Have you been missing out on the action at the 2016 Rio Olympics?
So far, in addition to the actual sports events, there’s been plenty of entertainment to be had. There have been scandals, such as Russia’s Yuliya Efimova’s initial bar and quiet reinstatement for doping. There have been problems with stray bullets, unattended knapsacks being destroyed by police via explosion, and raw sewage in the Guanabara Bay.
Then there are more inspiring stories, like that of the fastest rugby player Carlin Isles, whose determination brought him from homelessness and foster home as a child to one of the best rugby players in the world. And that’s not to mention that he’s just one of 10,500 athletes from 205 different countries competing against each other in these games.
You, too, can be part of the worldwide audience witnessing these amazing feats and interesting happenings, and you can do it from your Android. So even though flying to Brazil and watching the games live might be out of reach this year, there are still plenty of other ways you can view the games.
We’ll discuss streaming websites, watching on your Android TV, and using sports or news apps and social media. Many of these apps also provide the packed schedule of events, so you can find specifically what you are interested in.
1. Watch The Rio Olympics Through a Streaming App on Android TV
Google was able to persuade several broadcasters to put some of the best parts of the games on YouTube. And there just so happens to be an app called YouTube for Android TV that offers voice search. If you prefer to stream directly from your mobile device, there’s also a YouTube mobile app. Just FYI, though, there have already been some complaints about video quality using the Android TV app.
It’s also not going to be the same as watching a full event. However, a lot of the moments that are captured are real-time, and feature 360-degree views. You will have to put up with some ads like you normally do on YouTube. Even after the Olympics are over you can still use the app to subscribe to specific channels if you please.
YouTube for Android TV
YouTube Mobile App
2. The Olympics Official App for Android
This app will be especially interesting to you if you are an Olympic history buff, or want a crystal ball to see future Olympic news. You can see video from the 1908 London games or hear about news regarding the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018. Some users have found it useful to keep tabs on records and scores by athlete, sport, and event. Apps like these can be great if you have a busy schedule and don’t have the luxury of staying glued to the TV.
However, some users have reported that the information is lacking or difficult to access. What information and visuals you do have access to don’t seem to arrive with very much speed; the app can be rather slow. Navigation isn’t terribly intuitive and some functions seem broken.
People generally don’t seem to be too disappointed in the visual components of the app, which contains both videos and photos of this year’s Olympics as well as those previous. Others found the layout to be clean and were fine with the speed. You can decide for yourself below.
The Olympics – Official App
3. Stream NBC Apps to Chromecast or Your Android
A cable subscription is necessary to use any of the NBC apps, but if you just need it for a little Olympic viewing you can take advantage of the free 30-minute trial (or borrow a friend’s credentials). It might be worth your while so you can see medal standings, streaming of every single Olympic event, real-time results, and video on demand.
The sports app offers push notifications so that you can remember which events are going to be coming up soon. Users have complained about video quality (some say it seems fine during ads; just not the events) and provider incompatibility, but an update has improved many other issues.
Prior to this August, streaming NBC to Chromecast was tricky, if not impossible. And given that NBC exclusively has held the U.S. contract to broadcast the Olympics, and offered no Android TV support, options have been extremely limited.
The only way to get around it was to stream the app on your Android phone or tablet, then Chromecast from your Android device. You can still do this, but now if you want to save on your Android’s battery, the NBC apps now support Chromecast streaming directly. Although according to users, it still seems to have some intermittent connection problems.
4. Experience the Olympics in Virtual Reality Using Samsung VR
If you own a Samsung VR Gear headset, you can practically be in the Olympics. Okay, that might be a stretch, considering that your best cannonball might not measure up to the Olympic divers’ abilities. Still, you will have access to at least 85 hours of content that most people won’t have—unless you live in New York—and then you can view it at the Samsung 837 Showroom. And even if you don’t have your headset beside you, you can still watch the VR app on your Samsung S6, S6, or Note 5.
To get the most out of the Olympics with your VR Gear headset, you will want to install the NBC Sports app available below, for which you will still have to supply cable credentials. Within the app, go to Exclusive VR Content. Snap your phone into the headset. Note that you will still have to download the NBC Sports app within the Oculus store as well.
It will all be worthwhile to watch basketball, opening and closing ceremonies, gymnastics, volleyball, track and field, boxing, diving, fencing, and highlights. The technology could and probably will be improved still, but this is a way to skip the ads. It isn’t live though—there is about a 24-hour delay. The headset will probably cause others to do a double-take, but it is pretty comfortable.
5. No Cable? No Problem with Sling TV on Android
This internet service offers all of the major channels that show the Olympics. This is not to say that it’s free—the service can run anywhere from $20 to $40 per month, depending on the package or combination of packages you choose. The web TV service does offer a free 7-day trial; however, and is available on Android. Sling TV also doesn’t require any long-term contract or surprise you with fees.
The Blue tier option is probably your best bet to get the most Olympic coverage, given that this includes all of the NBC channels, including MSNBC and CNBC for no extra charge for the month of August. These are part of the World News Extra package that normally costs $5 more to add on. The Blue package itself normally costs $25 per month, which you will see applied to your credit card if you forget to cancel your trial.
If you choose to add on the Sports Extra package, which is $5 more even through August, you will gain the Golf Channel, ESPNEWS, SEC Network, ESPNU, beIN Sports, Outside Television, NFL RedZone, Univision Deportes Network, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded, and ESPN Buzzer Beater.
Between all of the free trials and apps listed, you could get through the remainder of the Olympics without having to pay a dime. You also have your choice of how and what you want to view from this year’s Summer Games. You probably know people who, during the Olympics, would never leave the couch if it had built-in bathroom facilities, or you might be one of them. Or you might be too busy with work and children to even sit down and watch an entire event, but you still want to know the results. Either way or for those in-between, there’s an app or service for you.
Were you disappointed with any of these apps or services? Did you encounter any problems? Which was your favorite? What about your favorite moment of the Olympics? Send us your thoughts.