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July 29, 2012 10:41 AM   Subscribe

NBC is being heavily criticized for its handling so far of the 2012 Summer Olympics. From delaying the broadcast of the opening ceremonies by four hours (and then having to endure terrible commentary) while the rest of world watched live, to cutting out a tribute to terror victims everywhere to not showing Michael Phelps' first medal attempt live (and then spoiling it on a news broadcast before the race actually aired). This is in addition to online viewers not being able to access live video online unless they have a cable subscription as well as problems with the actual stream.

NBCs response to some of the crticism:

Opening ceremony
: "are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context"

Cutting the tribute to victims of terrorism: it wasn't tailored to the US audience

NBC exec Jim Bell has taken to Twitter to respond to the critics.

Despite the controversy, the opening ceremony had record viewers. But while not showing Olympics events live is normal for NBC (this is the first Olympics that all sporting events are shown live on US TV), people are asking how long they can continue to delay these events in the age of social networking.
posted by triggerfinger (301 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Complaining about a news program giving results exposes major entitlement issues.
posted by Ardiril at 10:44 AM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been watching using the NBC mobile app, and it regularly cuts away from the middle of the action to show ads. It's infuriating.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:48 AM on July 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Opening ceremony: "are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context"

Translation: we regard our viewers as idiots who require someone sitting next to them pointing out all the things happening, because otherwise they would not have a clue what all that information getting to them via their eyes and ears might possibly be.
posted by hippybear at 10:49 AM on July 29, 2012 [38 favorites]


people are asking how long they can continue to delay these events in the age of social networking

...or in an age of internet alternatives. I tunneled through the Great Firewall to watch China's live CCTV feed. Evidently America is less free than China in some respects.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:49 AM on July 29, 2012 [33 favorites]


The idea that I need more context to understand a 100-foot Voldemort puppet than I do to understand an archery competition gives me WAY too little credit in puppet interpretation and WAY too much credit in understanding archery scoring.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 10:51 AM on July 29, 2012 [101 favorites]


Also, assuming that the Olympic opening ceremonies have not changed too much, NBC skipped out on the Olympic oath. Can non-US viewers confirm?
posted by ocherdraco at 10:53 AM on July 29, 2012


Has there been any explanation from them about why the Costas commentary during the parade of nations was so uncharacteristically negative? It was bizarre. At least Lauer was occasionally saying positive things.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:53 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Complaining about a news program giving results exposes major entitlement issues.
Customer Service: Hello, this is customer service!
Ardiril: blah blah blah blah blah...
Customer Service: I'm sorry, that is clearly user error.
Ardiril: what?!
Customer Service: That you continue to complain is indicative of deep entitlement issues. Perhaps I could recommend an affordable therapist in your area?
posted by b1tr0t at 10:53 AM on July 29, 2012 [40 favorites]


Yes, I clearly have entitlement issues with respect to snark. Yes, I'm working with my therapist on it.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:54 AM on July 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


I tuned in last night to watch the swimming, 8pm on the dot the broadcast comes on and they're talking about swimming. Bunch of interviews and swim footage later I'm thinking "OH MAN IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN SOON" and then with no explanation -- no teaser even! NBC cuts to like three beach volleyball matches, followed by some mens gymnastics finally followed by a single race.

They didn't even tease the swimming about 10-15 minutes of build up! As aggravating as incessant "coming up next" teasers are, at least they give some hope that the material one tuned in to watch will soon be broadcast!

So as it turns out there's a new reason I don't care for the Olympics -- that is to say, in addition to the fascistic copyright regime and anti-homelesness shit-show they bring to every metropolitan region they invade.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 10:54 AM on July 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


NBC not showing the 7/7 tribute is a display of disgusting, shameful arrogance.
posted by troika at 10:54 AM on July 29, 2012 [116 favorites]


Also, assuming that the Olympic opening ceremonies have not changed too much, NBC skipped out on the Olympic oath. Can non-US viewers confirm?
The various oaths were done shortly after a speech by Sebastian Coe and the president of the IOC. They definitely happened!
posted by leo_r at 10:55 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


[fixed the links, please knock off "entitlement issues" derail, thanks]
posted by jessamyn at 10:56 AM on July 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, assuming that the Olympic opening ceremonies have not changed too much, NBC skipped out on the Olympic oath. Can non-US viewers confirm?
I'm told they could find anybody to translate them into American, so they had to be cut.
posted by Jehan at 10:57 AM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


we regard our viewers as idiots

You are familiar with current mainstream programming, are you not?

There are so many reasons why a person would not tune into a spectacle like the opening ceremonies but looking back, it has occurred to me on more than one occasion that American TV has migrated towards a "no dead air" policy even if that includes Tim McCarver providing senile soundbites during the playing of the national anthem so it may be the case that TV executives are too afraid to let something simply withstand public scrutiny on its own merits.

Or maybe the majority of TV viewers are in fact idiots.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:58 AM on July 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm frustrated with the online feed - we have cable, it let me watch women's gymnastics this morning, and then halfway through the second rotation of the China/Russia/Germany/Others, it decided my cable company didn't allow online access. Stupid.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:58 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, here's the feedback email address. I sent in a few choice words regarding the embarrassingly disrespectful comments from Lauer/Viera.

nbcolympicsfeedback@nbcuni.com
posted by troika at 10:59 AM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


My own #firstWorldProblem, I have dishnetwork, but not the right package to access nbcolympics.com. Nothing on dish's site says anything about the limitation, and there are no errors displayed when I try to access NBCs site.

I've written a letter to dish expressing my disappointment and frustration. I know there are ways to access live streams, but I want to access the archived events to watch later and my Japanese mother-in-law would love to access videos featuring Japanese teams.
posted by jazon at 11:00 AM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


My goodness, yes, we Americans provide context. Which we have already provided to ourselves, as one of the defining features of America is a collective Anglophilia, which I presume to be a combinations of the fact that Anglo-American is sort of the default U.S. cultural identity (English-Americans are the third-largest self-reported ethnic group in the U.S., and had a huge hand in shaping its culture) and that the American middle class has long defined itself by its obsession with Englishness. Additionally, we all grew up swamped in English culture, thanks to the fact that it is one of the only other English-speaking countries that massively exports its culture, and so Public Broadcasting was awash with Britcoms and Dr. Who, a significant number of American sitcoms (Sanford and Son, Three's Company, etc.) were based on British comedies, and a significant percent of our film acting community is English.

I mean, it's not like the Olympic opening ceremony was nothing but Dennis and Gnasher or Ted Lewis in-jokes. This is all stuff we Americans expose ourselves to regularly.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:01 AM on July 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Get used to stuff like this. You might see something similar on NBC on any given night of the London Games.
If it isn't American Blood it isn't important. Well fuck you NBC. I hope your sponsors take notice but I doubt that they will. (Got more shit to sell).
Do people like this (NBC editors) ever conceive that this arrogant attitude is why so many of us have had it up to the tits with U. S. A.
posted by adamvasco at 11:03 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


No Bloody Clue
posted by MuffinMan at 11:05 AM on July 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


My mom wanted watch the the Equestrian events and and had repeated problems with the NBC stream buffering/crashing her browsers so I talked her through getting bit torrent set up. Took her about 20 minutes to download the full 7 hour BBC broadcast.

So has anyone yet won the broadcast rights for the 2014/16 games?
posted by the_artificer at 11:07 AM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Does anybody know a good way to watch the opening ceremonies online? Preferably through a Roku or Apple TV for the "living room" experience?
posted by sourwookie at 11:07 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would be marginally okay with the requirement to have a cable tv subscription to stream events live, but dammit don't make me need one to watch the archived video...

Not everyone has cable and some of us actually like to see events like Table Tennis and Handball, which get no action on over the air broadcast tv...

So stupid.
posted by Jacob G at 11:07 AM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


NBC allows multiple sign-ins, it seems, for one cable verified account.

Not that I've tested that, or anything.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 11:09 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really loved it before when you could log on and just watch the raw feeds of whatever event. I'd be perfectly willing to pay for that, but NBC doesn't want my money. Apparently they're going to start using this model for the Grand Tours coverage too(cycling), so I guess I can't even pay to watch them anymore?
posted by Dr.Enormous at 11:10 AM on July 29, 2012


So they still haven't made a way to buy online viewing, a la carte, of the sport/event you want to watch? They could even include ads.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:10 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


It made me nuts that during the parade, even though it was extremely clear that it was not a live broadcast, they rushed through chunks of countries that had walked during the "commercial break". Seeing everyone's outfits is my favorite! (Cameroon won, imo.) But we barely got a glimpse of most of the teams. Of course, they concentrated on the massive US team for an incredibly boring, long time, going so far as to blather about how the uniforms were made in China. It was absurd, during an event when we're supposed to appreciate all the participating nations, and come together to enjoy each other's strengths and what makes us all unique. It just made me grind my teeth with the hypocrisy of it all.
posted by Mizu at 11:11 AM on July 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is why I don't watch or care about
the Olympics anymore. Too much frustration.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:15 AM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aah, the joys of living in a small European country. I can watch Dutch Olympic coverage and Belgian Olympic coverage and German Olympic coverage, perhaps some French, spanish or Italian as well and of course there's the BBC for the British perspective and Eurosport for the pan-European view; the latter is always good for the lesser sports and events.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:17 AM on July 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


So has anyone yet won the broadcast rights for the 2014/16 games?

Yes, tNBC has it hrough 2020.
posted by Runes at 11:17 AM on July 29, 2012


NBC coverage makes me want to hug my UK VPN. Which is serious and for work purposes. Not Downton Abbey, no sir.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 11:17 AM on July 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I dunno, I kind of sympathize with them on the live/delayed debate, in that I think they're screwed either way. If they show the swimming races live (usually around 2pm ET), people complain that the time is inconvenient. If they delay tape, people complain about not seeing it live (even if many people couldn't have watched it at 2). If they show it live and during primetime, people complain that they're showing the same event twice and skimping on other coverage. As someone mostly watching online, I think them streaming afternoon stuff live and showing it on TV during primetime is as good a solution as any.

(Though I agree that not being able to watch without a cable sub sucks).
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:18 AM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Broadcast has to be delayed to make sure that nothing is shown that Americans aren't supposed to see.
posted by telstar at 11:20 AM on July 29, 2012 [20 favorites]


So that $15 for the UK VPN was a good idea, yes? I called my local cable provider to get upgraded so that I could watch via my computer as I have no TV. Let's just say it didn't end well and my voice will probably be heard on some "local cable provider" call center training video.

HA HA HA...call center training - like that's going to happen. I wanted to give them cash for service and it didn't work out.

Doesn't this happen with every Olympics?
posted by Farce_First at 11:21 AM on July 29, 2012


All of these points are well-spoken, which is why I confine myself to viewing just the "highlights" of the day's events which they broadcast after your local news after 11PM. And why the hell was Seacrest doing some interviews? What the hell is that?
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:23 AM on July 29, 2012


I will say, one of the neat things about the live streaming is that you generally get either no commentary at all, or you get British or Australian commentary, which they seem to be borrowing. So I saw the Phelps thing go down without American commentators, originally -- it was in the context of the entire Olympics, of the entire world of competitive swimming, without the sense that what happens to Team USA or to Phelps is more important than everything else because it just is. They still totally saw it as a big deal, but the context is different.

I've really liked that aspect, not experiencing everything through the USA USA USA lens.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 11:25 AM on July 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


What'd ya expect from the network what gave us the Heidi game?
posted by NedKoppel at 11:25 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have the app, but trying to figure out which of the NBC channels is showing the Team GB football today is a PITA. Not sure why I want to watch it on tv anyways - they keep cutting to commercials regardless of the action on screen.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:26 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sports on TV is just unwatchable now. A few seconds of action between minutes of commercials, sponsor mentions, banal color commentary and network promotions. It's all rolled up into one giant ad.
posted by Grumpy old geek at 11:26 AM on July 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


I feel very lucky to be watching from Canada.
posted by barnoley at 11:28 AM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've never understood the whole industry attitude toward cord-cutters. It goes for HBO-Go too. Some cord-cutters have a lot of money and would gladly spend it to be able to stream various channels to their computers and portable devices. Rather than cater to them by offering them services (for money), they try to force them to stop being a cord-cutter.

To get these services, you have to get a cable box, even if it makes no sense whatsoever (they may be in a place where there is no cable, or they may not even have a television.

I've thought of a metaphor that doesn't really make sense, but it made me laugh anyway:

Suppose Macy's only sold women's fashion. But some men liked the well deigned range of styles that Macy's designers always came out with and asked them if they would consider selling men's clothes too.

"We've decided to cater to the growing men's fashion industry by selling a line of men's clothing. Just bring in your doctor's certificate certifying that you've had the appropriate sex-change operation (to a woman), and we'll be glad to have you as a customer."
posted by eye of newt at 11:28 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


As I said elsewhere, it's time for my biennial complaints about NBC - Let the Grousing Begin.

This has been an issue for at least a DOZEN YEARS. I've told the story of watching a live cycling race from the Sydney Games on CBC, and switching over to NBC, where they were showing taped coverage of a race that had occurred exactly 24 hrs. before.

Yes, they could've been showing those races live each night, but instead delayed them as if it were still the 1950s and they had to fly a reel-to-reel tape to NYC.

This is now the 7th Olympics since then and NBC still insists on doing this. With each Games it's interesting to see how the online alternatives develop, legal and illegal.
posted by NorthernLite at 11:29 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey Hollywood Upstairs Medical College, got a login I could "test" for a couple weeks? :)
posted by jazon at 11:30 AM on July 29, 2012


I would just like to point out that Costas was a doof at the 2008 Olympics as well. I clearly remember him calling Belize "an island nation", and saying "here is Saudi Arabia, home of the majority of 9/11 hijackers.". I have disliked him intensely ever since, and was disappointed to see him back this time around.
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:31 AM on July 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Costas is a likable enough doof to me, I don't mind him but it does make me miss Jim McKay.
posted by troika at 11:34 AM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've never understood the whole industry attitude toward cord-cutters. It goes for HBO-Go too. Some cord-cutters have a lot of money and would gladly spend it to be able to stream various channels to their computers and portable devices. Rather than cater to them by offering them services (for money), they try to force them to stop being a cord-cutter.

It's not industry attitude toward cord-cutters, it's the fact that the cable companies have a lot of clout.
posted by eugenen at 11:37 AM on July 29, 2012


The most bizarre thing to me is @NBCOlympics live-tweeting event results even though their primary product is tape delayed. Was really bizarre last night with the TV talking heads trying to hype up Phelps in the 400m swim when everyone watching already knew the result. They didn't even use the extra time in the tape delay to talk more about Lochte, the winner, a swimmer I know nothing about.

I think this may be the last Olympics which is primary a TV event. At least, I hope so. The only thing keeping me from watching most of the games via Internet streams this time is that there's still no simple way to show Internet video on my TV at home with a nice remote. I mean, I could hack it, but it's not really a complete product the way a TiVoed NBC broadcast is. I'm hopeful that by 2016 some TV producer will figure out how to integrate the Internet and social media into their TV product rather than try to pretend it doesn't exist. (A little more thoughts in this blog post, a self-link).

