I'm in Germany, so I put the Olympics on TV. But I don't yet speak German, so after an hour I wanted to watch them in English.
I went to the NBC web site, but they geolocate your IP and only stream to US people. Fine, I'm used to this crap (lots of Youtube videos are blocked in Germany too) so I just fired up my proxy and tried again. This time I got through, only to find that they're asking me to log in to a cable provider first! What the hell!
After scouring the internet I found a huge list of Olympics streaming broadcasters. Turns out the BBC is broadcasting online too. So I try them--same thing, blocked outside of the UK! But this time I don't have a proxy in the UK, so I gave up and watched the damn thing in German.
I get the theory of having to go through a cable provider login to get the US Olympics. But what if you're a taxpaying UK citizen abroad for a while? You've paid your tax--but you still can't access the stream!
Wasn't the internet supposed to break through barriers like space and location? In the year 2012 am I seriously being denied an English-language broadcast of a global event just because my laptop is currently in Germany?
Sure I can jump through even more hoops and figure out a UK-based VPN or some crap. But the point is I shouldn't have to do this! We're in 2012 people! Why even have the internet if we're just going to lock up information according to where you live?
The Internet philosophy eschews these things, but the implementation simply ignores them. Of course the incumbents desire to reimplement their archaic business models on top of TCP/IP. It's up to us to carry the philosophy and create higher level protocols that are resistant to such things; fiefdom-based HTTP certainly isn't.
Frankly, in my experience it doesn't take a lot to enable multicast and doing it internet wide _shouldn't_ be that big of a deal so we can handle all the streaming of live events with little worry - but the "powers that be" want to restrict everything online and it's frustrating, angering and downright dangerous attitude to have as a defacto "standard".
This time the "powers that be" are playing against the US consumer. I hope that this event sparks some empathy between the US and rest of the World. What many of the US consumers are suffering with the Olympics (broadcasting delay and accessibility), is what the RoW suffers when trying to consume US media (film and TV).
Monetising today's content with an old distribution model is a dead business, and will only help support the consumption of "pirated" content.
Exactly, everyone is now able to find a quick and easy to use VPN. Wasn't that easy few years ago.
Personally, I prefer www.unblock-us.com
Primary DNS: 22.214.171.124
Secondary DNS: 126.96.36.199
Here's how to do this in Ubuntu 12.04. The DNS has changed in 12.04 to use NetworkManager, which makes the process more convoluted than it should be. The below instructions could be improved but it'll get you some BBC Olympics coverage.
$ nslookup bbc.co.uk
# you should see a UK IP e.g. 188.8.131.52
$ vi /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf
# comment out dnsmasq
$ vi /etc/dhcp/dhclient.conf
prepend domain-name-servers 127.0.0.1;
$ service network-manager restart
# create a new dnsmasq.conf with unotelly California DNS 184.108.40.206 220.127.116.11
# note that server=192.168.11.1 is my router (which handles my upstream DNS) and you'll need to change that IP.
$ vi /etc/dnsmasq.conf
$ nohup /usr/sbin/dnsmasq --no-resolv --keep-in-foreground --no-hosts --bind-interfaces --pid-file=/var/run/sendsigs.omit.d/network-manager.dnsmasq.pid --listen-address=127.0.0.1 --conf-file=/etc/dnsmasq.conf --cache-size=0 --proxy-dnssec &
$ tail -f /var/log/syslog
$ nslookup bbc.co.uk
# you should see unotelly proxy servers e.g. uk-cluster.unostructure.com
I'm confused because I thought that geo-restrictions were handled by IP address, so I'm not sure how this gets around that.
Thanks for the tip, though, and kudos to Unblock-Us for being one of a VERY few sites that let you trial their service without giving them payment details.
edit: using unotelly.com's DNS for co.uk and bbchdsodsecure-f.akamaihd.net works for me.
ip would be for the alternate nameserver
Using the service is trivial for anybody on HN. Just a matter of setting your DNS settings to specific servers. That's it.
Technically... I'm still trying to figure that one out. I think what they do is handle the IP check from the service, and then pass off the stream to your computer. This would make sense since the stream server would be different than the IP check server. This is great because then only a very limited subset of traffic is flowing through their servers so you get "native" speeds.
