Prior to the Olympics, NBC, which has the exclusive American broadcast rights to the Games, made an unprecedented announcement. For the first time ever, it would stream all the events from all the sports live online for free, so long as you are a cable-TV subscriber.
The decision was obviously a response to the pointed and deserved (and still-going-strong) criticism NBC falls under attack for every Olympiad because of the lack of live coverage of events on its family networks. With the creation of "Live Extra," there was no longer any excuse to miss out on live action, provided you had a working Internet connection.
Saturday afternoon gave Olympic fans their first reason to head online with Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps headlining the 400-meter individual medley final. NBC had the race scheduled to air in its primetime coverage Saturday night, over six (or nine, if you live on the West Coast) hours after the showdown had taken place.
But quickly, viewers began experiencing common problems with the online service. Feeds stalling out and browsers crashing were some of the most persistent issues Live Extra began taking heat for. This on the first day, for the first major showdown of these Olympics. Needless to say, it was a beleaguered debut for NBC's online feeds.
Naturally, many fans went on Twitter to voice their complaints. We've compiled a tiny sampling of those tweets below:
NBC online introducing new Olympic event known as "Buffering"— House of Run (@HouseofRun) July 28, 2012
its very frustrating to watch any #olympics on @nbc online. keeps freezing and skipping— The Piggyback Rider (@piggybackrider) July 28, 2012
@RichSandomir Laughable that NBC said problems are not widespread. Nobody was able to live stream the 400 IM with Lochte and Phelps today.— Andrew Rutberg (@andrewrutberg) July 28, 2012
Tried to watch swimming on live stream. Last few secs of big race, it froze. Way to go NBC. #fail— Taxpayer1234 (@Taxpayers1234) July 29, 2012
@NBC live Olympic feed is unusable. Constant freezing. You know what people want or watch. Stop holding us hostage-show events LIVE on TV— Sheila Berlinger (@SJFteach) July 28, 2012
NBC live stream fails midway through thePhelps/Lochte race. Thanks, NBC!— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_SI) July 28, 2012
Fair game. I think "Buffering" took silverRT @jessespector How about bashing their abysmal online setup?— Barry Petchesky (@barryap1) July 28, 2012
The livestream loaded just in time for me to miss the race. Good thing NBC is currently airing Curling prelims for the 2014 games.— Rembert Browne (@rembert) July 28, 2012
[See more tweets on Storify]
If these are the complaints for just a four-minute swim race, imagine the headaches many could incur for, say, a two-hour basketball contest.
Anyway, NBC must have heard the complaints loud and clear. It's looking into resolving some of the nagging problems by Sunday.
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