One thing NBC has done reasonably right; the live streaming on their website and iPad app is pretty good. There's a lot of content, there's archive, and it's live. Sure it could be better, and I hate that it's tied to a cable subscription, but it's really pretty good. My one big complaint is they disabled AirPlay in the iPad app, so again without extra hacks I can't watch it on my nice TV.
posted by Nelson at 11:45 AM on July 29, 2012


I dunno. I find the sporting event coverage gets in the way of the heartrending stories about the terrible difficulties these young Americans have endured to get where they are today.
posted by Killick at 11:46 AM on July 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


I just came in here to say that John McEnroe looked fucking RIDICULOUS with his blond hair and that wacky suit he had on.

And also that Jim Lampley (at least I think that was Lampley, right?) irritates me to no end by constantly referring to Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings by their first names when everyone else in the games as far as I can tell gets the last name treatment.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:47 AM on July 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm really enjoying NBC's streaming "Gold Zone" channel. It's the same concept as the NFL Red Zone channel. Everything is live, and the coverage bounces around to cover all the key events. I really don't understand why NBC doesn't make "Gold Zone" available on one of their broadcast channels.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:48 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like the networks refuse to believe that the idea that some of us turned off cable because the fee was insanely high (and choose to watch our tv online instead) is a myth. It didn't make sense to subscribe to cable and have a tv anymore when I could watch everything I liked online. Would be great if they recognized that we'd be willing to pay to watch sports online for a small fee.

But going out to a bar is fine, so far.
posted by discopolo at 11:49 AM on July 29, 2012


Hey Hollywood Upstairs Medical College, got a login I could "test" for a couple weeks? :)


Alas, I am borrowing a friend's, and it's linked to their cable-provided email address with the same password, so I can't be giving it away...

But surely one of your friends has cable. Any one of them, from what I can tell they just verify that the account exists.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 11:50 AM on July 29, 2012


"I've really liked that aspect, not experiencing everything through the USA USA USA lens."

This is the thing I can't stand about watching the Olympics (as an American, in the US). I don't mind there being some emphasis of US athletes and such; that makes sense. But it goes way, way beyond that. It's like whether a US athlete is competitive is the only thing which matters, and how that athlete does and how the US is doing in the fucking medal count is of utmost importance. Any events where US athletes aren't competitive are given sparse coverage or are entirely ignored.

I hate this with a passion because it's both frustrating if you're just interested in the damn events for their own sake, and it's repugnant for the level of typical American parochialism it reveals. I remember past Olympics — and this was prior to the 00s and BushCo back when I was still actually moderately patriotic — when the cumulative experience of this left me rooting for American athletes to lose out of spite against this miasma of national narcissism.

So, I'm wondering: is the Olympic coverage by other nation's broadcast media like this? I imagine it's often partly like this, because people are people. But it's hard to imagine that it's this bad.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:53 AM on July 29, 2012 [14 favorites]


The part that gets me about is that I clearly remember whoever it is that's in charge of NBC Sports now saying that he thought the time delay treatments were ridiculous and that now that he's in charge, everything would be totally different.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:53 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


It wasn't the commentary that ruined the opening ceremonies; it was the opening ceremonies that ruined the opening ceremonies.

They were a disjointed mess.

Sure they started off nicely with a history lesson but then segued into a thinly veiled anti-American dig with their "tribute to the National Healthcare System" ...

which then morphed into a big JK Rowling/Harry Potter ad...

subsequently turning into some teenybopper crap about a girl who loses her cell phone on the "Tube" but then falls in love with the chap who found it (it was never explained how he called her to let her know that the phone was lost, considering she LOST HER PHONE)...

And finally anti-climatically capped off by a 70 year old zombie croaking out a 40 year old song. HOW CURRENT!

Mr Bean/James Bond/The fake queen bits did not amuse me and seemed out of place.

My idea would have been to recreate a Druidic Human Sacrifice at Stonehenge followed by ritual immolation via olympic torch.

Also, I wish they could get Steven Colbert to do the "parade of nations" commentary.
posted by Renoroc at 11:53 AM on July 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also online I can't tell whether I can't get commentary on any of the events, I don't know how to, or I'm watching particular events that don't get any commentary. Which is a problem in and of itself that I can't tell which it is.

We were watching women's 10 meter air rifle last night and had no idea what was happening. We sat there for ten minutes while they set up thinking we were watching them shoot until they actually started shooting. Handball was easy enough to get the gist of, but it would be nice to have someone explain, for example, what exactly constitutes a foul.
posted by cmoj at 11:55 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just assumed it'd be better to keep my head in the sand as far as news goes for a few weeks, and watch uploaded BBC coverage rather than NBC garbage.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:55 AM on July 29, 2012


I'm "watching" the Olympics via the Olympics tag on tumblr, which is like peering into an alternate dimension where female athletes are celebrated as examples of the triumph of the human spirit, and male athletes are objectified for their bodies.

@sourwookie, here's the opening, via someone on tumblr: http://vimeo.com/46534927
posted by subdee at 12:00 PM on July 29, 2012 [17 favorites]


NBC is so smugly confident in their "long-time success" that nothing will change. They double down and do more of the same, even though it is terrible TV.

Our dish account doesn't allow online streaming on NBC, either, and we're country-blocked by everyone else. Very frustrating. I do a lot of muting of everything Costas and Lauer and Seacreast. (It gives us plenty of time to debate when exactly Costas will wake up one morning to find himself supplanted by the Seacrest).

It seems like the more intensely NBC is marketing the sport, the worse the commentary is. Gymnastics and swimming are particularly egregious. Between Andrea Kramer asking only the women how they manage their emotions so they could succeed and the reflexive boot-licking of anything Phelpsian and the unending inanity of the gymnastics crew ... I find their commentators unbearable.
posted by julen at 12:01 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cmoj: the streams are, mostly, just the broadcast feed, so there isn't typically commentary.
posted by troika at 12:02 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, I'm wondering: is the Olympic coverage by other nation's broadcast media like this?

When you get the Australian commentary on swimming, for instance, they certainly highlight the Australian athletes some. But I think most countries don't have the luxury of primarily caring about events where they might win gold medals. So you get highlighting of their athletes, but absolutely not the laser focus on them, simply because in most countries, most of the Olympics is made up of events where your country isn't going to win a gold medal. It creates a perspective that the countries that win oodles and oodles of gold medals, I think, sometimes don't have.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 12:03 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


thinly veiled anti-American dig with their "tribute to the National Healthcare System" ...

That and the Mary Poppins bit was my favorite part. And really, independent of anything that is happening in America with healthcare, the NHS is something that Britain is truly proud of and is considered one of its greatest achievements in history. So I guess I really didn't see it as any kind of anti-American dig at all. It does have its own significance apart from being something that America isn't.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:04 PM on July 29, 2012 [90 favorites]


Canadian digital tv seems to offer just about every single television stream available in North America. Do people with digital in the US not get CTV, maybe up in the upper 300s? It might be a good backup if NBC cuts to the A Very Kardashian Vacation or something.
posted by Flashman at 12:04 PM on July 29, 2012


P.S. I am also really digging the Gold Zone and recommend it to those of you who are immersed in the online streams.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 12:05 PM on July 29, 2012


I clearly remember whoever it is that's in charge of NBC Sports now saying that he thought the time delay treatments were ridiculous and that now that he's in charge, everything would be totally different.

Well, the official NBC online program schedule described the delayed Opening Ceremonies broadcast as "Live." That's probably what he meant by totally different.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:06 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


tumblr is the best
posted by subdee at 12:07 PM on July 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


I am super-angry I couldn't buy live-streaming, and we are only watching the main NBC coverage because (clearly) we don't have cable, but their daytime broadcast NBC coverage hasn't been super rah-rah American. Yes, there is focus on American athletes and events in which Americans are competitive, which strikes me as a pretty normal feature of the Olympics, but they've shown a fair amount of live coverage of events in which the Americans are not competitive, with smart commentary on the actual favored competitors. (Like, I learned a lot about Dutch cycling this morning.) They've also been showing a lot of other countries' athletes with interesting stories (like the Irish gymnast) or who are strong competitors during the long daytime broadcasts.

The primetime coverage, on the other hand, is more like watching a feel-good sports docu-movie than an actual sporting event. I think part of the problem is they should have committed to far more live, prime-time style daytime coverage during the opening weekend at least. I get why you would want to summarize and elide events for weekday prime and show the highlights in that sort of "like live!" style, when most viewers will be at work all day and catching up on the events during primetime. But doing it opening weekend was a bad decision, because people are excited to see events and have plenty of free time in the daytime.

Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer made me want to punch my television, though. Viera was SO INANE, and the worst of it was that it was scripted, telepromptered inanity. She's probably not that vapid, but NBC makes her looks like the biggest airhead in the universe.

(Also John Orozco's mother is my favorite Olympic parent so far, I love her! That other gymnast's dad with the clapping is tops of my douche-parent list.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:09 PM on July 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


As I said on Twitter yesterday, there are only three entities left in the world that fear the web: Iran, China, and NBC.
posted by dw at 12:10 PM on July 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


I love this "I want to pay, but MEDIA_COMPANY doesn't want my money!" meme, because it is so profoundly ignorant of how the media business works. NBC (or HBO, etc.) creates content, and Comcast (and friends) packages and distributes content. NBC are bad at distributing content? Yeah, I guess so.

People want content creators to take on subscriptions directly, like this is as simple as slapping on a credit card form on the website and calling it a day. No - it means a huge investment in distribution infrastructure and on-going billing, customer service, customer acquisition costs. Basically it's calling for the content creators to vertically integrate, and then whining about "innovation" because it doesn't happen overnight, or they do it badly because it's not their core competency. This is like complaining to Harper Collins that Barnes And Noble is out of stock of a book they publish so they need to build their own retail stores.

Maybe Comcast, NBC's corporate parent who is in the business of distributing content, might be better at distributing content. Maybe you should just be able to log in to Comcast.com and stream all the channels that you subscribe to. That seems simpler than demanding massive and immediate changes to the entire US media industry.
posted by AlsoMike at 12:11 PM on July 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


So, I'm wondering: is the Olympic coverage by other nation's broadcast media like this? I imagine it's often partly like this, because people are people. But it's hard to imagine that it's this bad.

No, it's not like that in Canada. Now, a lot of the reason for that is that there are many popular events where our athletes aren't medal contenders. But still.... it's nice to see balanced commentary, and coverage of the medal ceremonies where there are no Canadian medalists. The constant rah rah USA coverage on NBC is pretty nauseating.
posted by barnoley at 12:14 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The NBC live stream coverage of gymnastics is useful if you want to be your own editor and choose one apparatus to follow or pick one team to just follow through various rotations. But as someone observed upthread, the commercial interruptions are maddening; you have to sit through one every time you start up a new stream, plus they break away frequently.
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:14 PM on July 29, 2012


Hollywood Upstairs Medical College: they just verify that the account exists... well not just that but that it's the right account. I have Dish 150, and they only allow access for Dish 200 and up.
posted by jazon at 12:16 PM on July 29, 2012


The BBC is offering everything free, online, as long as you live in the uk* (or appear to anyway www.unblock-us.com). NBC's coverage has always been, and continues to be a crock, with focus always being on a specific set of countries, with waaaay too much background BS which I couldn't give a crap about, I just want to see the sport! I bless the internet, so we can actually see the olympics, and not the olympics* through the NBC crapfilter.
posted by defcom1 at 12:17 PM on July 29, 2012 [27 favorites]


Do people with digital in the US not get CTV, maybe up in the upper 300s?

Nope. We only get CBC in Seattle. Which made Athens and Torino awesome -- live Olympics! Commentators that don't have to hear themselves talk! Brian Williams going on about 14th place "best ever" Canadian finishers! -- but they're deeply missed now.

I just went ahead and bought a UK VPN. I give up on the US TV coverage. Online would be better if they would not show a commercial every time you change streams and didn't pre-empt live events with commercials and, you know, commercials.

I mean, hell, they were going to commercial during soccer games, shocking because no other American broadcaster does that anymore, not ABC, not ESPN, not Fox.
posted by dw at 12:18 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sure they started off nicely with a history lesson but then segued into a thinly veiled anti-American dig with their "tribute to the National Healthcare System"

It's not about you.

/therapist
posted by MuffinMan at 12:20 PM on July 29, 2012 [75 favorites]


"I love this "I want to pay, but MEDIA_COMPANY doesn't want my money!" meme, because it is so profoundly ignorant of how the media business works."

I know exactly how it works, but I'm still angry I can't buy streaming of the Olympics. I don't really care to which company I pay the money, but I am not having cable or satellite hooked up to my house just so I can stream it. I have an internet connection fully capable of streaming it and I'm not allowed to because the content/delivery model for video entertainment is FUCKED UP and corporations are allowed to behave in a monopolistic, anti-consumer fashion in a utility industry that is supposed to be highly regulated and serve the public interest.

One can understand the system and its logic and still think it's rotten for consumers.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:20 PM on July 29, 2012 [38 favorites]


Oh man I miss Canadian broadcasts. I grew up in Western New York and can trace my love of the Olympics to staying up all night as a kid watching the Lillehammer games on CBC.
posted by troika at 12:21 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


That seems simpler than demanding massive and immediate changes to the entire US media industry.

Yeah but the trouble is, the internet has already forced immediate changes to the entire US media industry.

This thread, or one like it elsewhere on the net, happens every. single. fucking. Olympics. Yes, NBC coverage sucks balls (was hoping that with Ebersol gone, maybe they'd change something). But we must be in the minority, because nothing ever changes. There must be an awful lot of people out there who don't care about the sports and just love the inane back stories, ads, rah-rah America, ....

Online would be better

If it had commentary. There was some weightlifting flap about the clock and I had no idea what was going on. I'd do online all day, every day, if they would just add some (even minimal) commentary.
posted by Melismata at 12:22 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The BBC is offering everything free

This might be exactly what AlsoMike is talking about (and I admit to not knowing how the media business works) but once again I find myself wishing that the BBC would open up TV License fees to the rest of the world, who could then get access to all the BBC channels and content. Or maybe some kind of a PBS/BBC partnership. I can always dream.......
posted by triggerfinger at 12:23 PM on July 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Meredith Viera: ". . . we haven't ever heard of him [Tim Berners-Lee] either"

I heard her say this during the opening ceremonies, and I just about lost my shit.
posted by exlotuseater at 12:26 PM on July 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


adamvasco wrote:
Do people like this (NBC editors) ever conceive that this arrogant attitude is why so many of us have had it up to the tits with U. S. A.

Really?!? I wish the London terrorist victims tribute would have been shown, too, but reread the above to yourself and ask who sounds more unreasonable, you or NBC.

Jehan wrote:
I'm told they could find anybody to translate them into American, so they had to be cut.

and telstar wrote:
Broadcast has to be delayed to make sure that nothing is shown that Americans aren't supposed to see.

... And yet more of this. But there's never a bad time for a pointless anti-American rant on the Internet, eh?

Eyebrows McGee rants and raves:
I am not having cable or satellite hooked up to my house just so I can stream it.

Buy an antenna. Might be as cheap as $15 at Radio Shack. Hook it up to any TV made in the past decade. Watch 16 hours per day of 100% high definition, 100% free Olympics on NBC, including most of the highest-profile events such as swimming, gymnastics, and track and field.

Ivan Fyodorovich asked:
So, I'm wondering: is the Olympic coverage by other nation's broadcast media like this? I imagine it's often partly like this, because people are people. But it's hard to imagine that it's this bad.

as Linda_Holmes observed:
But I think most countries don't have the luxury of primarily caring about events where they might win gold medals. So you get highlighting of their athletes, but absolutely not the laser focus on them, simply because in most countries, most of the Olympics is made up of events where your country isn't going to win a gold medal. It creates a perspective that the countries that win oodles and oodles of gold medals, I think, sometimes don't have.

