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The Rio 2016 Olympic Games, live on the BBC

Kieran Clifton

Director, BBC Distribution & Business Development

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Following our award-winning coverage of London 2012, which saw over 90% of the UK population watch the Olympics on the BBC, we will again be at the heart of the world’s biggest sporting spectacle, delivering blanket coverage from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games across TV, radio and online.

On TV, there will be over 550 hours of coverage from Rio on BBC One and BBC Four.  We’re expanding the hours of BBC Four across all platforms so that it starts from 1pm in the afternoon and runs through to 2am, offering live coverage of key events in Rio.

We’ll also be delivering many more hours of content across our digital and interactive platforms on web, mobile, connected TV and on Red Button+. A blog on our Red Button+ offering will be available in the next few days.

Eight streams on broadcast Red Button and BBC iPlayer

On the broadcast red button, viewers on cable and satellite platforms will be able to access eight scheduled streams curating all the key sports and highlights throughout the Olympic period – viewers on these platforms will also have the choice of watching the streams in high definition.


Olympics 1 / HD

Olympics 2 / HD

Olympics 3 / HD

Olympics 4 / HD

Olympics 5 / HD

Olympics 6 / HD

Olympics 7 / HD

Olympics 8 /  HD



















Virgin Media









Note: where both SD and HD versions are carried, Sky and Freesat make the HD versions available on the lower EPG numbers in the above table.

Our broadcast offer on Freeview and YouView will be slightly different owing to long-standing broadcast capacity constraints. To offer as a wide a range of services as we can to as many viewers as possible, we’ve leased some extra capacity – though unfortunately not every part of the country can receive these signals. In addition, if you are within coverage, you’ll also need to be watching on a Freeview HD, Freeview Play or a YouView device (as a quick check, if you can watch CBeebies HD at EPG 124 then you should be good to go). If that’s the case, you will receive all the extra eight streams in standard definition. If you’re out of coverage, you may still be able to get live coverage of all the events through our Red Button+ offer, on which more details later in this article.

Freeview SD devices will get two part-time services for the Olympics period on the Red Button: BBC RB 0 starting at 7pm and BBC RB 1, which is normally a full 24/7 service but which will be starting at 9pm during the Olympics in order to accommodate CBBC and the BBC Four extended broadcast hours.


RB 0 *

RB 1  **







BBC Olympics HD *

Freeview SD


(part-time version only)








Freeview HD/YouView



(24 hours)








* BBC RB 0 and BBC Olympics HD (same schedule as BBC RB 0 but broadcast in high definition) are part-time services starting at 7pm.  BBC RB 0 is available to all Freeview viewers, whilst BBC Olympics HD is only available on Freeview HD and YouView devices.  Note : BBC RB 0 and BBC Olympics HD follows the same schedule as BBC Olympics 8 and BBC Olympics 8 HD on satellite and cable.

** BBC RB 1 is available in two formats on Freeview: all viewers will get the part-time service on EPG 601, whilst Freeview HD viewers only (and specifically, as mentioned above, those able to receive CBeebies HD at 124) will also be able to access a full-time service on EPG 608.

The same eight curated streams will also be available on BBC iPlayer along with live streaming of BBC One and BBC Four, so you can keep up with our live Olympics coverage on the go, or catch up on your favourite events when you want.

Comprehensive coverage from BBC Sport online, on connected TV and on Red Button+

Building on our online offer for London 2012, you’ll be able to access 24 live HD streams on web, mobile and on connected TV for the Rio Olympic Games, providing over 2,500 hours of live Olympics coverage.

