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​How to stream the 2018 Winter Olympics

Watching the Olympics can be challenging -- with or without cable. Streaming can make viewing the Olympics more pleasant.

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Hell hath no fury like a household fighting over whether to watch ice dancing or ice hockey. That's one reason streaming the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics makes good sense, even if you haven't cut the cable cord.

NBC is planning on broadcasting over 2,400 hours of events. But there's no way you can watch that on a single screen -- even if you'd never watch a minute of curling or biathlon.

NBC's coverage will be on NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, Telemundo, NBCOlympics.com, and the NBC Sports app. The first event begins on Feb. 7 at 11pm EST on NBCSN, with mixed doubles curling coverage. NBC's prime-time coverage starts February 8 at 8pm EST, with live figure skating, men's and women's moguls qualifying competitions, and men's ski jumping qualifying. The Opening Ceremony will be broadcast on Feb. 9 at 8pm EST. Coverage concludes with the Closing Ceremony on Feb. 25.

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2018 Winter Olympics: Main coverage schedule

The main coverage looks like this:

  • NBC will present 176 hours of live coverage, with its primetime coverage beginning on Feb. 8.
  • NBCSN will present 369 hours of coverage, including live primetime and 10 days of 24-hour coverage from Feb. 18 to Feb. 25. NBCSN coverage begins on Feb. 7 at 11pm EST.
  • CNBC will present 46 hours of coverage, including its curling telecasts, beginning Feb. 12 and concluding Feb. 23.
  • USA Network will present 40.5 hours of ice hockey and curling coverage, most of which will air live between 7am to 9:30am EST. Coverage begins on Feb. 10, with a live presentation of the Women's hockey qualifying round.

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2018 Winter Olympics: How to watch with cable

Paid networks

On some paid networks, such as Dish Network, DirecTV, and Comcast, some of the events will be shown in 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR). But, there's a gotcha: 4K HDR footage airs no sooner than 24 hours after the live broadcast.

NBC Sports app or NBCOlympics.com

To watch the streams on the NBC Sports app or NBCOlympics.com, you must use your service's username and password. If you're using a smartphone or tablet to use the NBC Sports app, you must use an Android device or an iPad or iPhone. Other devices aren't supported. To watch the games online, NBC recommends you use any mainstream current web browser with at least a 10Mbps connection. With this, you'll get HD-quality viewing.

But how can you watch without a cable or satellite subscription? Well, it depends.

2018 Winter Olympics: How to stream without cable

Antenna

With a good old over-the-air (OTA) antenna, you can get NBC.

Skinny TV streaming services

You can't get NBC streaming without a cable package or satellite package or a skinny TV streaming service, such as Sling TV or YouTube TV. Here's pricing and what you need on each of the major skinny TV streaming services:

Before buying into any of these services, check to make sure it supports your streaming device. For example, until recently, YouTube TV did not support Roku or Apple TV. But, just in time for the Olympics, YouTube TV is now supported on both.

In addition, some of these services only give you access to NBC if the OTA channel is available in your area. Check first before putting down your money to ensure you'll actually get NBC.

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VPN

If you're not in the US to access the above services, you must use a virtual private network (VPN). You'll be in good company: NordVPN, a VPN service provider, has seen users of its VPN service double during past Olympics. To find a VPN that meets your needs, check out CNET's Best VPN Services Directory.

Finally, you can also watch the BBC coverage of the games by visiting the TVPlayer website using a VPN with a UK internet address.

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