Bingo. 80 of the 200 countries at the Olympics have never won a single medal. The US Olympic team is both the largest and historically among the most successful. (Some other countries do better on a per-capita basis, but the US Olympic Committee, which handles all training, is the only one in the world that receives no government money. None, zip, zero. All of its funding comes from a share of the IOC's revenue, plus private and corporate contributions.) That means there are that many more opportunities for showing an American swimming victory or an American receiving the gold for rifle shooting.

Consider Canada, for example. As barnoley stated,
No, it's not like that in Canada. Now, a lot of the reason for that is that there are many popular events where our athletes aren't medal contenders.

Every time the Olympics come around, Americans near the 49th parallel talk about being able to watch Canadian coverage that is much less Canada-centric than than the US counterpart. That's easy when, despite having a team half the size of the US's at Beijing, Canada finished with 16% of the US's points. This is not meant as a criticism of the Canadian performance in anyway--Canada is one of the countries that did better than the US per capita--but, on an absolute basis, when you have fewer successes of your own to celebrate, of course you have more time to talk about other nations'.

triggerfinger wrote:
Despite the controversy, the opening ceremony had record viewers.

... And there you have the answer to why NBC chose to delay it for US prime time.

The network paid $1.3 billion for the rights to the London Games alone. It will pay $4.4 billion for the rights to the next four. NBC expects to lose $100 million on London. The Olympics are (and historically have been) a loss leader so it can promote its offerings, such as new shows and new cable networks, but that doesn't mean NBC--the fourth-place US network yet again--doesn't want to minimize its losses as much as possible.

To put it another way: The evil NBC provides one half of all IOC broadcast revenue, and the US one third of all revenue. All that cool stuff the world gets to see for two to three weeks every two years? Without NBC or another US media entity much of the spectacle wouldn't be there at all.
posted by ylee at 12:28 PM on July 29, 2012 [14 favorites]


If there was such a thing as broadcast NBC in San Francisco, I might actually buy a cheapass TV to watch the Olympics. Sadly, not so much.
posted by mollymayhem at 12:33 PM on July 29, 2012


I watched the real-time unedited broadcast on CTV in Canada and I did interpret the first two narrative scenes as a comment on industrialization. The first scene is of an idealized agrarian society with cricket and cute sheep, then the speech from the Tempest and the Industrial Revolution happens. You could take it totally at face value- industrialization was a net good which allowed Britain to accomplish many things- but Boyle didn't really show us any indication of what those things might be. We saw workers building smokestacks and a forge creating one ring of the Olympic logo. CTV cut most of the sequence from the rebroadcast so I was only able to watch it once but I definitely found the group of robber barons in top hats looking approvingly as the pretty landscape was replaced with ugly machinery to be a bit creepy.

I also thought it was interesting that there weren't any overt nods to the different groups within G.B.- Welsh, Scottish, etc. or any indication of Britain's former empire. There are lots of different directions Boyle could have taken. Overall, it was an interesting show.

As to Canadian broadcast being less Canada-centric than U.S. coverage, I watched women's synchronized diving this morning and *all* the announcers could talk about was the Canadian team which was in the running for a mdeal. Maybe it is just because the Canadians had a chance. Since the 2010 Vancouver winter games, we also have CTV's official anthem "Believe" which is played ceaselessly.
posted by betsybetsy at 12:44 PM on July 29, 2012


qxntpqbbbqxl: "people are asking how long they can continue to delay these events in the age of social networking

...or in an age of internet alternatives. I tunneled through the Great Firewall to watch China's live CCTV feed. Evidently America is less free than China in some respects.
"

Time Magazine - US vs World... Yup. We don't officially censor, we just corporatize and white-wash our bullshit. Though I think I read the Time mags actually still contained the content, just the covers were changed to "sell" (?)
posted by symbioid at 12:44 PM on July 29, 2012


segued into a thinly veiled anti-American dig with their "tribute to the National Healthcare System" ...
posted by Renoroc at 7:53 PM on July 29


Yeah, it has to be all about America, doesn't it? Couldn't have been about celebrating something that we regard as one of the most important achievements of *our* culture, now could it?

God, the conceit of some of you people.
posted by Decani at 12:49 PM on July 29, 2012 [90 favorites]


Time Magazine - US vs World.

That shit infuriates me. Is the media just catering to a stupid society or is our society stupid because of the garbage the mass media gives us? I lean towards the latter.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:51 PM on July 29, 2012


Without NBC or another US media entity much of the spectacle wouldn't be there at all.

More time for sport, then.
posted by absalom at 12:51 PM on July 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


Back in the winter of '92 I was interning for a broadcast vendor who's largest customer was the CBC. When the winter olympics started, we discovered that, via backup test equipment, we had access to *all* of the raw, live incoming feeds from Albertville, and hastily reconfigured our test lab to use these as the primary feeds for use during our project work. We started doing a lot of lab work very early in the morning.

It was the most amazing way to watch the games; just like I imagine it would be to attend in person. No onscreen logos obscuring the view, no commentary, no commercial breaks, no jumping back and forth between events. Indeed, each feed would often be bookended with an hour or more of "B-roll" coverage as the camera crew got into position well before the athletes arrived and then didn't stop their feed until the award ceremonies were well concluded. In fact, without all of the onscreen graphics we take for granted today, it was often hard to tell what the athlete's names were, where they were from, or even who had won until the medals were actually awarded. We kept a table of flags and country names handy (this was pre-internet), and it was a fun game to try to guess where an athlete was from based on their costume. It's highly recommended if you ever get the chance.


I doubt that kind of all access, unbranded coverage will ever be made available for purchase, though. Nowadays it's sold to advertisers as a branded product, to be post processed, narrated, edited for content, produced, and otherwise manipulated so as to command the most viewers of the most profitable market demographics as possible. I almost want to see major sporting events done this way, as an experiment - each team's home city would get an edited broadcast highlighting the winning plays, local sponsors, and player bios, while minimizing the fact that their opponents participated in the event at all.
posted by ceribus peribus at 12:51 PM on July 29, 2012 [16 favorites]


mollymayhem, that's certainly interesting. I live on the peninsula and I'm watching the Olympics in HD via antenna....of course, I have a directly sightline from San Bruno Mountain, so that may be it.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:52 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had no idea the US was in the Olympics this year.
posted by mazola at 12:54 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Opening ceremony: "are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context"

What the hell is that even supposed to mean? I watched it online from the BBC One stream via VPN as I worked earlier in the US day. Then, while I admittedly didn't pay close attention when my GF had on the NBC broadcast later in the evening, I noticed lots of commercials and no extra insight that the BBC team didn't have.

And if there had been no commentary at all, wouldn't that be sort of like, I dunno, actually being in the stadium?
posted by tyllwin at 12:57 PM on July 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've been fairly anti-Olympics this time around, until I saw the opening ceremonies. And then the BBC coverage, it's positively dreamy. With Sky I can go into their little Olympics guide and flip through the A-Z sports and zero in on whatever sport I want to watch (granted that it's happening at that time). They're listed alphabetically and they have sliders showing how long each sport will be broadcasted for, with info descriptions of what qualifying level or teams are competing during that block. Today I watched skeet shooting, archery, rafting, gymnastics, badminton and beach volleyball.

I'm an American living in the UK. I feel super bad for everybody back home. This NBC setup is total BS. And it's a shame that it will rage on until at least 2020.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:58 PM on July 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


Oh, and no commercials.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:59 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honestly, more hatred should be directed at the IOC for their frankly nauseating gender policies than at NBC for their generalized incompetence.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:59 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Renoroc: "Sure they started off nicely with a history lesson but then segued into a thinly veiled anti-American dig with their "tribute to the National Healthcare System" ...
"

Here's a free whack with the cluebat: the purpose of the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics is not about making anti-American digs.

If you happen to think that any particular segment was aimed at the USA, then you're wrong because guess what! It's not about you.
posted by pharm at 1:00 PM on July 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


Expat Shield is working well to provide access to the bbc coverage in the US.
posted by Jacob G at 1:00 PM on July 29, 2012


If there was such a thing as broadcast NBC in San Francisco, I might actually buy a cheapass TV to watch the Olympics. Sadly, not so much.

I live in San Francisco and easily pick up KNTV from the peninsula with the aforementioned $10 Radio Shack indoor antenna.
posted by ylee at 1:00 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


ps: The opening ceremony was completely awesome & I will take on all comers on that point.
posted by pharm at 1:03 PM on July 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


You're a lucky one, then, ylee. Facebook and Twitter are full of my SF resident pals complaining about the lack of broadcast NBC.
posted by mollymayhem at 1:04 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


but once again I find myself wishing that the BBC would open up TV License fees to the rest of the world

My god. Can you even imagine the size of the fleet of secret Television Detection Vans they'd need to cover that kind of area?
posted by radwolf76 at 1:06 PM on July 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


The Lauer/Viera opening ceremonies narration was a Lovecraftian horror. I have to go punch something now.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:08 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait. Wait. So. The Twitter tells me that ____ just beat ____ in the 4x100 relay. But NBC didn't air it.

Holy shit this is bad.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:12 PM on July 29, 2012


"Buy an antenna. Might be as cheap as $15 at Radio Shack. Hook it up to any TV made in the past decade. Watch 16 hours per day of 100% high definition, 100% free Olympics on NBC, including most of the highest-profile events such as swimming, gymnastics, and track and field."

I HAVE A TELEVISION AND AM WATCHING NBC BROADCAST JUST FINE. You don't have to be a dick about it. There are events I would like to watch that are not being broadcast by NBC. There are other events that they are editing that I would prefer to watch in full. There are yet other events that I don't care about at all that they are showing for hours on end. All of these things are fine, I understand the logic behind the decisions, and other people will have other things they want and don't want to watch.

What I am angry about is that I would like to watch live streams, which are available, of the events that I would like to see more of. I am willing to pay for this right, either as a package deal or for individual events. I do not want to pirate. I especially do not want to pay $80 for the privilege of the cable company drilling through the side of my house because I have the WRONG KIND of internet for them to be willing to sell me a live stream that my internet connection is perfectly capable of showing. I would even pay $50 or $100 to the local cable company to get a username and password I could use to watch the Olympics live streams only (and an additional fee to my existing internet provider to make up for the excess usage, that's fine!), but no, that is only available to me if I let some dude half-competently drill through the exterior wall of my house. Please explain to me how, exactly, putting holes in my walls is sensibly related to allowing me to purchase media that is readily available using the system I already have.

If you pay me $80, however, I will come drill a random hole in your house. Then you will be allowed to watch the early rounds of soccer or the rowing repechages.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:13 PM on July 29, 2012 [31 favorites]


Wait. Wait. So. The Twitter tells me that ____ just beat ____ in the 4x100 relay. But NBC didn't air it.

Holy shit this is bad.


Are you kidding? It was an amazing moment.
posted by Summer at 1:15 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


NBC needs to hire this woman for commentary.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:17 PM on July 29, 2012 [16 favorites]


You're a lucky one, then, ylee. Facebook and Twitter are full of my SF resident pals complaining about the lack of broadcast NBC.


They almost certainly haven't tried at all, or haven't tried for more than a few moments. Because KNTV is broadcast from Mount San Bruno and is a VHF channel, the antenna aiming/positioning may have to change compared to the UHF signals from Mount Sutro. (KGO, which is from Sutro but is VHF, also sometimes needs this.) And of course, if KNTV were to also broadcast from Sutro, all your friends in San Jose and the peninsula would complain that they couldn't watch the Olympics. Broadcasting is an inherently imperfect means of communication, and satisfying everyone is almost impossible.
posted by ylee at 1:17 PM on July 29, 2012


Buy an antenna. Might be as cheap as $15 at Radio Shack. Hook it up to any TV made in the past decade. Watch 16 hours per day of 100% high definition, 100% free Olympics on NBC, including most of the highest-profile events such as swimming, gymnastics, and track and field.

Try unfolding a paper clip and sticking it in the coaxial cable hole. It works surprisingly well.
posted by Chuckles at 1:18 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eyebrows McGee rants and raves:
"I am not having cable or satellite hooked up to my house just so I can stream it."
Buy an antenna

-ylee

First, Eyebrow McGee doesn't, as a rule, rant or rave.
Second, it's totally reasonable to not want a cable subscription when you'd rather pay only for what you want to use (just Olympics, just online).
Third, plenty of us don't get reception through antennas.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:19 PM on July 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sure they started off nicely with a history lesson but then segued into a thinly veiled anti-American dig with their "tribute to the National Healthcare System" ...

Totally agree with you - it was disgusting how the Britlanders insulted us with their socialism. And then they had a flying bicycle which was from OUR movie about OUR alien childhood friend and they didn't even pay for the rights. And then before the US team came out they MADE UP a team called the "United Arab Amirites!" and they came out first - as if we were all actually Arabs or something. Disgusting. Thank God Mitt Romney and his crack team of dressage troops are over there to keep
America prancing.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:22 PM on July 29, 2012 [31 favorites]


Sure they started off nicely with a history lesson but then segued into a thinly veiled anti-American dig with their "tribute to the National Healthcare System" ...

Heh. Us American-hating Brits. It's like our 60 years of considering the NHS as a primary achievement of the country were just a cover to be able to snub the US.

We're monsters!
posted by jaduncan at 1:23 PM on July 29, 2012 [25 favorites]


which is like peering into an alternate dimension where female athletes are celebrated as examples of the triumph of the human spirit

Today's victory by Vos, for example. Most epic cycling moment since Evans at the 2010 Giro, I think.
posted by Chuckles at 1:24 PM on July 29, 2012


"Sure they started off nicely with a history lesson but then segued into a thinly veiled anti-American dig with their "tribute to the National Healthcare System"
Even the mention of universal, free at the point of access healthcare is an attack on America? Good word, is there a name for this alternate reality that the US exists in?
posted by Jehan at 1:28 PM on July 29, 2012 [14 favorites]


I haven't been that bothered by the availability of Olympics content, mostly because I do not adhere to the cord-cutter lifestyle. I'm primarily using it as low-involvement background programming, occasionally watching certain events I'm more interested in.

What HAS been problematic has been the commentary for the opening ceremonies and other NBC editorial content. The Lauer/Costas commentary during the ceremonies was a magical blend of bad research, unnecessary snark, and borderline racism/definite ethnocentrism.

I'm not going to get into the economics of content infrastructure (suffice to say there are significant issues with the ala carte/pay for what you want model that would probably kill off a lot of the content most people want to watch, no matter how much I and others like the idea) but there's one problem that can be fixed for next time and it is an easy fix and that is to get people who do not suck at talking on television.
posted by HostBryan at 1:29 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wrote a cuss-filled tweet about NBC's horrid and coverage of the opening ceremonies and cable-subscription requirements, but I deleted it. I have to be the better person — the Olympic spirit!
posted by Down10 at 1:30 PM on July 29, 2012


Thank God Mitt Romney and his crack team of dressage troops are over there to keep America prancing.

We scared him off. He's in Israel.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:30 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are you kidding? It was an amazing moment.

I'm not kidding. As far as I can tell, they didn't air it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:32 PM on July 29, 2012


I have an internet connection fully capable of streaming it and I'm not allowed to because the content/delivery model for video entertainment is FUCKED UP and corporations are allowed to behave in a monopolistic, anti-consumer fashion in a utility industry that is supposed to be highly regulated and serve the public interest.

