London 2012: Your complete guide to the Olympic Games online

London 2012 Summer Olympic Games online

At 9pm GMT (4pm ET/1pm PT) today, the 2012 London Olympic Games will officially begin. But unlike years past, it is possible to enjoy every moment of this year’s Summer Games without having an actual television — the Web is taking center stage. Below is a quick rundown of all the places you need to bookmark to get the full London 2012 Olympic experience online.

Where to watch

Despite NBCUniversal (which has exclusive rights to the Olympics in the U.S.) making a big deal out of the fact that you can stream every event at this year’s Games online via a PC or smartphone, it’s not quite as simple as visiting a website or firing up an app — you have to have a cable subscription as well.

If you do have a cable subscription that includes CNBC and MSNBC as part of your channel package (both are a prerequisite), then head over to NBCOympics.com/LiveExtra, where you can enter in the username and password associated with your cable subscription. (If you don’t have login credentials for your cable service, call up your provider and set them up.) After that, live streaming will be available via NBCOlympics.com. Olympics highlights will also be posted to NBC’s Olympics website, which anyone can watch, regardless of whether you pay for cable.

NBC also offers two mobile apps, NBC Olympics and NBC Olympics Live Extra, for iOS and Android devices. The former gives you highlights, while the latter gives you extensive coverage of all the events.

Once again, you’ll have to have login credentials for your cable service, so make sure to get that before downloading the app. Download: NBC Olympics (App Store, Google Play); NBC Olympics Live Extra (App Store, Google Play).

If you don’t live in the U.S., you can watch the Olympics legally on YouTube at YouTube.com/Olympics. And international viewers can grab a live feed from their local broadcaster. Here’s a list of some of the major ones:

Of course, there are ways around the technical barriers that prevent U.S. viewers from watching via YouTube or BBC (like Tor or a VPN like Overplay or HMA), as well as illegal streaming sites. ReadWriteWeb has a good explainer on where you can find the Olympics streaming online.

What to watch

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games includes 304 events across 36 sports — so you’ll have to pick what you want to watch wisely. You can find the complete Olympics schedule here. And Business Insider has put together a great list of all the major events that are happening each day.


As with any live event these days, the best place to stay up to the micro-second is Twitter. The official hashtag for The Games is #olympics, though many people are also using #london2012, and others not yet defined — so keep a lookout in the trending topics for how to effectively tag you Olympics-related tweets. (We’d wager that, in the U.S., #usa and #teamusa will also make regular appearances.) An excellent one-stop resource is this Twitter list made by Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch.

Olympic extras

Here’s a quick list of some other Olympics-related links that can add to your experience.

So that’s it. If any of you have any suggestions for things that should be on this list, let us know in the comments, and we’ll add the best suggestions!

Image via Flickr/The Department for Culture, Media and Sport