Yes, it's that simple. And this is NOT using the coax as an RF antenna. This is the cable company providing me with what I am legally entitled to: over the air stations in a digital age.
The cable companies are trying to fight this, but as of now, it exists. It's legal. And it works. My son's watching PBS Kids as I type. And we watched many Olympic events through-out the days today - OK, not live, but still I DO NOT PAY FOR TV.
That said, this certainly does work for some people. It worked for us for a while after we dropped the TV part of our plan but then one day we couldn't receive any channels over the coax, so I assume they installed a filter.
The broadcast industry does not want American's to know
this, but they are legally obligated to provide the free
"over the air" stations on cable (coax) even if you do not
pay for cable service.
broadcast signals that are subject to mandatory carriage
must be "viewable via cable on all television receivers of
a subscriber which are connected to a cable system by a
cable operator or for which a cable operator provides a
It's possible that this works for me (and others) because...
I am a subscriber to my cable company for telephone and internet access (but not TV), and so they can not send a tech out to disconnect me from their grid because it would terminate my current services AND they can not encrypt the Clear QAM signal for the Broadcast TV channels.
Again, I'm not trying to argue some legal case here. But I do think it's more than just the cable company being lazy and not sending a technician out.
I'm not trying to win a legal case here, just sayin'... 1.
"The broadcast industry does not want American's to
know..." Opinion. Why would they want this widely known?
2. "...legally obligated..." OK, that might be a little
strong, but I stand by the POV that they can not encrypt
this signal. The FCC citations (on Engadget article) make
that clear (to me).
It's possible that this works for me (and others)
because... I am a subscriber to my cable company for
telephone and internet access (but not TV), and so they
can not send a tech out to disconnect me from their grid
because it would terminate my current services[...]
[...] AND they can not encrypt the Clear QAM signal for
the Broadcast TV channels.
Again, I'm not trying to argue some legal case here. But I
do think it's more than just the cable company being lazy
and not sending a technician out.
Quality usually will not be nearly as good as receiving over the air though. At least that is my experience. Most cable operators will compress their stations, some more than others. It is obvious if you have seen or are used to viewing with rabbit ears.
Now, I get HDTV quality on a few networks.
He references "ClearQAM" aka "Clear QAM".
Also note a few people commented on today's blog post (IOW, not here, but on the original post; see my comment and replies) that they tried, and it works.
To answer the point of "NBC pays the government," they do: for broadcast spectrum only. All the other channels with Olympics content are not covered by that payment.
Their system is garbage. IE9 and IE9 64-bit come to a screeching halt after 30 minutes of live streaming and have to be killed by task manager. Firefox Nightly x64 (my main browser) does the same thing after ballooning to 600MB of RAM. In Chrome the video starts to skip after 20 minutes when RAM usage hits about 300MB. So far Chrome + AdBlock is the only thing that's been stable so far.
Which brings me to why nbcolympics.com is garbage. They've managed to take a YouTube stream, and then surround it on all sides with 2 flash ad banners, commercial breaks during live streams, many many more commercial breaks during replays, and a drunken orgy of Web 2.0 tracking systems and social medias as far as the eye can see.
They've taken the most widely used video distribution platform and turned it into a hulking behemoth that destroys web browsers.
Ignoring all of that for a moment. NBC also has gaps in what you can watch on nbcolympics.com The opening ceremony wasn't streamed live, or streamed "live" when NBC showed it on TV. I'd have to check, but I don't think you can even watch a reply of it now. I wanted to watch some archery and the USA women's soccer match from earlier. While scrolling through the list I saw a reply link for every event...except gymnastics. NBC decided not to allow replays of that.
This just grows the amount of hatred I have for NBC since the 2010 games when they implemented this system and I couldn't get the same Comcast account to authenticate. So I was stuck with tape delay everything while my friends up north were watching everything live through cbc.ca
The trial run of NBC's system in 2008 was the best run they've had. No ads, no pay wall system, every event streamed live and available for replay afterward. It worked without a hitch.
I tried calling comcast and they don't serve my address (it's a large apartment building). I specifically told them that I could care less if they actually installed it; I just wanted an account so I could get the olympics online. They claimed they couldn't do that though; the service had to be installable or they could get fined by some entity.
