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US Viewers Using Proxies To Watch BBC Olympic Coverage 373

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the filthy-pirates-every-last-one dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "NBC is the sole broadcaster of the London 2012 Olympics in the U.S., having paid $1.1bn for the privilege. While NBC is providing live streaming through its website, you need to have a valid cable subscription in order to view the events. This has seen many tech savvy U.S. viewers turning to proxy servers to view the BBC's Olympic coverage, which doesn't need any sign-in to view — once your IP address looks like it is coming from the UK. One provider of VPN services has seen a ten-fold increase in new customers signing up for their services since last Friday."
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US Viewers Using Proxies To Watch BBC Olympic Coverage

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:27AM (#40842917)

    Great. Here comes another amendment to the DMCA. The "Protect Our Networks, Mom, and Apple Pie--And I Support The Colorado Shooting Victims Act of 2013" which will make it illegal to circumvent the licensing agreements of your local network affiliates and outlaw all VPN's that refuse to turn over all server and user data to the FBI and NSA. And it will sail through Congress, and be signed immediately by President Obama--who will say to liberal supporters that he really doesn't WANT to sign it, but is doing so anyway.

    • by macromorgan (2020426) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:36AM (#40843005)
      Normally I'd agree with you, but after the SOPA/PIPA debacle the Internet community is mobilized and on alert for crap like this. Although it would be interesting to see the Cat Signal be turned on...
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cpu6502 (1960974)

        The only reason SOPA was stopped was because corporations were opposed. But now the corporations (all of them) (except mozilla) are in favor of CISPA so it will pass eventually. Might be another name but it was pass. When the corporations and the Congress are in collusion, what we the People desire has no relevance. Witness the debacle of the TARP2 which passed even with 80% of people calling representatives and saying no. And Obamacare which had almost 70% of people calling and demanding "no". TARP2

        • What "people"? 80%? Are you telling me 240 million people called Congress?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Support for/against Obamacare has run about even with both sides claiming a near 50% stake. The highest opposition ever reached was near 60% in the beginning, but as more people learned what it actually was, and there were no "death panels" deciding who lived, it went back to about 50%-50% more or less depending on the week and who was poling. The opposition numbers never reached near 70%.
  • Cable Subscription? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by macromorgan (2020426) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:34AM (#40842971)
    If NBC is a broadcast network, why do you need a cable subscription to watch online anyway? I mean other than the obvious that NBC is now owned by a cable company...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:42AM (#40843093)

      You do not need a cable subscription to view things that were aired on NBC, however if the event was televised one of NBC's cable channels then that content is not available online.

      I would pay for coverage offered by a disinterested third party, somewhat like Monday Night Football, where you aren't getting commentary from someone who has a real vested interest in the team and instead is just covering the event.

    • by garcia (6573)

      The best is that when you have, say Charter Business Class, you cannot stream the Olympics even if you have TV. Why? Because you are required to have a charter.net e-mail address, something you cannot get on business class.

      This is the most ridiculous and obnoxious thing that has ever happened for the Olympics. I'd rather have NOTHING available than this.

    • Because they are not required to stream their content online for free. So they don't.

      When they provide their service over the airwaves, it is required to be free, so it is. When they provide it over the internet it isn't required to be free because the internet isn't regulated in that way. Hands off the internet, right?

      Also note that if you watch NBC over cable/satellite there's a good chance the local affiliate you are watching is also receiving carriage fees from your cable/satellite bill.

      WTBS was a broad

  • by Jamu (852752) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:35AM (#40842991)
    This is for everyone [twitter.com]
  • Jeez (Score:5, Funny)

    by Flipao (903929) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:36AM (#40843009)
    couldn't keep quiet about it could you
  • Not just Cable... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bytor4232 (304582) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:38AM (#40843031) Homepage Journal

    I tried to log into the NBC app, and they bounced me. I have the basic cable package, that gives me the first 15 channels, plus TBS and GSN. Because I am not "subscribed" to MSNBC and CNBC they wouldn't let me in.

    I'm very, VERY dissapointed in NBC and their olympic service delivery.

    • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:00PM (#40843363) Homepage Journal

      Plus it would be nice to have coverage that wasn't oriented toward idiots.

      It started before the opening ceremonies, with the NBC presenters delivering what sounded like drug-addled, free association platitudes over a montage of US athletes. It went on through the parade of nations when one of NBC's presenters gave us a fat dose of his personal political opinions. It was not so much that the leadership of those countries he targeted wasn't contemptible, as that I don't need a sports announcer to tell me what to think. It goes on through interview after interview where the idiot interviewers ask "how does it feel to win" and try to pump as much emotion out of the athletes as possible. Discuss how the event went, or cut to a sport you're not covering, for Pete's sake.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        I have scoured the web for a good recording of the Beijing Opening Ceremonies (amazing, IMHO) that is not marred by unwelcome commentary, and have not found it. The US, UK, French, and Japanese versions are all similar - all of them are full of blabbing commentators.

        I don't mind commentary but it has its place... and this is like trying to watch a movie while a reviewer sits next to you and critiques the director and the movie in real-time. I would like to have the commentary in a separate audio track, o

        • I have scoured the web for a good recording of the Beijing Opening Ceremonies (amazing, IMHO) that is not marred by unwelcome commentary, and have not found it. The US, UK, French, and Japanese versions are all similar - all of them are full of blabbing commentators.

          Beijing's opening was a great show all right.

          The BBC commentary on the London opening ceremony was first rate. They spent most of the time in silence letting the visuals do the talking, and only ever interjected occasionally and discreetly to add a bit of context. I thoroughly enjoyed the BBC coverage.

  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by j-cloth (862412) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:38AM (#40843041)
    As a Canadian, it's fun to watch the Americans finally have to struggle to find content. We've been forced to use proxies for years.
    • Re:Finally (Score:5, Funny)

      by morcego (260031) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:42AM (#40843097)

      As a Canadian, it's fun to watch the Americans finally have to struggle to find content.

      We've been forced to use proxies for years.

      Let me add a "HA! HA!" from Brazil also :)

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Shouldn't that "HA! HA!" look a little more like HUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUE

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Moheeheeko (1682914)
      The undeniable shame in this story is that we have to struggle to watch a world event, not content intended for a certain country.

      This is the first time I have gone without watching the oloympics every day they are on, and it sickens me that corporations are forcing people into unnecissary services to watch it. I pay for my internet service, that means I should be able to watch what I want online. PERIOD.

      • Re:Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DarenN (411219) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:49AM (#40843197) Homepage

        No, stop being so wrong.

        You are paying your ISP to provide internet, regardless of the content. It does not imply any rights to have content available, so tough cookie if it isn't. Net neutrality, wot.

        • Re:Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:25PM (#40843735) Homepage Journal

          No, stop being so wrong.

          You are paying your ISP to provide internet, regardless of the content. It does not imply any rights to have content available, so tough cookie if it isn't. Net neutrality, wot.

          well, maybe not.

          but the olympics being funded out of worldwide collected taxes, the olympics haven been given special exemptions and special rights with specially tailored laws sort of would imply it. not to mention the whole thing about olympic spirit..

          it's a fucking travesty. maybe we'll have some Red Bull Realympics in 4 years as competing event where athletes can mention whatever the fuck they want on social media, wear whatever sporting goods they want and which will be streamed live to everyone who wants to watch.

          • by DarenN (411219)

            but the olympics being funded out of worldwide collected taxes, the olympics haven been given special exemptions and special rights with specially tailored laws sort of would imply it. not to mention the whole thing about olympic spirit..

            Really? I've never paid the Olympic tax! Sure, some (maybe most) of the athletes get government funding, but it's not that impressive. In the main the bulk of the costs of running the games are paid by the hosts.. NBC giving them $PILESOFMONEY helps with that, but it cost a $EVENLARGERPILEOFMONEY to set up.

            it's a fucking travesty. maybe we'll have some Red Bull Realympics in 4 years as competing event where athletes can mention whatever the fuck they want on social media, wear whatever sporting goods they want and which will be streamed live to everyone who wants to watch.

            I'm amused that you think that a corporately sponsored version of the Olympics would be better.

