Nerdy America, are you starved for Olympics coverage? We’ve got your back: Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how you can watch the Olympics online from the U.S. for free or for cheap, zero technical skills required.

It’s easier than you’d think, but we’ll walk you through it anyhow.

What we’re going to show you how to do is set up a VPN (that’s short for virtual private network). With the VPN, your browser will think you’re surfing the web from the UK, and you’ll be able to watch the same live, HD Olympic coverage videos that the Queen watches (if the Queen is an Internet-watching kinda gal).


The backstory

“Hold up now!” you holler. “Isn’t that illegal? Doesn’t NBC have the Olympics coverage on lock, even on the Internet?”

Yes, NBC does have Oympics coverage on lockdown, and we have a few words for the network:

NBC, we want to love you. You gave us 30 Rock and… 30 Rock. But this Olympics bullmess is over the line.

If you live in the States, you know what I’m talkin’ about. While YouTube is giving folks the Olympics online — live and in HD, no less — U.S.-dwellers can only access the footage if they already subscribe to NBC via cable or satellite.

And you can’t just shovel money at the problem, either. Most of us would gladly fork over $20 or more to NBC or the International Olympics Committee for the privilege of watching the London summer games online, but NBC insists: If you live in the U.S., you must subscribe to a whole package that includes NBC. It’s their way or the highway.

We’re not generally the lawless type, but we’re making an exception here. This is the Olympics, dammit, and in the country that invented the nuclear bomb and Molly Hatchet, we’ll be hanged if we let corporate greed stand in the way of patriotic pride in our country’s finest athletes! Wooo!

(Also, last we checked, using a slightly shady workaround to get access to web services intended for other countries isn’t exactly illegal, just shady.)

Ok, backstory over. Here’s how to watch the Olympics online in the US of A.


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In conclusion:

  • America.
  • Michael Phelps.
  • Molly Hatchet.
  • Beach volleyball.
  • NBC sucks.*
  • *Not really, not altogether, just with regard to the Olympics.
  • USA! USA!