How To Watch The 2016 Rio Olympics Without Cable

This page is part of our 2016 Summer Olympics Online Viewers Guide


With just a few weeks left to the opening ceremony of 2016 Rio Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, folks in the US are scrambling to find ways to tune in for the festivities. 6,000 dancers have been rehearsing for the opening act since May, a reminder of just how popular the Games of the Olympiad are.

Over the years, broadcast TV has been the preferred choice of audiences for watching the Olympics live. NBC, USA Network and other broadcasters paid a huge amount to get broadcasting rights for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Obviously, those with a satellite/cable subscription can jump in on their television or the official streams of broadcasters to watch all the action.

What about people without a satellite/cable package, though?

Unless you have a super nice neighbor who is willing to share his/her cable credentials, you have to do some research to discover the alternatives. Of course, that’s a time consuming process. On top of that, you have to watch out for malicious websites/apps/platforms that claim to provide free Olympic coverage.

These websites ask you to enter your personal information during the registration process, sometimes credit card information too. And once you do, they launch several dialog boxes and tabs which irritate you in no time. In the end, you just give up and leave, forgetting that you have just entered your private information. The sites might redirect you to a legit free stream (surrounded by ads), if you’re lucky, but cyber criminals still gain access to your information.

To save you from the hassle of finding legitimate and secure ways to stream the Rio Summer Olympics 2016, we’ve compiled a list of alternatives that will enable you to watch the top athletes compete for pride, medal and honor.

1. Watch Rio Olympics on BBC (UK) or CBC (Canada)

BBC and CBC will be streaming the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics online via their respective sites. The requirement is that the device from which a person is streaming is either located in the UK for BBC or Canada for CBC. The location of the device is determined through its IP address.

Fortunately, you can use an IP address that makes it look like you’re tuning in from the UK or Canada. This can be done through SlickVPN or another similar virtual private network solution. You just need to make sure that the VPN provider you select has several gateway locations in the UK and Canada.

Another thing to look for in a VPN service is the support for HD viewing. With top VPN providers, you avoid blocking or throttling by your internet service provider. Their networks are optimized to deliver the best HD viewing experience.

Also, top VPN providers use high-end encryption, which should protect your data from cyber criminals. This also allows you to use WiFi hotspots and public WiFi with peace of mind that no one is monitoring your data or tracking your activities. Therefore, a VPN is an ideal choice if you want live coverage on the go.

Note: Don’t use free VPNs as the Olympics streaming fix. They’ll sag under the weight of thousands of users trying to get coverage.

2. Use Sling TV

This option is a bit more expensive than VPN. You can get the Sling Blue subscription for $25 a month. It streams over 40 channels including USA, Bravo, NBC (to select areas) and NBCSN. For $5 extra per month, you can gain access to World News Extra, a package that enables you to watch MSNBC and CNBC.

Sling TV is compatible with a range of devices including PC, Mac, Android devices, iPad and iPhone. Subscribers can also watch the action through a streaming media device like Chromecast, Xbox One, Apple TV or Roku. Therefore, you don’t have to mooch off your relative’s cable subscription to enjoy full coverage.

You can sign up for a 7-day free trial; that way, you can enjoy the first week of 2016 Rio Summer Olympics coverage free of charge and then decide if you want to sign up for the monthly package. You can also bag an Apple TV (32 GB) for $89 if you prepay for three months of subscription.

Sling, however, doesn’t include an option to record coverage for later viewing. This is a bit of a bummer as you can’t rewind, fast-forward or pause any of the action. It means users are limited to highlights during live coverage if they want to revisit any magical moments.

3. PlayStation Vue

This a $39.99 per month streaming service from Sony with ubiquitous broadcast options. You get to watch 60+ channels including MSNBC, NBCSN, and NBC. Its interface requires a bit of time to get used to, but does a great job at distinguishing on-demand services (TV shows and movies) from live coverage (for watching the Olympics).

If you live in a region where Vue doesn’t have a carriage partnership with the regional NBC affiliate, you can watch the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics through the NBC Sports mobile app. Vue is compatible with multiple devices including PS4, PS3, iPhone and iPad.

You can also watch the Olympics on your TV with PlayStation Vue by connecting via a streaming media player like Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, Roku or Amazon Fire TV. However, you can only watch PlayStation Vue on mobile and tablet at home because there are no features to support on-the-go coverage.

Like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue offers a free 7-day trial period so users can enjoy the first week of Rio Summer Olympics 2016 coverage free of cost, and then decide if they want to sign up. You can enter your ZIP code on Vue’s website to see what’s available in the region you live.

Over to You

These are all inexpensive ways to catch all the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics action, and some of your favorite TV episodes too. People who have a TV antenna can try to pick up NBC for free to enjoy a good selection of 2016 Summer Olympics action. For those without a cable subscription or a TV antenna, one of the options mentioned above should be a viable investment.

What are your thoughts? How are you planning to watch the Rio Summer Olympics 2016? Feel free to leave comments.