Online Defeats TV!

At NBC's Olympics, the thrill of video vs. the agony of delay

Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics

Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics

There are many great rivalries playing out at the London Olympics, one of them in NBC's coverage itself: between digital and old-school ways of consuming media. The network's online livestream (on the Web and mobile apps) lets you watch every event live for the first time ever but has technical hiccups. The TV broadcast gives you snazzy video but, following a practice that dates back to Roone Arledge, makes you wait to watch major events tape-delayed in prime time, on NBC's schedule.

It's a test case for two different visions of media: a rough but all-you-can-eat diet for free-range viewers or...

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