By Jim Karpen on Fri, 07/13/2012
Good news and bad news. First the good news: the free NBC Olympics Live Extra app will be offering live streaming video of all 32 athletic competitions to your iPhone or iPad. The bad news: the app requires that you already be subscribed to cable or satellite service to access most of the live streaming. Early reviews also criticize it for only offering portrait view for video. Apparently there will be some limited live streaming even if you don't subscribe to a service. One of the neat features is that it will offer multiple streams for a single event. If, for example, you're a tennis fan and there are multiple matches being played simultaneously, they'll all be streamed and you'll be able to select which one to watch. Another option consists of alternate camera views of the same event. An additional neat feature is the DVR capability of the app, such that you can record live events or replays for watching later.
In addition to this video streaming app, NBC and Adobe are also offering NBC Olympics, which offers live scores as well as the latest news, interviews, photos, information on the athletes, highlight videos, and more. Reviews complain about the app being slow, but I find that it works just fine. It's a real treasure trove of information. Unlike the live streaming app, this one doesn't require that you be a subscriber to a TV service. You do, though, have the option of selecting your local NBC affiliate, which then gives you additional information content related to local athletes competing in the Olympics. Overall, I'm impressed with the design of the app and ease of navigation.
Both apps are only available in the U.S. The BBC is also offering two apps, one that offers live streaming for those living in the UK and an international version, which sounds similar to the NBC Olympics app and gives you a wealth of background information, news, photos, video clips, and more. There isn't, as far as I can tell, a version of their international app specifically for the iPad.
Also of interest to those in the US is 2012 Team USA Road to London, the official app from the United States Olympic Committee. It offers daily updates on who's making the US Olympics team, features on particular athletes and sports, the ability to send messages to individual athletes via Facebook and Twitter, and athlete bios, photos, and video clips.
If you're lucky enough to be going to the Olympics, you'll want to get Join In, the official app of the London Olympics Organizing Committee. It has all the information you need to find your way around the Olympics and around London. They also offer Results, which gives you the latest news, schedules, and results.
All of the above apps are free. If you like getting your information in magazine format, for $0.99 you can download the Ultimate 2012 Olympic Guide from Dennis Publishing.
I'm looking forward to the Olympics, especially the tennis, and it's great having these apps available.