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Charter Drops Rio Streaming Ball

13 Aug, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

NBC Olympics' first week at the Rio de Janeiro Games reached a record 1 billion live streaming minutes, but to some over-the-top video users, watching the quadrennial sporting spectacle remains an exercise in frustration.

Charter Spectrum TV Stream is an under-the-radar service the cable operator markets to its broadband-only subscribers in an effort to mine incremental revenue ($20 monthly) from cord-cutters.

Spectrum TV Stream is one of few standalone platforms enabling users to watch NBC primetime Olympics coverage (and commercials) without a pay-TV subscription.

Sling TV is only streaming the Olympics in select markets: Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Miami, among others, for $25 Sling Blue subs. Content from USA, NBCSN, MSNBC, CNBC and Golf) is available nationwide to Blue subs.

Sony PlayStation Vue, the online TV service offered through the eponymous video game console, affords NBC access just to its most-expensive ($44.99) channel package.

But with the U.S. swim team concluding an otherworldly week in the pool (Michael Phelps in his final Olympic race) and high-profile individual gymnastics hardware up for grabs, Spectrum TV Stream Aug. 13 left subs seeing blue with the following message:

“App Unavailable. We’re sorry something didn’t work quite right. Please call us.”

Calling Charter customer service did little except generate a computerized apology. By now, streaming service outages during marquee events are not new as the technology continues to grapple with delivering streaming video to ever more eyeballs simultaneously.

Charter cited tech issues with the Roku streaming device included with Spectrum TV Stream subscriptions. Roku.com regurgitated boilerplate NBC Olympics non-details, without mentioning standalone streaming access — or that there was even a problem.

“Roku streamers who subscribe to NBC Sports through a participating cable, satellite or telecom provider have access to stream the 2016 Rio Olympics.”

And the Games continue …


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