We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
2,862 Tutorials

How to watch the London 2012 Olympic Games online

Stream sporting events live or on-demand

The London 2012 Olympic Games is under way, running until 12 August. As the home broadcaster of the sporting action in the UK, the BBC has pledged to broadcast a staggering 5,000 hours of coverage, utilising all its digital channels. With all that content on offer, you won't want to miss out. Here's how to catch up on-demand or watch live online the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Roger Mosey, director of London 2012 at the BBC, wants the London 2012 Olympic Games to be a showcase for the digital universe the analogue switch-off made possible. Mosey wrote on his BBC Sport blog: "We're at this historic moment when the world will become digital. Analogue switch-off happened in the United States after Beijing, and London and most of the rest of the UK will have lost analogue by the summer of 2012 - unleashing opportunities that are limitless. See Digital Home Advisor.

"…In the era of analogue scarcity we sometimes covered only a few hundred hours of the 5,000 hours of sport available at an Olympic Games. By Beijing we delivered more than half of all the content - about 2,700 hours. For London we want to offer our audience the whole lot: every hour of every sport taking place across the Olympic venues through our online site, interactive TV and our other platforms."

Provided that you have a valid TV licence, you're already paying the BBC for its content. You can tune into the London 2012 Olympic Games live or catch up on-demand through your PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone or games console. The coverage is free to watch, but it's worth checking your data allowance if you don't subscribe to a broadband package with unlimited downloads and want to avoid a hefty bill. See Broadband Advisor.

Unless you're in an area with strong 3G coverage, also check that a reliable Wi-Fi connection is available to enable smooth streaming of the London 2012 Games.

Note that some of the BBC's coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games will be in 3D. You'll still be able to view the action in its usual formats but, if you'd like to join in and don't already have a 3D-ready TV, check out our latest 3DTV reviews.

Watch the London 2012 Olympic Games online: Live 

TVCatchup.com lets you watch live free-to-air UK television on your computer, phone or games console. Versions of the site optimised for iPad and iPhone are available at ipad.tvcatchup.com and iphone.tvcatchup.com.

TVCatchup

Head to TVCatchup.com and click the Sign Up button to begin. You'll need to enter a username, email address and password, then click Submit.

Once logged in, you're presented with a channel list. The London 2012 Olympic Games will be broadcast by the BBC; choose the correct channel for the particular event you want to watch live online. You can also change the stream quality, which is useful if you don't have a particularly fast broadband connection.

TVCatchup channel list

If this is the first time you've used TVCatchup, it will prompt you to update your profile with your gender, date of birth and occupation before you can begin watching live TV. On the following screen you will also need to select your region preference, then click Update Region.

TVCatchup kicks off with an ad or two, then immediately begins streaming your chosen TV channel. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the sport. 

TVCatchup live streaming

Watch the London 2012 Olympic Games online: Catch up on-demand 

iPlayer is the BBC's free catch-up TV service. Programmes are available for seven days following their transmission, but note that the service's Download and Series Record features are not usually available for sporting events, such as the London 2012 Olympic Games. 

To watch the London 2012 Olympic Games on a Windows, Mac or Linux PC, simply head to bbc.co.uk/iplayer for the desktop version of the site. Dedicated apps are available from Google Play and the App Store for Android 2.2+ tablets and the iPad respectively, while Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii owners can stream content from Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network or through a Wii app.

If the sporting event you're after isn't featured in the top panel, choose BBC One or BBC Two in the TV Channels section to the bottom left. The following screen will show the programme listings for the past seven days; you can also view today's guide and listings for the next two days. Click the date on which the event was broadcast in the timeline at the top of the screen.

Scroll down to find and select the event in the list. Click the arrow in the video frame to begin playback. Clicking again on the preview window reveals options to pause, fast-forward and rewind the action, turn on subtitles, and watch the event full-screen or in a pop-out window.

iPlayer options

Below the stream are links to more London 2012 Olympic events; look to the bottom of the screen for a Lower Bandwidth setting if you're experiencing trouble with playback.

iPlayer

IDG UK Sites

Amazon Kindle Voyage release date, price and specs UK: a high-end eReader with Amazon’s best-ever...

IDG UK Sites

Why local multiplayer gaming is rapidly vanishing: we look at the demise of split-screen and LAN...

IDG UK Sites

How to successfully bridge the gap between clients and creatives

IDG UK Sites

How to update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 8: including how to install iOS 8 if you don't have room