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How to Watch the Winter Olympics

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(AP/David J. Phillip)

Thanks to the dramatic time difference between the U.S. and Sochi, some of the details about when and where to catch the Olympics might be fuzzy. Here's a handy guide to sort out the details. 

How can I watch events live?

For the first time during a Winter Olympics, every sporting event (there's one big exception we'll cover below) will be streamed live and online at NBCOlympics.com and through the NBC Sports Live Extra mobile app. Yahoo will have you covered with daily highlights if you aren't up at all hours of the night.

Can I watch all the Olympic events online?

Well, yes and no. NBC is implementing a 30-minute “free pass” to its subscribers for online Olympic videos. After the 30 minutes are up subscribers are asked to verify that they are in fact paying customers. Every subsequent attempt at watching Olympic videos online is limited to five minutes. For a detailed explanation on the verification process, please visit the NBC help page.

When is the Opening Ceremony? 

The Opening Ceremony is slated to air on NBC Friday, Feb. 7, 11 a.m. EST/8 a.m. PST, but it’s important to note the Opening Ceremony will be one of the only Olympics events that will NOT be streamed online. Otherwise, NBC Sports Network will present more than 230 hours of Olympics television coverage from Sochi, which is the most ever on a cable network. 

Where is a TV schedule for the Olympics? 

Sochi is nine hours ahead of North America’s Eastern Standard Time Zone (EST). Live coverage on NBCSN will usually begin at the 3 a.m. EST and continue for 12 hours, and live online feeds that take place in the early morning (U.S. time) will be restarted again at 3:00 p.m. EST the same day, every day. You can find each day’s full schedule: here or here.  Yahoo will also have video clips of the best Olympics moments of each day so check back daily.

When are some of the most popular events on TV? 

Below is a schedule of some of the most watched Winter events:

Tuesday, Feb. 11 — 12:30 p.m. EST/9:30 a.m. PST — Men’s halfpipe finals

Wednesday, Feb. 12 -- 7:30 a.m. EST/4:30 a.m. PST -- Women’s hockey, Canada vs. U.S.

Saturday, Feb. 15 — 7:30 a.m. EST/4:30 a.m. PST — Men’s hockey U.S. vs. Russia 

Wednesday, Feb. 19 — 11:15 a.m. EST/8:15 a.m. PST — Women’s bobsled

Thursday, Feb. 20 —10:00 a.m. EST/ 7:00 a.m. PST — Women’s free skate 

Sunday, Feb. 23 — 7:00 a.m. EST/4:00 a.m. PST — Men’s hockey finals 

[Related: Check out the full schedule here]

All figure skating competitions will air live on cable during the day, and similar to previous Olympics, key performances will be aired on tape delay on NBC. Figure skating coverage will begin the morning of Feb. 8 with the team event, and Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will be commentators for the figure skating events.  

How do I watch the closing ceremony on TV? 

The closing ceremony will be held on Feb. 23 and aired live at 11 a.m. EST/8 a.m. PST.

What Twitter feeds should I follow for Olympic highlights?  

Here are some good Twitter handles to help you catch and follow all the Sochi action: @wyshynski (editor of the Puck Daddy blog for Yahoo! Sports) @danwetzel (Yahoo! Sports columnist)   @MillerBode (Official account of U.S. alpine skier Bode Miller)  @lolojones (Official account of U.S. bobsledder Lolo Jones) @shaun_white (Official account of U.S. snowboarder Shaun White) @tedligety (Official account of U.S. alpine skier Ted Ligety) @ashwagner2010 (Official account of U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner) @GracEGold (Official account of U.S. figure skater Gracie Gold) @lindseyvonn (Official account of NBC Olympics commentator and U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn) @usskiteam (Official account of the U.S. Ski Team) This Winter Olympics public Twitter list (Created by NBC's Nick Zaccardi @nzaccardi) @NBCOlympics @2014Sochi @Olympics @USOlympic @Sochi2014

How do I avoid spoilers? 

Many diehard Olympics fans will try to stay away from any spoilers before watching the actual events, but in the age of digital madness, real-time results are becoming harder and harder to avoid.

If you really want to keep the blinders on, you’re going to have to temporarily disable the whole social media shebang, especially the big guns: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Google Plus, etc. For many of us, doing away with social media for two weeks sounds like an apocalypse, so if you’re getting sweats and chills just thinking about the social media withdrawals, you can at least organize your newsfeeds. Be especially sure to hide the statuses of people who tend to post about news event in real time. (We all have at least a few of those social media titans in our circles.)

[ RelatedUSA sends to Sochi largest Winter Olympic team ever ]

If you’re a Twitter fiend, be sure to use TweetDeck to track hashtags and keyword searches in the midst of reading about your friends’ latest opinions on kale. You can also turn off tweets that contain certain words. Under settings, choose "Global Filter." Then type in “Olympics” or certain events for which you're especially interested, and you should be able to avoid the cheers and jeers about the latest Sochi news until you're ready to soak it in.

Finally, dumb down your smartphone. Delete apps that will automatically post results, and be sure to turn off those spontaneous news alerts.

Good luck out there, Olympics fans!

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