Q: I canceled my cable television subscription and now I find that much of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games coverage is on cable channels. How can I watch the Olympics on Roku without a cable subscription?
A: The opening ceremonies for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games are being held on Friday, February 19, 2018, and the games run through Sunday, February 25. NBC has announced that it will live stream 1,800 hours of Olympics coverage, and will also provide an online live stream of the NBC television broadcast. Cord cutters can catch a lot of Olympics events with an over-the-air (OTA) antenna if they're within broadcast range of a local NBC affiliate. But much of the coverage will be carried on NBC Sports Network, CNBC, USA, and the Olympic Channel, putting much of the action of reach for those without cable TV.
Fortunately, Roku users do have options! All Winter Olympic events are planned to be streamed on the Roku NBC Sports channel, as well as on the NBC Sports app on Android and iOS mobile devices, many smart TVs, Amazon Fire devices, Apple TV, Xbox and other select devices. Full access to the NBC Sports channel, however, requires that you have a subscribe to a participating pay TV provider and receive NBC Sports Network as part of your subscription.
But you're a cord cutter, so you can't authenticate the NBC Sports channel on your Roku. What to do? Your best option is to sign up for a streaming TV service. Here are our recommendations:
- DIRECTV NOW gives you access to NBC's coverage on NBC, NBC Sports Network, and USA Network, and also lets you activate full content on the NBC Sports channel on Roku.
- Sling TV's Sling Blue service includes NBC, CNBC, NBC Sports Network, and USA Network, and also lets you activate full content on the NBC Sports channel on Roku. For an extra $10 per month, you can add the Sports Extra add-on package that includes the Olympics Channel for even more Winter Games coverage. The World News Extra add-on, $5 per month, provides coverage on CNBC.
Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW offer new subscribers a 7-day free trial, and if you continue after the trial you can cancel at any time. Unlike cable or satellite TV, you don't have to commit to a full year or more - you can cancel at the end of the Olympics.
If you don't want to sign up for a streaming service, you can still use the NBC Sports Roku channel for free, but you'll be limited to watching highlight clips.
For UK and Canadian Roku viewers! UK viewers can watch live coverage and highlight clips with the BBC iPlayer. In Canada, VMedia TV and internet subscribers can watch Olympic coverage on CTV, CBC, Sportsnet and TSN. See the Roku, Inc. blog post 'Roku Canada and UK: Stream the 2018 Winter Olympics live on Roku devices' for more information.
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