Figuring out how to watch the Winter Olympics in the USA could be an Olympic sport on its own

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Much has been written about how to watch the Olympics in Korea in 2018. And there are a lot of ways to do it, including online and on more traditional TV.

The 15-hour time difference to Cedar Rapids certainly isn’t making the TV watching easy either and The Onion hilariously tweeted:

Exhausted Olympians Wake Up Early To Repeat Opening Ceremony For American Time Zones

You may remember that in early 2015 we cut satellite and I snarkily posted that daughter looked up briefly from her iPhone to complain that we did.

Since then we haven’t had satellite and most of our TV watching happens through Roku and services provided through them -including Netflix, Amazon Prime and everything about how YouTube owns my primetime TV viewing.

I was interested to see how I could watch the Olympics. I saw some of the posts about the opening ceremony as it was happening live and then saw some of the half-day delayed broadcast on NBC, which I watched over the antenna.

True story:

I tried some of the other options to view the Olympics. I was excited to hear that NBC was also streaming online, until I was greeted by a ticking clock that let me know that I only got 30 minutes of free viewing time:

Of course, I could kill that restriction by tying the stream on the web or in the app to a service provider:

So what’s the difference to just watching it on TV then? That didn’t really help the cord cutters like me. Now, I did notice that I could also tired to YouTube TV, Hulu and FuboTV-which are digital content providers.

This experience actually got me to check out YouTube TV, which cost over $30 per month but offered me a seven-day trial.

Related: This curling message during the last Olympics was time well!

I can stream it to my TV, just like I do with regular YouTube doing the primetime TV hours, and I like how it shows me what a channel is currently showing while controlling what I’m watching on TV through the app:

In this picture here you can see that ESPN is currently on commercial so of course I wouldn’t start watching that channel at that time. This is a very useful tool to make the clicking around experience more efficient.

But, why make it so difficult?

Honestly, watching and even paying for content is way too complicated for people like me who have cut the traditional cord with TV.

I was kind of expecting to be able to just purchase certain streams and events directly in the app. I would’ve paid for that on a purchase-by-purchase case.

Let me give an example from other TV content. While I hardly ever watch live TV, I’ve subscribed to a number of shows on Amazon Prime Video, including:

Basically, I subscribed to entire seasons of those shows on Amazon for a fee. Every time a new episode goes live on Amazon-typically the morning after it was on TV-I get an email alerting me that it’s now live.

I typically hop right over and watch the show without ads and on demand. Sometimes, if I’m about to get on a trip by airplane I’ll download the episodes and watch them on the trip when I know there’s no Wi-Fi.

Related:The best and worst airport WiFi

Of course, I have no idea how much revenue these subscription-based models make Amazon but I do know that I would not watch those shows on TV because of the time, commercials and other family obligations but I do watch them religiously on the app. And I even pay extra for them.

Of course, the shows wouldn’t exist without TV so I’m not recommending to get rid of the TV piece of it but what can other content opportunities copy here? Maybe sports can be shown like this on demand and through different payment options. Maybe one day…