      • This proves the people are ready and fast enough to adapt to new technologies...corp, companies and organisations are not. This is what capitalism and bureaucracy is right now. It's not adapting fast enough. My little finger tells me bbc or some other cable company will say at the end of the olympic game "fukk, we could made billions by making people pay to see it online without making them pay others (ie: proxies and other 3rd party provider) to view the event... fffffuuuu"
    • Re:Finally (Score:4, Informative)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:48AM (#40843191) Homepage
      I was going to say, It's funny to see things going the other way for once. Living in Canada, I know a lot of people who have signed up for proxy services to access to US Netflix Catalog, as well as things like Hulu, and even things like the shows that ABC, NBC, and CBS put on their websites. The nice thing about Netflix is that even if you sign up on the Canadian site, as soon as you use a proxy, it shows a nice message along the lines of "Looks like you're travelling, Content may be different from what you're used to". You can get a US VPN for $6 a month. Which is well worth it considering how much extra content you can get.
  • by oobayly (1056050) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:39AM (#40843049)

    It's very easy to get around and also means that license payers abroad can't use iPlayer, including servicemen. I'm quite happy paying my license fee, and don't really see why I should help fund free viewing for the rest of the world. However, I don't think they're using the best option.

    I'd prefer to have a login that is provided when I pay for my license fee. The BBC could then stream concurrently to [for example] 4 clients using the same login details.

    I've set myself up a proxy in work so that I can use iPlayer when abroad - works very nicely too.

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      I'm not an expert, but I do know they offer BBC America "subscription" services to stations like PBS and NPR, and I think it might be bundled with some cable packages. I would imagine it's difficult to compete with your own free services. Or some variation thereof.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        So charge for it?
        I would gladly pay to use iPlayer, I will not pay for cable though.

    • by chrb (1083577)

      Why do the Beeb bother with IP geolocation?

      Because the BBC isn't licensed to distribute content beyond the borders of the UK.

      I'd prefer to have a login that is provided when I pay for my license fee.

      That would require an Act of Parliament to redefine the BBC's broadcasts to include internet distribution (a TV license is not a legal requirement to watch iPlayer, a fact that you can verify at the TV licensing web site - the TV license only covers video that is watched at the same time as it is being broadcast).

    • by xaxa (988988)

      I'm quite happy paying my license fee, and don't really see why I should help fund free viewing for the rest of the world.

      I do. The rest of the world watching British TV is better than them watching, for example, American TV. It promotes our culture and values.

      (I think the BBC World Service radio is partly funded for this reason.)

  • by AdmV0rl0n (98366) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:39AM (#40843059) Homepage Journal

    To be blunt, the Olympic organisation needs to step up in its bid process to make sure that not only is it about getting money in to work within the machinery of an Olympics, but that any partner, and in particular its broadcast partners behave with minimum standards. These would be max advert time per hour, and min coverage required.

    Any broadcasters who paster the coverage with advert time and clearly ruin the spectable could be eliminated. Any that don't plan to cover enough get the chop and so on. It should not merely be about the money.

    I'm not a fan of the BBC. But its coverage of this Olympics has been stellar, and I can watch any - and all events. No coverage has ever been this vast or all encompassing.

    • by KermodeBear (738243) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:59AM (#40843339) Homepage

      NBC's coverage has ALWAYS been bad. The worst part is that they smother everything with "human interest" stories to the point where you're not sure if you're watching the Olympics or some daytime talk show. Also, they commentary has been ridiculous - and sometimes outright offensive (particularly during the opening ceremonies).

      I am incredibly annoyed that the Olympic Committee has started this broadcast monopoly business. It's terrible. NBC paid cash, so they can be as terrible as they want with impunity.

      Which is why I have a new VPN account so that I can watch the BBC's coverage.

      I would be happy to pay $20 or so for an Official Olympics Streaming Account or somesuch.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        How's the streaming picture quality? I've been recording the NBC feed on my homebrew DVR, which allows me to skip whatever I like, and there are far more hours of coverage than we could ever watch. The picture looks great - the ATSC stream is 6 GB / hr - so I wonder if streaming would look anywhere near as good. Is it about like Netflix HD shows? (They look pretty good IMHO).

