NBC’s Olympics authentication gives you a break

The Olympics are about to start in a minute, but you can’t find your cable creds anywhere? No worries, NBC (s CMCSK) will give you a little extra time: The broadcaster will require viewers of its live online Olympic coverage to authenticate as pay TV subscribers when the games begin later this month. However, users of mobile devices will get a one-time temporary pass, giving them an hour of access even without their credentials at hand, according to Adobe’s (s ADBE) director of product management, Video Solutions, Ashley Still.
Adobe is powering the mobile app experience for NBC, and as such it is also responsible for the authentication piece of the puzzle. Still told me during a phone conversation Wednesday that Adobe has agreements with 100 U.S. pay TV operators in place, which should cover 97 percent of all pay TV households. But whether or not you can actually access the games online also depends on your cable bundle: Only subscribers with access to both CNBC and MSNBC as part of their cable bouquet will be able to access any of the live streams.
NBC will offer two apps for each iOS (s AAPL) and Android (s GOOG) users for the event: One app will offer access to 3500 hours of live programming, while the other will be more of a companion app, offering video highlights and background information about the competing athletes and their performance.
Both apps will be made with Adobe’s Air runtime, so they’ll look consistently across all platforms. And the apps will be interconnected, as long as you have both of them installed. If you read up on a competition in the companion app, you’ll be able to press a watch it now button to tune in live, which will power up the live app. So why not just combine everything into one app? Adobe decided to split up the experience to make sure that users aren’t overwhelmed with features within a single app, Still explained.
Plus the experience might be less frustrating for those users who can’t authenticate even after that one hour grace period is over, one might add.