These streams will be available from, through the BBC Sport apps for mobiles and tablets and via Red Button+ (our internet-connected Red Button service) and the BBC Sport App on connected TVs and media streaming devices:

  • 24 live HD video streams
  • Highlights clips and replays of those not-to-be-missed moments [this is the case on connected TV and via Red Button]
  • Intuitive, quick access to live, coming up and catch up
  • Additional text commentary, audience interaction via BBC Sport’s live coverage on mobile, tablet or PC
  • Olympics Playlist, downloadable to catch up every morning on the BBC iPlayer
  • On web and mobile, “My Sport” will allow Olympics fans to personalise their Rio 2016 experience by following the sports you like most, signing up for the latest news alerts, setting event reminders and sharing your favourite moments across the social media platforms
  • And on our own social media pages, BBC Sport will give you the chance to get even closer to the BBC’s coverage, presenters and special guests with behind-the-scenes coverage 

Changes to some of our HD channels on Freeview HD/YouView

Three of our HD channels (CBBC HD, CBeebies HD and BBC Four HD) will be moving broadcast capacity on Freeview from 27th July until shortly after the Olympic Games ends, in order to allow us to extend BBC Four HD’s hours to start from 1pm. BBC Four will be available to all Freeview HD for the duration of the Olympic Games.

The interim broadcast capacity for CBBC HD will have less coverage in the UK than the existing capacity. As a result, some viewers will find they’ve lost CBBC HD over the Olympics Games period – as a check if currently you’re unable to see either CBeebies HD or BBC Four HD, then unfortunately you will be losing reception of CBBC HD temporarily – however, normal service for CBBC HD will resume after 23rd August and you will still receive the SD version throughout. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes. For those viewers that are able to continue receiving CBBC HD during the Rio 2016 period, it will be temporarily moving to LCN 97 on Freeview and YouView.

For unavoidable technical reasons, on the three HD channels that are moving any series links that have been set will not record – so viewers should reset their recordings to the SD version of those channels in order to maintain continued recordings during the Olympic Games.

After the Olympics period, we’ll be returning things back to normal – whilst CBeebies HD and BBC Four HD will also be moving to a different slot of broadcast capacity from where they are now, and so may require a retune, for the majority there should be no material impact from the current Freeview reception of these channels. See the Freeview paragraph below on retuning your TV or box to get the latest updates.

How to get our additional streams on your TV

  • If you have Freeview HD or YouView your receiver may well pick up the changes automatically but if not you will need to retune; The Freeview retune website gives advice on how to do this. (If you’re using a Freeview SD receiver, you should already be able to access our Red Button SD streams on channels 600 and 601 but if for some reason you don’t then again a retune should solve this for you.) Full instructions can be found in the manual for your digital TV or box. Further help with retuning can be found by calling the Freeview Advice Line on 0345 6505050.  
  • If you have Sky, you should not have to do anything. If you do have a problem receiving any of our channels, you can try turning your Sky set-top box off at the mains, waiting 30 seconds and turning it back on again. If that doesn’t resolve your problem you can find more help at
  • If you have Virgin Media the new streams should appear automatically. If you do have a problem receiving any of our channels, you can find more help at Virgin’s website. For Virgin TiVo users the broadcast Red Button streams will be listed in the 560s in the guide – alternatively, pressing red when you’re watching on one of our TV channels will take you to the additional coverage and expanded offer on our BBC Red Button+ service.
  • If you have Freesat and you do not pick up the new channels automatically, you may need to put your digital box or TV into standby for 30 seconds and then switch it back on again. If the channels are still unavailable then carry out a Freesat channel retune. Full instructions can be found in the manual for your digital TV or box. Further help with retuning can be found at or by calling the Freesat customer support team on 08450 990 990. For those that need it, full DSAT transponder information can be found on our Reception Advice page.
  • Red Button+ will work on the majority of connected TVs and Set Top Boxes (STBs) produced after 2012, including YouView and Virgin TiVo, providing direct access to BBC Sport’s Rio 2016 coverage. You can find more details about Red Button+ here and some of the devices that support it here.

You can also access the BBC Sport app on a range of media streaming devices, including Amazon Fire TV and Sony Playstations. Find out more about all the devices here.

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