See, this is exactly the problem. People are acting like cord-cutting is some kind of anti-corporate, anti-monopoly, pro-consumer act, while simultaneously demanding vertical integration and media consolidation of the industry, something that government regulation of the media industry has tried to prevent because it means monopolies! Of course, Republicans and pro-corporate Democrats have been gradually undoing these regulations for 20 years, and apparently not fast enough for today's "anti-corporate" progressives.

The same confusion exists with regard to content piracy. What do you think will happen to content creation industry if they can't make money? Their unions will be broken, they will gradually be made into weakened, minor subsidiaries of global telecom companies with an approach to artistic integrity that will make GE look like the National Endowment for the Arts by comparison, and a whole lot of deeply confused progressives will wonder how they got duped into fighting for this agenda.
posted by AlsoMike at 1:32 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait. Wait. So. The Twitter tells me that ____ just beat ____ in the 4x100 relay. But NBC didn't air it.

And they may not, since _____ pretty much tanked there and blew it for his team (despite a heroic effort by _____). Even more shocking to me was _____, after all that _____, finishing ______. But congrats to ______. Great race all alround.
posted by dw at 1:35 PM on July 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's the Mad Lib Olympics! Thanks, NBC!!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:36 PM on July 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Jacob G: "I would be marginally okay with the requirement to have a cable tv subscription to stream events live, but dammit don't make me need one to watch the archived video...

Not everyone has cable and some of us actually like to see events like Table Tennis and Handball, which get no action on over the air broadcast tv...
"
Over here we get 60 hours per day of Olympic content available for streaming for free. No ads. I don't know if they've put in an IP filter, but you might try to have a look at http://olympia.ard.de/. If it's blocked, throw some money at your favourite proxy company instead of NBC. I can recommend USAIP.
posted by brokkr at 1:37 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


First, Eyebrow McGee doesn't, as a rule, rant or rave.

Indeed, "I am super-angry I couldn't buy live-streaming" and "the content/delivery model for video entertainment is FUCKED UP and corporations are allowed to behave in a monopolistic, anti-consumer fashion in a utility industry that is supposed to be highly regulated and serve the public interest" isn't ranting at all.

The Olympics are, at the end of the day, a private effort. The IOC is not part of the UN. As I mentioned earlier, the USOC doesn't get a cent from the US government. NBC paid the tiny, tiny sum of $1.3 billion for the exclusive right to decide how and where it made its coverage of London available in the United States. By the end of the games it will have aired about 300 hours of free, high-definition coverage on the broadcast NBC channel. That's not bad. In addition, NBC has made made hundreds more hours of coverage on cable/satellite channels that 91% of the United States already has access to. NBC and cable/satellite companies hope that big events like the Olympics will encourage some of the remaining 9% to subscribe for recurring revenue, as opposed to a one-off sale of online streaming. That's how the market works, but we then couldn't have Eyebrow demanding that the government do something, anything, to remedy the gross constitutional violation committed by his inability to watch the additional hundreds of hours of team handball or modern pentathlon.
posted by ylee at 1:37 PM on July 29, 2012


ylee, there is no NBC broadcast in my area (not SF), either. Anyone who wants to check can try this handy page from the FCC
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:38 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


swimoff!
posted by pjenks at 1:41 PM on July 29, 2012


ylee, there is no NBC broadcast in my area (not SF), either.

As I acknowledged, broadcasting is an inherently imperfect medium. That's why cable (originally CATV, Community Access Television) first appeared in rural Pennsylvania in the 1950s; to serve mountainous and valley households that couldn't receive broadcast signals from Philly or Pittsburgh at all. Even today, there are a very few areas that don't have an NBC affiliate.

The fact remains that 91% of the United States subscribes to cable or satellite, and the vast majority of the remaining 9% live in areas where they can pick up broadcast signals. Should the government make being able to watch the Olympics a constitutional right?
posted by ylee at 1:43 PM on July 29, 2012


Ja, that was kind of nuts
posted by Flashman at 1:43 PM on July 29, 2012


Interestingly, my previous home wouldn't get NBC broadcast either.

Should the government make being able to watch the Olympics a constitutional right?

Keep propping up that strawman, maybe someone will respond.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:48 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


a thinly veiled anti-American dig with their tribute to the National Healthcare System

They hate you for your freedom to be driven to bankruptcy due to health problems.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:50 PM on July 29, 2012 [29 favorites]


One thing to remember: NBC did try just selling the Olympics a la carte, once. It was called the Olympics Triplecast, and it was a titanic failure. They sold the three channel package for $130 in 1992 dollars -- so about $200 in 2012 money -- and almost no one bought it.

Could they do it now? Probably, but there's no reason to given with MSNBC, CNBC, and now NBC Sports and Bravo, they have five channels available to them. In 1992, they had two -- NBC over the air and CNBC (which showed -- and still primarily shows -- boxing). The only reason to offer an a la carte package would be to either a) give people who don't have cable access or b) let people watch the events live. a) won't happen, simply because NBC is owned by Comcast, and anyway, the cable industry is trying to preserve its position as a content bundler. b) should happen, though, given that people will time-shift anyway and will watch the games live if they care about them. But NBC/Comcast won't do it, because they are clinging to the dying model of "broadcast TV" in the face of the web.

The fact that Meredith Vieira didn't know who Tim Berners-Lee was isn't just an indictment of Vieira but of NBC itself. They don't get the web. Makes me wonder if Comcast had to drag them kicking and screaming to putting the entire games online -- and even then, they insisted on all these frikkin' commercials.
posted by dw at 1:51 PM on July 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


dw has it; NBC tried exactly what some people are asking for. Selling the Olympics a la carte. Nobody bought it.

You can say it was too expensive. But then we're getting beyond the original complaint. At that point we're at "I want access to what I want, when I want it, at the price I want to pay." Which seems unreasonable to me.
posted by Justinian at 1:55 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Turns out the price I'm gonna pay is the cost of a few beers down at the local bar. Works for me.
posted by mollymayhem at 1:59 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm curious, does anyone know: did the Triplecast mentioned have commentary of all its events, or was it just a live feed with no commentary the way the web has it now?
posted by Melismata at 1:59 PM on July 29, 2012


I've been trying to watch via NBC's live streaming online, but it's just been brutal. The stream pauses, freezes, skips ahead, and during the swimming today it froze literally right before every finish. I finally gave up and went to watch the 4x100 relay on the tee-vee. They showed a race or two, and the cut to some sort of gymnastic dancing crap. (I don't get the ads in Firefox with ad blocker, by the way, but do get them in Safari. I tried Safari yesterday during the constant up and down of the stream.)

I finally started watching via wiziwig.tv. The quality is poorer and the site designs are awful, but it's much more reliable than NBC's own feed.

Plus, they've been trumpeting the fact that you watch all the replays. Yeah, great, but they're replays sans commentary. I'm just enough of a non-jock to actually enjoy the game calling. But, no, tough luck. Can't hear it live because the stream crashes, and can't hear it on replay because it's not available.

They've completely fucked it up. Completely.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:01 PM on July 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dude. The Olympics Triplecast was twenty years ago. Things have changed. It could have totally worked today. Sell 'em like tickets to events. Because that's what they are.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:05 PM on July 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


dw has it; NBC tried exactly what some people are asking for. Selling the Olympics a la carte. Nobody bought it.

And there hasn't been any kind of technological and content consumption changes since 1992.
posted by ndfine at 2:06 PM on July 29, 2012 [21 favorites]


By the end of the games it will have aired about 300 hours of free, high-definition coverage on the broadcast NBC channel

Just to take issue with this, because it is, in my view, a deeply misleading way to think about "free" services, as compared against subscription services, pay as you consume or something like the BBC's licence fee.

As consumers, we basically pay a tax when we buy products and services which are advertised. We don't call it a tax, of course, but when companies put line iterms in their budget for advertising and factor those margins into the price of the goods and services they sell, it works like a tax for all intents and purposes.

At base this comes down to a pretty large discrepancy in the world view of more corporatist free market advocates vs advocates of higher central taxes - and the truth is there is opacity and waste in both models, of course. On the one hand ad-based funding models are incredibly wasteful because not all advertising is effective. On the other state monopolies are rarely beacons of efficiency.

But - and I'm not accusing you of taking this line ylee, I'm just getting it off my chest - the comparison between "free" and "not free" services is far more about the conceptual distance between what you get and when you pay than the actual cost of the thing. In the UK, for example, we find this a lot when BBC critics compare the "high" cost of the licence fee against the advert-funded commercial channels.

In magic, when the effect of a trick has been brought about at point x when the audience thinks it was at point y it is called misdirection. And describing something that has a cost, and whose cost is ultimately borne by consumers as "free" because the funding model is indirect and obscure is basically a political magic trick when all is said and done.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:11 PM on July 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Should the government make being able to watch the Olympics a constitutional right?

In Britain we have a number of sporting events which have to be aired live and for free on "terrestrial" TV (ie they can't only be broadcast on cable or satellite services or on a subscription tv channel).
posted by dng at 2:12 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think this may be the last Olympics which is primary a TV event. At least, I hope so.

That's almost certain to be the case up here in Canada. The rights to air the Olympics are so expensive that two of our three major networks had to put in a joint bid. It was rejected by the IOC, so the networks offered more. Nope. No Olympics for us in 2014 or 2016.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:14 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


And there hasn't been any kind of technological and content consumption changes since 1992.

dw and Justinian's point is that the closest thing possible in those pre-Web days to the one-off, online streaming-only, à la carte model demanded here and elsewhere (those who want to watch Game of Thrones without subscribing to HBO, for example) was tried, and was a colossal failure. Precedent is precedent.

Consider the many here and elsewhere who simultaneously claim, without recognizing the contradiction, that 1) NBC is rapaciously greedy (so greedy it is willing to lose $100 million per Olympics), yet 2) is missing out on the millions more it could surely make by offering its cable feeds online to everyone for a fee. It likely could . . . but its analysts have calculated that the long-term damage to its ability to persuade cable companies to carry its channels, and consumers' incentive to subscribe to said companies, would be greater than the near-term return. (And how many times have we heard people say that corporations should be less short term-oriented in their thinking?)

Perhaps that's totally wrong and those who demand on MeFi and Twitter that NBC should do things differently are right. That's the bottom line, however, and no amount of "NBC is filled with idiots" or "NBC doesn't know what to do with the Web" is going to change this until the spreadsheets say otherwise.
posted by ylee at 2:23 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


@subdee Thanks!

Added the Vimeo channel to the Roku and am now watching it from the couch.
posted by sourwookie at 2:24 PM on July 29, 2012


No Olympics for us in 2014 or 2016

Wow, I had heard about the joint bid, but not the outcome. Not too choked about it, as CTV/TSN's sports coverage doesn't hold a candle to the classic CBC sports that I took for granted as a kid (I assume the former would dominate) but wow, jeez.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:25 PM on July 29, 2012


As consumers, we basically pay a tax when we buy products and services which are advertised. We don't call it a tax, of course, but when companies put line iterms in their budget for advertising and factor those margins into the price of the goods and services they sell, it works like a tax for all intents and purposes.

I agree. The fundamental difference, of course, is that one is voluntary and can be redirected as desired, and the other is not, but I agree that in terms of money extracted out of wallets the end results are pretty similar.

The same applies in the other direction, of course. Consider the many many here (Such as the comment following yours!) that claim that TV license- or taxpayer-supported broadcasters' coverage of the Olympics is similarly "free". Absolutely nothing in life is free, whether the costs are hidden or public.
posted by ylee at 2:28 PM on July 29, 2012


Sorta but not really. You can try not buying washing powder or toothpaste but it won't be fun for your nearest and dearest.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:30 PM on July 29, 2012


Consider the many many here (Such as the comment following yours!) that claim that TV license- or taxpayer-supported broadcasters' coverage of the Olympics is similarly "free".

The free in my post equates also to the three advertising funded channels in the UK as well as the BBC.
posted by dng at 2:32 PM on July 29, 2012


FWIW, online fencing coverage has been pretty decent. Right at the start there was some kind of code snafu that repeatedly crashed Chrome for me, but that seems to have been fixed. They also played some ads over actual touches in the women's gold medal foil bout, but that also seems to have stopped happening.

The last thing they need to fix is occasionally swapping to a camera that's zoomed in on a single foot or a hand and then zooming out. It's not a god damn movie and we don't need jump cuts and camera work to make it exciting. We want to see the entire action, and we want to see it clearly.
posted by kavasa at 2:35 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's easy when, despite having a team half the size of the US's at Beijing, Canada finished with 16% of the US's points.

Sure, for the summer Olympics. For a better comparison you should be looking at the Canadian coverage during the Winter Games, where Canada usually has a comparable medal performance to the United States. Swimming and gymnastics, fine sports that they are, just don't command the kind of following in this country that ice hockey and curling does.
posted by ceribus peribus at 2:36 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The free in my post equates also to the three advertising funded channels in the UK as well as the BBC.

My apologies. I knew what you meant, but got stuck on the word "free". I was thinking of other comments that mentioned Olympic coverage by BBC and ARD--two government-owned, TV license fee-driven networks--as free.
posted by ylee at 2:39 PM on July 29, 2012


Not having commentary in six-hour road cycling replays at the NBC online site was just dumb. I read someone here saying that they liked. lack of commentary due to a lack of rah-rah USA stuff. Maybe that works in some sports but not others? With cycling, what you see is just a whiz of people in shirts of different colors, with no easily spotted nation ID. (The lack of commentary is bothersome in swimming too. I can't tell what nations swimmers are representing. It's just randomly people swimming crazy fast!)
posted by raysmj at 2:39 PM on July 29, 2012


ylee, it's great (in the sense of "great for the viewer") that NBC is showing lots of events, and your point about how many households have cable is a fine one, and it's great that the IOC is able to get so much money for tv rights. Monopolies are not so great, and your argument that it is more profitable for NBC to do things this way does not really cut ice against the argument that a company granted a monopoly like this has some degree of ethical obligation to make it as widely accessible as possible (and they are free to make their money back on ads or reasonable subscription fees). Surely the allowability of a monopoly is partly conditioned on its being in the public interest to allow it, to some extent?

Now, I mainly wish they would do a la carte because I'd like to watch it, I'm willing to pay a reasonable price and watch some ads in order to support the cost of producing the coverage, and there's zero chance I'm gonna get cable. I don't think they're evil, but surely I'm free to lament this annoyance. I mean, it's true of every business that "the spreadsheets" determine their behavior, but sometimes corporate behavior is annoying or dismaying etc even when it's "economically rational" in some idealized sense. It's weird to say "you can't be annoyed, it's economically rational".

Some changes from 1992 that might be relevant:
- tons of people with video-enabled devices (mini-tvs) they carry around in their pocket all day, so they would be able to take advantage of drop-in coverage of events they're interested in
- micro-payment model is more familiar to people
- MLB.tv and similar packages mean that there's a bigger bank of technical experience in putting together a subscription based online thing, and in estimating how to sell ads in the stream
- companies more willing to spend money for ads in online streams
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:39 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Monopolies are not so great, and your argument that it is more profitable for NBC to do things this way does not really cut ice against the argument that a company granted a monopoly like this has some degree of ethical obligation to make it as widely accessible as possible (and they are free to make their money back on ads or reasonable subscription fees). Surely the allowability of a monopoly is partly conditioned on its being in the public interest to allow it, to some extent?

