Breaking Down the Olympics: Where, When and How to Watch

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With unprecedented coverage of the 30th Summer Olympics, including more than 5,000 hours of footage and 10 viewing platforms from primetime TV to cable, internet and mobile, you can keep up with the London Games pretty much anytime and anywhere.

In fact, it would take you almost five solid months -- without sleeping or bathroom breaks -- to watch every sporting event at this year's Summer Olympics. With all the content online, on TV and on social media, keeping up with the Olympics won't be nearly as much of a challenge as avoiding spoilers.

The 2012 London Summer Games has been dubbed the “first Social Media Olympics” allowing sponsorship, advertisement, and marketing to take on a new shape and meaning.This year, 40% of people plan to follow the games on more than one device, with 35% checking in on their tablets and 27% using their smartphone, according to a new study by Harris Interactive.

 

via mashable

With so much happening, you might feel like you need a tutorial just to follow.

Schedules

NBC TV listings let you know where to watch the comprehensive Olympic coverage, across the NBC family of networks. You can sort the schedule by day/time or by sport.

The wall-to-wall coverage will be available variously in HD and ultra-HD, in 3D, on tablets and on mobile phones and on radio and television around the world. In contrast to the 5,000+ hours of programming for this Oympics, the 1948 London Games - the first to be broadcast, just 64 hours were produced, and the broadcast was available to just the 500,000 people with access to a TV who lived within a 50-mile radius of London.

Twitter Tracker

If you just want to know who won the gold as soon as it happens, you're in luck. Individual sports have official, automated Twitter feeds that will tweet out the results as they happen. You can narrow it down to just the events you're interested in and follow those feeds (say @L2012Trampoline or @L2012Judo), or keep an eye on all of them at once by following the London 2012 official Twitter list of automated feeds. The official London 2012 feed is @London2012.

This year a lot of the fun will be following the athletes themselves. You can look up your favorites or follow this list of verified Olympic athlete Twitter accounts, the London 2012 list of Olympians or find a list just for your preferred sport of team, like Team USA.

Out of more than 10,000 Olympians, who should you follow? Mashable's Must-Follow Athletes on Twitterlist includes the always fun to follow @LoloJones @Usain Bolt @CaroWozniacki @Candace_Parker and @Natalie Coughlin.

You can also track the following hashtags to keep up with what's happening: #olympics #London2012 or  #nbcolympicsThere will be over 40 competitive sporting events so can also follow your favorite events by following the individual hashtags, e.g. #archery #basketball  #boxing etc.

An all out media campaign makes Twitter the favorite at this year’s Olympic Games. As reported by Mashable, linguistic analysts even plan to interpret all Olympic-related tweets and light up the London Eye a specific color depending on the mood of the Twitterverse.

Live Streaming

After years of tape-delayed broadcasts and online video, NBC has caught on that viewers want to follow the Olympics on multiple devices in real time, and is offering the live options in addition to its regular television programming.

The bad news is that anyone in the U.S. who wants to enjoy live streaming of the games needs to have a current cable, satellite or telco TV subscription that includes MSNBC and CNBC (for some areas this may mean be more than just basic cable). You will be prompted on the NBC site and in NBC apps to choose your provider from a list and log in with your official username and password in order to access any live streams.

Online

The Internet portal for all video in the U.S. is NBCOlympics.com. On the main video page, you can view select clips featuring highlights from events, interviews, profiles, and peeks behind the scenes. You can sort by sport or type of video but you have to watch a short ad.

For the first time, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will live stream 11 high-definition channels simultaneously over YouTube for 64 territories in Asia and Africa that don't have broadcast deals, but those streams will be blocked for U.S. viewers.

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