The Highs and Lows of the Rio Olympics’ Tech Makeover

The Rio Olympics' first viral breakout – Pita Taufatofua, the Tonga flag bearer.

Need to Know

As we reach day three of the Rio Olympics, it’s fair to say the event’s embrace of technology and social media has been a mixed bag.

In the days leading up to Friday’s opening ceremonies, the always-upstanding International Olympic Committee raised hackles with a ban on GIFs, Vines, or any other sharable video content from news organizations or viewers.

Thankfully not all of the Olympics seems trapped in a 776 BCE mindset.

Digital streaming the Olympics has never been more accessible (although rule-abiding cord cutters might find some difficulties). The NBC Sports app offers both live-streaming and on-demand options for Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox, and Roku, as well as Android and iOS devices – the only hitch is that you’ll need to have a cable provider login to watch.

Deadline reports that day one of competition saw an increase of 263% in live streaming minutes against London 2012’s first day (with a 28% drop in comparable television ratings).

Naturally there’s also a virtual reality option – NBC News has partnered with Samsung Gear VR to offer more than 100 hours of VR programming.

Twitter has introduced a temporary follow feature that will allow users to opt into Olympics-related tweets for the duration of the two-and-a-half week event.

And Quartz is offering a calendar subscription that surfaces the most interesting event of each day.

Robots, yes, robots, will be covering the news from Rio for The Washington Post, with artificial intelligence transforming sports data into short narratives. The results, thus far, have been lifeless.

And you can cure your Rio FOMO fast with Gizmodo’s rundown of The Shi!!iest Airbnb Deals at the Rio Olympics, featuring an armored van available for a mere $5,150 per day.


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