The 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil officially kick off tonight with the opening ceremonies. NBCUniversal has exclusive broadcast rights in US and plans to air nearly 7,000 hours of Olympic coverage across its channels. Those channels include NBC, NBC Sports Network, USA, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, and the Gold Channel. Here’s how to watch NBC’s Olympic coverage through the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.
Over The Air (Free + Hardware Cost)
I know the title of this article includes “on a Fire TV,” but simply connecting an HD antenna directly to your TV will give you access to NBC if you’re close enough to a broadcast tower. The NBC channel plans to air more than 260 hours of Olympic coverage, including popular sports like gymnastics, track and field, swimming, diving, beach volleyball, and basketball. Of course, you won’t have on-demand access or playback controls.
If you want to do over-the-air through the Fire TV a better way, you’re going to need a Tablo Tuner or HDHomeRun Tuner. Both, combined with an HD antenna and their respective Fire TV apps, will allow you to watch NBCs free over-the-air Olypmic coverage through all of the Fire TV and Fire TV Sticks in your house. They work by essentially making a TV tuner accessible through your home network. With the Tablo, you’ll also be able to pause and rewind live TV, as well as record events, just like a DVR.
NBC Sports App (Free w/ Cable Subscription)
If you have a cable subscription, which I’m guessing you don’t if you’re reading this article, you can watch the Olympics through the NBC Sports app. The app offers very little if you don’t activate it with a cable provider. Also, if you’re thinking of calling up a friend or family member to activate the app with their cable provider, the app is notorious for asking you to reauthentication more often than it should. An alternative to activating the NBC Sports app through a traditional cable subscription is PlayStation Vue, which is discussed in more detail below. A subscription to PlayStation Vue does allow you to activate the NBC Sports app. Sling TV subscriptions, again, more on that below, do not activate the NBC Sports app.
Sling TV ($25-$35)
Your best option for watching the Olympics through the Fire TV is through the Sling TV app. The Sling Blue package will run you $25, after the 7-day free trial, and includes Olympic coverage from NBC (in select areas), NBC Sports, USA, and Bravo. The three extra cable channels you get over just getting NBC over-the-air gives you significantly more Olympic coverage like boxing, fencing, field hockey, cycling, synchronized swimming, weightlifting, soccer, rowing, water polo, tennis, and wrestling. For an extra $5, you can add Sling TV’s news package, which gets you MSNBC and CNBC. Those two channels account for 120 additional hours of Olympic coverage, including rugby and archery. Golf enthusiast might want to add the Sports package for $5 more to gain the Golf Channel which will cover 115 hours of Olympic coverage. The best part about Sling TV is there is no contract or obligation to continue your subscription after the Olympics are over. You can subscribe for a month or two, watch all the Olympics you want, and cancel afterwards. A Sling TV subscription does not give you access to the Fire TV’s NBC Sports App.
PlayStation Vue ($40-$45)
An alternative to Sling TV is PlayStation Vue. Their $40 package includes NBC, NBC Sports, USA, Bravo, CNBC, and MSNBC. If you move up to the $45 core package, you’ll gain the Golf Channel. If you’re only goal is to maximize Olympic coverage for as little money as possible, Sling TV is the better option, but with PlayStation Vue, you’ll be getting a lot more non-Olympic related channels. Another big advantage to PlayStation Vue is that subscribing to the service does give you access to the Fire TV’s NBC Sports App. PlayStation Vue also comes with no obligation, so you can cancel anytime.
There are other methods that are not as legitimate, like using VPNs or Smart DNS services to access British channels or sideloading certain apps that provide streams that are legally questionable. I won’t be covering those here, mostly because it’s difficult to know how reliable those methods will be until the Olympics are in full swing. Feel free comment below if you have other ways of watching the Olympics through the Fire TV.