        Also, is the BBC site organized so you can pick a specific sport and watch the prelims and final? I find the Olympics a bit ove

    • You can watch any event you want with NBC too. And you were able to do so at the 2010 Olympics (Canadian CBC did it too). And you were even able to do it at the Olympics on NBC!

      http://www.nbcolympics.com/online-listings/day=august-1/index.html [nbcolympics.com]

      So yeah, coverage has been this vast and all encompassing before. Glad to hear you finally came to the party. I guess you just didn't notice NBC in the room when you got here.

      This idea began in the US 20 years ago with the (failed) Olympics Triplecast.

      http://en.wikiped [wikipedia.org]

  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:42AM (#40843095) Homepage

    I'm really impressed with the amount of events that you can watch on the BBC's website. I initially thought it would just be a couple of events here and there, such as, you can either watch the badminton or the hockey.

    Nope, you can choose from a massive range, so much so that I keep chopping and changing just to make sure I catch a bit of everything.

    Except for the women's weightlifting. That's just scary.

    • by BenJury (977929)
      I think its more than a massive range, its actually everything. Not only that you can watch everything that's already happened. Its just awesome! Only downside -- for me anyway -- is they use Flash player.
  • It does kind of suck that there's not a legal option to watch online. From what I understand, the only feeds available in the states are only available to people who subscribe to cable.

    I wouldn't mind if there was a service that was charging or making you watch ads, but do I really need to pay for cable?

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:44AM (#40843121)
    I watched the Olympics a bit last night when I visited my father, I was pretty heavily annoyed with the coverage.
    With constant focus on pouty teens and their families, i was half convinced I was watching some new drama show.
    If I want to know more about the athletes themselves, I'd watch the news. Please just stay focused on the performances. |:
  • by mseeger (40923) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:45AM (#40843149)

    Take this you d*mn Yankees and get a tast on how it feels to watch "Game of Thrones" months later or through a TBP-proxy ;-).

  • NBC deserves it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gblues (90260) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:47AM (#40843169)

    In my opinion, NBC hasn't gotten nearly enough shit over their treatment of the opening ceremony. Constant chattering, inane commentary, and the absolutely insulting audacity to cut to commercial during the 7/7 London Bombing memorial.

    The coverage of the games themselves hasn't been too great, either. I'm not going to bitch about a tape delay because that's just a fact of life when the games are 7 hours ahead of local time. But when results are spoiled by fucking promotional commercials just minutes ahead of the event in question, that's just incompetence.

    So, screw NBC. I hope someday the BBC allows foreigners to pay for access to its content without having to do VPN hacks. I know I'd subscribe in a heartbeat (hello, Doctor Who Series 7).

    • Re:NBC deserves it. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by flitty (981864) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:01PM (#40843385)
      I cannot even watch the tape delay coverage, mostly because it goes like this "And then the Chinese had this particular event, which turned out better than they ever could have expected with a near perfect execution.." and then they preceed to show the event which they just ruined the outcome of, to the point where they were pointing out "this upcoming trick had near perfect execution". I understand having a tape delay for prime time, but most olympic events are fun to watch because the outcome is unknown and so dramatic. If you're telling me the outcome before the event, it's ruined.
    • by mrdogi (82975)

      NBC coverage has always sucked, in my opinion, even more so with Mr. Costas at the helm. When we lived in Detroit, my wife and I would watch CBC coverage from Windsor. Absolutely blew away anything from the States. One of the few reasons we miss the Detroit area. That and the regular water main breaks...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:48AM (#40843181)

    With the balkanization of #London2012 and other worldwide events, the web is being turned into TV 2.0 by the content cartels. Originally one of the beautiful things about the web was that content was open to all. Someone from Mozambique had access to all the same data and resources as someone from USA or France. But increasingly, everything is becoming locked down and controlled for the benefit of the big media companies. Only through illegal means most don't even know about can this be circumvented, so a few tech savy people manage, but the vast majority do not.

