Rather not spring for live TV? Here's how to stream the Tokyo games for free

·3 min read

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You'd jump for joy too if you just found out you didn't have to pay $60 or more to stream the Olympic Games. (Photo: Wally Skalij /Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
You'd jump for joy too if you just found out you didn't have to pay $60 or more to stream the Olympic Games. (Photo: Wally Skalij /Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

If you're a cord-cutter, you may be wondering how to watch the Olympics now that you no longer have cable. One option is to connect an antenna (remember those?) to your TV and enjoy the live broadcasts on your local NBC station. (Here's an amplified indoor antenna on sale at Amazon for just $20, down from $25.)

However, if you don't live close enough to pull in a good signal, now you're left with streaming options — mostly expensive ones, in the form of live-TV services like Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV.

Thankfully, there are two other Olympic-streaming choices available, both of them free (or cheap, depending on options).

First up is NBC's own Peacock service, which you can watch on just about anything with a screen: phone, tablet, Amazon Fire TV devices, Roku devices and so on. Just install the Peacock app and you're good to go.

NBC's free Peacock app lets you stream the Tokyo games — some of them, anyway. (Photo: Peacock TV)
NBC's free Peacock app lets you stream the Tokyo games — some of them, anyway. (Photo: Peacock TV)

Take note: While the free Peacock tier shows some live games (along with plenty of previously recorded highlights), it doesn't have all of them. If you want to watch men's basketball, for example, you'll need Peacock Plus, which costs $5 a month. And if you want an ad-free experience, Peacock Plus Premium runs $10 monthly. (Fortunately, there's no contract; you can always cancel after the Games have ended.)

Another option worth considering: Locast, a free, non-profit streaming service that serves up all your local channels. It's available in about 35 markets right now and has apps for all the major platforms (Apple, Android, Roku, etc).

So in addition to NBC, you should be able to get your area's ABC, CBS, PBS and other stations as well. This affords a more traditional Olympics viewing experience; you just "tune in" to the live broadcast and watch it, same as you would via cable or antenna.

One catch: Locast occasionally interrupts the stream with brief commercials requesting donations. This can get annoying pretty quickly, especially during the Games, so consider donating $5 to get rid of all those ads. Although you have to set this up as a recurring monthly donation, you can cancel it at any time.

My two cents: Locast is the way to go. I found Peacock's app a little confusing, especially when I went looking for live broadcasts. Although Locast's ads drove me nuts, I decided it was well worth $5 to banish them for the month.

This Insignia TV offers 55-inches of 4K streaming goodness. You can add the Locast and/or Peacock apps for Olympics viewing. (Photo: Best Buy)
This Insignia TV offers 55-inches of 4K streaming goodness. You can add the Locast and/or Peacock apps for Olympics viewing. (Photo: Best Buy)

Two more cents: The Olympics are best enjoyed on a spacious 4K screen. If you've been looking for one, Best Buy has a solid sale right now: The 55-inch Insignia F30 4K UHD Smart Fire TV for $400, which is $100 off the regular price.

Just need to outfit your TV with streaming capabilities? The top-rated (and genuinely great, in my humble opinion) Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is on sale for $40 right now. That's not the lowest price on record, but it's still a $10 savings.

Go team USA!

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