Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Jul 12

Countdown to the Games: Is your tablet ready?

This is my default expression when dealing with app choices

This is my default expression when dealing with app choices

Only one day left until the Opening Ceremonies.

So far we’ve gotten your TV optimized, your sound system setup, and your cookbook prepped for the upcoming spectacle. But what about when you’re away from your couch? How can you keep your fever in check when you’re not glued to your flat screen TV?

Your best tablet or smart-phone of course.

Continue on past the break to find out what you need to make sure that on-the-go doesn’t mean un-plugged.

Streaming video: subscription or go home

Let’s get the good news/bad news out of the way right here and now.

The good news is that most cable and satellite television subscribers will be able to stream all of the Summer Games to pretty much any device. It’s just a quick login with a username and password from your provider, and it’s all at your fingertips.

The bad news is that if you don’t subscribe to cable or satellite television, you can’t legally stream any of the coverage for the Summer Games. NBC (the rights holder to US coverage) is currently restricting access to their coverage of events to just their official app and website.

For those of us who might be considered “cable cutters” (having gone to all online services for our visual entertainment), this is a bit of a deal breaker for watching our favorite events. Even if they end up taking place at 2 a.m. with the time difference.

While I can understand that they want to reward cable subscribers, I think a better option would be to grab a page from the NCAA’s playbook when they offered subscription options in-app for those without a cable/satellite login. This gives those who subscribe a free pass to their mobile devices, and gives those of us who don’t an option to cheer on our favorite teams during the events themselves.

Of course, even without that, there are still plenty of options to track what’s going on.

NBC Olympics app

Official NBC Olympics app for Android and iOS

While I may have a bone to pick with them on their streaming policy, I can’t really find anything to fault them for in the app they’ve released for coverage and medal tracking.

This app not only shows you the results of event, it also lets you set up tracking for your favorite teams or athletes. Add in program reminders so you know when the events you want to watch are being aired (or if they are — woe to us poor Judo enthusiasts) and ever-present social networking integration, and you’ve got a solid app to track the biggest sports event around.

London Olympics app

Official London 2012 Results App for Android and iOS

Very similar to the NBC app, the official London app may be more your style if you’re looking for a less cluttered and more tablet-oriented way of tracking the games.

In addition to features like medal-tracking and searching by sport, you also get coverage of events around the games in London itself. So if you want to feel like you’re there, this may be the app for you.

Oh, and since it’s built for UK viewers in mind, it’s chock-full of British spellings and phrases!

Road to London 2012 Screenshot

2012 Team USA Road to London for Android and iOS

Just in case you want a more personal way to cheer for the home team, the US Olympic Committee has release their app.

Sure, it’s pretty similar to the above (medal-tracking, etc.), but the real draw for this app is the ability to send customized “cheers” to your favorite athletes, including a personal message via Facebook and Twitter. So just in case you want to give a shout-out to Abdi Abdirahman or Nicole Barnhart, this may be the app for you.

There’s also a few (okay, quite a few) unofficial apps for tracking the action available. I’ve tried a few of them, and most of them focus on one aspect of the other apps — either acting as event schedules or as medal trackers — but they’re rarely as all inclusive as the official free apps available.

What are you doing to get your tablet ready for the Olympics? Let us know in the comments!

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