Already, problems with Olympics broadcasting

I was so excited for this year's Olympics because for the first time, 2,200 hours were going to be put online at DirecTV has some 6 or 7 channels dedicated to the Olympics. It didn't seem possible that the problems with the last Olympics would recur, namely that anyone who is on the Internet would find out results before they were shown somewhere.

Alas, that idea of maximizing audience via an artificially enforced notion of primetime still haunts us. If you want to watch Michael Phelps compete in events, you don't get to see them live, at least not on the West Coast in any legal fashion. I logged into ESPN this morning and there on the front page were the results of Phelps' first heat of the 400 IM Medley (which I won't share here). In fact, the result is even listed on the homepage of But the network is trying to still aggregate an audience for TV, so marquee events like that are not shown online, they are only shown on TV on a delayed schedule. In this case, the heats are shown at 3:30 to 4:30pm PST.

The final is at 5pm PST, but on the west coast they are going to delay coverage until 8pm PST, so for three hours the East Coast and Midwest in the U.S. will know the results, while the PST folks will have to detach all electronic devices and live in willful ignorance of the sports world if they wish to have any suspense when watching the main events on TV.

The revolution will be tape-delayed. Sigh.