Working Around’s Stupid Restrictions

I’ve always loved the Olympics, but have hated NBC’s coverage. This year, they promise to have more coverage, including a ton of online coverage. I’d prefer to watch the BBC’s coverage, as I’ve always have heard it’s better, but NBC’s exclusive rights to American broadcasts forces the other providers to lock us out.

Wired Wiki has a great bit on how to watch the Olympics online. One thing I’ve found out about NBCs online video system is that access to some videos (encore and live videos, for example) is restricted if your cable provider doesn’t participate. According to the NBC site, BendBroadband doesn’t participate, as I was trying to watch an encore video of the Prefontaine Classic and couldn’t.

The workaround I found? Select another zip code and known big-name provider for that are. I personally selected 97403 (a Eugene zip code) and Comcast and was able to get in fine. So just get a zip code for one of Comcast’s markets and use it, since Comcast appears to be participating

(Or maybe it’s a local NBC-affiliate issue, I have no idea, but the local KTVZ Olympics page itself seems to work fine.)

I tried selecting DirecTV and 97701 (a Bend zip code) and the site told me that DirecTV doesn’t serve this area (which it actually does), so I envision a bunch of people getting angry at the NBC site when Olympic coverage starts in earnest tomorrow.

Update on 8/14/08: First off, welcome Bulletin readers. If you’re trying to get good high quality clips online, Waxy has a great write-up on Pirating The Olympics


sister in law says:

Actually Jacob, DirectTV does service the area, but Bendbroadband has them locked out of NBC, ABC, CBS, and so forth…. maybe that is why it says it does not service the area?

Jake says:

Yeah, I knew DirecTV services this area (which I said above), but completely forgot about the BendBroadband “we’re better than you so we block local channels” restriction (which I’m sure is the technical term for that). But I wouldn’t think BBB would have veto rights here, would they?

John Farwell says:

BendBroadband does not have any control over whether or not Dish and DirecTV offer local channels. This is a common misunderstanding by local residents. Satellite companies choose whether or not to offer local channels in any given area based on various factors, including the cost and bandwidth involved and, what local channels are available in that area. Additionally, in areas where local channels are not offered on satellite, they may offer out of market channels to those people who cannot receive at least a B grade off-air signal from a local broadcaster. If a B grade signal can be received from say KOHD, then a resident cannot get an out of market ABC station from satellite. This is controlled by the local broadcaster, not the cable company.

sister in law says:

John, that is interesting as DirecTV themselves told me that our local cable company was the one blocking them from offering the channels.

John Farwell says:

When you say DirecTV who are you referring to? I have heard stories over the years of local satellite resellers spreading this misconception. The fact is that the information you received is false. Whether it came from ignorance or outright deception, I do not know.

sister in law says:

I wish I knew now who it was, but I called to upgrade my account to add more channels and asked why it says I can have my local channels, and yet, we didn’t. It was one of the operators comments, their exact words were, your local cable company holds a monopoly on this.
Like I said, we dropped it anyhow in favor of just having local channels with the new DTV box and Netflix. Much cheaper too. Who wants to pay $50 a month to sit and flip channels ALL night! (of course, that would be my husband) I actually watch shows.

Barney says:

Ah, didn’t catch Jake had blogged on this already. I just did over at KTVZ’s Website, the Leave it to Barney Blog. The issue of Dish notwithstanding, I am being told that NBC and BendBroadband haven’t come to terms on an Olympic contract, thus the lockout of the added video. I sure hope this can be resolved – I’d rather not have to lie to get the streaming video!;-(

Andrew Moore says:

Any BendBroadband customers wishing to comment on this issue for inclusion in a potential story in the Bulletin regarding this issue, please contact Bulletin reporter Andrew Moore at 617-7820 or [email protected]

Burgie says:

What’s the big deal? I have been entering zip code 92064 and Cox Cable as my provider and I get to watch the Olympics just fine. It seems the whole schanagan is for tracking usage and nothing else.

Chris says:

instead of arguing why dont you write something useful like a zip code & provider combination that works. ffs.