Again, the Olympics is not a US government, or United Nations effort. The IOC is a private, non-government, nonprofit organization. The USOC is the same. NBC is a private corporation. What should two private entities making a commercial transaction regarding a series of sporting events be compelled to do, when one of them already makes >300 hours available without subscription to the vast majority of the 9% without cable/satellite?
posted by ylee at 2:46 PM on July 29, 2012


The Olympics are not about you or your enjoyment of the events. They are about NBC selling advertisements, recouping their investment and making a profit for their shareholders.

Come on' Capitalists, get your sh*t together.
posted by incandissonance at 2:48 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


At that point we're at "I want access to what I want, when I want it, at the price I want to pay." Which seems unreasonable to me.

Or, as an alternative view, the exact way the much-vaunted 'free market system' is supposed to work.

If you sell people something they want, when the want it, at the price they want to pay, then you will likely sell a whole lot of that item.

If you don't--for instance, setting the price far too high ($200 when you can get all the same content and much more for $30-$60/month from cable companies)--then don't be too surprised when no one buys it and people complain. That's not unreasonable, it's how markets work.
posted by flug at 2:48 PM on July 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


Without NBC or another US media entity much of the spectacle wouldn't be there at all.

I will cheerfully trade the ability to watch fencing and archery with minimal commercial interruption and overlays for a total lack of ridiculously grandiose spectacle that takes away from the actual, you know, athletes that the Olympics is supposed to be about.

(I am aware that the Opening Ceremonies this year was supposed to be a celebration of Great Britain, but I remain of the opinion that instead of grand spectacles of history and culture, a sporting event should be about sports. Naive, I know.)

Also, if the British want to do the Americans a great and good favor, they can keep Ryan Seacrest and force him to be on "Big Brother Antarctica".
posted by mephron at 2:51 PM on July 29, 2012


Consider the many here and elsewhere who simultaneously claim, without recognizing the contradiction, that 1) NBC is rapaciously greedy (so greedy it is willing to lose $100 million per Olympics), yet 2) is missing out on the millions more it could surely make by offering its cable feeds online to everyone for a fee. It likely could . . . but its analysts have calculated that the long-term damage to its ability to persuade cable companies to carry its channels, and consumers' incentive to subscribe to said companies, would be greater than the near-term return. (And how many times have we heard people say that corporations should be less short term-oriented in their thinking?)

1) Greedy behavior doesn't necessarily equal success financially, particularly in the long term.

2) Did someone claim NBC is missing out on millions in this way up thread? What I've gatherered is frustration with the poor quality coverage is causing those of us that are NBC's customer base to complain about our lack of market choices in consuming the content, and furthermore to be upset that the response was condescending once we complained.

It feels like you are having an argument about something else.
posted by ndfine at 2:52 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did someone claim NBC is missing out on millions in this way up thread? ... It feels like you are having an argument about something else.

Partially, yes, and I apologize for not making this more clear. The arguments made here are exactly the same as those made on MeFi and elsewhere by those who claim that HBO is missing out on many millions by not offering *Game of Thrones* online to those without HBO. After reading the seventyninth such post they all tend to blur together, but I should have better explained my reasoning for conflating the others and the ones here.
posted by ylee at 2:59 PM on July 29, 2012


Oh and I forgot two three four major complaints. Studiously avoid spoilers all day, then visit NBC's website to watch the replay? Guess what! You're greeted with the match results!

And want to watch on an iPad? Okay, download the app. But not if you're on a first generation iPad. Doesn't work for you, loser!

And while watching online, they do have that neat little window that lets you watch two events at once and lets you swap between them. Except it often doesn't work, and today's Spain/Honduras soccer match wasn't one of the choices.

And that neat "Alert Me" feature that sends you an email shortly before the start time of an event? It's been broken all day.

#NBCfail indeed.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:10 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I finally got on to watch Table Tennis.
This is apparently not a sport to watch on NBC's streaming. Very blurry and jumpy.
Better than nothing, but I think I'll wait for the ITTF video feed.
posted by MtDewd at 3:11 PM on July 29, 2012




STUDY: NBC More Likely To Cover Men’s Olympic Events, Show Women In Sports With Minimal Clothing

The clothing wouldn't be an issue if all the athletes simply competed the old fashioned way.
posted by homunculus at 3:25 PM on July 29, 2012


So I tried to stream something from NBC's site today. After jumping through all the hoops, I found that I had to turn off hardware acceleration to see the video, which means I can't stream in HD, and even the 480-line stream is choppy (and this is not a low-end laptop). Also, they have a fuck-off big ad bar at the top of the screen, and--

Oh, I'm sorry. I'm complaining about something NBC is doing, which makes me some kind of commie or something. I'll go supplicate myself towards the Great Bird and say five hail peacocks.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:26 PM on July 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's the lack of commentary on the OBS feeds for sports not broadcast by NBC at all that's annoying me. Watching the sailing and just hearing the sound of the boats in the water is alternately fascinating and infuriating. I guess someone fouled at the start and had to recross the line. I would have liked an explanation.

There are graphics on the screen. There are computerized depictions of the race showing the lead and such. It's obviously being directed by an actual human being. They manage to show me commercials. I just don't understand why NBC wouldn't have someone just sit and watch and talk about it for the replay. Maddening.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:33 PM on July 29, 2012


To put it another way: The evil NBC provides one half of all IOC broadcast revenue, and the US one third of all revenue. All that cool stuff the world gets to see for two to three weeks every two years? Without NBC or another US media entity much of the spectacle wouldn't be there at all.

In reality, most of the cost of running the London Olympics will be met by British taxpayers, an estimated £11-13bn, and maybe as high as £24bn with transport infrastructure upgrades included. Supposedly the money that goes to the IOC from companies like NBC goes into supporting National Olympic Committees, so this does influence training and facilities as well as making sure members of the 'family' don't have to sleep in the cold.
posted by biffa at 3:34 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I only watched the NBC coverage because I wanted to catch the first half that I'd missed on CTV by getting to the bar late. This afforded me a direct comparison of the coverage that overlapped. NBC's was just stupendously awful. Inane commentary, disrespectful attitude towards any country with a unfamiliar name and complete lack of research despite having watched the rehearsals so they knew what was going on.

I only found out about the 7/7 tribute performance the next day and watched it online. It was profoundly moving and left me in tears. NBC denied their audience a chance to watch something that dealt with loss and grief in a sensitive manner without descending into the often mawkish displays we often see around public tragedy.
posted by arcticseal at 3:35 PM on July 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Can't believe it's not butter.

http://www.oleoletv.com/
posted by crushedhope at 3:37 PM on July 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


the Olympics is not a US government, or United Nations effort. The IOC is a private, non-government, nonprofit organization. The USOC is the same. NBC is a private corporation. What should two private entities making a commercial transaction regarding a series of sporting events be compelled to do

I'm not really interested in pursuing this argument further but will note that the governments of the US and the host country are called in to enforce those contracts/monopolies/"exclusives" that the private entities contract for. The host countries allow the IOC to set up these media exclusion zones. Governments are already playing a role. Note, I'm not calling for government intervention to make NBC offer a la carte online stuff - I don't think this rises to that level at all. I am speaking completely about the general case.

- The Olympics, rightly I think, gets all kinds of special status from governments because of its cultural role.
- Governments shape markets by choosing what kinds of contracts or exclusions are enforceable.
- And I don't think it's crazy to treat broadcasting (at least if the government enforces a broadcaster having exclusive rights to a certain frequency, etc) as necessarily having some public-good obligations.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:38 PM on July 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


ylee: "I was thinking of other comments that mentioned Olympic coverage by BBC and ARD--two government-owned, TV license fee-driven networks--as free."
Oh, for fucks sake. It's about as free as driving down the highway, going to the library or enjoying the plentiful other fruits of civilized social democratic society. I know that ARD isn't free as in free beer (I pay €18 every three months) but it seems that for this modest payment they (and ZDF) are able to provide, among other things, superior Olympics broadcasting.

(Yes, you may then claim that NBC pays for this and I can't help then but squeal with glee that they are monumentally fucking up their own commercial coverage in order to subsidize me enjoying glorious, advertisement-free archery, table tennis, fencing and hockey. And that was just today's programme. Capitalism at its finest.)
posted by brokkr at 3:43 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


is the Olympic coverage by other nation's broadcast media like this? I imagine it's often partly like this, because people are people.

It's pretty similar on network TV in Australia (Channel 9), where (particularly when we're doing well) the broadcast is nothing but repeats of same swimming event where Australia won gold over and over and over. However, at least they broadcast things live, and generally aren't as worried about whether a particular event happens to fall in prime-time.

The focus is still pretty much on a small suite of events Australia is strong in, which is why I forked out $18 for the 8-channel cable Olympics package, so I can check out some fencing or handball or things I don't usually get to see.
posted by Jimbob at 4:02 PM on July 29, 2012


It's about as free as driving down the highway, going to the library or enjoying the plentiful other fruits of civilized social democratic society.

I don't disagree, and have no criticism whatsoever of the BBC/ARD approach. It's just different from the commercial NBC/CTV approach (or the ITV or Sky approach were one to win the UK rights), that's all. That's what MuffinMan and I were discussing, had you bothered to read the entire conversation.

Yes, you may then claim that NBC pays for this

I do not, as NBC does not.

I can't help then but squeal with glee that they are monumentally fucking up their own commercial coverage

Most of the complaints here about NBC are of three categories: 1) Can't stream online without a cable subscription, 2) too much commentary/too little commentary, 3) certain events are delayed for higher viewer numbers. In other words, people by and large want more coverage sooner.

I thought NBC's Opening Ceremony commentary was pretty inane, too, and were I in charge of scheduling would have aired the Phelps/Lochte duel live, but the likes of "squeal with glee that they are monumentally fucking up" really says more about the mental state of the writer of those words than anything else.

As with everything else on the net, don't confuse the loudest voices in the echo chamber with reality.
posted by ylee at 4:03 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


STUDY: NBC More Likely To Cover Men’s Olympic Events, Show Women In Sports With Minimal Clothing

The clothing wouldn't be an issue if all the athletes simply competed the old fashioned way.


The easiest way to disprove this is to look at men's swimming and women's sports like volleyball. Men's swimming is apparently performed by floating heads for all the body shots that are seen - women's volleyball gets loving ass video for much of the match. So even if they were naked sports, the men would be filmed from the chin up, anyway.
posted by winna at 4:05 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Most of the complaints here about NBC are of three categories: 1) Can't stream online without a cable subscription, 2) too much commentary/too little commentary

It's not a matter of "too little" commentary with most of NBC's replay feeds, it's no commentary whatsoever, no labeling of teams, zilch. At least that's my problem with it. That's a big difference there.
posted by raysmj at 4:38 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm confused at all the people saying there's no commentary on the streaming stuff. I am watching stuff from the Live Extra site and for example, today I watched the swimming live, commentated by Brits.

I also watched archery events that didn't have a commentator, but you could hear the announcer/emcee/whatever doing the actual score-calling at the event, so that was fine too.

What are you watching that doesn't have any commentary?
posted by nakedmolerats at 4:41 PM on July 29, 2012


The six-hour men's cycling race, from two days ago, had zero commentary. None. For a six-hour race with many cycling teams. I'd not been able to catch the end of it earlier. NBC pissed me off with that. What I saw of the men's swimming later had no commentary, and also none of the nation labels you see at the beginning of races on TV/cable broadcasts.
posted by raysmj at 4:44 PM on July 29, 2012


What are you watching that doesn't have any commentary?

None of the replays, and all of the live streaming events that aren't currently being broadcast by one of NBC's cable networks. So, 98% of the events.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:56 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


265GB so far between the stuff on local broadcast, the channel that's playing all the football games, and NBC Sports channel. I'm going to run out of space before the games are over if I don't delete some other stuff, and I'm not even recording basketball!

Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to make live transcoding for html5 streams work with my Android tablet. Works great in Chrome on my desktop. :(
posted by wierdo at 4:59 PM on July 29, 2012


nakedmolerats: What are you watching that doesn't have any commentary?
No commentary on the sailing either. You could kinda hear whoever was doing the announcing from the shore, when it wasn't drowned out by the helicopter. Just wind and water. And Helicopters.


On the other hand, there's this from The Wonkette: Wingnuts Outraged Over Socialist Marxist Hippie-Dippy Multi-Culti Antiwar Olympics Love-In (Kenyan Anticolonial Also Too). Which has some links to some delightful commentary by readers of The Blaze.



Watching the prime time coverage tonight, I see what happened. The producers had a meeting and decided on the story lines weeks ago. They spent a lot of time and money producing segments and b-roll to back up their chosen stories. Now that the games haven't worked out that way—they have to keep pushing them because they don't really have a choice.

The same thing happens at LARPs, albeit at a much smaller scale. All too often the story tellers decide on a plot line in advance and spend the whole budget on costumes and props for that story. No matter how much the players hate it, even to the point of staying home, they have to stick with it because it's all they've got planned and the only thing they have the resources to run. Needless to say, that's not really the best way to run a LARP.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:05 PM on July 29, 2012


The fencing has been without commentary, but they do have the directors miced so you can hear the direction. On the other hand, Olympic fencing uses FIE rules and all the direction is in French, so that doesn't necessarily help some folks.

I've watched some women's basketball and soccer on the actual tv (satellite), and I've actually really liked the commentary for those sports. They've both had a sort of ditzy but excited guy that calls plays, and a more down to earth woman with olympic/pro history in the sport doing analysis. Pretty neat, and I've felt like it's really added to the experience of watching. Especially since I'm not much of a bball/soccer person, even ditzy guy's play-calling helps sometimes.
posted by kavasa at 5:06 PM on July 29, 2012



What are you watching that doesn't have any commentary?

None of the replays, and all of the live streaming events that aren't currently being broadcast by one of NBC's cable networks. So, 98% of the events.


This is puzzling to me because I have been watching at least 3 hours of Olympics the past few days, all streaming, all the events themselves (that is, I'm clicking on the sports events themselves, not the thing that says "watch NBC simulcast") or replays, and I've always gotten either British commentators or been able to hear the announcer commentating the actual event such that I know what's going on. I just turned on part of the women's cycling from earlier today and it shows me names/countries.

The fencing I watched didn't have official commentary, but you could tell what was going on and they had names and nationalities shown.
posted by nakedmolerats at 5:12 PM on July 29, 2012


The point of the Triplecast is that TV execs have long, long memories. Yes, it's been 20 years, and yes, the people who came up with the Triplecast and its high price probably don't work at NBC (or even GE) anymore. But the Triplecast was a New Coke sort of event for television. It scared a lot of them off a la carte, and even now, when the idea of the Triplecast has been confirmed through the sports leagues' season packages ($99/year gets you all the NFL out-of-market games you want), it's still waved around as an example of Why A La Carte Is Bad Bad Bad.

And TV people are generally conservative to the point of being dullards about new technology. The networks have been slow to embrace the web. And that's left them scared of what's to come with the breakdown of network TV -- and of TV itself. It's been said that for every person that's watched Mad Men on AMC there are 2 that have watched it online (through Netflix or less legal means). The audience no longer wants to be confined to a cable box and a clicker. They can watch when they want, skip commercials, and are just as likely to watch it on their computer.

NBC is afraid of the future, so they're doubling down on the past while hoping a sub-optimal online experience tides over the critics while driving ordinary fans batty.