My only legal option is to pay DirectTV something like $800 for a one year subscription. Not happening..
Can't even get the terrestrial DTV signal due to buildings in my line of sight.
Satel has a sattelite receiver on the roof that provides for the complex.
The only programming options are:
1. DirectTV (extremely expensive)
2. 'Basic' Cable, which gives only a subset of terrestrial broadcasts at only 480p. This service wouldn't qualify for nbcolympics regardless due to no cnbc, msnbc, etc.
I honestly cannot see why we keep having these debates. OBVIOUSLY the content providers are making money doing exactly what they are now doing. Bypassing the restrictions and consuming the content anyway does nothing to change this situation except on the micro level. The only way to change the status quo is to demonstrate that the content is not sufficiently valuable to a sufficiently large group of people that the mechanism changes.
No. NBC is broadcasting the Olympics over-the-air all across the US.
As several posters here have said, clearly there is a value to being able to watch the Olympic events you want, live. There is no reason NBC could not charge a fixed access fee for people who don't have one of the "sponsoring" pay TV services.
Edit: Even though I live in the UK, this is how I watch TV because with a bit of scripting it's a lot more convenient than having a TV.
At a very basic level, they could offer live streaming of all events --advertising free-- for a fee. I would gladly pay, say, US $100 for this service. Some might only be interested in a subset of events, which means that there's a possibility to create tiers and capture revenue at various levels.
Here in the US, as has been discussed in this and other threads, NBC has royally fucked up things beyond all recognition. I finally broke down and downloaded their app. It's shit. The ads are intrusive TV-style ads. What's worst, they have some sort of a bug somewhere that is causing videos to end prematurely.
As and example, I tried watching Archery, Judo and Taekwondo pre-recorded events (not live). One of them was supposed to be a five hour event. We watched about fifteen minutes and the stream stopped with a message that read something akin to "This video has ended". There was no way to watch it beyond that point. It literally stopped in the middle of the action.
The other moronic thing is the way the video ads are inserted. They seem to be using a simple timer to determine when to run a video ad. This means that they'll interrupt your viewing in the middle of a match --just as someone is throwing a kick-- to run a stupid ad. Unbelievable.
I am hoping that there's widespread dissatisfaction with this and that the next Olympics, World Cup, etc. see a massive change. I'd really like to see a true Internet company get the rights and do it right. The IOC could make far more than what NBC and others are paying for these events by having a single-point internationally-friendly Internet strategy rather than old-school per country/region licensing.
Finally, a note to NBC advertisers: I am NOT watching your ads. Stop paying NBC! We DVR the coverage and are masterfully skilled at fast-forwarding through your commercials. When I am watching gymnastics I could not care less about your movie or your insurance offering. So, stop supporting broadcasters, you are wasting your money in a monumental way.
I have to imagine there's a market for pay-as-you-go subscription to things like Olympic events, same model as buying movies on Amazon or Google Play. I know I would pay.
As it is, try getfoxyproxy.org.
So the author ended up paying to watch the Olympics. Illegally, instead of legally, I would add.
And, I'm not certain it's illegal. Are you?
Is the legislation specific about where you must reside? What if you're consuming content but you're not in the UK?
If it is illegal for anyone to consume BBC content at the time of broadcast without a TV license regardless of location, what if someone outside of the UK paid for a TV License?
However, I would recommend speaking with an attorney familiar with such matters.
So, really now it should just be a question of the rights holder allowing me in the US to watch something broadcast in the UK that I paid for.
Legally, I’m unclear of if an American connecting on a VPN to a live stream in the UK is breaking the law. I would guess that it hasn’t really come up with the TV license people yet.
I don't know about the UK law, but nearby Ireland has a similar "TV Licence". The law there is not "you need a licence to watch TV", but "if you're in Ireland and you have something that's capable of recieving TV signals, then you need a TV licence".
If the UK is similar, then it's not "watch BBC" that requires a licence, but "owning a TV in the UK". The OP almost certainly does not own a TV in the UK, so almost certainly not need a TV licence.
