Figuring out how to watch the Olympics this year has been frustrating. NBC holds broadcasting rights to the Games in the US, so it naturally seized on the opportunity to boost subscribers to its streaming service, Peacock, by making it “the place to flock for the Games’ top moments.” Streaming the Olympics should’ve been as easy as signing up — except it wasn’t.
Peacock’s coverage was a problem straight out of the gate. The opening ceremony wasn’t streamed live on the service at all (though the closing ceremony will be), even though it was streamed live on the NBC Olympics website. The service is paywalling men’s basketball, seemingly to boost Peacock’s paid plans. And while live broadcasts and on-demand coverage of most other games and events are available for free on Peacock, finding out what’s on and where to watch it has been a chore, comparable to flicking through a cable TV guide. (Disclosure: NBCUniversal is an investor in Vox Media, parent company of The Verge.)
Watching on Peacock also means missing out on one of NBC’s biggest promises for the 2020 Games: 4K coverage. Peacock doesn’t support 4K, even while 4K feeds from the games are available on other streaming services. (A spokesperson for Peacock told The Verge that delivering 4K content is on its roadmap.)