How to watch the Winter Olympics online on a budget

The Winter Olympics are here, and every live event is (finally) on Peacock

(Sol Cotti for The Washington Post)

The 2022 Winter Olympics are here, and finding coverage online has gotten easier since the Summer Games in Tokyo last year.

For instance, the Winter Games in Beijing mark the first time NBC, which owns broadcast rights to the Olympics, is making all of its live coverage available to people who pay for its streaming service, Peacock. That means you won’t find yourself wondering why you can’t find NBC content on an NBC-owned streaming platform. And at $4.99 a month, it’s a small price to pay for a few weeks of Olympics access.

But at a time when streaming services, social media sites and legacy networks are vying for eyeballs, finding the Olympic content you want when you want it still isn’t a no-brainer. (That is, if you want to watch the games at all. Just 16 million people tuned in for the Opening Ceremonies, NBC said — compared with the 28.3 million it reported during the 2018 Winter Games — as covid precautions keep stadiums quiet and alleged human rights abuses in China draw criticism from the international community. China has denied any such abuses.)

Peacock only allows three people to share the same account, so borrowing a friend’s login can get tricky. Locast, which used to provide online access to traditional television stations such as NBC, shut down in September. And YouTube can only show what NBC chooses to share.

We studied NBC’s programming plan and the strict rules from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about what can be put online and where, and answered some of the most burning questions about how to watch the Winter Olympics free or on a budget. If you’ve got questions about TV and streaming in the Internet age, send them to us here.

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