(NB: There may or may not be terms & conditions on the iPlayer website which say you may only access it if you are in UK / have a TV licence / etc., which might make the above the illegal (but not for TV licence reasons). I'm suprised the Olympics works for them, usually BBC iPlayer stuff uses GeoIP to block it from non-UK IP addresses.)
> You must be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. It makes no difference what equipment you use - whether it’s a laptop, PC, mobile phone, digital box, DVD/video recorder or a TV set - you still need a licence.
Also, although it has no weight on this discussion, it's worth mentioning that TV licenses are per household, not per TV.
However, having said that, the BBC probably has to take adequate precautions to stop non-UK viewers watching the Olympic coverage as part of their deal with the organising committee to be the 'official broadcaster'. Sports broadcasting is a massive money maker, I'm sure! :)
I don't know whether this would mean a US citizen using a proxy to view the BBC feeds is breaking the law though. Interestingly, our extradition treaty with the US  "allows the US to extradite UK citizens and others for offences committed against US law, even though the alleged offence may have been committed in the UK by a person living and working in the UK", although there is apparently no reciprocal right. Therefore one can only assume it doesn't matter whether it is legal or not! (IANAL etc.)
I spent 45 minutes online with the Suddenlink support person and got my account setup with username and password
ALL SET right?
So, with the Suddenlink support person on the phone I login to the NBCOlympics.com site and select Suddenlink.
I key in my username and password.
In about a minute the screen pops up and says I am all set to WATCH THE OLYMPICS LIVE.
Then in about 10 seconds another screen pops up:
"You do not have a subscription to view the requested content. Contact Suddenlink to upgrade your programming then log back in to view content."
What the heck??
So I ask the very helpful Suddenlink support person still waiting on the phone: What Up?
She confirms that since I do not have the EXTENDED basic package with optional add-ons with Suddenlink I do not qualify to WATCH THE OLYMPICS LIVE
BY THE WAY:
Did you read the nbcolympics.com FAQ:
"Q: What is required for accessing Live Extra content?
A: You will need to verify that you subscribe to a cable, satellite or telco video tier that includes CNBC and MSNBC. There is no additional charge."
I do have CNBC and MSNBC. CNBC is channel 255 and MSNBC is channel 264 (in my market area)
And yet I cannot WATCH THE OLYMPICS LIVE
In the terms of the Olympics here is my message to NBC
LET THE GAMES BEGIN - THE INTERNETS ALWAYS WIN.
I wrote up some instructions about how to use EC2 as a web proxy here - http://kev.inburke.com/kevin/how-to-use-ec2-as-a-web-proxy/ - not sure if it would work in Amazon's Ireland data center, but worth a try.
There's no higher cost of transmission for the BBC - they're sending it to a UK based IP and then I pay a monthly fee for that transmission to the US.
Just enter bbc into the search box.
Note that I believe you need to pay the licence fee to legally watch iPlayer (IIRC it pops up a dialog the first time you run it to confirm you've paid). So even in the UK you have to "pay for TV" to get this service. It costs approx £12/month.
Not entirely true. If you only use iPlayer for catchup, you don't need a TV license. But if you use iPlayer to watch TV programmes as they are being broadcast on TV, you do.
Some European countries' laws haven't caught up the same way the UK has. For instance, you can legally watch the Swedish SVT's live streams without a licence fee. Other countries have gone further - in Denmark they either implemented or were just debating a law where you have to pay the license fee if you own a PC or Mobile phone that can watch streaming video.
All Europeans can legally watch the EBU/Eurovision steams though, I believe. http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/london2012/index.html
UK ISPs appear to throttle iPlayer traffic so ironically using a proxy might be worthwhile in the UK too.
I also don't think it's true to suggest ISPs are throttling iPlayer specifically. The bbc has said it will name and shame any ISP that does.
On point 2 why would the BBC be spending money to develop a system to indicate throttling if there wasn't even an "appearance" (as I claimed) that there was some throttling. Surely they'd want to show at least that there was an appearance of throttling before starting such a project?
FWIW my own experience with one of the top UK ISPs has been of quite poor service for iPlayer - significantly lower bandwidth is used for iPlayer connection than for other streaming sites. That is watching the same show in low quality on iPlayer I get significantly poorer connection than watching in higher quality streaming from some other site - this gives the appearance that iPlayer is being throttled.
