NBC announced today that they will live stream their Olympic coverage as it happens on their website, while still offering tape delayed versions of the proceedings during prime-time in the U.S.
For the first time ever, viewers in the United States will be able to watch every single Olympic Event as it unfolds from their computer at www.nbcolympics.com.
In for each of the past several Olympic Games, dating back to the 1992 games in Barcelona, NBC had faced criticism for tape delaying large portions of the games to be broadcast in prime-time.
This year NBC plans to use its armada of networks to broadcast live coverage during the day, as it has in previous years. The NBC Sports Network, CNBC, MSNBC and NBC during the day, will all show live coverage from the games.
But in prime-time, NBC will switch to tape delayed coverage replete with the human interest features that they have been lampooned for over the past 20 years. NBC's tape delayed broadcasts will again focus on the so called marquee sports; swimming, diving, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball and basketball.
NBCUniversal has new ownership and that ownership has removed producer Dick Ebersol from the Olympic broadcast for the first time since 1992, so NBC's on air product could feel slightly different than what viewers have seen in the past. Ebersol felt that live streams cut into ratings for prime-time, so much so that he cut the number of available streams down from 25 in Beijing in 2008 to just two in Vancouver in 2010.
Unfortunately, the streams on NBCOlympics.com are not actually free. They are free to any verified cable, satellite and telephone company customers, which means that users will need their account information in order to access a stream.
In total, NBC plans to stream 3,500 hours of coverage with as many as 40 streams available simultaneously.