The Sochi Olympics started early Thursday morning, but the highly anticipated opening ceremony will take place a day later on Feb. 7.
Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia, will host the opening ceremony, where an estimated 40,000 spectators will be watching the multimillion dollar event. The Associated Press reports that fireworks displays will be in abundance, along with performances by Russian violinist Yuri Bashmet, conductor Valery Gergiev, ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina -- and possibly Russian pop duo t.A.T.u.
Festivities start at 11 a.m. ET, but the performances will be broadcasted on delay at 7:30 p.m. on NBC in the United States, hosted by Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira. Since NBCUniversal paid $4.3 billion for U.S. rights to the Olympics through 2020 -- the network wants to make sure it benefits from that investment.
"We want to put context to it, with the full pageantry it deserves," Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, told Variety about the network’s decision to not live stream the event. "We are looking to maximize the viewing experience for our audience."
For those that have cable, the ceremony can be seen with NBC Live Extra, where users must log in with a username and password for their TV account. But, if you don’t pay a cable bill -- don’t fret. There are ways to keep score of the medal count.
English-speaking countries like the UK and Canada have their respective broadcast networks that offer live coverage of the opening ceremonies and Sochi Winter Olympic events. Both stations, the BBC and CBC, respectively, do limit their coverage to domestic users. But logging onto a VPN (virtual private network) can block your American IP address and allow you access to Canadian and British content.
What’s the easiest way to do that?
Forbes suggests TunnelBear, a desktop app for Mac and PC, which allows users to toggle between using an IP from the UK and Canada and back to your regular IP generated by your service provider. There's a free option, but the unlimited access is just $5 a month.
ExpatShield is a free option that provides UK IP addresses. The application will sit in the system tray, where you can turn it on and off at your convenience.
CyberGhost is another app that allows access to geo-restricted sites. The free service option includes 1 GB of traffic per month and access to free servers in 14 different countries including the UK.
Unlike NBC, the Canadian broadcast network, the CBC, will be covering the opening ceremonies live. A preshow with Ron MacLean and Peter Mansbridge will air at 10 a.m. ET followed by a webcast at 11 a.m. ET.
The BBC will also be providing live coverage of the opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. ET or 4 p.m. GMT, which can be viewed here.