But that's NBC. They kept Friends on the air for 10 seasons because they didn't have any other good ideas those last three years. And then Friends finally did end, and NBC promptly tanked.
posted by dw at 5:23 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I dunno about most of this talk, but thanks to crushedhope I'm watching streamed swimming with delightful commentary by a Scottish dude:

"YA CANNAE KEEP THA MAN DOOOOON!"

So that's pretty sweet. The commentary for the parade of countries should be handled by Michael Musto and the ghost of Howard Cosell, with occasional random splicing in of TS Elliot reading from the Wasteland, I'd enjoy it then.

I can't watch/listen to the NBC coverage due to extreme violent douche chills that cause me to fear for the integrity of my bridgework.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:32 PM on July 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


NBC is afraid of the future, so they're doubling down on the past while hoping a sub-optimal online experience tides over the critics while driving ordinary fans batty.


YouTube runs the infrastructure for NBCOlympics.com. Yes, the largest, wealthiest, and most sophisticated video-streaming company on Earth.

That shouldn't be a surprise, really. When was the last time you watched a YouTube video longer than three minutes? And if, during those three minutes, there was a skip or two, would you remember it happening? Or would you just mentally ignore it as part of the course as we do for any online video since RealPlayer in 1996, or the way anyone watching broadcast television pre-digital and pre-cable filtered out noticing the perpetual static and combing in the picture? People here have mentioned watching six-hour cycling races via the online feeds; you do the math.

Not just YouTube; same goes with Netflix, or Hulu, or HBO GO. This is, by and large, not a bandwidth issue, but (to greatly simplify) more to do with the fundamental design of the Internet and the many, many more intervening pieces between the source and the recipient compared to broadcasting. Oh, such issues will be overcome, just as online video today is ten leagues ahead of Real in 1996, but in the meanwhile don't claim without proof that NBCOlympics' experience is somehow inferior to that of any other online streaming source.
posted by ylee at 5:45 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I watch a lot of streaming, everything from TV series on Netflix and HULU to fighting game tournaments to random people playing League of Legends. Netflix and Hulu are great for the most part. Youtube and twitch.tv are the worst. Youtube is improbably bad. twitch.tv is pretty bad as well but at least they have the excuse that the streamers are random people playing Age of Conan and not The Olympics.

Worth noting that EVO 2012 had 3 free gameplay streams and numerous side streams set up by third parties. Obviously they rarely broke 100k viewers, after all, the audience for King of Fighters 13 Team Korea vs Team Mexico is pretty low (Check out the archives, Korea beat Mexico in a huge upset. Mexico is a KOF 13 powerhouse.)

I'm not entirely sold that any single network, not NBC, not HBO can offer unrestricted a la carte streaming to anyone with a computer. Cable operators rely on things like Game of Thrones as a tent-pole to prop up the entire operation and there are likely contractual restrictions as well as the price of simply pissing off business partners. I think it is a bit more complex than NBC or HBO are just dumb. The time will certainly come though, and I think one of the smaller content providers, who seem to get kicked around more, will jump to some sort of paid streaming model first.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:06 PM on July 29, 2012


That's weird. Years and years ago, before Google bought it, my YouTube experience was always dismal. Not long after that, it became great and has remained great since, despite the new HD streams, at least on my home ISP.

I watch a lot of YouTube videos these days now that "real" news organizations are publishing video there. It's way better than 99% of the TV news.
posted by wierdo at 6:27 PM on July 29, 2012


YouTube runs the infrastructure for NBCOlympics.com. Yes, the largest, wealthiest, and most sophisticated video-streaming company on Earth.

Largest and wealthiest? Well, yes, I guess so, being Google and all. Sophisticated? Well....

YouTube's technology is more driven around completed videos people upload. Live streaming is not their forte. They rely on FLV to get the job done, which everyone else does, but it does strike me that YouTube doesn't seem to be putting enough juice behind NBC to get the job done, where ESPN, which also uses FLV, is far less skippy.

And it seems as buggy as Comcast/Xfinity (whose platform I'd surmise this is built on). Xfinity streaming crashes on me all the time. NBC's feeds are crashing just as much on my mobile devices.

I would not say this setup is optimal. Seems like they're a datacenter short of what they need to keep the system running. As is, it's very jumpy, and the commercial slots are horribly timed and very repetitive. If NBC did care about Internet streaming, they'd be smart about running commercials and bring a bunch more servers online. I'd almost rather them polling my third-party cookies to find ads I might like than get shown that same damn ad for the movie with the kid with leaves on his feet EVERY FIVE MINUTES.
posted by dw at 6:28 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing NBC has done reasonably right; the live streaming on their website and iPad app is pretty good.

Not on my end. The only thing that is coming in without massive lagging and pixelation is the ad that shows before the live stream starts. I have a draft N router and have zero problem with Netflix streaming, but the NBC feed just keeps choking.

And I am also getting hit with the "Oh I see you pay for cable, great -but not the specific package that will allow you to see half the sports you want." bug. Comcast and NBC can both bite me.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:37 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just moved, and thanks to quirks of local geography I can't get NBC over the air. I can get all the other networks but NBC's transmitter is in a different place. Perhaps this is for the best, given what everyone is saying about their coverage.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:43 PM on July 29, 2012


Hm. Now that everyone in London is asleep (presumably), they've decided I'm OK to watch things online again - my cable package is OK. Bah. This is stupid, and it's certainly not my fault NBC has made an inconsistent product, so it is reasonable to complain.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:53 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fact that Meredith Vieira didn't know who Tim Berners-Lee was isn't just an indictment of Vieira but of NBC itself. They don't get the web.

Whoa. Maybe her comment wasn't showing ignorance, but instead a wry irony acknowledging that NBC didn't get the web? Maybe she was subtly mocking her corporate masters? Maybe it makes sense if you read "'we haven't ever heard of him [Tim Berners-Lee] either'" as her pretending to echo what NBC is saying?

In the context of the rest of the things she said during the opening ceremonies, no, sadly, that is not how one could interpret her remark.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:09 PM on July 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


American in Brazil...

Ive been watching the Olympics on SporTV down here and its been pretty great. I have very little Portuguese understanding so all the commentary is basically tuned out (or I listen to it I understand one word in five). I just watch the sports and read the results. If I REALLY need more context than that I can look it up online. But I think thats only happened once, when I wanted to know some obscure rule for volleyball.

As for the opening ceremony it was awesome to watch it without all the blither-blather of announcers ruining my own interpretation of events. I think Im gonna watch sports on mute from now when I get back to the states.
posted by Glibpaxman at 7:28 PM on July 29, 2012


no, sadly, that is not how one could interpret her remark.

Yeah I saw it as a subtle nerdpoke because okay you haven't heard of him but I'm sure you haven't heard of most of the athletes you're talking about but someone went and looked something up about them in the five hours between when the thing originally aired and when we got to see it in the US so you wouldn't seem ignorant about the thing you actually are a bit ignorant about.

I was a little surprised, actually, how many times they did this bizarre turn of phrase introducing stuff with "As you know..." It seemed almost like a tic by the end of it.
posted by jessamyn at 7:31 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


YouTube runs the infrastructure for NBCOlympics.com. Yes, the largest, wealthiest, and most sophisticated video-streaming company on Earth

I think the BBC would consider itself a stronger contender for that last category, and by some margin, over You Tube.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:52 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]




I'm sure you haven't heard of most of the athletes you're talking about but if someone went and looked something up

Boastful ignorance is not limited to the Opening Ceremonies - a Lithuanian swimmer blew away the field and the announcers spent the whole race (a semifinal) talking about how they'd never heard of Ruta Meilutyte. Seriously, guys? You're supposed to be experts. Surely you can find a better way of saying that she wasn't exactly a favorite. The girl made the Olympic semifinals! "She came out of nowhere!" "A surprise victor!" "An underdog!" would have been a way more appropriate way of reflecting that.
posted by troika at 8:03 PM on July 29, 2012


A Librarian's Guide To Watching The Olympics

I learned it from you!
posted by jessamyn at 8:06 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Boastful ignorance is not limited to the Opening Ceremonies - a Lithuanian swimmer blew away the field and the announcers spent the whole race (a semifinal) talking about how they'd never heard of Ruta Meilutyte. Seriously, guys?

I heard that, and laughed. I wish I could say, "I suck at my job" so directly without getting fired.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:07 PM on July 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Twitter: @NBCDelayed

Highlights:

BREAKING: Dewey defeats Truman in landslide.

BREAKING: Muhammad Ali lights flame at opening ceremonies in Atlanta

Michael Jordan and Dream Team win gold medal in 117–85 victory against Croatia

jessamyn: it is MetaFilter.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:08 PM on July 29, 2012


Nbcfail is funny.

Attn NBC viewers: if you hear cheering during a US Olympian's gymnastic routine, it's b/c there are other countries competing.
posted by winna at 8:13 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


My family couldn't get over how many commercial breaks there were! Never EVER have I seen so many damn commercials. The amount of commercial breaks really did a disservice to Danny Boyle's opening ceremony, which I generally found to be impressive. But the frequent breaks chopped it up in such a way that it was hard to follow. Then, the excessive commercials went into the procession of the countries, which I always find fascinating. I don't care much about sports, but I find it really touching to see all the proud, excited faces representing their countries. I thought it was terrible that they'd come back from the commercial breaks and show one second of each country. After all, what do we care if we've missed every other country in the world? We've never heard of any of them anyway. Just as long as they show the USA. How dare they put as at the end, am I right? (Also, I was hoping the commentators' microphones would stop working at some point. God, they never shut up. They were like that annoying person who always has to gab through every single movie or tv show you watch with them so that you can never enjoy a single thing in silence ever again!!!). Anyway, NBC fail, indeed.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:16 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


My parents bought us kids the TripleCast in 1992 and it was amazing. There must have been commentary, as I had no trouble following along and I was a child.
posted by purpleclover at 8:17 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


They don't get the web.

Not the World Wide Web, that's for sure.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:23 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


A Librarian's Guide To Watching The Olympics

This is a super helpful blog post. Thanks Jessamyn!
posted by triggerfinger at 8:23 PM on July 29, 2012


I don't mind the time-delayed evening coverage: This weekend, I've been at home with enough free time that I've been able to watch the live feeds on NBColympics.com, which have been fun. But come Monday, I have to go to work, and though I can probably surreptitiously log on for a few minutes here or there, in general I can't watch during the day. So I'm cool with coming home to and evening show of at least the major stuff. I just wish it was less "USA USA," and maybe would stick with a sport til it's done instead of switching back and forth. Why not "swimming from 7:00 - 8:30, then gymnastics 8:30 - 10:00" to make it easier for us to watch?

Also, regarding the ads in the online feeds - I'm using AdBlock Plus with Firefox on a Mac, and I'm not seeing the ad interruptions. (I see them if I use Safari, without an adblocker.) Yesterday I had some problems with the video streams crashing Firefox, but it seemed better today.
posted by dnash at 8:34 PM on July 29, 2012




I liked the part where they played one of my favorite Jam songs, and Meredith Vieira said that was her kind of music. But, it turned out, she was just saying that to segue herself into awkwardly singing along with the Rolling Stones.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:51 PM on July 29, 2012


In the context of the rest of the things she said during the opening ceremonies, no, sadly, that is not how one could interpret her remark.

No, Jessamyn had my sentiment right -- Vieira didn't know who he is, and it seems symbolic of how terrible NBC has been at the web this time out.

the announcers spent the whole race (a semifinal) talking about how they'd never heard of Ruta Meilutyte. Seriously, guys?

I'm willing to excuse the ignorance because she's only 15 and as such hasn't swum in any major world meets. That said, she did apparently win three medals at a European youth meet (per Wikipedia), so maybe they could have Googled while she was swimming....

The commentators said "she looks like she's built for breaststroke." And she totally is. I can see her dominating the 100 breast for years to come.
posted by dw at 8:58 PM on July 29, 2012


Oh, dw, I agree. I might be being a little too critical. On the other hand, they've got microphones because they're supposed to be experts. Blathering on about how they don't know who one of the participants is...I mean, it's not like she snuck into the pool. Wasn't it a thrilling race? Watching it at the gym I was doing a lot of this.

Despite my complaints in this thread, I actually don't have too many problems with their coverage. I think the 'Gold Zone' is a fantastic idea. The gymnastics announcers are fine. The synchronized diving earlier today was extremely well done. The underutilized Mary Carillo's segments are nice. I think Rio will be a lot better (the closer time zone helps), especially in terms of online content. Upthread it was mentioned how NBC spends so much money on the broadcasting rights - you'd think with the cash they laid out for the rights, they'd put more effort into doing the best job possible. I just hope they're willing to learn from their mistakes (I am not sure if they consider their Opening Ceremonies coverage a mistake, though).
posted by troika at 9:49 PM on July 29, 2012


I can't speak for anybody else, but my complaint on the "shut up and take my money" front is that NBC is actively reverting to less access and less technology. I just paid them to watch the 2012 Tour de France online, and in Olympics past there was free online access.

Now I can't watch the Olympics online at all *cough VPN*, and they have announced that they are doing the same cable-subscriber-only deal with future pro cycling events. The point is not that they failed to provide new and innovative services; it's that they're removing the good ones they already had.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 9:57 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I live in Pakistan and I have been watching the Olympics coverage on Youtube.com/user/Olympic. It shows which sports is live below the video and I have been surfing the channels to my liking. Is it not accessible in USA or somehow every one missed this avenue?
posted by adnanbwp at 12:49 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Haha wow I do not understand judo at all. Two guys came out and sort of grabbed each other for a while, then one lay atop the other for a bit. The guy on the mat eventually started screaming and then burst into tears.

???
posted by kavasa at 1:01 AM on July 30, 2012 [16 favorites]


kavasa, that is the Olympic standard judo rules.

If you want to watch the British revised rules, sadly not in use during these Olympics, it is reasonably similar. Except instead of bowing in front of your opponent you must accuse him of cutting in the line at the kebab shop, "wotchafinkyadooinyacant" and the match ends with the ritual cry of "itaintwurfitdarren."
posted by MuffinMan at 2:00 AM on July 30, 2012 [10 favorites]


I am totally impressed at how the coverage has been managed so far in the UK. At any moment I can press a little red button on my remote and get up to 24 channels for live coverage with ZERO commercials. I've loved the UI so far, it's using very simple little gantt chart thingies to show you when events were starting and ending. The hardest part is deciding what to watch! I can't confidently say that if USA was hosting the Olympics this year we would have anything nearly as good. That red button is magic and as far as I know, there's nothing equivalent in the states.

While watching the women's team archery final (South Korea vs China, totally nail biting!) it was so WEIRD that there were all these silent pauses in between rounds. No commercials, nothing. The commentators didn't even say, "we'll be right back" or anything, they just kind of turned off the mike, went for a cup of tea or something, and then sauntered back when the action picked up again. Pretty cool.

It makes me sad to hear how sucky the Olympics coverage is over there. You guys really are missing out and NBC deserves all the wrath and ire directed at them.
posted by like_neon at 2:01 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you want to watch the British revised rules, sadly not in use during these Olympics, it is reasonably similar. Except instead of bowing in front of your opponent you must accuse him of cutting in the line at the kebab shop, "wotchafinkyadooinyacant" and the match ends with the ritual cry of "itaintwurfitdarren."

