How To Watch The 2016 Summer Olympics Online

by Caitlin Flynn

The highlight of summer is finally upon us — the 2016 Rio Olympic Games kick off on Friday, August 5 with an opening ceremony at the Maracanã Stadium. Whether your favorite sport is gymnastics, diving, soccer, volleyball, or swimming, all Olympics fans will definitely want to tune in right away for the opening festivities — 6,000 volunteer dancers have been rehearsing since May and it's a reminder of just how big a deal the games are. And, in a year when the country has often felt hopelessly divided due to politics and conflict about the best manner to address a wide number of pressing issues, the Olympics feel like a rare opportunity to find common ground and bring Americans together in a small way as we cheer on our incredible athletes. As always, the Games will air on NBC — but can you watch the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Online?

If your roommate happens to monopolize the TV on the night of your favorite event, don't despair — the Olympics can be watched online thanks to NBC's website and the network's new mobile sports app. With the app, you'll be able to watch the Olympics on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. However, it's only available to subscribers who have NBC as part of their cable plan — so you'll want to download the app in advance and enter all your information prior to the games so there aren't any unexpected holdups when you tune in for the competition. (I mean, who among us hasn't forgotten their cable password at some point?)

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The app will live stream a whopping 4,500 hours of coverage throughout the Olympics — which is a huge plus if you love a sport that doesn't happen to land a coveted primetime spot on NBC. In order to accommodate the sheer number of events, Olympic programming will be broadcast across 11 TV networks including Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, and the Golf Channel. With the app, you'll be able to easily locate your event of choice so you can focus on cheering on your team rather than figuring out which channel to watch.

The other benefit of the app and online viewing is that it will allow you to watch events live, whereas the events on primetime have been prerecorded. Rio is only one hour ahead of America's ET time zone, so there won't be massive delays between the events and their air times — but, they still won't air live. There's nothing quite like watching the competition happen in real time, so if your schedule allows for it, the Internet is the ideal way to watch the Olympics.

Of course, not everyone feels the need to have 4,500 hours of Olympic coverage at their fingertips and, in that case, the app isn't a necessity. If you prefer to tune in and cheer on America in whichever event happens to be airing, there's a simpler online option — NBC's official website will live stream the Games starting on August 3. (Although the Olympics don't "officially" begin until August 5, podium training and certain competitions, like women's soccer, start two days earlier.) The air times vary depending on your location, but you can find the full online schedule on NBC's website. It'll prompt you to select your local NBC station, then you can view your online lineup. This could also come in handy if you and your roommates want to watch different events that happen air simultaneously on TV.

Happy viewing, and best of luck to all the amazing athletes who have spent years training tirelessly for the Rio Olympics.