By Jason Snell
August 8, 2016 1:40 PM PT
NBC Olympics streaming: Good content, bad app
Note: This story has not been updated for several years.
I think it’s great that NBC is going all-in on its 2016 Olympics coverage, offering thousands of hours of video across cable and broadcast TV and thousands more streaming live on the web and via the NBC Sports app.
Today I spent some time with the NBC Sports app for Apple TV and (after logging in with my Comcast ID), was happy with the coverage—I was able to choose from a dozen sports to watch live, or I could tune in to the Gold Zone channel and allow NBC’s producers to whisk me from live event to live event to get a flavor of the games. I was even able to play back some events from yesterday that I missed.
However, there are some rough spots, too. As Todd Vaziri noted, the top-level heading on the NBC Apple TV app for almost every item is “Olympic Sports.” This makes it nearly impossible to tell if you’re going to see tennis, or handball, or table tennis, or rugby, until you click and then sit through a 15- or 30-second preroll ad.
"Olympic Sports" pic.twitter.com/RQeTAuXQCP
— Todd Vaziri (@tvaziri) August 8, 2016
So close… and yet so far. It’s not as if the app doesn’t understand what all those sports are—there’s a Filter feature that will show you just the video for the sport you select—but it makes it impossible to browse through a menu of live streams and see which event strikes your fancy.
It seems like this could be a simple fix on the server side or the app side. The Olympics run for another 13 days, so NBC has time to fix this. I hope they do—it’s too much fun to be able to flip between handball and beach volleyball.
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