MuffinMan, I actually LOLed.
posted by jaduncan at 2:12 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am totally impressed at how the coverage has been managed so far in the UK. At any moment I can press a little red button on my remote and get up to 24 channels for live coverage with ZERO commercials. I've loved the UI so far, it's using very simple little gantt chart thingies to show you when events were starting and ending. The hardest part is deciding what to watch! I can't confidently say that if USA was hosting the Olympics this year we would have anything nearly as good. That red button is magic and as far as I know, there's nothing equivalent in the states.

Is this only on Sky? On Freeview there is the red button but you only get a list of about four sports to choose from (which is more than fine for me tbh). Mind you, you can watch them all online if you want.
posted by Summer at 2:21 AM on July 30, 2012


ylee: " The evil NBC provides one half of all IOC broadcast revenue, and the US one third of all revenue. All that cool stuff the world gets to see for two to three weeks every two years? Without NBC or another US media entity much of the spectacle wouldn't be there at all."

Not sure what you mean here, since little of the IOC's revenue is spent directly on the games, and the majority of the cost is borne by the host city. London has already spent over $10 billion and some estimates suggest that the final cost will be 2-3x that. Beijing spent an estimated $50 billion. On top of that, countries and athletes finance their own way to the Olympics, so it's not like the IOC is paying for the talent either. The inflation of broadcast fees might be great for the IOC, but it's hardly a prerequisite for a successful event.
posted by vanar sena at 2:33 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The 24 extra channels are available on sky and freesat but not on freeview as there is not enough spare bandwidth available on it.

All of the channels are also available on the bbc site.
posted by pixie at 2:35 AM on July 30, 2012


Not sure what you mean here, since little of the IOC's revenue is spent directly on the games, and the majority of the cost is borne by the host city. London has already spent over $10 billion and some estimates suggest that the final cost will be 2-3x that.

The Commonwealth Games, as a smaller contrast, manages to get a fair few nations together to compete in a sporting event without the same TV revenues.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:56 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh I see. The irony is that I live in East London, and for some reason neither Sky nor Virgin are available on my patch.
posted by Summer at 2:56 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh I see. The irony is that I live in East London, and for some reason neither Sky nor Virgin are available on my patch.
posted by Summer at 10:56 on July 30 [+] [!]


I can understand that Virgin isn't available as it requires cable, but isn't Sky available everywhere? Unless your area has a by-law preventing satellite dishes from being attached to buildings of course.
posted by jonnyploy at 3:07 AM on July 30, 2012


The reasons are lost in the mists of time. I just remember I live in one of the few places in the UK not covered by Sky. I live in an entertainment black spot where even Freeview doesn't work without TV signal boosters and top-of-the-range gold plated aerial leads.
posted by Summer at 3:19 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really? That sucks. To get Sky your dish needs to be able to point 28 degrees east of south at an angle of 30 degrees. You would need to be quite low with some quite tall buildings very close for that to be the case.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:31 AM on July 30, 2012


I was a little surprised, actually, how many times they did this bizarre turn of phrase introducing stuff with "As you know..."

As you know, dragons deliver our mail and are an excellent source of kebab.
As you know, the discovery of lost technology on Mars allowed human expansion and led to the first invasion of earth.
As you know, that guy carrying the Olympic Flame won gold 5 times.
posted by ersatz at 3:39 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I live in an entertainment black spot where even Freeview doesn't work
The BBC online coverage is really quite good.(victims of NBC look away now).
The schedule even allows you to catch the events which have finished.

The breadth of the BBC coverage has been quite extraordinary.
I was flicking through the channels* on Freesat (as in beer) when up popped "BBC Olympic Channel 19".

*Channel 150 onwards
posted by fullerine at 3:54 AM on July 30, 2012


MuffinMan, I live next door the Royal London Hospital, which now looks like this. It could be the reason.
posted by Summer at 4:27 AM on July 30, 2012


Some of the studio "banter" on CTV (who own the Canadian broadcasting rights this time around) is pretty inane, but I just turned on the TV this morning while I ate my breakfast and they're showing women's volleyball, South Korea vs Serbia, live.

It's this kind of thing I appreciate most about decent Olympic coverage, unlike what sounds to be the case with NBC. This is basically just a 'random' sport to me (i.e I wouldn't seek it out and it is not a sport that is regularly dominated by Canadians), and if I was only able to tune into to prime-time coverage of the "important" events, I'd never see it.

And it's quite an exciting match -- Serbia coming back strongly from being two sets down!
posted by modernnomad at 5:33 AM on July 30, 2012


Summer, at least when you injure yourself throwing something at the TV you don't have far to go.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:48 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


NBC Suggests Live-Stream Problems Are Your Fault
I have to say that the streaming at my work is way better than my cable internet streaming at home, so maybe they have a point.
Of course, getting anything done today becomes that much more challenging.
posted by MtDewd at 6:03 AM on July 30, 2012


Why not "swimming from 7:00 - 8:30, then gymnastics 8:30 - 10:00" to make it easier for us to watch?

They don't really want to make it easy to watch... they want everyone to watch the entire primetime, not switch over after watching some other show on another network. Clear scheduled blocks doesn't help NBC at all in that regard.
posted by smackfu at 6:05 AM on July 30, 2012


I'm imagining a conversation between NBC executives where they toy with the idea of having the script changed so that everything happens in New York, and then decide to let it go with a warning to that Danny Boyle guy that if he doesn't shape up next time his beloved Olympics' ass is gonna get cancelled.
posted by Segundus at 6:14 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


They don't really want to make it easy to watch... they want everyone to watch the entire primetime, not switch over after watching some other show on another network. Clear scheduled blocks doesn't help NBC at all in that regard.

Sure, in theory. But isn't the jumbled mess of constantly interrupted who-knows-what kind of likely to annoy a lot of viewers into just switching off altogether, or seeking out an alternative source ("To the internets!") of coverage that hasn't been hacked to pieces and thoroughly American Exceptionalismed?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:18 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I much preferred watching the 2008 Olympics from Sarajevo. Much better coverage. Mr. Roquette and I had to cope with the stupid stinking HD converter box being all wonky. If I had air-conditioning we could have watched at my place. Would have been a lot better for us both.

The coverage was weird. The Parade of Nations is my favorite part. I think the British did an excellent job.

No one who knows me well would call me an Anglophile, but I really enjoyed the whole thing. I liked the Queen and how she handled herself.

I enjoyed the fireworks. So did Mr. Roquette. But we both want to painfully and messily destroy the people who foisted HDTV on everyone who doesn't have cable.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:11 AM on July 30, 2012


like_neon: That red button is magic and as far as I know, there's nothing equivalent in the states.
If you're a Comcast/Xfinity subscriber, they added a "2012 Olympics" button to the search UI, but it leads to the same craptastic coverage everybody's complaining about so it's not as magical.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:58 AM on July 30, 2012


Sure they started off nicely with a history lesson but then segued into a thinly veiled anti-American dig with their "tribute to the National Healthcare System" ...

The treatment for this sensitivity is currently unavailable in your country. :-\
posted by srboisvert at 9:19 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


And it/s not 'National Healthcare System', it's the NAtional Health Service. At least learn the name of something prior to disparaging it. Otherwise it does make one come across as rather more of an ignorant git.

Great Ormond Street get all our office toys after we've finished testing them. Somewhere a kid hooked up to a drip is blasting an operating theatre with a Nerf gun.
posted by mippy at 9:25 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


The #1 horse in whatever equestrian event is on right now is named Butts Abraxxas.
posted by troika at 9:45 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Deadspin has the 7/7 tribute that NBC cut out here.
posted by klausness at 10:06 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The primetime coverage, on the other hand, is more like watching a feel-good sports docu-movie than an actual sporting event.

I read somewhere that that approach is meant to bring in more female viewers, an attitude which makes me want to spit tacks.

Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer made me want to punch my television, though. Viera was SO INANE, and the worst of it was that it was scripted, telepromptered inanity. She's probably not that vapid, but NBC makes her looks like the biggest airhead in the universe.

Some friends had an opening ceremony viewing party at their place, and one of them remarked right at the start of the parade of nations that "usually the commentators get bored somewhere around the g's and start saying really stupid things." Sure enough....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:13 AM on July 30, 2012




Wow, women's epee - I think bronze bout but maybe gold? - has gone off the rails in a HUGE way. Bout seems to have been tied up 5-5 with 1 second on the clock and they seem to have re-started the clock with that 1 second several times and the Korean coach said "no way." So now they've been standing around for 40-50 minutes trying to determine what to do.
posted by kavasa at 11:35 AM on July 30, 2012


Oh my god, no, this is the gold medal bout. Ugh, holy shit. I feel awful for both the fencers.
posted by kavasa at 11:40 AM on July 30, 2012


"usually the commentators get bored somewhere around the g's and start saying really stupid things."

They started with Australia.
posted by benbenson at 11:44 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


kavasa: Oh my god, no, this is the gold medal bout. Ugh, holy shit. I feel awful for both the fencers.
This is indeed heartbreaking. The competitors are just sitting on the fencing lane, heads down in despair. Meanwhile the blue blazers huddle near the scorer's table and speak into their cell phones.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:54 AM on July 30, 2012


Does anybody know what the deal is with the get-ups the air rifle people are wearing? Full leathers and blinders and all manner of ridiculous gear. Preliminary searching indicates it's to dampen their body movements, but that seems a little unsportsmanlike.

Also, what in the hell just happened at the fencing court?
posted by ob1quixote at 12:03 PM on July 30, 2012


I think that was actually the last semifinal bout. The bronze metal bout starts shortly. I did feel so sorry for Shin as she was caught between the Olympic officials asking her to clear the piste and her coach wanting her to stay.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 12:15 PM on July 30, 2012


According to Deadspin:
With one second remaining in the match, Heidemann needed to score a touch on Shin to win the match. (Shin would have advanced if they finished the round tied.) The clock then got stuck, allowing Heidemann several extra seconds to score, which she did. Officials then congregated for a long time discussing their options before finally awarding the win (and a chance at the gold medal) to the German.

Shin, in tears, sat down on the piste and has yet to leave. The arena announcer explained to the audience that if she were to leave, it would mean she accepted the decision; since the Korean team is filing an appeal. Even more bizarrely, fencing rules require the Korean team to pay a cash deposit in order to secure an appeal. (Yahoo!'s Maggie Hendricks informs me this is the case in every Olympic sport.)

Update (3:03 p.m.): Officials have removed Shin from the piste and she is leaving the arena as it appears the appeal has been denied.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:16 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


NBC critic suspended from Twitter

Wow. So Twitter partners with NBC on the Olympics and suddenly one of the most vocal Twitter critics of NBC has his account suspended over a non-issue? What a coincidence. Here is the journo's response.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:17 PM on July 30, 2012


sweettea - oh, thank you for the clarification. And ocher, thanks for the link. If the situation is as described (clock got stuck), it seems like the wrong decision was made. Looking at that last second for myself now.
posted by kavasa at 12:18 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I think actually happened is that the clock doesn't maintain record of fractional seconds, and the director was pushing the "stop the clock" button for every simultaneous touch. Then it would reset to a full second, she'd say "fence" and Heidemann would charge forward for another half-second simultaneous touch. On the third of these, against a visibly distressed shin, she was able to successfully beat her opponent's weapon out of the way and score a one-light touch.

It's very, very fringe stuff, but I think the officials made the wrong decision. The total time spent fencing with 1 second on the clock is greater than 1 second.
posted by kavasa at 12:22 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kavasa, I agree. It surely seemed like the final touch didn't occur under AFTER the 1 second had expired on the clock.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 12:26 PM on July 30, 2012


Sorry for third post in a row, but then Shin - who had left the strip in tears - has to come back and fence for bronze. Ughhhfsd. =(
posted by kavasa at 12:26 PM on July 30, 2012


The Ukranian won the gold!

The announcer was very good during the time poor Shin had to stay sat there. Explaining that Shin had to sit there to contest the decision stopped the crowd thinking it was a sit-in type protest.
posted by fullerine at 1:03 PM on July 30, 2012


" The competitors are just sitting on the fencing lane, heads down in despair. Meanwhile the blue blazers huddle near the scorer's table and speak into their cell phones."

I read that as "Meanwhile the blue blazers huddle near the sorcerer's table..."
posted by iamkimiam at 1:06 PM on July 30, 2012


While I am generally bummed that many of the live feeds and replays available on NBC's app lack commentary, I have been really happy when that means I can just listen to the venue announcer instead—the venue announcers that I have heard have been uniformly excellent, doing a really good job of explaining things when they need to be explained, but otherwise keeping quiet. And when there is banter it's real conversation because the announcers actually know each other, not really banter for show.

I watched a team archery match between Denmark and South Korea yesterday, lots of rain throughout, and there was a great bit after one team had shot but before the next had started that went something like:
Mike: "The rain is back again. And me without my umbrella. I should have listened to you yesterday, John."
John: "I did tell you."
and then on about umbrellas for a moment until the next team was set up when they promptly shut their traps.

Unfortunately, in order to hear the venue announcers, one often has to turn up the volume quite high, which means the @#$%&ing ads blow your ears off.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:32 PM on July 30, 2012


ocherdraco: Unfortunately, in order to hear the venue announcers, one often has to turn up the volume quite high, which means the @#$%&ing ads blow your ears off.
I've found that if you have allowed JavaScript for the necessary domains, you can enable AdBlock.
  • nexus.ensighten.com
  • *.nbcolympics.com
  • *.nbcudigitaladops.com
posted by ob1quixote at 2:03 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks, ob1quixote. That is helpful when I'm on a computer, but I'm primarily watching on my phone.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:07 PM on July 30, 2012




If you had asked me a week ago, I would have said that we'd spend the next two weeks mocking McDonald's and Coke and GE, but NBC has really outdone themselves and I can't resist devoting all my energy to this cause.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:43 PM on July 30, 2012


Thank you to Jessamyn & others in this thread for viewing suggestions; I am now happily watching streaming BBC. I am amongst those in San Francisco who is unable to consistently tune in NBC -- every two years I move my antenna to some obtrusive spot to try to watch the Olympics, losing the signal for every other station in the process. I also grew up watching on Canadian broadcast TV, and subsequently have little patience for the jingoistic & inane American commentary:
Matt: Madagascar is a movie!
Bob: Kasakhstan=Borat!
Meredith: Tim Berners-Lee who? (If only there were some sort of global computer network where one might look up his name. Someone should really invent one.)
I get excited about the approach of the Olympics every time, and every time it feels like NBC is just trying to ruin them for me. I was looking forward to using the Chrome app right up until I discovered I needed a cable subscription to view anything.
Bob: I'm feeling irritatingly bored and rushed at the same time!
Matt: Rwanda had some troubles, but has bounced back nicely!
Meredith: The Queen & James Bond is the "money shot"!
OMG FFS SHUT UP
posted by obloquy at 3:05 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm still seething about renoroc's comment about the NHS segment. Here's what someone on reddit has to say about Americans sneering at the NHS.

For all its faults, we are proud of the NHS. And that pride has nothing - NOT ONE FUCKING THING - to do with what goes on in America.
posted by Decani at 3:08 PM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Queen & James Bond is the "money shot"!

This, along with the total meaning-shift that "good to go" underwent, makes me wonder if growing up in the seventies meant that I see everything through pornogoggles.

Thanks for that link, Decani.
posted by jessamyn at 3:14 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


NBC Interviewed A Random Tourist About The Queen, And Didn’t Realize He Was Evander Holyfield
posted by ocherdraco at 2:27 PM on July 30 [3 favorites +] [!]