To watch on your pc, they partnered with Youtube Live:
which gives me:
"The uploader has not made this video available in your country. "
which is a bit strange (living in the Netherlands).
Fortunately it is quite easy to proxy stuff via the UK :)
Comedy Central embedded videos, hulu, etc.
The whole thing seems like a perversion of the promise of the internet: to connect us all... It's double ironic in the OPs case, given the stated goals of the olympics.
Going around via VPN is well within my technical means, but I don't want to support the people who behave this way online, so I usually don't view the geo-walled content, or turn to the pirate bay.
I also tend to do the same I can use a VPN or figure out some way to get around restrictions but then I think why?
If I'm blocked I'm not going out of my way to generate ad revenue or support such behaviour, it's called the World Wide Web for a reason.
The iOS app is great, and the web portal is great, and it's free.
Different problems completely... But I agree with your sentiment either way.
this is the official european broadcast stream. simply the best, every event in live and you can also replay them. plus there is no commentator here, just the raw broadcast (i hate when commentators talk too much...)
What did I miss?
Edit: Thanks for the quick answers.
NBC ought to be ashamed. Their online offering is pure crap.
The broadcaster of the first public TV signal back in 1936 and still going strong today.
"On November 2, 1936 the BBC began transmitting the world's first public television service from the Victorian Alexandra Palace in north London following alternate daily test broadcasts of the Baird and Marconi systems to the Radio Show at Olympia at the end of August. It therefore claims to be the birthplace of television broadcasting as we know it today." -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_television
To buy my nexus 1 phone, I had to use a machine in US. I bought some other stuff from UK that way, using my machine in UK. But then UK started blocking other sites, so I had move that machine to Germany.
Someone needs to come up with a research paper, showing the optimum number of virtual machines needed to access the whole internet (with their locations). Or better, make a business out of it.
I normally wouldn't be overly concerned about it, probably just a bit flustered, but this is a global event that occurs twice a decade. I feel this should really be something public broadcasters should control, not mega-corporations.
The Olympics requires the services credential.
You want them to modernize? Get as many people as you can to stop using cable for TV.
Funny nobody's mentioned this. Is the channel not available in the US?
I live in Berkeley, CA and I was able to get full access to videos, including streams and highlights, by selecting Xfinity as my service provider during my initial sign-up/activation on the NBC Olympics website.
Here at my apartment, we have no cable service and an internet provider called Zoom. So obviously, I wasn't being truthful - but instead was trying to circumvent this ridiculous corporate stranglehold during my first attempt to access Olympic footage.
I don't know if it will still work, but it worked for me on Friday and my credentials have held since - allowing my full access without login each time I access the website.
I use a similar one to access Facebook when traveling to China.
It's the official site of all european broadcasters.
You have access to all the live streams (without commentary) from all the arenas and all the live streams from all european stations.
Just enter bbc, zdf, ard, etc... in the search box to get the corresponding live stream with their commentary.
It also works if you are blocked on the broadcasters website (e.g. i can't watch the zdf live stream, but can watch it here).
They have live streams for each olympics and for some special events.
It's way more versatile than signing up for just VPN.
I am an Englishman sheltering from the Olympics in NYC (public transport in London was always going to be a mess) and even though I possess a UK TV license I had to tunnel through my machine at home to watch the opening ceremony.
It's a shame the BBC can't just sell a stream to people elsewhere in the world but the licenses under which they get the content will prevent it. Otherwise people could get content from the lowest bidder in the world, meaning commoditisation and a massive hit to the content owners who wouldn't get to sell the rights over and over again in different countries.
Does anyone here have Aereo and are using it to watch the Olympics?
Heh, it's good, but this is overstating it a bit.
I just tested this using a free proxy. Any slow/unstable proxy will work just fine.
It seems to work from the webproxy i used but i'm not sure my ip was properly hidden.
Anyway, for once french television is not behind, they broadcast all the sports live on their website without any commentary.
The "+ syntax" does not belong to Gmail, nor was Gmail the inventor of same. email@example.com is an ancient tradition, dating back almost to the dawn of SMTP. Of course, the interpretation of the local part is entirely up to the MTA handling it, but foo+bar is pretty widespread. Certainly Sendmail supports it.
