So you can’t wait for all of the drama, snow, and Russian delight of the Sochi Games? Same here. Don’t exactly want to catch all the excitement whenever your TV dictates? We know the feeling. There’s an option this year to watch the competition live online.
In the US, NBC is broadcasting every single event online. However, you need to have a cable or satellite subscription to access with one of NBC’s partners (Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Direct TV, Dish, AT&T U-verse, among many others), but once logged in, you can set up Replay Video Capture to record video directly to your hard disk. Simple, huh?
There are a couple other options if you are not in the US of A. Mainly, BBC and CBC, which are also streaming the Games for those with an IP address in the UK or Canada.
It’s like spandex to ice skating, skis to downhill moguls, erm… weird bathrooms to Sochi accommodations? Basically, Replay Video Capture is the perfect partner for your 2014 Olympic viewing needs online.
If you don’t have Replay Video Capture yet, download the free version here and get out your country’s flag for all of the international winter sports your heart desires.
Alex has looked into more of the technical details behind how NBC is streaming the Olympics, and has made an interesting discovery. Apparently the stream formats are different for live streams vs. pre-recorded streams. This means that you can make digital recordings of live events, and record from the screen for “rewind” or cached events. Below is his technical summary.
The Silverlight NBC Olympics server uses Windows Media Player for live streams and VP7 for prerecorded videos. VP7 is the format used by web sites like abc.com or fox.com and can provide very high quality (lossless) video compression including HD. The problem with this format is that it cannot be reliably streamed for longer periods of time like the live broadcasts. The math used to compress the video and the audio does not allow recovery when packets are lost which results in out of sync audio. Currently Windows Media Player is the only format that can do this. The live stream Olympics can be recorded with WM Recorder or Replay Media Catcher but the prerecorded clips can only be recorded with WM Capture.
This year NBC has teamed up with Microsoft (MSFT) to provide a wealth of Olympics footage at NBCOlympics.com. If you’re really into specific events that aren’t shown over your broadcast TV station, then you can likely watch them online. Very cool.
The Microsoft contribution is via the Silverlight video player, which you must install in order to watch video. Few video providers use Silverlight, which is why there are no programs (yet) that can record those feeds via stream capture. If you’re looking to record some of these events and save them forever, the best program to use is WM Capture. This on-screen recorder makes great quality videos from the Olympic feeds.
To burn these recordings to DVD, try the new Replay Converter 3.0, which is currently in beta. You can also make iPod format videos, or AVI files to import them into your favorite video editor.
Oh yeah – Go Team USA!
UPDATE: I noticed that you need to enter a zip code and your Cable provider to watch some online feeds. Try 94118 and ComCast Digital if you’re disallowed access.