After years of jokes about real headlines that could be from The Onion, this is the first time I have truly felt in like a real concrete way "this -- surely this -- is satire."

Then I saw it was deadspin, and all I felt was sad.
posted by ndfine at 4:03 PM on July 30, 2012




Does anybody know what the deal is with the get-ups the air rifle people are wearing?

Standard get-up for competitive shooting. I wore a similar jacket when I used to shoot target air rifle. The blinkers and ear plugs are to avoid distractions.
posted by arcticseal at 4:12 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oddly, shooting sports have somewhat different 'performance enhancing' drugs.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:15 PM on July 30, 2012


In modern pentathlon, two of the events are shooting and running. At one point there was a problem with people taking tranquilizers before the shooting. The solution was to arrange the events so that shooting was right before running, so that people who shot tranquilized would have to run tranquilized as well.

(Apparently for 2012 it's been changed again, to run, then shoot, then run some more, then shoot some more... kind of like the biathlon but with running instead of skiing.)
posted by madcaptenor at 4:21 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


And if athletes snap a picture of someone inside the Olympic Village, they must get their permission to post on social media. (from the Olympics and social media link)

This I completely agree with. If you're putting pictures of someone on the Internet, it's only polite to ask them first.
posted by winna at 4:52 PM on July 30, 2012


Do they have to run with their rifles? I, for one, would live to see the hoplitodromos return to the Olympics - but perhaps with some updates.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:59 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I'm still seething about renoroc's comment about the NHS segment."

Speaking as an American who was married to a Canadian (and during Clinton's first term), Americans have so internalized the propaganda about other nations' health care systems that it is very close to impossible for a large majority of Americans to take seriously the possibility that the people of these other nations could be happy with their health care systems...that they would love it and be proud of it and think of it as essential to their national character is beyond imagining. In that context, then, any such positive sentiment in an international context can only be understood as being some veiled criticism of American health care.

Seriously — when I've told Americans about the Canadian approval rate for their health care, it's exactly like I'm speaking an ancient language they cannot comprehend. It cannot be true. And the NHS? Well, because it's an old and fully nationalized system, we've been told our entire lives that it's hellish. I mean, that it's the worst there is outside of a developing country without almost any health care at all. Maybe almost as bad as that.

Granted, a very large portion of Americans don't know what the NHS is, what kind of health care system you have, or could even locate Britain on a globe. But of those who do know these things, the belief is that you guys hate the awful health care that is foisted upon you by crazed socialists.

So including it in the Opening Ceremonies? That has to be commentary on the ACA debate, right? Because taking it for what it seems to be is madness. That'd be as crazy as asserting that the labor movement makes people's lives better.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:40 PM on July 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


"I'm still seething about renoroc's comment about the NHS segment."

(As an American) My husband and I looked at each other when the NHS segment started, laughed, and agreed, "Now they're just taunting us." Which of course we knew they weren't, but it was a stark reminder for us that Americans can't get their shit together on universal health care. We marveled how wonderful it must be to have a medical system you want to dance about.

(Anyone who actually thought that was a British comment on America, I feel sorry for them. Not everything is about the U.S.!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:02 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I actually found it odd for somewhat different reasons -- it just seems like a prosaic thing to be organizing dance tributes to honor. It was like seeing a performance-art piece commemorating data-entry or something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:41 PM on July 30, 2012


Wow, that woman's epee semi was a travesty. The director completely failed to control the end of the bout and robbed Shin of a well-deserved medal.

The clocks do track fractional seconds. They do not however allow you to put fractions back on the clock. The timekeeper ran out the clock between touches and the only solution available was to put a complete second on the clock.

But it never should have gotten to this point. Fencing has a history of playing a bit loose with the rules, notice how often they allow fencers to start with their foot over the en garde limit line. But in a bout of this magnitude, in epee where the strategy of managing distance and time is so crucial, it is stunning to me how incompetent the management of the final minute was. Both fencers are stealing distance between touches, starting far too close together, and on the stream at least it looks like the German was being allowed to move prior to the "allez". So the touches are shutting off the clock almost at the same moment the timekeeper hits the start button.

I'm not sure exactly what mistake the timekeeper made. He may have hit the button after the touch because of the small time window. Or he may have neglected to start the clock for the previous touch and been attempting to "fix" things by bleeding a little time. Or he may have simply panicked when it became apparent something was wrong and hit the button by reflex.
posted by Manjusri at 10:17 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


So that $15 for the UK VPN was a good idea, yes?

Oh yes but it could be even cheaper - I tried several but am now happiest with the HMA VPN. It's also the most reliable and fastest in my experience (and you get ALL countries, it's not limited to the UK as others I'd tried before). They even have a "summer special" on now.

(For anyone wondering, simple proxies and anonymisers don't work, and there aren't any reliable free VNP's that I know of, and believe me I've tried everything before giving up and paying a few euros every month).

And if after the Olympics you want to keep it - well apart from all the fabulous stuff you can view on the BBC and Channel 4 on Demand websites, there's this extra fabulous thing, TV Catchup, confusingly enough it's not to catch up with stuff that's already been shown but to actually watch all available UK tv channels LIVE. You have to register but it's free. Happy viewing!

(I don't remember if you have to put in a UK postcode, just google one up if you need to).
posted by bitteschoen at 12:35 AM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I *love* that the NHS got a dance routine; I love that Firestarter was played, and Dizzee Rascal performed, and the Queen jumped out of a helicopter with James Bond, and there was a TARDIS noise somewhere in there. Thoroughly British, in that it was just mad and all over the place. The only possible improvement on it would be if a giant foot had stomped on McCartney just before his song ended.

It made the daft and borderline racist/sexist commentary on it here in Oz by Eddie McGuire (I don't know who the UK or US equivalent would be - a priveliged sports jock who seems to pop up all over the place?) somewhat bearable even though he's got the same ignorance about the rest of the world as the NBC pair.

The coverage here has been reasonably good, except when an Aussie is expected to win a medal. But I think our national love of sports helps, we're just generally excited to see good sports happening. We'll find someone else to cheer for if none of our mob is participating, rather than do without cheering at all.
posted by harriet vane at 1:27 AM on July 31, 2012


Yeah, as a mental health service user there are a LOT of things that frustrate me, and there are also some better things about the US system (we don't get a gynaecologist as a matter of course here, you have to get referred to one at the hospital if there's something wrong, otherwise your GP will take care of anything else). But we're generally very proud of it. I can't imagine what it must be like to be poor and not be able to afford to get sick. I'm surprised there isn't a trend for health tourism in the US, like dental tourism over here (dental work is expensive, though I have no idea whether the US charges more for the same procedures).

Is Eddie McGuire like Bulldog off of Frasier? That's what I'm imagining from your description.
posted by mippy at 4:10 AM on July 31, 2012


"I'm surprised there isn't a trend for health tourism in the US"

There is, but you have to be wealthy enough to travel. There's a pretty robust health tourist trade to Mexico, and another section where people to go India, etc., for heart surgery-type things. People who can't afford health insurance generally can't afford foreign travel for other health things ... it's edge cases who are wealthy but need a procedure not covered (cosmetic surgery, say), or who are self-employed and pretty well-off and just need routine medical care, but suddenly need a knee replacement.

I had two experiences with the NHS as an exchange student and it really couldn't have been better. Just walked in off the street and they treated me for a bad fall (one time) and a sinus infection (the other). No paperwork, no paying. The only trouble was some confusion over what a "sticking plaster" was.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:08 AM on July 31, 2012


Men's swimming is apparently performed by floating heads for all the body shots that are seen - women's volleyball gets loving ass video for much of the match. So even if they were naked sports, the men would be filmed from the chin up, anyway.

These are for you, winna.
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:03 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not to derail the thread, but I wasn't thinking so much about those for whom travelling was as unreachable as getting it done in the US, but people trying to save money. I believe the meds I take here would cost about £250 per month in the US. I could just about afford to take the extra £240 per month hit as a necessity, but it would have enough of an impact on my monthly outgoings and enforced changes of habit that I would want to cut that cost as much as possible. If you're on several prescriptions because of a heart condition, it must be really tough on your day to day cost of living.
posted by mippy at 7:45 AM on July 31, 2012


(I don't know who the UK or US equivalent would be - a priveliged sports jock who seems to pop up all over the place?)

Oh, we buy them by the ton in the US. Oddly, though, NBC doesn't have many of them. Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira started as reporters or news anchors IIRC. Costas is the dweebish guy who talks like a jock (and about the Yankees ALL THE FRIKKIN TIME) but clearly was never athletic.

In fact, I can't think of any Olympics hosts who've ever been jocks. Jim McKay certainly wasn't. I think since Munich there's been a conscious effort by ABC, CBS, and NBC to keep news-based people mixed in... just in case.
posted by dw at 8:34 AM on July 31, 2012


bitteschoen: …[I]f you have to put in a UK postcode, just google one up if you need to
As a long-time resident of 1060 W. Addison in Chicago, allow me to recommend Anfield Road, Liverpool, Merseyside L4 0TH.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:22 AM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


the man of twists and turns: "Do they have to run with their rifles?"

They actually use pistols, not rifles. even better than that, they are LASER pistols.
posted by grandsham at 10:21 AM on July 31, 2012


This was a presentation I did in library school in 2006 for a class on the history of communications.

At the time, I claimed that, although online broadcasting was making huge leaps in a number of areas, TV would still remain the place where large audiences came together for "Event TV" - the Oscars, the Olympics, sports championship games, big breaking news stories, series finales, etc.

But seeing how the Olympics have gone this time around (and given the rapid growth of things like Twitter and Facebook not to mention technologies that are in their infancy or haven't been invented yet), I'm not so sure this will be the case even four short years from now.
posted by Jaybo at 1:59 PM on July 31, 2012


No Olympics for us in 2014 or 2016

Actually, the CBC just won the bid for 2014 and 2016. I will never have to hear "I Believe" again after this summer.
posted by maudlin at 2:57 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yay!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:06 PM on August 1, 2012


the CBC just won the bid for 2014 and 2016.

And the people of Seattle, Buffalo, and Detroit breathe a collective sigh of relief.
posted by dw at 3:27 PM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


In a related NBCWTF vein, what is the point of Ryan Seacrest telling us who is getting the most mentions on facebook and twitter? Who gets anything out of those segments?
posted by troika at 6:28 PM on August 1, 2012


In a related NBCWTF vein, what is the point of Ryan Seacrest telling us who is getting the most mentions on facebook and twitter? Who gets anything out of those segments?

Facebook and Twitter. And probably NBC for mentioning them.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:31 PM on August 1, 2012


The thing that really irks me about that is that NBC is supposedly rampant homers, but Americans competed [and won medals!] in events not given any time on the primetime show, but there's time for Seacrest to mention that Angelina Jolie was mentioned a lot on twitter during the Oscars (not to mention all of the other events that the US isn't competitive in, but that's well-worn carpet).
posted by troika at 6:35 PM on August 1, 2012


The thing that really irks me about that is that NBC is supposedly rampant homers

Having now seen the BBC coverage, I don't think NBC is anywhere near as homer as they are. As incredible races are happening in swimming they're ignoring them to root on the fifth place finishing Brit. It was quaint at first, but now I feel like I'm watching the '84 Olympics when ABC did the exact same time.

Americans competed [and won medals!] in events not given any time on the primetime show

What's clear is that if you're not part of the NBC narrative, then you're probably not going to get mentioned. It's not about homerism. It's about NBC having already written the script. Hell, the US had its first-ever athlete to medal in five straight Olympics, a women's skeet shooter who almost went a perfect 100/100, and it got a sentence from Bob Costas (though the Today show did interview her the next morning).
posted by dw at 7:28 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, the CBC just won the bid for 2014 and 2016. I will never have to hear "I Believe" again after this summer.

Anyone heard how much they paid yet? It makes no sense that the Bell/CBC bid was rejected, but CBC solo nabbed it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:32 AM on August 2, 2012


Tuesday, I ended up watching both the BBC's and NBC's coverage of the last part of the women's team gymnastics final. I got a VPN and watched it on BBC during the day, then that evening I watched it with my mother and her husband on NBC.

There was a big difference — NBC showed nothing of the competitors other than the US and Russia. They didn't even show the standings and they simply never said that this there was an interesting battle for the bronze between Romania and China, that China had won the gold last time around, and that in the end they were bitterly disappointed. There was no mention of Canada or GB at fifth and sixth, no individual performances (but there'd been shown no performances of anyone else but US and Russia!), or that both finishes were very good for both countries.

It was like watching on the BBC an important sporting event while on NBC a local television news three-minute recapitulation of an important sporting event.

For what it's worth, I'd watched the BBC coverage of that event first on BBC One and then switched to BBC Three. I didn't start using the web player to watch live feeds and such until later. (I found the foil fencing match I watched baffling and ecxiting — the Korean Cho is apparently very unorthodox and is, in fact, very exciting to watch.)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:21 AM on August 2, 2012


Boats
posted by homunculus at 4:09 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]




Heh. The IOC had Boats removed, so here's a mirror: Irish Olympic Sailing Commentary
posted by homunculus at 12:16 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


homunculus: Heh. The IOC had Boats removed, so here's a mirror: Irish Olympic Sailing Commentary
Normally, I wouldn't ever allow scripts or flash on an off-brand video site, but that was worth it, homunculus. Two toots of the Olympic Horn for finding it.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:20 AM on August 8, 2012


homunculus: "h. The IOC had Boats removed, so here's a mirror: Irish Olympic Sailing Commentary"

My keyboard was not expecting "Who's going to catch the COK."
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:43 PM on August 9, 2012


There's a great new post about that link and a lot more.
posted by homunculus at 7:50 PM on August 9, 2012




I bet they wished they hadn't.
posted by dng at 4:52 PM on August 12, 2012


In one of the final #nbcfails of the games, even though 2012 marks the centennial year of the Modern Pentathlon, not to mention the frikkin' laser pistols they use for the shooting portion now, the geniuses at NBC broadcast not a goddamned second of it last night in order to bring you an hour long documentary narrated by Tom Brokaw about, altogether now, The Greatest Generation™—UK Edition.

They also spoiled the closing ceremony during their evening newscast tonight. They followed it up not with the ceremony but an hour long documentary about the U.S. gold medal winners. McKayla is not impressed.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:02 PM on August 12, 2012


One last #NBCfail to wrap up the games

I'm particularly miffed about this one; I stayed up late specifically to see Muse, but NBC apparently felt the official Olympic song wasn't worth broadcasting!
posted by phatkitten at 6:26 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had the opportunity to watch a bit of Canadian coverage of the Olympics. Men's individual gymnastics, specifically the rings. An event I understand NBC didn't even show in the US because there were no US athletes competing in it. It was lovely! There were 8 competitors from different countries, we saw each performance, we saw a replay of highlights, there was a bit of knowledgable commentary. And then the winner and a brief view of the medal ceremony. The sport, presented directly in 30 minutes, without a bunch of filler bullshit and focussed on the athletes instead of the American Drama. It was great.
posted by Nelson at 7:48 AM on August 13, 2012


the official Olympic song wasn't worth broadcasting!

Well, they usually aren't, to be honest.
posted by smackfu at 8:56 AM on August 13, 2012


The quality of the official song is completely beside the point, you know.
posted by phatkitten at 9:12 AM on August 13, 2012


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