I can't imagine coax works well as an antenna, considering it's shielded to prevent RF interference.
The problem is that digital transmission doesn't gracefully degrade like analog transmission does. If you're at the outer part of a transmitter's range, with the legacy analog signal, you might have been able to get an adequate signal with slightly fuzzy picture or static-y sound. But receiving a digital signal is largely a binary affair; you're either in-range and receive it, or out-of-range and you don't. *
Another issue is the economics; most people get their TV through cable. So it doesn't necessarily make economic sense for stations to build new transmitters to make their post-digital range equal their pre-digital range, especially if the new dead zones are in low-population-density areas.
Online streaming is so technically superior to broadcast -- there's no technical reason you can't get what you want, when you want it; and the maximum number of channels we can support isn't limited by scarce electromagnetic spectrum -- that I foresee traditional broadcast TV being completely replaced within the next 10-30 years.
It's still new enough, however, that the social, political, and legal issues still have to be worked out. I.e. FCC requirements to provide broadcast-equivalent service should probably apply to ISP's, but they don't. And companies like NBC should realize it's in their best interest to make content available at reasonable prices "ala carte" online, but they don't.
It's particularly interesting to see that recently services like Hulu or Youtube are running pilot programs for producing original content. Essentially the reason NBC et al can get away with offering customers awful service without having their lunch eaten by startups is that they by-and-large have a monopoly on content that people want to see. But if similar content becomes available from other services at lower cost and/or on saner terms, they'll be forced to change their business or die off. In other words, someone needs to do to NBC what iTunes did to the music industry. There are plenty of people in this space; Hulu, Netflix, Youtube, many others.
Online video is still a very immature industry because only within the last 10-15 years has bandwidth and decoding horsepower sufficient for streaming video become available to most people. Over time the free market should iron out a more efficient solution to connecting viewers, content producers and content aggregators, but many existing businesses are enormously large and entrenched, so the process will take time.
* This isn't strictly true; you might get some artifacts in marginal situations, but these tend to be much more noticeable and much less acceptable than with analog. The "in-range" and "out-of-range" might change over time due to weather.
If they wanted to unblock the world they could just do that without a VPN.
Their license from the IOC will require them to take measures keep their services to the territory they have rights to (the UK). If they allowed their services to be accessed globally they would only get the rights that they bought globally.
If any VPN gets too popular you can expect them to block it too. You may need to factor this into how much you pay for a VPN.
Why not buy an antenna, especially an amplified one? That will run circles around using a shielded coax cable as an antenna.
>FAIL. There is no good way to watch the Olympics in the United States without a cable subscription
Sorry, that doesn't follow when you didn't even try a TV antenna.
1. NBC cut short the open ceremony
2. NBC delayed the broadcast of the swimming
3. Online (from the BBC, and from NBC with commercials) you can get a stream of any event you want.
The online option, and the online option from the BBC especially just blows away an OTA broadcast. BBC has something like 24 different streams for live events. Vs. buying rabbit ears which gives me 1 channel.
And as for running circles around COAX, the only channels I can't get with COAX are CBS and NBC. Everything else comes through in HD either on it's own or if I'm touching it.
As long as we're mentioning various grey-hat techniques to view content from the BBC and others without paying for it, there are sites like thefirstrow.eu that carry streams from the BBC and other international broadcasters. I'm not encouraging you to use those, but it is an interesting situation. NBC can't issue a DMCA takedown on those streams because they don't own that content. If the BBC has no interest in shutting down those streams, they may never be shut down.
You can check here: http://www.antennaweb.org/Address.aspx to see if you can pick up an NBC affiliate (or Telemundo, if you're okay with Spanish commentary) near you.
One of the hazards of giving up living television is that...you give up live television. NBC is not obligated to do squat for you if it can't make money from you. It's a business, not a charity.
And stop praising the BBC. It's not free. Brits pay a mandatory tax to support the BBC, so it is no different from cable/satellite TV in the U.S.
TV in the US is not free - you pay for it every time you buy something made by a company that spends money advertising on TV.
It's practically impossible to opt out of paying for TV in the US. At least in the UK you can opt out if you genuinely don't want to watch anything.
Good luck to you guys :)