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Prepping for the Olympics

by August 05, 2008
Hurry up Friday...

Hurry up Friday...

No matter where you live, you're probably getting excited about the looming 2008 Olympic games scheduled to start on August 8th (that's Friday for those without a calendar handy - though soccer starts on the 6th). Various countries and political movements have been trying to use the games to highlight their own issues but now that they are upon us, we can stop worrying about all that and start worrying about whether our team is going to kick butt in badminton (or whatever sport you're in to).

Usually, coverage varies widely based on your location (you can bet that handball will get much more coverage elsewhere than in the US) and the chances your country has to get a gold. In the past, if the US had a real shot at the gold in some obscure sport that normally gets no airtime, we'd be watching every match.

At least, that used to be the case

This year we're going to have unparalleled access to the games with NBC Universal offering over 3600 hours of coverage (2200 of which will be online at NBCOlympics.com). The coverage will be broadcasted on the seven NBC Universal networks including NBC,USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Telemundo and Universal HD. Not only that but they are promising to cover EVERY sport so even those that subscribe to OSQ can get their fix. They may have to go online to get it but at least it is available. Get the complete schedule here.

Soccer and Basketball fans can rejoice as NBC will be offering NBC Olympic Soccer and Basketball channels that promises to feature whistle to whistle coverage of every game. NBC Universal has stated that these channels will be available on most cable, satellite, and telephone providers though only Cox and Comcast have been announced. Enthusiasts have complained that customer service reps at these (and other) providers seem clueless about whether the channels will be available in their area. Rumors are that the channels are optional so don't assume that just because you have Comcast you will receive the channels. Many of the games will be broadcast on other channels, though, so you shouldn't miss out entirely.

This isn't the only hiccup in the proposed lineup. Around 75% of the coverage will be live according to NBC which might make watching some of it difficult for people half a world away (visit NBCOlympics.com and enter your zipcode to find out your local schedule). DVR users will also realize that scheduling of such events tends to be "flexible" so setting up a recording the day before is a hit or miss proposition (who hasn't missed the end of a game that went into overtime?). Still, Universal HD will be simulcasting and rebroadcasting events 24 hours a day for the run of the games (and knowing the channel, for a long time after) so if you miss something, you should have a chance to catch it again.

What you'll need to enjoy the games in all their glory is a High Definition TV (preferably one that can upconvert well in case your favorite sport is only available in your area in standard def) and matching HD service, a receiver capable of decoding Dolby Digital (many of the high definition broadcasts will be in 5.1), and a complete speaker system. We've got lots of recommendations (or you can ask in our forums). We'd also suggest a good high speed internet connection (for those online only broadcasts). All in all, it should be an exciting two weeks. I, for one, am stocking up on the coffee for some of those late night live events and clearing out my DVR for those I can't make. Go USA!!!

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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