    Who is to blame for this? Well, sure, those media companies, but all of the web users are to blame. As long as we support this balkanization, it will continue to happen. As long as we are tuning into their content en mass, they will never stop this. The end game is TV 2.0, rather than the open and free internet we COULD have had. If we let this happen, it's our own fault.

  • I don't know about everyone else, but I find myself completely disinterested in the Olympics this round due to all the commercial bullshit attached to it. NBC et al can go fuck themselves; they have thusfar not received a single view of Olympic advertising from me. I haven't even bothered to watch a single event.

    And that's pretty sad, because the ideal of the Olympics is something worth protecting.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I've felt that way for several Olympics now, which pretty much coincided with me getting old enough to have a valid opinion about anything like that.

      And that's pretty sad, because the ideal of the Olympics is something worth protecting.

      And that's why I'm boycotting it until the IOC is unfucked or unfucks itself.

    • by Vaphell (1489021)

      the ideal is long dead and buried by the IOC. Olympics have been comercialized to the core and they are nothing more than a money making machine for all interested parties except the host city paying through the nose for years. Same thing with Fifa World Cup or Uefa Euro - organizations skim the cream off the top, while hosts are left with all the bills and responsibilities.

  • Total crap... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:02PM (#40843391)

    It's outrageous enough that you need to be a subscriber of their services and partner companies to watch anything online. But then they mislead you all the way in. They advertise it on tv and online make it seem like all you need to do is click on a feed and start watching. So despite having logins for three of their services I couldn't watch with any because I didn't have one of their crappy cable networks as part of those packages.

    And to add insult to injury, coverage on NBC has been abysmal. Take last night's broadcast of women's gymnastics. There was no rhyme or reason to it. They showed a bunch of random events, several times not even waiting to show scores. They barely showed any of the competition, so who the hell knows why China ended up being so far behind, for example. They wasted too much time with goofy drama. And despite being so overly America centric, for whatever reason they spent the first hour in primetime broadcasting diving which featured no American even close to being in medal contention. And, last but not least, let's not forget the endless commercial interruptions.

    It's pathetic and my interest in following the Olympics for anything to other than medal counts is quickly evaporating. NBC seems incapable of handling a broadcast of this scale. You'd think that for prerecorded broadcasts, with the massive staff devoted to the games that they'd do a better job of editing.

  • by blunttrauma (601130) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:11PM (#40843515)
    Hey BBC, I WANT to pay your damn license fee! Figure out a way to let me! Hell, even without the Olympics, I bet there are a lot of US folks who would be willing to fork over the license fee for Top Gear and Formula One coverage alone. There are also British Ex-Pats all over the world who would probably be willing to pay. Not that difficult, set up a separate web site, restofthedamworld.bbc.co.uk as a subscription site, that either proxies to the existing streaming infrastructure or mirrors it. Hell, contract with Netflix to administer it for you, they seemed to have figured it out. If not, piracy will continue to be the only option.
    • It's basically the HBO issue (the BBC and HBO are very similar models).

      The BBC is required by law/charter to minimize their financial costs to UK citizens (the TV licence fee). So they sell their overseas rights as part of this. This brings in money and minimizes their overhead.

      However, these overseas licenses are also exclusive. They just can't get much money for non-exclusive licenses. So in the process, the BBC gives up the right to stream their own produced shows to you in other countries even for a fee

  • How in hell is it accepted that the Olympics, perhaps one of the longest standing symbols of solidarity and friendly competition among countries, is sold whole to single providers? Here, there are two cable providers covering the Olympics and they're doing a pathetically bad job at it, so much so that you can effectively say I might as well not know there are Olympics going on.

    I think it is utterly pathetic that such a thing is allowed to happen. If anything, the Olympics should be open to any network (be i

  • by CockMonster (886033) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:19PM (#40843633)
    Get over to tvcatchup.com to watch practically all UK channels, live.
  • I'm part of that "ten fold increase" in VPN subscriptions. I had been meaning to sign up for VPN for a while (to protect anonymity online and to get access to BBC iPlayer), and the Olympics were just the push I needed to finally sign up. If getting access to the Olympics on BBC is the spark that makes other people sign up for VPN, I think it's great. Pervasive use of VPN helps defeat the surveillance state.

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