO much live coverage being offered this year, it would be impossible to list the complete 2016 Olympics TV schedule here. However, what we can do is provide you with a basic idea of which channels will host which events. See below.
NBCSN (available nationwide via Sling Blue) will host 330 hours of coverage throughout the games. It will cover more than 20 different sports, and offer the most coverage and largest variety of any network. Expect to see track and field, boxing, fencing, field hockey, basketball, soccer, archery, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling and much more. Also of note, NBCSN will host the majority of medal ceremonies. If you had to choose just one network to watch the Olympics online, NBCSN would be it (but with Sling TV, you get all the networks!)
NBC (available in select markets via Sling Blue) will host 260.5 hours of coverage throughout the entire 2016 Olympics. NBC will host both the Olympics Opening Ceremony and Olympics Closing Ceremony. As for coverage, you can expect a mix of just about everything on NBC – swimming, track and field, beach volleyball, gymnastics, diving, basketball, and more. NBC also offers analytical coverage, athlete features, interviews, and more.
USA Network (available nationwide via Sling Blue) will host 110.5 hours of coverage throughout the games. USA will primarily cover men’s basketball, synchronized swimming, cycling, beach volleyball, rowing, water polo, and volleyball.
Bravo (available nationwide via Sling Blue) will host 94.5 hours of coverage during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Bravo will be home to Olympic Tennis, broadcasting exclusively men’s and women’s tennis coverage.
MSNBC (available nationwide via Sling’s World News Extra package) will host 78.5 hours of coverage during the games. MSNBC will primarily offer coverage of basketball, rugby, water polo, soccer, and beach volleyball.
CNBC (available nationwide via Sling’s World News Extra package) will host 42 hours of coverage throughout the games, generally from 5-8 p.m. each day. CNBC will offer elimination-round coverage of volleyball and basketball, plus beach volleyball, rugby, wrestling, water polo, archery and more.
Find Information on Specific Olympics Sports
Looking for specific information on how to watch your favorite Olympic sports and events? We have streaming guides for all major events:
Olympics Soccer – excited to watch the best 16 teams in soccer battle it out for Olympics glory? Check our Olympics Soccer live stream guide. The Team USA Women’s Soccer team is looking particularly impressive this year.
Olympics Beach Volleyball – ready for the most exciting sport on the beach? Our Olympics Beach Volleyball live stream guide has your viewing options!
Olympics Boxing – want to watch the hardest-hitting sport in the Olympics? Our Olympics Boxing live stream guide has got you covered!
For more information on the 2016 Olympics TV schedule, head over to NBC’s site, or tune in to Bob Costas’ 2016 Olympic Preview Special this Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. And for more information about the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, head over to the official Olympics website. For other sports coverage, our sports streaming guide will answer all your questions.
Although the Brazilian government is battling many problems with the upcoming games, fans from all over the world are excited to watch the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. And unless you have a cool $700 a day to spend on attending the games in person, you’re probably better off watching from home. We hope this guide has given you all the information you need to watch the 2016 Olympics online. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!