If you are like many and plan to watch the Olympic coverage while comfortably seated in a couch then here is a guide on how to cost effectively achieve that goal while catching what you want to watch for the lowest cost.
Free To Air
Channel 9 is the official Australian rebroadcaster and as such has promised 18 hours per day of coverage consisting of 14.5 hours of live coverage and the rest being taken up by highlights packages. The really bad news, “expert” commentators including Edward McGuire (AFL), Mark Nicholas (Cricket) and Karl Stefanovic (???) will take up precious screen time in the place of actual sporting footage. I would posit that the coverage will consist of the usual chopping and changing from event to event with little to no public schedule that we have enjoyed from Channel 7 for many Olympics before. The reason that seperate events cannot me simulcast on sister digital channels such as Gem seems to be due to Australia’s current Anti Siphoning Laws restricting this, so its not all Nine’s fault for less than stellar coverage. Also there seems to be no plans for Nine to provide any online catch up service, a decision which I believe is a huge mistake.
How much of the gymnastics that is set to be broadcast is up for speculation at this point. From previous experience Gymnastics has proven to be a marquee event with large audience numbers and as such last cycle Channel 7 broadcast all apparatus finals in full on free to air. However the Individual and Team Finals footage was poor and incomplete with practically no qualification rounds televised. I will assume it will be much the same again this cycle.
Foxtel has acquired the official rights to broadcast to subscription television and as such is promising 8 dedicated channels, one of them specifically for gymnastics, in both SD and HD which I’m sure will provide comprehensive coverage of not only the Gymnastics but all participating sports. These will be available for $16 or free if you already subscribe to the sports package for current Foxtel users. All channels will be recordable through Foxtel IQ and Foxtel will most likely provide a catch up service available to registered subscribers online. The Caveat of course is that if you are not a already Foxtel subscriber the costs mount up quite quickly, I have outlined the total costs below if you wish to pursue this option. This month Foxtel are running a no lock in contract promotion which can assist with costs if you are willing to go that route.
|Basic Package||2X $45 per month|
|Sports Package||2X $16 per month|
The tech savvy out there will also like to know that the Olympic channels will not be available through Foxtel’s Xbox, T-Box or IPTV offerings. It is only available to cable subscribers.
Overseas and online offerings
If you have a good broadband connection and were thinking of streaming the Olympics through your PC or streaming box then prepare to be disappointed. On first glance there appear to be several online options such as the US’s NBC offerings outlining several dedicated streaming channels however this is only to be available to NBC cable subscribers. The BBC will be offering several streaming channels via its BBC iPlayer app but only to UK residents. Youtube has acquired the rights to broadcast online to all countries currently without an official broadcaster, but with Australia already having Nine and Foxtel taking up those licences Youtube will not broadcast in Australia. Rather Youtube will be available to mostly African and Asian nations where the Olympics will be otherwise unavailable.
This brings me to a final option for those willing to spend a little money and watch your favourite gymnastics for a reasonable cost “semi” legitimately. Those familiar with IP routing and the like could possibly try a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or DNS tunneling which basically reroutes your IP address making it look like your computer is situated in a different country to allow for online streaming where it wouldn’t usually be possible due to country restrictions. There are two main options here and I will go through them.
1. Proxy settings
It is possible to dupe a website by simply entering a specific proxy server setting into the advanced options of most modern web browsers. A quick google search for “proxy server” plus the desired country should give lists upon lists of proxy server settings which you will have to try one by one. There are paid services but then again these can very easily be scams as well. All in all with the Olympics on I predict most of these proxy servers will be swamped and grind to a halt anyway which is obviously no good for video streaming so this wouldn’t be my first option.
2. Virtual Private Network
A VPN reroutes your IP address through a more complicated process which encrypts the whole connection. It is much better for streaming video but if you rely on this service again with the traffic expected during the Olympics I would suggest video streaming could become flaky. Software such as Tunnelbear and Tunlr are more well known VPN offerings with varying success and if you are willing to keep an eye on your usage you can get away with not paying a cent as well. Once again this is not a guarantee however you do usually have a free trial for these kinds of services so one can easily test it out for free and paid options are reasonable at about $10 AUD per month.
If you decide to go through one of these options I would suggest trying to reroute through one of the African or Asian Nations that will have youtube streaming of the Games. The BBC streaming service will no doubt be swamped and there will be varying levels of connectivity. More information can be found at APCmag.
I would be happy to pay a reasonable price to watch just the Gymnastics coverage but alas this option has not been provided to us yet. Here’s hoping for such an option in four years time but I don’t hold high hopes honestly. It seems the best way for now to watch the Gymnastics coverage for a reasonable price is to find a friend who has Foxtel. Let me know in the comments how you will be watching the Games and let me know if I missed out any options.