By Chris Benson
Olympics 2016 Coverage – How to Watch It All!
Of course, the Olympic Games starts this week – and I will try over the next couple of weeks to tell you how to find all of the various sport available. (There’s probably going to be too much to list in the blog below!!!) Main thing – keep coming back to the blog during the course of the event and more importantly, enjoy all of the Olympic Games whilst you can still watch it for free!
So, if you know anyone who wants to watch the Games – do me a big favour, and send them the link to this guide… it might just help them. I’ve based the coverage on Freeview reception – there’s a note at the end of the article, touching on other TV providers.
The Opening Ceremony is on Friday August 5th, but coverage begins on Wednesday August 3rd – now, did you know that? Coverage will continue right through until Monday August 22nd, with the Closing Ceremony in the early hours.
Speaking about the Rio Olympics, Kieran Clifton on his BBC blog article, taken from Friday July 22nd, says “…On TV, there will be over 550 hours of coverage from Rio on BBC One and BBC Four.” Add to that the thousands of hours on the interactive streams and there really is something for everyone. But, from the 2018 Winter Olympics, all that will change, with the majority of coverage being behind a ‘paywall’ after Discovery Communications (owner of Eurosport) acquired the rights last year.
Take the 2020 Olympics for example (in Tokyo from July 24th to August 9th). Quoting an article from the Guardian in February this year (https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/feb/02/olympics-bbc-discovery-deal )– “…Under current legislation at least 200 hours of the summer Games and 100 hours of the winter Olympics are obliged to be shown on free-to-air TV.” The BBC will still be able to fill up to two channels a day with live coverage and highlights – so compare that to the coverage of Rio below, and it’s going to look totally different in four years’ time, my friends.
Basically, here’s some advice below to start.
Standard Definition TV’s:
- If you have an SD television (e.g. if you can’t receive BBC One HD on channel 101 then it’s an SD television that you have), you will be able to watch Olympics coverage on BBC1 and BBC4. BBC Four’s broadcasting hours will be extended during the Games – the channel will begin broadcasting at 1pm, right through until 4am from 6th August. This also means those of you who like BBC4’s normal programming (e.g Top of the Pops, the Friday night music documentaries and the Scandinavian dramas) will have a two week wait to see their programmes again! Back in 2012, BBC3’s schedule was replaced with Olympic coverage – BBC3 is now ‘online’ only, so with BBC2 offering some ‘non-Olympic’ coverage in its schedule, BBC4 takes the place of BBC3 as an Olympic broadcaster. BBC2 will have some Olympics coverage in the evenings – for example, when BBC1 is showing the news, or ‘Match of the Day’, the Olympics will move to BBC2. Hope it makes sense so far!
- As well as the two channels above, you will also receive two part-time Red Button channels on 600 and 601. Channel 600 will broadcast between 7pm and 5:30am, Channel 601 will broadcast from 9pm until 5:30am. (Note: 601 is normally a 24 hour Red Button service, but will NOT be during the Olympics).
- Summary: From 9pm every night during the games, right through the night, there will be four channels broadcasting Olympic coverage on Standard Definition TV’s. During the daytime coverage up to 7pm, there will be only two channels available.
High Definition TV’s:
- HD TV’s have come down in price – you may well want to invest in one, in time for the Olympics! You will receive the four channels mentioned above (BBC1, BBC4, 600 and 601).
- Then, for the next bit, you may need to retune your TV’s or boxes to receive the below channels. If you can receive BBC1 HD on 101, BBC2 HD on 102 etc, then you should receive the channels below. Note – just because you have a ‘HD Ready’ TV, doesn’t mean that you will necessarily be able to receive these extra channels below!
- Channels 602-608 with have round-the-clock Olympic coverage – 7 channels. Note that 608 is a 24 hour version of Channel 601. So, from 9pm during the Games, this will be the peak in the Olympic coverage – with the four channels above in SD, plus these seven channels, it means there will be 11 channels of different Olympic coverage available right through the night.
- Channel 114 will be available as ‘BBC Olympic HD’, and is the same schedule as channel 600, with coverage starting at 7pm.
- 24 live HD video streams will be available on the BBC website and BBC Sports App. Various ways to watch these – you could use a Now TV and watch BBC Sport on there… you could watch via Chromecast… on your mobile, tablet… if there is a particular sport you want to watch, then this is the guaranteed way of being able to see it.
For a further explanation on how to receive the channels – check out this BBC Blog entry at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/entries/ae61c0a5-ad0b-4d57-a693-3ef9d90e3403
Other TV Providers:
Sky customers will be able to receive 8 BBC Olympic channels (HD versions on 472-479 and SD versions on 480-487).
Freesat viewers will be able to receive 8 BBC Olympic channels (HD versions on 261-268 and SD versions on 271-278).
Virgin Media customers with Tivo boxes should be able to receive all 24 live streams via BBC Connected Red Button. If you don’t have a Tivo box, you will receive 8 Olympic channels (HD from 561-568 and SD from 571-578).
Any questions, drop me a comment below – and I will come back to you, and try and help you out!