How to Watch the Olympics for Cable Cutters

Olympics on TV

With the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics only days away, it’s time to plan out which event’s you’ll watch. If you don’t have a cable TV subscription, that’s OK because there are plenty of other ways to get your Olympics fix.

Olympics on TV
You don’t need cable TV to watch the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio

Catching all of the Olympics is pretty much impossible because it’s thousands of hours of coverage spread across NBC, NBCSN, Bravo, USA Network, MSNBC, CNBC, and the Golf Channel. That said, you don’t have to miss the events you really want to see. Here are some options for watching the Olympics without having to break down and pay for a cable or satellite TV package you don’t really want:

Over the Air HD Antenna

NBC is home to the official broadcaster for the Olympics, and they’ll have loads of coverage on their regular broadcast channel that’s available for free—assuming you have an antenna. You can pick one up for pretty cheap, like Amazon’s own Basics Ultra Thin Indoor TV Antenna for US$17.99.

You can use the antenna to pick up all of your local over the air channels and watch more than the Olympics, too. The downside is that buildings in some areas can block the signal, so an HD antenna won’t work for everyone.

Sling TV

Sling’s on demand streaming service lets you get at the Olympics from the devices you already own, assuming you’re ready to pony up for a monthly subscription. Odds are you’re set on the hardware side because Sling has apps for Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, Roku, and Xbox One.

Sling’s Blue package costs $25 a month and includes NBC, NBCSN, USA, and Bravo. To get the rest of NBC’s coverage channels you have to jump up to the Sports Extra package which adds another $5 a month to your bill. That package adds CNBC, MSNBC, and the Golf Channel.


Twitch is another Internet-based streaming TV service, and they’re offering an Olympics coverage category. You can sign up for free, and no, you don’t have to watch people playing video games if you don’t want to.


YouTube has more than TMO videos and PewDiePie. The streaming video website is also home to an official Olympics channel that offers video guides, athlete interviews, highlights from previous years, and coverage of this year’s summer games in Rio.

NBC has a website dedicated to live streaming the Rio games. It’s also a handy place for keeping track of which events you want to watch because they have a comprehensive schedule you can check out any time.

PlayStation Vue

When you’re ready to take a break from playing video games you can kick back and watch the summer Olympics on your PlayStation if you have a PlayStation Vue account. You’ll get access to NBC, NBCSN, Bravo, USA, and MSNBC for $30 a month.

Apple TV

You can watch the summer games on your fourth generation Apple TV, too, if you have the right apps. The NBC Sports app is a great option, but it requires a cable subscription to login, or Sling TV/PlayStation Vue subscription. If you have a family member willing to share their cable account info with you, that’ll take care of the subscription part without having to sign up yourself. Just remember that pressuring someone into handing over their account information isn’t cool.

If you’re a Sling subscriber you can use their app on your Apple TV, and YouTube’s app is an option, too. The apps are free and you can find them by searching in the App Store on your Apple TV.

One thought on “How to Watch the Olympics for Cable Cutters

  • I use the Channels App with Apple TV (4th Generation) using the Silicon Dust HD Home Run. The Channels App runs about $20.00. The HD Home Run (newer version now available) runs about $120.00. I use a 30 year old UHF attic antenna with RG-6 low loss coax. The indoor antenna solution suggested may or may not work with all available channels based on placement of the antenna and the distance from the TV station transmitter site. Best to use old fashioned outdoor roof top High VHF and UHF combo antenna. Signal splitters if needed should be HD versions with 2 GHz bandwidth.

    I live in an urban Chicago environment and all stations are 90 to 93% signal strength (3 miles from transmitter site) except for the CBS owned station which is high VHF. Its at 76% but never drops out. This because of my UHF only antenna.

    I already had the HD Home Run with Eye TV using it on my MAC. Eye TV allows me to record TV programs on a set schedule and play back latter on any of my devices including Apple TV (all versions).

    The Insta-TV App can be used on Apple TV (4th Generation) instead of Channels. It downloads for free but will need $9.00 in App purchase of an Audio Codec for sound. Insta-TV is also available for IOS ($9.00 Audio Codec) as well as the Channels App for $14.99.

    For the MAC there is a Silicon Dust View App which is a free download with the purchase of the Silicon Dust HD Home Run. It does not allow for recording like the Eye TV App.

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